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Aggressive measures to fight COVID-19 expected to last months: Report

Trudeau won't confirm reports, but admits there are shorter - and longer - scenarios to beating virus


April 1, 2020
By Todd Humber


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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau addresses Canadians in front of his residence, Rideau Cottage, in Ottawa. (Photo: PMO/Screen Grab)

Get cozy, Canadians. The fight against COVID-19 is going to last a while.

Canada’s aggressive measures to fight the coronavirus are likely to be measured in months, not weeks, according to recent reports.

The National Post said it obtained a government document stating that the “best-case scenario” is that current self-isolation measures will “continue until at least July.”

Trudeau refuses to confirm timelines

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In his remarks to Canadians today, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau refused to confirm any specific timelines in light of that report.

“Everything depends on how Canadians behave — the choice you make to stay at home, to self isolate, to not go to six different stores when you go grocery shopping,” he said. “We need all of us to do the best we can to make it through this unprecedented situation.”

Trudeau said there are shorter scenarios than July, and longer ones as well.

“It is possible it will last a few weeks, it’s possible it will last a few months,” he said.

Toronto gets aggressive

Earlier today, Toronto Mayor John Tory said Canada’s largest city is essentially “locking” itself down with a 12-week plan to fight the virus.

“The numbers are presently heading in the wrong direction,” he said, as the city’s medical office of health revealed cases have increased by 500 per cent in two weeks.

Tory announced the following measures for the city, effective immediately and to last up to 12 weeks:

  • All individuals with COVID-19 are ordered by the Medical Officer of Health to stay home, under the Health Protection and Promotion Act for 14 days
  • All individuals who have had close contact with someone who has COVID-19 are also ordered to stay home by the Medical Officer of Health for 14 days
  • Anyone who is not ill or has not travelled, is strongly directed to stay home except for the following reasons:
    – accessing healthcare or medication
    – shop for groceries once per week
    – walk their dogs
    – get daily exercise while maintaining physical distancing of at least two metres
  • People returning from international travel must stay home, already a federal order
  • Anyone over the age of 70, as the province announced this week, is strongly encouraged to stay home as much as possible
  • Increased supports for self-isolation for those experiencing homelessness
  • Only essential businesses remain open, and those businesses maximize physical distancing and infection prevention and control practices, and limit in-person access to those businesses, as much as possible
  • Increased cleaning and active screening of employees at all businesses.

“The sacrifices we are asking people to make now will save lives and allow for a quicker recovery,” said Tory.

“Our public health professionals believe the additional actions being announced today – locking the city down as much as the municipal government possibly can – will save lives, flatten that curve down, and bring this wave of the pandemic to an end earlier than would otherwise have been the case.”

GST reimbursement for business?

A proposal from Conservative leader Andrew Scheer to reimburse GST payments to companies was politely brushed aside by the prime minister, who pointed to measures already announced that he called “the largest and the most unprecedented program in our history” to help business and workers.

This is a developing story and we will continue to follow it.