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Poll: 81% of Canadians want border with US to stay closed

The U.S., Canada and Mexico have agreed to keep their shared borders closed to non-essential travel during the coronavirus pandemic.

More than eight-in-10 Canadians in a new poll say they want the border between the U.S. and Canada to remain closed to non-essential travelers, concerned about the spread of coronavirus from the U.S.

The poll, conducted by Nanos Research for The Globe and Mail, found 81% of Canadians said the border should remain closed while 14% said it should open now but only in areas where COVID-19 infection rates are low. Three percent said the border should open immediately, according to The Globe and Mail, while two percent said they were unsure.

Pollster Nik Nanos told The Globe and Mail he found the results surprising given the important partnerships the border countries have.

"(The poll) suggests that Canadians have a very high level of anxiety about what’s happening in the pandemic in the United States," Nanos said.

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The U.S. had nearly 3 million cases confirmed cases of COVID-19 late Tuesday night, according to Johns Hopkins University, and more than 131,000 deaths. Canada has 108,000 confirmed cases and 8,700 deaths.

The U.S., Canada and Mexico have agreed to keep their shared borders closed to non-essential travel to July 21 during the pandemic. The restrictions were first announced on March 18 and were extended in April, May and June.

Americans who are returning to the U.S. and Canadians who are returning to Canada are exempted from the border closure. Immediate family members of Canadians are also allowed entry into Canada, but must quarantine for 14 days.

And essential cross-border workers like healthcare professionals, airline crews and truck drivers are still permitted to cross. Truck drivers are critical as they move food and medical goods in both directions. Much of Canada’s food supply comes from or via the U.S.

Canada sends 75% of its exports to the U.S. and about 18% of American exports go to Canada. The U.S.-Canada border is world’s longest between two nations.