Ottawa [Canada], Mar 14 (ANI): As the number of coronavirus patients around the world continues to climb, the Canadian government is encouraging citizens to cancel all non-essential international travel.
"To limit the spread of COVID-19, many countries have put in place travel or border restrictions and other measures such as movement restrictions and quarantines. Airlines have cancelled flights. New restrictions may be imposed with little warning. Your travel plans may be severely disrupted and you may be forced to remain outside of Canada longer than expected," the government stated in an advisory issued on Friday.
The advisory also urged its people to contact respective airlines or tour operators to determine options still available to return to Canada. "Consider returning to Canada earlier than planned if these options are becoming more limited," it stressed.
"These are significant steps," Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said.
"We are pulling out all the stops."
The development comes as the worldwide death toll from the coronavirus pandemic surged past 5,000 on Saturday with the total infected cases also rising to more than 140,000, Al Jazeera reported.
The World Health Organization's (WHO) latest report showed 4,955 total fatalities as of 09:00 GMT on Friday, while Italy reported an additional 250 new deaths as of 17:08 GMT on the same day, and Iran announced 85 new deaths also on Friday.
Citing other sources aside from the WHO, the Johns Hopkins University data showed close to 5,400 deaths as of Friday.
Trudeau's wife Sophia Gregoire Trudeau has tested positive for Covid-19 after she showed flu-like symptoms upon return from the UK.
However, Trudeau, who has been in voluntary self-quarantine himself, is said to be "in good health."
On Friday, the prime minister, who addressed the nation from self-isolation, suspended its elected House of Commons until April 20 in a move designed to control the spread of the infection.
All three of Canada's federal parties - the governing Liberals, opposition Conservatives and the New Democrat Party - voted in favour of the suspension
At least 157 people have been tested positive for COVID-19 cases in Canada with one death.
About 4,800 schools were ordered closed in the province of Ontario, affecting two million students. As of now, classes will resume April 6.
Large events are being called off or postponed across the country. (ANI)