OTTAWA -- The Canada-U.S. border has opened slightly to asylum seekers under the new framework unveiled this week extending the historic shutdown.

Those who have been crossing irregularly into Canada are still being turned back.

But the federal order laying out the terms of the new border arrangements says those who arrive at formal land border offices and meet certain criteria will be allowed in.

Canada first struck a deal with the U.S. in March to close the border to all non-essential traffic as part of global efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19.

It banned nearly everyone entering from the U.S. from filing a refugee claim in Canada.

The arrangement had prompted immediate criticism that Canada was abandoning its international obligations to asylum-seekers and the new approach is being seen by some as more in line with those commitments.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 22, 2020.