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Commons likely to sit again to pass economic response to COVID-19, Trudeau says


March 17, 2020
By The Canadian Press

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Parliament will likely sit again to pass emergency measures for the economy during the COVID-19 pandemic.

He says a major announcement on supporting the economy is coming tomorrow, and the government is planning changes to upcoming tax deadlines to provide more flexibility for businesses and taxpayers.

Some moves will require legislative approval, and Trudeau says a short limited sitting is needed to get it.

He is also playing down the idea of invoking a national state of emergency, saying the government is looking at other ways to provide needed help for Canadians.

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But he is warning that the situation in the country around COVID-19 could last weeks or months.

Trudeau also says that as of Wednesday, Parks Canada will suspend visitor services at all national parks and historic sites.

His announcement comes a day after the government closed Canada’s air borders to most non-residents to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Globally, there are more than 180,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including more than 440 cases in Canada. Five deaths have also been reported, including one in Ontario.

Many of the cases are connected to travel. The country’s chief public health officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, says she is concerned about cases not linked to travel, including three in Ontario.

The Public Health Agency of Canada says the risk to the general population is low and most people who test positive for COVID-19 experience manageable symptoms like a fever or cough.

For some, such as seniors and those with compromised immune systems or pre-existing conditions, the illness can be more severe.