Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told Canadians that anti-lockdown rallies could potentially prolong the country’s battle with COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told Canadians that anti-lockdown rallies could potentially prolong the country’s battle with COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Anti-lockdown rallies hurting Canada in the long run: Trudeau

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is urging Canadians to follow public health orders.

As COVID-19 cases rise across the country and particularly in Alberta, Trudeau said Tuesday anti-restriction demonstrations could potentially spread the virus and force more drawn-out public health measures.

“It is really troubling to see people continuing to and intending to come together and demonstrate against these public health measures,” he said.

He noted the importance of freedom of speech and assembly, while adding ” but it must be done safely.”

“The irony here is that by gathering, people are putting each other at risk. Spreading further cases of COVID-19 and extending the time in which we will have to be faced with restrictions and public health measures.

“We know people are tired. We know people are frustrated. Everyone is feeling this way.”

The comments mirror the sentiment shared Sunday by Premier Jason Kenney after a two-day “No More Lockdowns” rodeo was held near Bowden over the weekend.

Thousands attended the event, which drew the ire of the premier.

“It is as astounding as it is aggravating that 14 months into this, more than 2,000 deaths in Alberta alone, that we still have many people in the province that don’t believe COVID is real, who think that it is some kind of government conspiracy or hoax,” he said.

“The reason we are at this critical stage of the pandemic, with record-high daily case counts and intensive care numbers, is precisely because, for whatever reason, too many Albertans are ignoring the rules we currently have in place.”

Alberta’s seven-day average for new COVID-19 cases is 1,944 and the province is averaging 440.5 cases per million, per day, one of the highest rates in North America.

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