OTTAWA (Reuters) – Canadian life can soon return to the resemblance of normality if people refuse now to stop the spread of the corona virus, but the risk of a revival will remain until the vaccine is developed, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Friday.
FILE PHOTO: Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau attends a press conference at Rideau Cottage, as efforts continue to help slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada 9 April 2020. REUTERS / Blair Gable / Photo Files
During his daily press conference in front of his home in Ottawa, Trudeau said the “more normal” phase could come as early as this summer.
“If we do the right thing, this will be the first and worst phase that we go through as a country in terms of COVID-19,” Trudeau said.
After the first phase of transmission passes, “we will be able to talk about relaxing some of the rules” to get some people back to work “and getting things rolling again,” he said.
The prime minister said a partial return to normalcy would be accompanied by a huge boost in corona virus testing combined with the use of contact tracking technology to prevent new outbreaks of this disease.
However, it might be 18 months or more before vaccines can be developed to prevent the threat of a revival, he said.
Canadian coronavirus deaths rose to 531 on Friday, up 15% from 461 on Thursday, and total cases reached 21,000, the Public Health Agency said.
The death toll will rise to 22,000 by the end of the pandemic, health officials said on Thursday, while the economy lost a record 1 million jobs last month.
As of Thursday, more than 5.6 million Canadians have applied for all forms of federal emergency unemployment assistance since March 15, government data showed.
The local government in Canada has ordered non-essential businesses to be closed to fight the spread, leaving millions of people out of work. They also closed the park and introduced fines to social gatherings.
The Trudeau government called on the House of Commons to meet on Saturday and vote in limited quantities on measures including wage subsidies valued at $ 73 billion ($ 52 billion) to soften the economic blow.
Trudeau said he would speak from the floor of the house on Saturday instead of holding his daily press conference, which he had done from his home since being forced into quarantine on March 12 when his wife tested positive for coronavirus.
He will not speak on Sundays and Mondays so he can celebrate the Easter holidays with his family, he said.
Reporting by Steve Scherer; Editing by Steve Orlofsky
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