Prime Minister Justin Trudeau holds a news conference at Rideau cottage in Ottawa, on Friday, March 13, 2020. Trudeau got thanks from Canada’s premiers Friday for $11-billion in federal funding to confront the health and economic impact of the rapidly spreading novel coronavirus — but heard that much more will be needed to weather the crisis. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Chartrand

Border closures, mandatory screening up for discussion amid COVID-19, Trudeau says

Trudeau’s wife Sophie was diagnosed with COVID-19 following a trip to the U.K.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says nothing is off the table when it comes to the next phase of Canada’s response to the spread of COVID-19.

Trudeau told CTV’s Question Period this morning that a discussion about border closures or mandatory screening of all returning travellers will be part of a cabinet meeting today.

The government signalled to Canadians abroad on Saturday that they need to come home or risk getting stuck in the dozens of countries now cancelling international flights and shutting down borders in a bid to stop the rampant global march of the virus.

Trudeau said that the countries that did implement stricter border controls after the outbreak began in China have not cut themselves off from the virus, and the monitoring efforts in Canada have been working to hold back a spike in cases.

“We were able to track people, we were able to contain the virus at that point. We’re going to continue trusting our public health officials,” he said in an interview from outside his home, where he and his family remain in self-isolation following his wife’s diagnosis with the illness.

“But of course we are hearing the concerns people have had. The shift in posture from the United States of course gives us significant things to think about and we will be discussing it later today among other measures at our cabinet meeting.”

U.S. President Donald Trump has implemented travel bans to his country from Europe, creating chaos at U.S. airports that’s also being seen in Canada.

Travellers returning to Canada have reported long lines at airports with what appear to be minimal precautions being taken to slow the spread of the virus and the government is being questioned on why only those returning from known hot spots are being grilled about their health.

Trudeau said many of those who have faced minimal screening so far aren’t coming from areas of concern, and public health resources are best directed out into the community, not at airports.

He suggested, however, that changes are coming.

“That is in the process of happening, I’ve heard directly from our public security officials and CBSA who are bringing in new measures right now,” Trudeau said, when asked about implementing mandatory screening for all, but did not provide further detail.

Trudeau’s wife Sophie was diagnosed with COVID-19 following a trip to the U.K. He said she continues to recover and currently has a headache but it’s not worse than a bad cold.

While other world leaders, including Trump, have been tested as a result of being in close contact with those who have the virus, Trudeau said the advice he has received is that the test would be wasted on him.

“The advice of our best public health experts is it’s not worthwhile to test someone who is not showing symptoms, if it were to come back negative it wouldn’t mean anything because I am in isolation right now and need to remain in isolation and that uses up a testing kit that would be better suited for someone who is showing symptoms who should be tested.”

Trudeau said the money his government allocated last week is also meant to ensure there are enough testing kits and other medical equipment available for those who need it.

Most people diagnosed with COVID-19 experience mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough, and the vast majority of those who contract the virus recover. The Public Health Agency of Canada says the risk to the general population is low.

However, for some, including Canadians aged 65 and over, those with compromised immune systems and those with pre-existing conditions, the illness can be much more severe. Among the Canadians diagnosed with the illness so far, fewer than 15 per cent have required hospitalization.

The growing number of cases has prompted widespread closures of schools and universities, mass cancellation of large-scale events, multimillion-dollar economic stimulus packages from governments, and the suspension of the Parliament until April 20.

READ MORE: 39 new cases bring Canada’s COVID-19 count to at least 288

READ MORE: Music industry feeling the effects of COVID-19 pandemic

Stephanie Levitz, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

CanadaCoronavirusJustin Trudeau

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

Just Posted

Summerland approves solar project

Despite community opposition, council voted 4-3 for Cartwright Mountain location

Two positive COVID-19 cases at Oliver farm

The risk of exposure to the general public related to this farm is considered to be low

Oliver Town Hall closed to public as staffer shows COVID-19 symptoms

One staff member at Oliver Town Hall is being tested for coronavirus

Penticton woman struck by mystery bullet

Woman suffers no major injuries; RCMP without any leads, investigation continues

Village of Keremeos looks to dismantle systemic racism

Mayor says the time is right to deconstruct racist institutions

B.C. records 62 new COVID-19 cases, two deaths since Friday

Province has just over 200 active cases

Police search for suspect in assault on woman in downtown Kelowna

Kelowna police received a report a woman had been assaulted by an unknown man on July 12

Hotel rooms for B.C. homeless too hasty, NDP government told

Businesses forced out, but crime goes down, minister says

Wage subsidy will be extended until December amid post-COVID reopening: Trudeau

Trudeau said the extension will ‘give greater certainty and support to businesses’

B.C. government prepares for COVID-19 economic recovery efforts

New measures after July consultation, Carole James says

Horoscopes for the week of July 13

Weekly horoscopes by Morgan Fava

Police keep eye on motorbike gang in Kelowna for poker run

The Throttle Lockers Motorcycle Club Poker Run was to have taken place on July 11

Prohibited driver ticketed after rollover on Highway 1 near Salmon Arm

Jeep Cherokee hit rock face before rolling multiple times

COVID-19 exposure on Kelowna flight

Interior Health has capacity to test individuals who need it, but is reminding everyone that testing is not required for those who do not have symptoms

Most Read