JADE PREVOST-MANUEL – At an Ottawa news conference this morning, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced $1 billion in federal funding to offset the economic and health impacts of 2020’s coronavirus, or COVID-19, outbreak.
Trudeau says people shouldn’t go to work when they’re not feeling well. But the economic impacts of reduced labour on both workers and industry are cause for concern.
Faith in Canada’s economy is starting to waiver as an oil price war and unprecedented viral outbreak has Canadians worrying about recession.
“While we are prepared for a wide range of scenarios, we are focused on what needs to be done now,” said Trudeau. “We will closely monitor what is needed to be done to keep Canadians safe.”
The government announced a breakdown of the plan which includes:
- $275 million for research and vaccine development
- $50 million on personal protective equipment for Canadians
- $150 million for Indigenous services and support
The government also updated federal employment insurance policies. They are waiving the 1-week wait time for employment insurance to support employees reporting COVID-19-related absences.
As of this morning, there have been 93 confirmed cases of coronavirus and one death.
Of Canada’s reported cases, most patients recently travelled to coronavirus hotspots. Travellers make up 79 per cent of Canada’s cases, with only 12 per cent being close contacts of those travellers.
The Prime Minister and Canada’s chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam say containing the virus is an effort that requires the cooperation of all Canadians.
“People can make a difference,” said Trudeau. “Their behaviour will have a direct impact on the health of Canadians and on the economy as well.”
When asked about whether the federal government was preparing for a national lockdown, Trudeau said he feels confident that Canada is “very far away from that point.”
Italy and Saudi Arabia have both ordered border closures of varying degrees.
This story will be updated as more information becomes available.