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US and Canada extend border shutdown to June 21

The agreement to keep the US-Canada border closed to non essential travel has been extended another 30 days.
A marker in Richford, Vt., indicates the official border between the United States and Canada. (AP Photo/Toby Talbot, File)

TORONTO, ON (AP) — Canada and the U.S. have agreed to extend their agreement to keep border closed to nonessential travel to June 21 during the coronavirus pandemic.

A senior government official confirmed the extension of the agreement, which had been set to expire this week. The official spoke on condition of anonymity for lack of authorization to speak publicly ahead of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's announcement.

The two governments announced a 30-day extension of the restrictions last month.

U.S. President Donald Trump has said that the U.S. and Canada are doing well in handling the pandemic.

But many Canadians fear a reopening. The U.S. has more confirmed cases and deaths from COVID-19 than any country in the world, though its per capita numbers are well below many other nations.

Essential cross-border workers like health care professionals, airline crews and truck drivers are still permitted to cross. Truck drivers are critical as they move food and medical goods in both directions. Much of Canada's food supply comes from or via the U.S.

Americans who are returning to America and Canadians who are returning to Canada are also exempted from the border closure.

Canada sends 75 percent of its exports to the U.S. and about 18 percent of American exports go to Canada. The U.S.-Canada border is world's longest between two nations.