Two weeks into major social push to limit COVID-19 spread, Trudeau to offer latest

OTTAWA —
As Canadians round out what for many has been their second week of working from home and taking additional physical distancing or self-isolating measures, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is set to speak to the ongoing COVID-19 spread and next steps.

In the last two weeks, Canada has shut its border to non-Canadian citizens coming from abroad, with a few exemptions, and has banned all non-essential travel over the Canada-U.S. border, with enhanced screening measures and tough new penalties in place for returning travellers who do not self-isolate.

A $107 billion financial assistance and stimulus package has passed through Parliament, Service Canada centres have shuttered, and businesses have been rolling with a series of evolving restrictions as each province and territory operates in an emergency state.

Friday morning, the Bank of Canada announced an unscheduled interest rate cut, slashing the key interest target by half a percentage point to 0.25 per cent. Global economies have been badly hit by the pandemic which has seen half a million people in Canada alone file for employment insurance in recent weeks.

Following a call with G20 leaders on Thursday, Trudeau emphasized the need for global co-ordination on the COVID-19 pandemic response, including ensuring supplies flow and a vaccine is developed.

The prime minister has now been in self-isolation for just over two weeks, after his wife Sophie contracted the virus. Trudeau has said she is feeling better and neither he nor his kids have demonstrated any symptoms, though today’s address is being done from outside his front steps at Rideau Cottage once again.

As of Friday morning, there are 4,043 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Canada, and 39 people have died. Globally, there are nearly 550,000 confirmed cases, and nearly 25,000 people have died.

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