“You all think you’re invincible. You’re not. Enough is enough,” he warned in an address to Canadians on Monday from Rideau Cottage, where he is currently in self-isolation.
“Go home and stay home.”
Trudeau’s warning comes as provinces and territories over the weekend threatened to roll out fines and potentially even criminal enforcement measures like arrests in order to enforce social distancing.
There were reports from across the country over the weekend of people flouting those orders by congregating in parks, beaches and other public areas despite warnings from public health officials that isolating from other people is a critical means of trying to limit the spread of the virus.
Trudeau said he will be speaking with premiers from across the country on Monday evening to discuss how they can co-ordinate to crack down on those ignoring social distancing.
“There is more that can be done, there is more that needs to be done around messaging,” he said, noting that the government will be rolling out an advertising campaign aimed at driving that home.
He urged Canadians to understand that “listening is your duty, and staying home is your way to serve.”
If Canadians do not get the message and stay home, the government could act to force them.
“We will look at different measures that could be necessary to enforce these measures. We’d rather not … I can tell you that we haven’t taken anything off the table from the Emergencies Act, new and existing measures under the Quarantine Act,” Trudeau continued.
“We are impressing upon Canadians to do this of their own will.”
Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland and Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam echoed those calls during a ministerial press conference shortly after Trudeau spoke to reporters.
“Canadians must practice social and physical distancing,” urged Freeland. “That means stay at home unless you are doing essential work like stocking grocery stores, staffing pharmacies and providing medical care.”
Tam said “unrelenting social distancing” is needed in order to slow community spread of the virus.
On Sunday, Trudeau announced the House of Commons will reconvene on Tuesday to pass legislation — which includes an $82-billion aid package — to support Canadians impacted by the novel coronavirus outbreak.
Trudeau said the government is working closely with provinces and territories in the fight against COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, but that Canada is not at the point where the Emergencies Act needs to be invoked.
On Saturday, Trudeau said the government is working with commercial airlines in order to repatriate Canadians stranded abroad.
Trudeau said the government is working to secure flights to other locations, including Peru and Spain, in the coming days but said the government will not be able to help all Canadians seeking assistance.
Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister François-Philippe Champagne said officials have been in touch with “hundreds of thousands” of Canadians abroad and are “working around the clock” to provide help.
According to the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), by 6 p.m. ET on Sunday, more than 1,400 cases of the virus had been confirmed in the country, with the majority reported in Ontario and B.C.
So far, 20 people have died in Canada from COVID-19, PHAC said.
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