COVID-19 Canada | CTV News | Coronavirus
PM Trudeau: One jurisdiction's misstep could see COVID-19 efforts 'go up in smoke'
OTTAWA -- Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says everything Canadians have worked for in the fight against COVID-19 could "go up in smoke" if reopening happens too quickly — or if just one jurisdiction makes the wrong decisions.
"I think we're all feeling pressure from Canadians to get this right," Trudeau said, speaking from the front steps of Rideau Cottage on Monday.
"We understand that the sacrifices we've all made for the past two months of staying home, of self-isolating, of keeping two metres distance, of not seeing parents and grandparents, could all go up in smoke if we move too quickly on reopening or if a given jurisdiction makes the wrong decisions."
Trudeau gave the warning as concerns are circulating about Quebec's decision to begin reopening businesses, daycares and schools outside of Montreal on Monday. The province is home to nearly twice as many confirmed cases of the virus than any other province, and almost 60 per cent of Canada’s deaths from the disease have taken place in Quebec.
Infectious disease specialist Dr. Abdu Sharkawy raised the alarm about Quebec's decision during an interview with CTV News Channel on Monday.
"I am surprised that Premier Legault has felt compelled to go on with this strategy, and I personally remain quite perplexed as to why this is the case," said Sharkawy.
"Quebec continues to lead the country in cases and deaths. This is not a time to engage in strategies where you risk increasing transmission throughout the community. Children don’t get very sick from the coronavirus very frequently, but they are very effective at transmitting the virus."
Meanwhile, provinces across Canada have begun dipping their toes into potential reopening plans. Saskatchewan has started phasing in its economic reopening, starting with restricted medical services, as well as the opening of golf courses, parks and campgrounds. New Brunswick has also tried to allow families to interact with one other isolated "bubble" in a first step towards easing physical distancing measures.
The federal government, working with the provinces and territories, has laid out a set of common principles for restarting the Canadian economy.
However, as long as both a vaccine and an effective treatment for COVID-19 continue to elude scientists, Trudeau has warned that any easing of public health measures will be approached with great caution.
"Canadians across the country are looking very carefully at all orders of government and the decisions they make, and will be held to account if reopening happens too quickly and Canadians have to lock down once again in a few weeks, because people were overeager to get the economy going," Trudeau said.
"We have to get that balance right, and that means being cautious."