The Canadian border is pictured at the Peace Arch Canada/USA border crossing in Surrey, B.C. Friday, March 20, 2020. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the United States appears to have backed off on its plan to send soldiers to the Canada-U.S. border. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

Canadians must still wait weeks to see if COVID-19 rules can be loosened: Trudeau

Re-opening too soon would mean all sacrifices being made now could be for nothing

Canadians will have to wait weeks before social distancing rules and other COVID-19 restrictions begin to be loosened, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said during his daily update from the steps of Rideau Cottage on Wednesday (April 15).

Trudeau said Canada needs to get through the first COVID-19 wave before the government considers reopening the country and its economy.

“One size fits all will not work,” he said. “It will be weeks more before we can seriously consider loosening the requirements.”

Opening it too early, the prime minister said, would be “terrible” if it plunges Canada back into new cases and deaths due to the novel coronavirus. “Massive, rapid testing… and very aggressive contact tracing” will be essential as people head back to work.

“Until there is a vaccine, we are going to have to remain extremely vigilant as a world as a country for resurgences,” Trudeau said.

At a later press conference, Dr. Theresa Tam said current measures to contain the pandemic appear to be working but that the country still has a long way to go.

“The epidemic growth rate has slowed but the main message for all Canadians is not to let go. You’re doing a great job, let’s continue this until we get to the bottom of the hill,” she said. Near the end of March, Tam said, COVID-19 cases were doubling every three days, while now that has slowed to more than every 10 days.

She said officials were “cautiously optimistic,” but warned it was not a sprint to the finish line.

“It will be a marathon and there are no rewards for stopping early.”

Tam said the rate of healthcare workers who have tested positive for the virus ranges from seven to 11 per cent.

As of Wednesday morning, Canada had 27,557 cases and 954 deaths due to COVID-19. More than 462,000 people have been tested and six per cent have been positive for the virus.

READ MORE: Trudeau announces pay top-up for essential workers, expands emergency benefit


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Coronavirus

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

Just Posted

Racism is here too, say Victoria’s black community leaders

White Victorians have role to play in combatting systems of oppression, prejudice

Shortage of foreign workers costs Saanich Peninsula berry farmer thousands

Gobind Farms says hiring local has been difficult during pandemic

Pedestrian, cycling overpass now open at McKenzie Interchange

Bridge connects Portage Road, Galloping Goose Regional Trail

Pandemic spurs egg-citement for backyard chickens in Greater Victoria

Fowl surge in popularity during COVID-19 pandemic

VIDEO: B.C. dentist gets grand welcome home after two months in hospital fighting COVID-19

Michael Chow was given a surprise send off by hospital staff and ‘welcome home’ from neighbours

‘Like finding a needle in a haystack’: Ancient arrowhead discovered near Williams Lake

The artifact is believed to be from the Nesikip period between 7,500 BP to 6,000 BP

Indigenous families say their loved ones’ deaths in custody are part of pattern

Nora Martin joins other Indigenous families in calling for a significant shift in policing

PHOTOS: Anti-racism protesters gather in communities across B.C.

More protests are expected through the weekend

Indigenous chief alleges RCMP beat him during arrest that began over expired licence plate

Athabasca Chipewyan Chief Allan Adam calling for independent investigation

‘I’m pissed, I’m outraged’: Federal minister calls out police violence against Indigenous people

Indigenous Minister Marc Miller spoke on recent incidents, including fatal shooting of a B.C. woman

UPDATED: Pair accused of ‘horrific’ assault at Vancouver’s Oppenheimer Park arrested

Police say Jason Tapp, 30, and Nicole Edwards, 33, did not show up to meet their bail supervisor this week

POLL: Are you sending your children back to school this month?

Classrooms looked decidedly different when students headed back to school for the… Continue reading

Most Read