Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made an announcement Monday. CP photo

Canadians can still expect weeks or months of distancing measures, Trudeau says

Success will depend on how fully Canadians practice distancing habits

OTTAWA — Canadians shouldn’t expect to return to normal life any time soon, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Monday as he promised to expand federal aid to more workers suffering economic hardship as a result of the pandemic.

Trudeau said distancing measures designed to limit the spread off COVID-19 will likely remain in place for weeks or even months.

He said there will be a better idea of how long the crisis will last once models and predictions are developed, but success will depend on how fully Canadians practice distancing habits such as staying home.

“To stay at home, to continue this period of isolation and distance is the best way to get out as quickly as possible, but certainly it will be a case of several weeks, perhaps several months,” he said in his daily update from Ottawa.

Trudeau has himself been working from home since his wife, Sophie Gregoire Trudeau, tested positive for COVID-19 on March 13.

He said that while he expects to return to the office in the days to come, he will mainly keep working from home because “that’s what we ask of everyone.”

Trudeau said more than 300,000 people successfully applied for emergency financial aid in the first few hours after the federal government opened the process on Monday. The benefit offers $500 weekly payments for workers who have lost their income due to the pandemic.

The prime minister suggested the 16-week program would be expanded to offer help for people whose hours have been reduced but not eliminated, and he promised help for those who earn less than the benefit provides.

Almost 16,000 people in Canada had been infected and 293 had died as of Monday at noon, according to Dr. Theresa Tam, the country’s top public health officer.

Tam said there is increasing evidence that COVID-19 can be transmitted by infected people who have not started to show symptoms or by those who never fall sick.

As a result, public health authorities have concluded that non-medical masks can help prevent the wearer from spreading the virus to others in places where physical distancing is difficult.

She said masks worn this way have not been proven to protect the people wearing them, but they don’t exempt wearers from all the other measures they should take against COVID-19, including physical distancing and regular handwashing.

Tam said she was especially concerned with recent outbreaks in hospitals and long-term care homes, which have been reported in several provinces.

Among the worst of those outbreaks is the Pinecrest Nursing Home in Bobcaygeon, Ont., where three more residents died on Sunday, bringing the total number of COVID-19 deaths at the facility to 26.

Tam said that while COVID-19 can be most serious for older people or those with underlying health issues, people in their 20s have also died of the virus, and no age group is immune from its effects.

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Food Truck Fridays to start new Drive and Dash events next week

Events will be held in Westerner Park parking lot Thursday evenings, Friday afternoons all June

Alberta gov’t to expand mental health supports

The Government of Alberta says a $21.6-million investment will expand online resources… Continue reading

City of Red Deer encouraged residents to participate in Food Bank Ninja Challenge

The City of Red Deer is encouraging residents to participate in a… Continue reading

Central Alberta naturalists fear pristine headwaters will be contaminated by coal mine

Chutes of the Ram constitute one of Earth’s ‘most beautiful’ spots

READER VIDEO: American White Pelicans spotted in Red Deer River

A Red Deer Advocate reader spotted a group of American White Pelicans… Continue reading

COVID-19 cancelled their wedding plans, so they married on a B.C. mountaintop

Ceremony was live streamed to friends and family around the world

Tooting the importance of whistling

OK, so someone who tattles on another person is a whistleblower, and… Continue reading

Police see increase in speedy drivers on quieter streets during pandemic

Police across the country say they’ve been dealing with more complaints about loud, fast vehicles

‘What do we do now?’ Labour dispute at Regina refinery nears 6 months

About 700 unionized workers were locked out by refinery owner, Federated Co-operatives Ltd., Dec. 5

International student worry about pandemic as decisions loom on travel to Canada

Zohra Shahbuddin is weighing whether to enrol this fall or put off coming to Canada until next year

How finding a ministerial home for CMHC caused ‘madness’ in November

The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. manages the national housing strategy

No winning ticket for Friday night’s $10 million Lotto Max jackpot

The jackpot for the next draw on June 2 will be approximately $15 million

Police need more than an unverified tip to avoid drug-case entrapment: top court

Police need more than an unverified tip to avoid drug-case entrapment: top court

Most Read