U.S.-Canada border to temporarily close to non-essential travel

(SOUNDBITE)(English) PRIME MINISTER JUSTIN TRUDEAU, SAYING:

"I just spoke to President Trump this morning and we've agreed that both Canada and the United States will both temporarily restrict all non-essential travel across the Canada-U.S. border."

The U.S. and Canada are ramping up their efforts to fight the coronavirus with new border closures Wednesday.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made the announcement outside of his home in Ottawa - where his wife, Sophie, is quarantined with the disease.

(SOUNDBITE)(English) PRIME MINISTER JUSTIN TRUDEAU, SAYING:

"I want to be clear though that essential travel will continue."

Trade will not be compromised, according to U.S. President Donald Trump:

(SOUNDBITE)(English) U.S. PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP, SAYING:

"Now it's not affecting trade. It's non-essential, it's non-essential crossings. It won't affect trade at all.

The U.S. and Canadian economies are highly integrated. A strict ban on border crossing would cause major problems for the auto sector and the transportation of food and medicines.

The tightened restrictions deepen Monday's announcement that most foreign nationals, besides U.S. citizens, would be barred from crossing the Canadian border.

There could be a crackdown further south... Trump told reporters, Wednesday, he would invoke a law that would allow U.S. authorities to turn back migrants seeking to cross the southern border of the United States illegally.

But, the border will not be closed.

(SOUNDBITE)(English) U.S. PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP, SAYING:

"No, we're not going to close it, but we are invoking a certain provision that will allow us great latitude as to what we do."

Starting Wednesday, new applications in Mexico for the H2A guest worker program - which allows Mexicans seasonal work in the U.S. - will no longer be processed.

Only returning seasonal workers will be allowed to enter the United States from Mexico.

And that has U.S. fruit and vegetable producers bracing for dramatic disruptions to their labor force - and potentially the nation's food supply.