OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will address the nation Monday to update Canadians on the latest action being taken to try to slow the spread of the new coronavirus.
Cabinet ministers leaving a meeting in Ottawa yesterday promised big action, but didn’t elaborate. Trudeau’s announcement is widely expected to focus on more closures and travel restrictions as Canadians continue to deal with the impacts of COVID-19.
He will be joined by Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland, Health Minister Patty Hajdu, as well as the ministers for families, public safety, and transportation.
This could bring life-altering shutdowns to Canadians as they are told to keep their distance from one another.
Following Trudeau’s address, the provincial health officer and the health minister will be providing an update for B.C. The City of Vancouver is set for an announcement around the same time, and is likely to follow Delta and Surrey’s move to close all public facilities.
The Vancouver Park Board has already closed some saunas steam rooms and pools, and a number of Metro Vancouver administrations are offering refunds for anyone looking to socially distance themselves.
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Canada’s top public health official, Dr. Theresa Tam, warned Sunday that COVID-19 has become a serious health threat.
“With cases rapidly increasing in Canada–particularly in British Columbia, Ontario and Alberta–our window to flatten the curve of the epidemic is narrow. We all need to act now,” she said.
Tam said people must stay home in an effort to “social distance,” to prevent the virus from spreading so fast that health-care facilities are overwhelmed.
She added that Canadians returning from trips abroad should immediately go into self-isolation for 14 days rather than simply self-monitoring.
Last week, the federal government announced flight restrictions that would see international flights only be allowed to land at select airports in Canada. The measures have not yet been put in place, and the government has yet to list which airports will be allowed to accommodate overseas international flights.
Meanwhile, on Monday, the Canada Border Services Agency unveiled new screening questions that international travellers would be asked after landing at any of Canada’s international airports.
— Bill Blair (@BillBlair) March 16, 2020
The CBSA and federal government have been criticized by many who have said travellers arriving in Canada haven’t been adequately screened amid the outbreak.
New screening questions, which will apply to any traveller arriving from any international destination, include “Do you currently have a cough, difficulty breathing, or feel you have a fever?”
The questions also ask the traveller to acknowledge they are being asked to self-isolate for two weeks upon arrival.
The number of cases in Canada hit 374 Monday morning.
Find more of our COVID-19 coverage here.