OTTAWA (NEWS1130) – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau issued a stern warning Monday to people ignoring social distancing advice, as the federal government doled out millions to help produce a vaccine for COVID-19.
Images of Canadians ignoring social distancing, packing parks, playgrounds and hosting house parties circulated online and through social media over the weekend.
“We’ve seen the pictures online of people who seem to think they are invincible,” Trudeau said. “Well, you’re not. Enough is enough.”
He added there are tools in the emergencies and quarantine acts and didn’t rule out enacting measures to limit people’s movements within Canada, including shutting down provincial borders.
The federal government also launched a new advertising campaign to stress the need for social distancing and good hygiene.
“And we’re going to make sure this happens, whether by educating people on the risks or by enforcing the rules, if that’s needed,” Trudeau added.
$192 million for development – test of #covid19 vaccines@JustinTrudeau says Canada needs mass vaccination as soon as possible. Long term solution to the virus.
Van, Que and u of sask based orgs. Prepping natl research council for roll out.
This will take months.#bcpoli #cdnpoli
— LizaYuzda (@LizaYuzda) March 23, 2020
The federal government also announced $192 million for companies working to develop a vaccine, but Trudeau warned testing and mass production could take months.
The Canadian government is also freeing up $5 billion to help farmers and the agri-food industry, while MPs prepare to return to the House of Commons to approve financial aid for struggling workers and businesses.
“Nothing that could help is off the table,” Trudeau said.
The prime Minister also announced multiple new flights to bring stranded Canadians home from abroad due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Trudeau said that will include three new Air Canada flights to bring Canadians back from Peru, which has otherwise closed its airspace. Air Transat, WestJet and Sunwing airlines all have flights planned this week, he added.
Two more Air Canada flights are to reach Canadians in Morocco in the coming days, he said.
Trudeau added an Air Canada flight to Spain is also confirmed, while Air Transat has been cleared for two flights to Honduras and one each to Ecuador, El Salvador and Guatemala.
The prime minister urged all Canadians abroad to return home by commercial means while options are still available, and to register with the government so they can receive proper updates.
Lastly, Trudeau addressed the decision of Team Canada to not attend the Olympics in Tokyo unless they are delayed a year.
He said the decision was heartbreaking, but the right call.
Meanwhile, Chief Public Health Officer of Canada Dr. Theresa Tam announced Monday the death toll from COVID-19 in Canada has reached 20. She also said the Yukon has reported its first two cases of coronavirus and both are related to travel.
Later in day, B.C. announced three more deaths.
The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Canada now exceeds 1,400. Of the 23 deaths, 13 are in B.C., with most linked to a care home in North Vancouver. Another five occurred in Ontario, while Quebec is reporting four. Alberta has one death.
Canada's Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, says at this time in Canada there are 1474 confirmed coronavirus cases and 20 deaths. #cdnpoli
— Cormac Mac Sweeney (@cmaconthehill) March 23, 2020