Washington — The United States' borders with Mexico and Canada will remain closed for non-essential travel for another month as the country braces for what public health experts say will be a difficult winter battling the coronavirus pandemic.
Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf said Monday that the three countries will extend travel restrictions through November 21 in an effort to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus.
"We are working closely with Mexico & Canada to identify safe criteria to ease the restrictions in the future & support our border communities," Wolf tweeted.
Bill Blair, Canada's minister of public safety and emergency preparedness, said the nation's "decisions will continue to be based on the best public health advice available to keep Canadians safe."
Under the restrictions, a foreign national arriving in Canada from the U.S. must prove they are traveling for an essential purpose or are an immediate family member and are not showing symptoms of COVID-19. Travelers must also have a plan to quarantine for 14 days.
Those traveling to Mexico from the U.S. may also be denied entry if their trip is considered non-essential, including for tourism and recreational purposes.
The U.S. leads the world in coronavirus infections, with more than 8.2 million confirmed cases, according to Johns Hopkins University. Mexico, by contrast, has had more than 800,000 confirmed coronavirus cases, and Canada has had more than 204,000 infections.
Coronavirus cases continue to rise in more than 30 states, and public health experts are warning the U.S. will be in for a difficult fall and winter.
Dr. Scott Gottlieb, the former head of the Food and Drug Administration,in an interview Sunday that the U.S. is heading toward the "most difficult phase of this epidemic."
"I think the next three months are going to be very challenging. There's really no backstop against the spread that we're seeing," he said.