Ottawa (Canada), Nov 21: Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Friday that the country is at stake as COVID-19 has been worsening.
"Save lives. Because that is what's at stake," Trudeau said at a press conference at his residence in Ottawa, resuming what was a nearly daily routine during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"We're really at risk of seeing caseloads go up and hospitals get overwhelmed, and more loved ones dying. So we need to do everything we can, right now, to slow the spread of COVID-19, to stop this spike in its tracks," he said.
"This is the future of our country, this is the future of our children, it's the future of our loved ones and our seniors, it's our economy, it's our businesses, it's everything all together," Trudeau said.
"Going into lockdown and supporting businesses while we're in that lockdown is a better way of ensuring their success in a few months, in a few years, than trying to tough through a virus that is running around unchecked," the prime minister added.
Trudeau renewed his call for Canadians to stay home, saying that he will work from home as much as possible, and will address Canadians again from the front steps of his home next week.
He also urged employers to make arrangements to have employees work from home once again and highlighted the latest round of COVID-19 aid that has just passed Parliament.
Through Bill C-9, the Trudeau government's wage subsidy program has been extended until next June, and a new direct-to-tenant rental subsidy is launching.
It will see the government cover up to 65 percent of rent for small businesses affected by COVID-19, and if that business is facing a public health lockdown order, the government is providing an additional 25 percent subsidy. Applications for this new program open on Monday.
Before Trudeau's press conference, the Public Health Agency of Canada released COVID-19 modeling charts saying that Canada could see upward of 60,000 new cases of COVID-19 by the end of December if Canadians increase their contacts and gatherings.
The modeling shows the country's daily case counts are increasing significantly and rapid growth is occurring in several provinces because each new case is spreading the infection to more than one other person.
It demonstrates that even under current rates of contacts into December, Canada could record 20,000 cases a day.
The total number of Canadian COVID-19 cases is expected to reach between 366,500 to 378,600, and between 11,870 to 12,120 deaths by Nov. 30.
As of Friday afternoon, Canada reported a total of 319,038 cases and 11,313 deaths.
"We are not on a good trajectory," Canadian Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam said Friday. "I think across the board, across Canada, we have to say the time is now, with urgency, that we limit contacts."
Tam pointed out that increased cases strain on hospitals and healthcare systems, pushing some to capacity and leading to the postponement of other medical procedures in the country.