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US travel restrictions to Mexico, Canada extended until at least Jan. 21

The move comes as coronavirus cases, hospitalizations and deaths spike across the United States.

The United States, Mexico and Canada have agreed to extend restrictions on non-essential travel between the countries through at least Jan. 21, 2021. 

The borders between the countries have been closed since March, with the Department of Homeland Security issuing extensions monthly.

The move comes as coronavirus cases, hospitalizations and deaths spike in the states. 

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf said Friday the three countries are working "to keep essential trade & travel open while also protecting our citizens from the virus."

"As this administration continues to make great progress on a vaccine for COVID, we will reevaluate non-essential travel restrictions again early in the new year," Wolfe tweeted. 

As the Food and Drug Administration expects to approve the Pfizer vaccine in the coming days, Canada's health regulator has already signed off on the vaccine. 

Canada is set to receive up to 249,000 doses this month and officials expect to start to administer 30,000 doses next week after an initial batch is shipped from Belgium on Friday.

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According to Johns Hopkins University, as of Friday afternoon, the U.S. has the most coronavirus cases and deaths in the world, more than 15.6 million and nearly 293,000, respectively. 

Mexico has the fourth highest COVID-19 death toll of any country at more than 112,326 deaths.

Mexico’s coronavirus spokesman said Thursday the country’s median age of death from COVID-19 was a shockingly young 55, as compared to an average of 75 in many European countries.

Assistant Health Secretary Hugo López-Gatell said that nonetheless, Mexico's future coronavirus vaccination program would target the oldest Mexicans first.

López-Gatell said the country’s high rates of obesity, diabetes and hypertension explained Mexico's lower average age of death. He said Mexico has among the highest rate of obesity in the world

Of the three countries, Canada has seen the fewest COVID-19 deaths with over 13,000 fatalities. 

Credit: AP
Vehicles enter the United States as a minivan drives to Canada in the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel in Detroit, Monday, March 16, 2020.

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