The federal government is offering an emergency loan program to help Canadians abroad return home amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

The announcement came late Monday after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau urged all travellers to return to Canada as soon as possible and announced the government would be restricting entry into the country.

The special financial assistance program, called the COVID-19 Emergency Loan Program for Canadians Abroad, will provide Canadians who are directly impacted by the virus the option to apply for an emergency loan of up to $5,000.

The loan will help travellers return to Canada and temporarily cover “life-sustaining needs” while they work toward their return.

 “Canada is committed to providing all assistance possible to Canadians abroad affected by COVID-19 and to helping them return home safely,” Foreign Affairs Minister François-Philippe Champagne said in a release Monday.

“We continue to monitor the situation 24 hours a day, seven days a week to see how we can further respond to this global crisis.”

The government is asking eligible Canadians currently outside Canada who need help returning home to contact the nearest Government of Canada office or Global Affairs Canada’s 24/7 Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa at +1 613-996-8885. They can also email