Prime Minister Justin Trudeau addresses Canadians on the COVID-19 pandemic from Rideau Cottage in Ottawa on Tuesday, Apr. 14, 2020. (Sean Kilpatrick/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Canada is still ‘weeks away’ from easing pandemic restrictions, Trudeau says

Canada is still “weeks away” from relaxing public health restrictions and restarting portions of the economy that have been shut down to slow the spread of COVID-19 in the country, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Tuesday.

Speaking outside his home at Rideau Cottage in Ottawa, Trudeau said he understands that people are anxious to return to normal social and economic activities but warned that it will be “a while still” before governments can consider getting the economy and other aspects of society back up and running.

“The reality is, it is going to be weeks still. We recognize that it is going to be important to get our economy going and that we will have to do it in phases,” Trudeau said. “We will have to remain vigilant until such a point as a vaccine against COVID-19 is found.”

Moreover, the federal government is introducing stricter quarantine measures for Canadians returning from abroad, he added.

As of Wednesday, Canadians returning home from abroad who can’t show that they have credible plans to self-isolate will be forced to stay at a quarantine facility, such as a hotel, Trudeau said.

With over 26,000 cases and 823 deaths as of Tuesday morning, Canada is not yet through the first wave of the pandemic, Trudeau said.

“We are having ongoing discussions with the provinces at this point,” Trudeau said. “We recognize that different regions of the country are at different places along the evolution of their COVID-19 curve. We’re going to make sure that we try to stay co-ordinated as best as possible.”

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