Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Canada is braced for the possibility that the COVID-19 outbreak in the United States could get significantly worse, but he says the current travel restrictions at the border will suffice — for now.
And Trudeau says that regardless of whether the U.S. decides to ease off on public health measures in order to jump-start its flagging economy, Canada will continue to base its decisions on science and keeping people safe and healthy.
President Donald Trump has been growing more impatient by the day with the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic and wants Americans to get back to work.
He insists it’s possible for them to take prudent, responsible steps such as social distancing at the same time.
Public health experts, however, say work and school closures and stay-at-home measures remain critical weapons in the fight to limit the spread of illness.
The World Health Organization has warned that the pandemic is accelerating, with 100,000 new cases around the world in just the last four days, and the growth curve in the U.S. remains steep.
“We are braced for a broad range of scenarios,” Trudeau told a news conference Tuesday when asked if Canada was prepared to consider tightening its restrictions on travel from the U.S.
“As the situation evolves, we will be ready to shift our posture with that.”
For now, however, Canada’s agreement with the U.S. to restrict cross-border travel to essential services and goods remains the right approach, he said — as does staying home, steering clear of large gatherings and avoiding close contact with others.
“We recognize the need for social distancing, which means keeping two metres apart and not gathering in groups, is going to be in place for many more weeks,” Trudeau said.
“We will ensure we are giving support to Canadians, to small businesses, so that as we get through this we are able to restore the economic activity that keeps us all prosperous — when it is safe to do so.”
In New York, which is home to the worst cluster of cases in the U.S., the rate of infection is now doubling every three days, said Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who is calling on the U.S. government to come up with a strategy that fosters economic growth without threatening public safety.
“No American is going to say, ‘Accelerate the economy at the cost of human life,’” Cuomo said. “Job 1 has to be save lives. That has to be the priority.”
Trump is also pushing Congress to come together to pass a $2-trillion stimulus package, the promise of which sent stock markets soaring at the opening Tuesday after more than a week of heavy losses.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she’s confident that Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill would come together soon to approve the legislation.
The Canadian Press