OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says distancing measures meant to cut the spread of COVID-19 are working, but Canada isn’t out of the woods yet.
The federal government has new national models and projections on the spread of the novel coronavirus to update figures presented nearly three weeks ago. They show Canada is nearing best-case scenario modelling, with the transmission rate of COVID-19 in Canada now about a third of what it was a month ago.
The new modelling forecasts deaths in Canada due to COVID-19 to range between 3,300 and 3,900 by May 5, as the growth in cases slows.
The predicted number of cases could range from 53,000 to 67,000 by the same date.
Trudeau said the pandemic remains one of the most serious public health emergencies in history and until it’s under better control, restrictions need to remain in place.
“The measures we’ve taken so far are working. In fact, in many parts of the country, the curve has flattened. But we’re not out of the woods yet. We’re in the middle of the most serious public health emergency Canada has ever seen. And if we lift measures too quickly, they might lose the progress we’ve made,” Trudeau said.
“So we all need to be very careful for ourselves, and especially for the most vulnerable, like our parents, grandparents and elders and long-term care facilities,” he added.
“Earlier this month, when we released the first modeling. I said that the path ahead was up to. The same holds true today. How many new cases there are, how many losses, we have two more whether our hospitals can continue to cope. It’s all up to all of us.”
He said the country also needs more time to prepare workplaces, schools, and places like nursing homes for flare-ups.
As part of that, Trudeau said millions of surgical masks and hundreds of thousands of face shields will soon be going to provinces that need them.
“Everyone deserves to be safe on the job,” he added.
Trudeau also said the federal and provincial governments will soon release shared principles on restarting economies.
On guidelines with provinces to restart the economy, they will be released soon. Trudeau says provinces will have to make sure they have testing capacity, and there will be restrictions for those who will be allowed to return to work. #cdnpoli #COVID19
— Cormac Mac Sweeney (@cmaconthehill) April 28, 2020
“Let me be clear, these are not the specific measures when you can go back to work or school or when you can see your neighbors or extended family or friends,” he said. “This framework will lay out the things that need to happen before we take any next steps restarting our economy.”
Controlling transmission is key, he added.
“You already know that if your neighborhood doesn’t have new cases, if your province is flattening the curve, this is a good sign for being able to slowly look at lifting some restrictions.”
Trudeau was also asked about a vaccine.
“We are still, unfortunately, a long way from having a vaccine,” he said.
“That is something that we are preparing already, in terms of manufacturing and production capacity here in Canada, because we know that countries around the world will be producing for their own citizens first and we need to be part of that, as well as to what sort of vaccination protocols will be in place. We still have a fair bit of time to reflect on that in order to get it right.”