Trudeau: More ‘stringent measures’ will come if Canadians ignore COVID-19 guidelines

Trudeau: More ‘stringent measures’ will come if Canadians ignore COVID-19 guidelines

Parliament to debate emergency spending and government powers in COVID-19 fight

Canadians could see harsher measures to contain the spread of COVID-19 throughout the country if they do not follow the guidelines already in place.

That was the message from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Tuesday morning (March 24), as he gave his now-daily update from the steps of Rideau Cottage in Ottawa.

“The duration of this crisis will be determined by the decisions we make right now. If you want things to go back to normal, do your part. Stay home,” Trudeau said.

Trudeau unveiled an unprecedented $82-billion financial aid package last week, which involved waiving the one-week waiting period for EI and creating a similar benefit for people who did not qualify for EI but were negatively affected by COVID-19.

Nearly 1,000,000 people have applied for EI in recent weeks as result of the coronavirus pandemic and some have reported struggles to get in touch with government representatives.

Trudeau said he understood that people were worried about getting money “directly and quickly,” but did not directly respond to a question about why cheques were not being sent to all tax filers to expedite that, as has been discussed in the U.S.

He said the measures before Parliament are meant to address issues with timeliness of the just-announced aid.

Conservatives have said they would support the emergency aid measure, but not a Liberal “power grab,” Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer said.

Trudeau said the federal Emergencies Act, which would give sweeping new powers to his government, wasn’t necessary yet. He said premiers, with whom he spoke on Monday, said they didn’t believe there was a need for it at this point. However, he said it was not off the table amid the quickly changing situation.

As of Tuesday, there are more than 2,100 cases of COVID-19 in Canada and 25 deaths. Thirteen of those deaths are in B.C.

Chief medical officer Dr. Theresa Tam said nearly 120,000 people have been tested.

Deputy chief public health officer Dr. Howard Njoo said when the virus first came to Canada, 80 to 90 per cent of cases were linked to travel abroad. But in the last week, nearly 90 per cent of cases reported to the public health agency came from spread of the virus within the community.

Tam says this is a “fundamental shift.”

If Canada is going to get a handle on community spread, then social distancing and maintaining a two-metre barrier between people is essential, she said.

“Our primary strategy is to ensure that people are self-isolating when they should be and that everyone is respecting social distancing. That, in and of itself, will cut down on the change of transmission…” Tam said Tuesday.

“I can’t emphasize how important that is.”

READ MORE: Trudeau announces new flights to Peru, Americas to repatriate stranded Canadians

READ MORE: Parliament to debate emergency spending and government powers in COVID-19 fight

READ MORE: B.C. reports 3 new COVID-19 deaths but 100 people have recovered, Henry says

– With files from The Canadian Press


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

CoronavirusJustin Trudeau

Just Posted

Lightning in Kelowna, B.C. (Contributed)
Severe thunderstorm watch in effect for Okanagan

Conditions are favourable for the development of severe thunderstorms overnight

(Dave Ogilvie/Contributed)
UPDATE: West Kelowna fire crews rescue injured mountain biker

The injury took place at the top of Smith Creek Road

Kelowna flags were flown at half-mast after the discovery of a residential school burial site in Kamloops. (File photo)
Central Okanagan school board chair reflects on recent tragedies

Moyra Baxter offers condolenses to residential school victims, slain Muslim family

The RCMP presence in Central Okanagan public schools is being reviewed by the board of education. (File photo)
RCMP presence welcomed in Central Okanagan public schools

Staff survey feedback overwhelmingly positive from students, staff and parents

Bentley resting on a bench at Kal Park in Vernon not knowing there is a baby rattlesnake curled up below. Bentley jumped down and was bit by the snake. (Facebook)
Dog bit by baby rattler at popular Vernon park

The rattlesnake was hidden underneath a park bench when it struck out

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Jane Linden
KCR: Volunteering keeps you active

Kelowna Community Resources shares stories of its volunteers in a weekly column

Premier John Horgan speaks as provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, right, and health minister Adrian Dix look on during a press conference to update on the province’s fall pandemic preparedness plan during a press conference from the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. officials to provide details on Step 2 of COVID reopening plan Monday

Step 2 could allow for larger gatherings and a resumption of recreational travel

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Longtime SOWINS volunteer Diane Fru (far left) walks with members of her family as they Walk To End Abuse Sunday, June 13, 2021. South Okanagan Women In Needs Society (SOWINS) raised a record amount this year. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Walk to End Abuse in South Okanagan breaks fundraising record

More than $53,000 raised so far while the pandemic has increased need for SOWINS’ services

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

Most Read