Emma Jacobs

A large and isolated region of northeastern Canada entered a lockdown this week as cases of COVID-19 creep up in parts of the country with limited access to advanced medical care.

More than 80 cases have been identified this month in Nunavut, where around 39,000 people, predominantly Inuit, live in communities scattered across a territory the size of Mexico. The worst-hit area, Arviat, has 58 cases in a hamlet of fewer than 3,000 people.

The new lockdown started Wednesday and is set to last two weeks.

This spring, in Montreal, a box appeared on a fence beside a popular walking path and freight rail tracks that run through my neighborhood. It was painted white with black lettering reading: "Box for wishes/suggestions for the universe. All topics accepted."

Later on, a notepad and pen on a string got added, then replaced. Curious, I left a note on the cardboard backing the last time the paper ran out. The next day, I got a text from François: he'll be at the box, late, to collect the latest suggestions.

When Prime Minister Justin Trudeau turned down an invitation to the White House this week, it sent a message in line with the current mood in Canada: This is not a good time to travel between Canada and the United States — with the coronavirus still surging in parts of America — to meet with President Trump.

The White House had floated the possibility of an event with Trudeau and Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador on Wednesday to mark this month's start of a new trade deal, the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement. Mexico's leader is already on his way.

The United States and Canada have agreed to keep their shared border closed for nonessential travel for another 30 days to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the extension during a briefing Saturday in Ottawa.

The restrictions on the world's longest frontier took effect on March 21, while allowing trade and other travel deemed essential to continue. The partial ban was to expire soon, but the neighboring countries have decided it is not safe to allow traffic to fully resume.