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File picture: Cars drive through Canadian customs after movement restrictions came into effect due to coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the border town of Cornwall, Ontario, Canada March 25, 2020. Image Credit: Reuters

Ottawa: Canada's border with the United States will remain closed to all non-essential travelers until March 21, Public Safety Minister Bill Blair announced.

"Non-essential travel restrictions with the United States have been extended until March 21st, 2021," he said in a Twitter message.

"We will continue to base our decisions on the best public health advice available to keep Canadians safe from COVID-19."

The border was initially closed in March 2020 to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

The closure has been renewed monthly since then. Only trade in goods and merchandise and essential travel are allowed.

The latest extension comes with new daily cases greatly reduced from a month ago in both countries but more contagious variants of the novel coronavirus posing an added threat.

The pandemic has claimed more than 21,000 lives in Canada and nearly 500,000 in the United States.

Effective Monday, air travelers to Canada will have to quarantine in hotels at their own expense for up to three days under strict supervision while awaiting the results of mandatory PCR testing.

If their test comes back negative, they'll be permitted to complete their full 14-day quarantine at home.