Prime Minister Justin Trudeau provides an update on the COVID pandemic during a press conference in Ottawa on Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau provides an update on the COVID pandemic during a press conference in Ottawa on Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Canada still in ‘incredibly serious’ situation with COVID-19, Trudeau says

Trudeau said all Canadians should avoid international travel

The COVID-19 case count continues to climb at an alarming pace west of the Maritimes, despite tighter restrictions as some jurisdictions get ready for more drastic measures.

Total cases hit 304,477 across the country, according to numbers reported as of midday Tuesday, more than half of those cases having come in the past four months. The death toll now stands at 11,063, according to figures from provincial health authorities.

Chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam highlighted “promising” early results from two vaccine trials by Pfizer and Moderna. But Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stressed the country remains in an “incredibly serious” situation where Canadians will need to refocus their efforts until vaccines become widely available.

“We still have to get through the next month and the month after that before vaccines arrive,” Trudeau said Tuesday in Ottawa.

He said the military could “potentially” play a role in delivering millions of vaccine doses to provincial hubs, but once again brushed off the possibility of invoking the Emergencies Act to help clamp down on the spread of the novel coronavirus.

“I don’t think we’re there yet. I hope we won’t and I don’t think we will,” Trudeau said in French.

The number of patients with severe illness due to COVID-19 is surging, with those over 80 years old having the highest incidence rate, Tam said.

Public health authorities are warning of a steep rise in demand for hospital beds and intensive-care treatment in the days ahead based on recent record-breaking case numbers.

New cases exceeded 1,000 for the 12th consecutive day in Ontario, which reported 1,249 new cases Tuesday and 12 new deaths due to the illness.

Toronto alone saw 569 new cases — its highest ever daily tally — while Peel Region had 256.

READ MORE: No mask mandate as B.C. breaks records with 1,959 new COVID cases, 9 deaths over weekend

Nunavut is the latest jurisdiction to announce strict new measures, as the territory prepares to enter a partial lockdown.

It has logged 26 cases since the first one was reported Nov. 6, prompting the government to close all schools, indoor dining and non-essential businesses for at least two weeks starting Wednesday.

Manitoba, which brought in similar measures last week, is upping its enforcement game, hiring a private security firm to help hand out fines for infractions such as gathering in groups of more than five people.

The company G4S Canada will provide more than 90 people to enforce COVID-19 restrictions, Premier Brian Pallister said Tuesday.

Quebec reported 982 new cases of COVID-19 Tuesday and 24 more deaths attributed to the virus. Health authorities said hospitalizations jumped by 47 compared with the prior day, to 638.

“Maybe next summer we could go back to a life that is just about normal,” Quebec Premier François Legault said in French.

Alberta suffered its deadliest day of the pandemic earlier this week, reporting Monday that 20 people in the province had died from COVID-19 the day before.

Trudeau said all Canadians should avoid international travel, even as some remain set on heading south for the winter.

The pandemic is resurgent across large swaths of the United States, saying Canadians are safest at home.

However, he says the choice is in the hands of individuals, and suggests those who do make the trip get comprehensive health and travel insurance and make sure that regional health-care facilities are not overwhelmed.

The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

CoronavirusJustin Trudeau

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

FILE – Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs have agreed to sign a memorandum on rights and title with B.C. and Ottawa, but elected chiefs are demanding it be called off over lack of consultation. (Thom Barker photo)
Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs, Lake Babine Nation get provincial funding for land, title rights

Government says it’s a new, flexible model for future agreements between Canada, B.C. and First Nations.

The property on which a residential school (pictured) that was torn down years ago in Lower Post is to be the location of a cultural centre. (Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre photo)
Lower Post residential school building to be demolished, replaced with cultural centre

Project to be funded by federal and provincial governments, Daylu Dena Council

Photo collage of loved ones lost to substance use and overdose. (Photo courtesy Moms Stop The Harm)
B.C. overdose deaths still rising 5 years after public health emergency declared

Moms Stop the Harm calls on B.C. to provide safe supply in response to deadly illicit drug use

Restaurant patrons enjoy the weather on a patio in Vancouver, B.C., Monday, April 5, 2021. The province has suspended indoor dining at restaurants and pubs until at least April 19 in B.C. due to a spike in COVID-19 numbers. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. sets new COVID-19 daily record with 1,293 cases Thursday

New order allows workplace closures when infections found

The new 3,500 hectare conservancy in Tahltan territory is located next to Mount Edziza Provincial Park. (BC Parks Photo)
New conservancy protects sacred Tahltan land near Mount Edziza Provincial Park

Project is a collaboration between Skeena Resources, conservation groups and the TCG

Vancouver resident Beryl Pye was witness to a “concerning,” spontaneous dance party that spread throughout social groups at Kitsilano Beach on April 16. (Screen grab/Beryl Pye)
VIDEO: Dance party erupts at Vancouver’s Kitsilano Beach to the dismay of onlookers

‘It was a complete disregard for current COVID-19 public health orders,’ says Vancouver resident Beryl Pye

Each spring, the Okanagan Fest-of-Ale is held in Penticton. This year, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the festival will not be held. However, beer is still available. How much do you know about this beverage? (pxfuel.com)
QUIZ: How much do you really know about beer?

Put your knowledge to the test with this short quiz

Lord Tweedsmuir’s Tremmel States-Jones jumps a player and the goal line to score a touchdown against the Kelowna Owls in 2019. The face of high school football, along with a majority of other high school sports, could significantly change if a new governance proposal is passed at the B.C. School Sports AGM May 1. (Malin Jordan)
Power struggle: New governance model proposed for B.C. high school sports

Most commissions are against the new model, but B.C. School Sports (BCSS) and its board is in favour

Pall Bearers carrying the coffin of the Duke of Edinburgh, followed by the Prince of Wales, left and Princess Anne, right, into St George’s Chapel for his funeral, at Windsor Castle, in Windsor, England, Saturday April 17, 2021. (Danny Lawson/Pool via AP)
Trudeau announces $200K donation to Duke of Edinburgh award as Prince Philip laid to rest

A tribute to the late prince’s ‘remarkable life and his selfless service,’ the Prime Minister said Saturday

B.C. homeowners are being urged to take steps to prepare for the possibility of a flood by moving equipment and other assets to higher ground. (J.R. Rardon)
‘Entire province faces risk’: B.C. citizens urged to prepare for above-average spring flooding

Larger-than-normal melting snowpack poses a threat to the province as warmer weather touches down

Vancouver-based Doubleview Gold Corp. is developing claims in an area north of Telegraph Creek that occupies an important place in Tahltan oral histories, said Chad Norman Day, president of the Tahltan Central Government. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO)
B.C. Indigenous nation opposes mineral exploration in culturally sensitive area

There’s “no way” the Tahltan would ever support a mine there, says Chad Norman Day, president of its central government

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Stz’uminus Elder George Harris, Ladysmith Mayor Aaron Stone, and Stz’uminus Chief Roxanne Harris opened the ceremony. (Cole Schisler photo)
Symbolic red dresses rehung along B.C. highway after vandals tore them down

Leaders from Stz’uminus First Nation and the Town of Ladysmith hung new dresses on Sat. April 17

A Western toadlet crosses the centre line of Elk View Road in Chilliwack on Aug. 26, 2010. A tunnel underneath the road has since been installed to help them migrate cross the road. Saturday, April 24 is Save the Frogs Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Progress File)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of April 18 to 24

Save the Frogs Day, Love Your Thighs Day and Scream Day are all coming up this week

Most Read