The Northwest Territories is closing its borders to the rest of Canada.
Canada’s most populous territory announced in a news release on Friday night that it would be closing its territorial borders to inbound air, land, and port travel in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.
NWT has had zero confirmed cases of coronavirus as of March 20, and have performed a total of 275 tests — all of which have been negative.
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Once the NWT government makes the official announcement on Saturday, travel through all points of entry will be prohibited to travellers with the exception of NWT residents, import/export workers, flight crews, medical travel patients from Kitikmeot, persons who support essential services, workers involved in GNWT capital infrastructure projects, Southern resident transient workers in the mineral and petroleum resources industry, and persons participating in traditional harvesting or land activities and who do not enter any communities as part of those activities.
“This measure will be required to ensure protection of residents of our smallest communities as people return north,” the release states.
“There will be measures to support cases of people who may not have access to accommodations in any of these communities.”
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau mentioned the NWT border closures in his Saturday morning update, stating that the federal government supports the decision.
This marks the first province or territory in Canada to close its borders to other Canadians in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.
The release also notes that anyone who has returned or will be returning to the NWT, from abroad or from Canada’s other provinces or territories, is being asked to self-isolate upon return.