OTTAWA (Reuters) – A clearly unhappy Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Monday said people defying advice to isolate themselves to fight a coronavirus outbreak should “go home and stay home” or face sanctions.
Trudeau also said the federal government would offer an additional C$5 billion ($3.4 billion) line of credit for farmers and agricultural producers to help them through a crisis that is battering the economy.
The number of people in Canada diagnosed with the coronavirus rose to 1,474 on Monday from 1,430 on Sunday, and the death toll stayed at 20, medical officials said.
Although Ottawa and the 10 provinces have urged Canadians to stay at home, and in some cases put limits on gatherings, Trudeau said too many people were still disregarding the advice.
“We’ve all seen the pictures online of people who seem to think they are invincible. Well, you’re not,” Trudeau said.
“Enough is enough. Go home and stay home … 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,” he told a daily news conference outside his residence, where he has been confined since his wife was diagnosed with the virus.
Federal and provincial officials said on Sunday that people ignoring advice to self-isolate or avoid large groups could be fined or even arrested.
Trudeau is due to speak to the provincial premiers later on Monday to coordinate the messaging on self-isolation. All the provinces have imposed some sort of state of emergency.
He also said he would discuss with them what the federal government could do under the 1988 Emergencies Act, which allows Ottawa to impose strict limits on the movement of people.
Officials said last week that using the act would be a last resort. Trudeau reiterated that “we haven’t taken anything off the table”.
Legislators are due to return to Ottawa on Tuesday to pass a package of stimulus measures and tax relief worth a total of C$82 billion.
Trudeau, who says more steps to help the economy are coming, also said Ottawa would defer C$173 million in federal loans to farmers and invest C$192 million into vaccine research and production.
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