Trudeau to address nation after call with premiers about COVID-19 response

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is set to address the nation again today after speaking with the premiers about the battle to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Trudeau is also holding calls today with Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and Japan’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe.

As COVID-19 cases mount around the world, the committees responsible for Canada’s involvement in Olympic and Paralympic sport have decided they won’t be sending athletes to Tokyo if the 2020 Summer Olympics go ahead as planned. 

Trudeau will be speaking from his residence at Rideau Cottage, where he remains in self-isolation because of his wife Sophie’s positive test for COVID-19. He has been holding daily briefings for more than a week.

CBC News has special coverage beginning at 11 a.m. ET. Watch it here.

Trudeau has been reminding Canadians to follow guidelines around social distancing and going in to self-isolation after travelling abroad. Some provinces have adopted their own rules, which include mandatory self-isolation upon arrival from another province. 

Some provinces recommending isolation for domestic travellers

Public health officials are recommending the measures as a way to slow the spread of COVID-19. By slowing the rate of new infections, officials hope to lessen the burden on the health care system.

Health Minister Patty Hajdu said Sunday the government is also considering the option of imposing financial or criminal penalties for Canadian travellers who don’t follow the government’s advice.

The Quarantine Act, which was updated in 2005 after the deadly SARS outbreak, gives the federal health minister the power to designate quarantine zones and fine or jail travellers who disobey quarantine requests.

If a designated quarantine officer believes that a traveller has refused to isolate themselves, they can ask a peace officer to arrest the traveller and bring them into quarantine.

The House of Commons will reconvene Tuesday to adopt emergency measures announced earlier this week by the federal government to help Canadians and businesses hit financially by the health crisis.

Trudeau announced a massive $82-billion aid package that includes $27 billion in direct supports and another $55 billion to help business liquidity through tax deferrals.

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