OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is warning that the federal government could face “impossible decisions” if provinces don’t take tougher action to stem the rapid spread of COVID-19.
As several jurisdictions notched grim new records this week, Trudeau said Friday that it will take a collective effort from all levels of government to reverse the alarming trajectory of the outbreak.
He said individuals will also have to do their part, because our decisions now will determine what happens come Christmas.
Canada is reporting more than 45,000 active COVID-19 cases, the highest total since the pandemic began. There was also a new national daily high of 5,516 new cases on Thursday.
Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer, told reporters Friday that Canada is projected to hit 10,000 COVID-19 cases a day by early next month if the wildfire spread of the virus continues.
Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan all saw new highs in COVID-19 hospitalizations this week, while Ontario reported a record-breaking three-day streak of more than 1,500 new cases per day.
Trudeau said he heard directly from premiers about the challenges they’re facing during a conference call Thursday evening.
The prime minister said he assured the premiers that his government is prepared to offer its support, but reminded them that “our resources are not infinite.”
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He said without stricter provincial measures to rein in the surge in COVID-19 cases, there may not be enough federal help to go around.
“Controlling the virus now reduces the chances of impossible decisions and choices we might have to make down the road,” Trudeau told reporters.
“If we have limited resources, we may at some point have to choose between helping one region or another,” he added in French.
Trudeau also urged Canadians to limit their socialization outside their immediate household so people can spend the holiday season with their families.
“We need to hang in there together for a little while longer,” said Trudeau. “What we do in the coming days and weeks will determine what we get to do at Christmas.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 13, 2020.
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