TORONTO -- More than a million Canadians and permanent residents returned from abroad last week amid heightened government warnings of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the Canada Border Services Agency.

Statistics from CBSA show that 959,600 Canadians and 43,890 permanent residents flooded back into the country from March 14 to March 20.

The highest number arrived by air travel. More than half a million Canadians and almost 24,000 permanent residents boarded flights heading to Canada within that week.

Global Affairs Canada had, on March 14, called upon Canadians still abroad to hasten back home while they had the chance.

The Canadian border was officially closed to most foreign travellers on March 16. By March 20, the border closure was extended to include non-essential travel from the U.S.

In the CBSA statistics, approximately 429,000 Canadians and 20,000 permanent residents returned to Canada by its land border.

Only 1,500 Canadians and permanent residents returned by boat.

The week the data was recorded reflects how quickly the COVID-19 spread in Canada advanced.

On March 14, Canada still had just over 250 confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19, and only one Canadian had died.

By March 20, the situation had changed drastically: the country had just surpassed the sobering milestone of 1,000 confirmed cases of the virus, and 13 Canadians had died, including a Canadian in Japan.

Canada now has more than 2,000 cases of the virus. Twenty-four people have died.

All Canadians returning from abroad have been told to quarantine themselves for 14 days, no matter which country they returned from -- meaning over a million Canadian residents are still going through quarantine within the country right now. 

Some Canadians are still stranded abroad, kept where they are by factors such as travel restrictions, lockdowns or lack of flights out of numerous countries.