Go home and stay home, Trudeau tells Canadians as government warns of COVID-19 enforcement measures
In his strongest language yet, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau warns Canadians to follow social distancing measures and says the government will enforce the rules, if required.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is pleading with Canadians to follow public health guidelines on COVID-19, warning that stiff enforcement measures could be imposed if people don't stop engaging in behaviour that puts lives at risk.
As images emerged over the weekend of people gathering in groups at beaches and parks, and for parties, Trudeau said individuals taking part in such "extremely concerning" activities are putting not only themselves at risk but also health care workers, the elderly and other vulnerable people.
"We've all seen the pictures online of people who seem to think they're invincible. Well, you're not," he said.
"Enough is enough. Go home and stay home. This is what we all need to be doing, and we're going to make sure this happens, whether by educating people more on the risks, or by enforcing the rules, if that's needed. Nothing that could help is off the table."
Trudeau said the government has not ruled out any enforcement options. He's expected to speak with the premiers later today to discuss steps going forward.
Trudeau urged Canadians to follow the recommendations of public health officials, who are asking Canadians to practise frequent handwashing and social distancing, stay home whenever possible, avoid non-essential travel and self-isolate in cases where there has been a risk of exposure to the virus.
"We have to trust them and we have to listen," Trudeau said.
Trudeau's remarks come as the federal government launches a $30-million advertising campaign to raise awareness about measures to stop the spread of infection.
The ads, featuring Canada's chief public health officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, will run for the rest of March and at least through April on all Canadian television networks and radio stations across the country, as well as in national, regional and local print outlets.
In the ads, Tam warns that the COVID-19 pandemic presents a "serious public health threat" and reminds Canadians of the importance of the measures to help delay the spread of COVID-19. By slowing the rate of new infections, officials hope to lessen the burden on the health care system.