Prime Minister Justin Trudeau addresses Canadians on the COVID-19 pandemic from Rideau Cottage in Ottawa on Monday, March 30, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Trudeau says he’s ‘proud’ Canadians stepping up to challenge of COVID-19

Canada has not seen the kinds of numbers that the U.S. has

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is taking a measure of satisfaction from early indications that Canada’s COVID-19 caseload is not on the same trajectory as that in the United States.

While the impact of Canada’s latest efforts to curb the spread won’t be clear for another week or two, Trudeau says he’s proud that Canadians appear to be taking seriously the need to stay home and keep their distance from others.

“I think I would say we’re not necessarily on the same trajectory,” Trudeau said in French during Monday’s daily briefing. “We were quicker to get the screening done, and I think we have had more success in getting people to self-isolate.”

South of the border, a slow federal response, delays in testing and a shortage of equipment have conspired to make the U.S. the current epicentre of the outbreak, with nearly 150,000 cases and 2,500 deaths.

On the weekend, reportedly swayed by projections that the pandemic, if left unchecked, could push the death toll in the U.S. into the millions, President Donald Trump abandoned his “aspirational” target of the April 12 long weekend as he announced an extension of his government’s stay-at-home measures until the end of the month.

“Everything depends on the choices that people have made and continue to make,” Trudeau said.

“I’m very proud of the way that Canadians have rallied and continue to abide by the guidelines. I think they understand that we all have an opportunity to have a direct impact on Canada’s ability to come out of this.”

When confronted with the failings of the American response, Trump frequently claims that things would have been far worse had the U.S. not slammed the door back in late January on travellers from China, where the pandemic originated. Most major airlines by that point had already suspended flights to China.

Canada, however, didn’t take significant steps to restrict international travellers until mid-March. On Monday, Trudeau — asked whether that should have happened earlier — seemed to acknowledge that with the benefit of hindsight, more could have been done.

“We’re obviously not, in an unprecedented situation, always going to get things perfectly right,” he said.

“We’re going to continue to be committed to doing the right things as best as we can and figuring out what works, what doesn’t work, and moving forward in a way that is both nimble and focused on helping Canadians, insomuch as a government can be nimble and agile.”

READ MORE: 24,000 Canadian Forces members ready for COVID-19 response: Defence Minister

READ MORE: Canada expands 75% wage subsidy to COVID-19 affected businesses of all sizes: Trudeau

The Canadian Press


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

A second wave of COVID-19 is probable, if history tells us anything

B.C.’s top doctor says that what health officials have learned this round will guide response in future

Lock at Keenleyside Dam near Castlegar to open on May 23

The navigational lock will be open every day of the week from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m

Morning start: Rossland is named after this person

Here is your Kootenays’ morning start for Friday, May 22

Castlegar green spaces will see less maintenance this year

Mowing, weeding and watering will be reduced

LIVE: Procession to honour Snowbirds Capt. Jennifer Casey comes to Halifax

Snowbirds service member died in a crash in Kamloops one week ago

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

RCMP facing ‘systemic sustainability challenges’ due to provincial policing role

Provinces, territories and municipalities pay anywhere from 70 to 90 per cent of the cost of the RCMP’s services

One man dead after standoff with Chilliwack RCMP

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. is investigating the RCMP’s role in the death

B.C. employers worry about safety, cash flow, second wave in COVID-19 restart

A survey found 75 per cent of businesses worry about attracting customers

Ex-BC Greens leader Andrew Weaver says province came close to early election

Disagreement centred on the LNG Canada project in northern B.C.

Canada’s NHL teams offer options to season-ticket holders

Canadian teams are offering refunds, but also are pushing a number of incentives to let them keep the money

B.C. premier says lessons to learn from past racism during response to pandemic

B.C. formally apologized in the legislature chamber in 2008 for its role in the Komagata Maru tragedy

Snowbirds to remain at Kamloops Airport indefinitely after fatal crash

small contingent of the Snowbirds team is staying in Kamloops, acting as stewards of the jets

Most Read