TRENTON, Canada

The world’s longest undefended border between Canada and the US will remain closed to all but essential travel for another month, the Canadian leader announced Tuesday.

The closure was set to expire June 21, but in a bid to slow the progress of COVID-19 between the two countries the date was extended to July 21, according to Justin Trudeau.

“This is an important decision that will keep people in both our countries safe,” he said.

Exempted from the closure are essential goods such as food and drugs, as well as health care workers who work on one side of the border and live on the other side.

Canada announced last week that some family members who were affected by the closure would be given temporary permission to cross, but only those who do not have COVID-19 symptoms “or who do not have reason to believe they have COVID-19.”

Those who enter Canada must self-quarantine for two weeks.

This is the third closure extension of the 4,332-kilometer (5,524-mile) border and it comes as Canadian provinces begin to gradually open businesses that had been closed. Businesses affected vary from province to province.

Canada was close to reaching 100,000 coronavirus cases Tuesday, standing at 99,481, according to Johns Hopkins University figures.

The virus has claimed 8,213 Canadians and 61,398 have recovered.

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