Prime Minister Justin Trudeau addressed Canadians once again on Thursday morning amid the changing landscape of the COVID-19 pandemic.
One topic questioned by the media was how long will the social-distancing last, as businesses continue to close across the country and more people are confined to their houses.
The Prime Minister implied that the federal government is ready to ride this out for as long as it takes, suggesting that experts have told him that social-distancing could be “weeks or months.”
Trudeau also address the timing of the Canada-USA border shutdown, updating his announcement from yesterday. The PM said that details with the United States are still being ironed out, but that the shutdown of all non-essential travel will likely come into effect as of Friday night.
Essential cross-border workers like health-care professionals, air crews and others are to be permitted to cross. Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland says it was vital to the economic health of both countries to avoid restricting the $2.7-billion worth of goods that cross the Canada-U.S. border each day.
In addition, Trudeau continues to urge Canadians to come home. The global landscape is making it more and more difficult each day to travel as countries close their borders and limit air travel. The Prime Minister claimed he has been speaking with leaders at Air Canada and WestJet about finding ways to help Canadians stranded overseas come home. Both airlines have significantly reduced their service including international and transborder flights due to COVID-19.
The federal government is also working with telecommunications companies to send text messages, alerting Canadians abroad about the consular services available.
Other key notes from Thursday’s address included an encouragement for people to continue to donate blood, an estimate that over 50,000 Canadians have been tested, and that $25 million of last week’s $1 billion relief fund will go towards research and testing.
Trudeau’s economic stimulus package of $82 billion, announced on Wednesday, is expected to start flowing in early April with Parliament meeting next week to approve the measures.
At this time the total number of cases in Canada has climbed to over 700.
With files to Canadian Press