Canada is making progress in the battle against COVID-19, but will need to be extremely careful about removing physical distancing and other restrictions, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Sunday.
“All of these measures we have in place are designed to help you do the things that will allow us to overcome this – and it works,” Trudeau said at a press conference outside his home.
“We have seen the numbers move in the right direction, so we have to keep doing what we are doing and be extremely careful. “
By early Sunday afternoon, Canada had seen almost 34,000 confirmed cases of the new coronavirus and more than 1,500 associated deaths. We know that more than 11,000 patients have recovered.
Parts of the country have reported data suggesting that their regional curves may flatten, with the number of cases decreasing from their peak and some provinces spending days without finding a single new case of COVID-19.
Federal officials have urged that the information be viewed “cautiously optimistically,” as Dr. Theresa Tam, chief public health officer, said on Wednesday.
The federal government wants to see more prolonged decreases in key indicators before relaxing the physical distancing measures. This was demonstrated again on Sunday, when the Prime Minister was asked about the approach taken in Austria, where some non-essential stores have been allowed to reopen and others will soon be added to the list if the number of infections n ‘not increase.
“We listen very carefully to the experts and take a very close look at what works and has worked in other jurisdictions, and see how and if it can work for us,” said Trudeau.
The Prime Minister has said that “many” decisions to reopen schools, businesses and public spaces will be made at the provincial and territorial level, both because the provinces and territories have adopted them and because different situations in different parts of the country could allow some to lift their restrictions before others.
He said the federal government is working with the provinces and territories to develop “a set of principles and approaches that can be applied at different times and in different ways.”
It has been suggested that yo-yo restrictions may apply between lifting and replenishment, depending on how each adjustment affects the pressure on hospitals in the area. Harvard researchers have found that in the United States at least, this approach could last until 2022 before life returns to normal.
The Canadian government has been reluctant to speculate on the timeframe for lifting restrictions, preferring to use vague terms like “weeks” and “months” – even though in recent days “weeks” have been the word of choice to describe when a first round of reopenings could occur.
Trudeau echoed the call for caution on Sunday, saying he wanted no part of the country to relax too many restrictions at once and cause another spike in cases, which could potentially endanger the health care system of the region.
“It is not going to suddenly reopen in any part of the country overnight, to what it was before,” he said.
“We will have to be very, very careful, very progressive, very progressive if we want to prevent this type of resurgence which would send us all back to a deadlock. “