‘More stringent measures’ to come if Canadians don’t follow the COVID-19 rules: Trudeau

Federal government working on arranging more emergency flights, Trudeau says

The restrictions introduced across Canada to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic will be in place for as long as people choose them to be, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau warned Tuesday.

“Every day, people ask me, how long these restrictions will be in place. The truth is, we don’t know yet. But here’s what we do know,” Trudeau said during his daily address.

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“The duration of this crisis will be determined by the choices we make, right now, by decisions we make every single day.”

All of the Canada's 10 provinces have declared provincial states of emergency, requested that people stay home and have shut down non-essential businesses, leading to a vast change in the daily lives of Canadians.

Trudeau again urged Canadians to “do their part” and stay home to curb the spread of COVID-19, but warned more stringent measures will be put in place if people don’t follow the current guidelines.

Those who have just returned from abroad need to go straight home from the airport, and not leave their homes for 14 days – the span of time in which symptoms of the coronavirus may appear.

“This is not a suggestion,” said Trudeau. “You cannot pick up groceries, or visit your parents and friends. You need to go home and stay there.

“If people do not follow these guidelines, we will put much more stringent measures in place.”

While the federal emergencies act is on the table, Trudeau said it is a measure of “last resort,” if people don’t follow health advice and government guidelines.

The federal emergencies act gives the government the authority to do things such as restrict travel or impose fines on people who don't follow the rules, as well as rearrange the country's supply chains. 

Trudeau also said that the federal emergencies act is not something the provinces’ premiers felt was necessary at this time, following his discussion with them Monday.

Later today, the House of Commons will reconvene to vote on passing the government's emergency COVID-19 aid package. 

More emergency flights to come

Trudeu also provided an update on emergency flights for Canadians abroad.

The first flight carrying Canadians out of Peru will leave today and a second Morocco flight has been scheduled, he said, while the federal government is working on arranging flights out of a number of other countries.

“We’re working on flights from Panama, Tunisia, Ukraine, in addition to the flights we’ve already announced from Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Spain,” said Trudeau.

The prime minister also thanked pilots, air crews, border agents and airport staff, all of whom have played a "crucial role" in bringing Canadians home. 

"Just this past week, nearly one million Canadians travelled home to Canada. This would not have been possible without the people who work at our airports at the border and at our ports," said Trudeau. 

For the latest news on COVID-19, click here.

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