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Trudeau: US border won’t reopen soon to nonessential travel

Canadian Prime Minister and Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau reacts as he makes a statement in regards to a photo coming to light of himself from 2001, wearing "brownface," during a scrum on his campaign plane in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2019. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press via AP)

TORONTO (AP) — Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Thursday the border between Canada and the United States isn’t opening any time soon for nonessential travel.

Trudeau said it will still be a “significant amount of time” before Canada can loosen such a restriction.

The U.S. and Canada agreed last month to limit border crossings to essential travel amid the pandemic but that agreement is due to expire April 19.

U.S. President Donald Trump said Wednesday the U.S. and Canada are “doing well” amid the pandemic and said the U.S. Canada border will be among the first borders to open.

“It will be one of the early borders to be released,” Trump said.

Nearly 200,000 people cross that border everyday in normal times. Canada sends 75% of its exports to the U.S. and about 18% of American exports go to Canada.

Truck drivers and Canadians who live in the U.S. for part of the year and are returning to Canada are among those who are exempted from the current travel ban.

Canada has more than 29,826 confirmed cases, including 1,048 deaths. Almost half of the deaths are linked to nursing homes.

The U.S. has more confirmed cases and deaths from COVID-19 than any country in the world.