COVID-19 challenge 'real,' take precautions: PM
OTTAWA -- Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is encouraging Canadians to take precautions to protect themselves and their families from the spread of the novel coronavirus, and be aware of misinformation circulating about COVID-19.
PM Trudeau called COVID-19 a "very real" challenge and said that, while the risk in Canada remains low, the federal government is monitoring the situation.
He also said that there are steps Canadians should be taking to prevent contracting the virus that has now spread to almost every continent.
On Tuesday the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Canada grew to 30, and 92,196 worldwide. So far, 3,129 people have died globally from this particular coronavirus. There have been no deaths to date in Canada, but in recent days the number of people who are sick or who have recovered from the virus in Ontario rose to 20, with an additional 45 people under investigation.
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"It's not that different than what people should be doing during flu season anyway: Washing your hands regularly, making sure you're being careful about when you feel symptoms of a cold coming down, being there to support your families, coughing into your elbows, maybe taking a little more care around travel," Trudeau said, directing people to keep up with the latest, most accurate information on the Health Canada website, referencing the amount of "misinformation" circulating about COVID-19.
From scammers attempting to profit from paranoia by posing as health officials in online scams, to misleading and inaccurate claims about causes and cures to coronavirus, the spread of false information has been proliferating online for weeks.
2020 federal budget delayed?
On Tuesday, Finance Minister Bill Morneau took part in a call with his G7 counterparts about the economic impacts that COVID-19 is having globally.
In a joint statement the G7 finance ministers said given the “potential impacts of COVID-19 on global growth” they are ready to take action, “including fiscal measures where appropriate, to aid in the response to the virus and support the economy during this phase.”
In an interview with Evan Solomon, host of CTV's Power Play, Morneau said that he and his counterparts agreed that they need to co-ordinate going forward on any economic response measures, but wouldn’t say whether or not Canada would be looking at delaying the 2020 federal budget until the impact of the virus is clearer.
"The budget timing is something that we're contemplating based on the legislative cycle, but we're always going to be responding to the economic issues of the day, so you shouldn't take the budget as the only time that we can think about how we deal with economic challenges,” Morneau said.
“Certainly we need to be adaptable, we need to have the right measures prepared, and then we need to look at what's actually happening to decide what if anything we'll do."
Morneau said he wasn't going to speculate on the kinds of measures the government could take to respond to lower growth, but said Canada does have "the capacity to deal with challenges."
Provinces will have resources
Trudeau also faced questions about the provinces' readiness to respond to the potential of an influx of cases and he said that he is confident they'll be able to provide the health services needed and will "of course look to ensure that there are the resources necessary to keep Canadians safe."
The prime minister said that federal authorities are in close touch with the World Health Organization, and that the decisions being made about precautions in Canada are based on expert insight and science.
He said that while other countries have taken different approaches to the virus, he's confident in Canada's current plans, and the federal government is planning alongside the provinces to ensure the supplies needed are available and other preparedness measures are being taken in the instance that COVID-19 becomes a pandemic.
"This is a moment of real challenge for Canadians and indeed for the world and we're all going to be working together to make sure that the impacts are minimized on Canadians," Trudeau said.