Coronavirus update: Canadian PM Justin Trudeau rules out nationwide lockdown, says ‘not quite yet at that point’

Updated on Apr 03, 2020 08:04 AM IST

Covid-19 update: While Canada struggles with a spike in coronavirus cases, the Trudeau government is yet to release its internal projections unlike other countries like the United States.

Pedestrians are seen during morning commuting hours in the Financial District as Toronto copes with a shutdown due to the coronavirus on April 1, 2020 in Toronto, Canada.(AFP Photo)
Pedestrians are seen during morning commuting hours in the Financial District as Toronto copes with a shutdown due to the coronavirus on April 1, 2020 in Toronto, Canada.(AFP Photo)
Hindustan Times, Toronto | By

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has ruled out, for the time being, a nationwide lockdown to deal with the Covid-19 crisis, even as his government faces increasing criticism over its reluctance to share projections as to how the pandemic will impact the country.

While several provinces have put restrictions in place, Trudeau indicated that Ottawa isn’t yet prepared to take an extreme step despite the country recording over 130 deaths. “We’re not quite yet at that point,” Trudeau told reporters.

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While Canada struggles with a spike in coronavirus cases, the Trudeau government is yet to release its internal projections unlike other countries like the United States. This has led to a volley of criticism even as the country’s most populous province Ontario will release its modelling data, which its leader has warned will make for a “sobering discussion.”

Ontario premier Doug Ford’s statement was stark, as he said, “It will be a real wake-up call. I don’t believe in holding back figures in this crisis. We have to be fully transparent with the people of Ontario, no matter how hard it is.”

Also read: Canada to organise 6 flights out of India for its citizens stranded due to Covid-19 lockdown

Trudeau promised transparency as the country dealt with the crisis but his government has held back on making its projections public. He said, “There is a range out there, and just highlighting that range is not as useful or important as being able to get clearer numbers and clearer analysis of what we are likely to face.”

That lack of information has not gone down well in the country. Don Davies, health critic for the opposition New Democratic Party, underscored this point saying, “We can’t fight this virus blindly. Without access to federal data, Canadians are being left in the dark on the potential duration of physical distancing measures and our health care system’s capacity to respond to the outbreak.”

Former Health Minister Jane Philpott tweeted, “This is not the time to hide bad news. This includes real-time updates, open-source data, best/worse case projections - in short, we’d like radical transparency.”

Provinces like British Columbia, Ontario and Alberta have either already released relevant data or are expected to do so soon.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Anirudh Bhattacharya is a Toronto-based commentator on North American issues, and an author. He has also worked as a journalist in New Delhi and New York spanning print, television and digital media. He tweets as @anirudhb.

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