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Canada objects to US plan to post troops at border
In this file photo Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks during a news conference on COVID-19 situation in Canada from his residence March 23, 2020 in Ottawa, Canada. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's online plea for people to stay home during the coronavirus pandemic has gone viral, with actor Ryan Reynolds, musician Michael Buble and other Canadian celebrities on March 24, 2020 helping to spread the word. In the one-minute video the prime minister looks tired and a bit disheveled as he speaks to the nation from his kitchen in his second week of self-isolation with his family after his wife Sophie was diagnosed with the COVID-19 virus.
AFP/Dave Chan

Canada objects to US plan to post troops at border

Michael Comte (Agence France-Presse) - March 27, 2020 - 8:26am

OTTAWA, Canada — Canada opposes a plan by the United States to send  troops to its northern frontier to catch border jumpers who may be carrying COVID-19, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Thursday.

Trudeau and Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland were responding to a Global News report that said White House officials are discussing such a military deployment to the recently closed border, the world's longest at 8,900 kilometers (5,500 miles).

Amid the coronavirus pandemic it was temporarily shut as of Saturday to all non-essential travelers on both sides, but not cross-border trade.

"Canada and the United States have the longest unmilitarized border in the world. And it is very much in both of our interests for it to remain that way," Trudeau told a daily briefing.

He said his administration has highlighted to the US that the flow of people and trade "has benefited our two countries and our economies tremendously. And we feel that it needs to remain that way."

Freeland went further, warning: "In Canada's view this is an entirely unnecessary step which we would view as damaging to our (bilateral) relationship."

She noted at a news conference that Washington had yet to make a decision, but added, "We do not believe at all that there would be a public health justification for (the US) to take this action.  

"We've said we don't think this is the right way to treat a trusted friend and a military ally."

American troops

An estimated 400,000 people and $2 billion worth of goods normally cross the border each day. 

Global News said fewer than 1,000 American troops would be stationed within 30 kilometers (20 miles) of the Canadian frontier, between official border checkpoints, and use sensor technologies to detect irregular crossers.

Under the proposal, the US military would advise American border agents, who would be sent to intercept them.

According to the latest government data, US officials apprehended 4,400 migrants at the Canada-US border in the 12 months to September 30, 2019, compared to 15,700 who crossed irregularly into Canada from the United States during the period.

The number of coronavirus cases in Canada on Thursday surpassed 4,000 including 39 deaths, according to public health authorities. The number of US cases, meanwhile, topped 83,000, including more than 1,200 deaths, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.

Freeland said Ottawa "forcefully" pushed back against the border proposal, reminding in discussions with US officials that the two nations are "very close military allies," including partners in NORAD and NATO.

She also pointed to the recently ratified US-Mexico-Canada free trade pact and last week's agreement on border restrictions as evidence the two countries can work well together.

"In view of all of these connections and the importance of the (bilateral) relationship, Canada is strongly opposed to this US proposal," she said.

CANADA DONALD TRUMP JUSTIN TRUDEAU NOVEL CORONAVIRUS UNITED STATES
As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: May 11, 2021 - 6:49pm

Follow this page for updates on a mysterious pneumonia outbreak that has struck dozens of people in China.

May 11, 2021 - 6:49pm

Taiwan bans large gatherings after a cluster of local infections prompted authorities to raise the coronavirus alert level in a place with one of the world's best pandemic responses.

The self-ruled island has been hailed as a global leader in containing the COVID-19 pandemic with just 1,210 confirmed cases, 12 deaths and minimal social distancing needed once the initial outbreak was quelled.

Last year ,Taiwan recorded 253 straight days without any local infections. — AFP

May 10, 2021 - 3:26pm

Britain on Monday was set to announce a further easing of its coronavirus lockdown, joining several European nations in gradually reopening their economies, but India remained in the grip of a devastating outbreak.

Rapid vaccination programs have allowed a number of wealthy nations to start taking steps towards normality, but the virus is still surging in many countries and concerns are growing about global vaccine inequality.

The pandemic has claimed close to 3.3 million lives worldwide and Britain has the highest death toll in Europe, but its successful vaccination programme has allowed the authorities to start relaxing curbs.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson was due to announce the latest measures —  effective May 17 — in a press conference on Monday, including the reopening of indoor seating in pubs and restaurants. — AFP

May 9, 2021 - 9:17am

New Covid-19 deaths surged past 4,000 for the first time in India on Saturday in one of the world's worst outbreaks, as EU pressure mounted on Washington to end vaccine export limits and offer a concrete plan to lift patents.

"I call very clearly on the United States to put an end to export bans not only on vaccines but on vaccine ingredients, which prevent production," Macron told reporters at an EU summit in Porto. He was referring to a de facto US ban on the export of vaccine raw materials.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the EU had exported much of its own production and the United States should follow suit. — AFP

May 8, 2021 - 1:00pm

The government says India recorded more than 4,000 coronavirus deaths in a day for the first time.

The 4,187 new deaths took India's overall toll to 238,270 since the pandemic started. It added another 401,078 new cases in 24 hours taking its caseload to nearly 21.9 million.

Experts, who have expressed doubts about the official death toll, say India may not hit a peak in its current surge until the end of May. — AFP

May 7, 2021 - 5:17pm

Germany seems to have halted a surge of coronavirus infections driven by the British variant, Health Minister Jens Spahn says, cautioning however against lifting restrictions precipitously.

"The third wave appears to have broken," Spahn tells a press conference in Berlin.

"The infection figures are dropping again, but we are still at a high level. They are not yet falling everywhere at the same rate, but they are falling," he says. — AFP

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