PM creates COVID-19 cabinet committee to deal with novel coronavirus

The COVID-19 committee is meant to complement the work being done by the government’s incident response group

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has created a new cabinet committee to deal with the novel coronavirus outbreak, which began in China but now has spread around the world.

“We need to make sure that people make the right decisions. That’s why we put forward a committee that will be responsible for ensuring that Canadians have the right frame to make the good decisions for their families, for their communities,” Trudeau said in an appearance in St-Jerome, Que., north of Montreal.

“We need to keep alert, but we need to keep moving forward in a way that keeps Canadians safe and keeps our economy rolling.”

The COVID-19 committee is meant to complement the work being done by the government’s incident response group, Trudeau said. That group often includes top permanent officials in addition to politicians.

The cabinet committee will continue to monitor the health impacts of the virus to make sure the government response takes all possible measures to prevent and limit the spread in Canada, Trudeau said.

Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland chairs the group; Treasury Board President Jean-Yves Duclos is vice-chair.

The other members include Industry Minister Navdeep Bains, Public Safety Minister Bill Blair, Health Minister Patty Hajdu, Economic Development Minister Melanie Joly, Finance Minister Bill Morneau and Employment Minister Carla Qualtrough.

Kirsty Duncan, deputy leader of the government in the House of Commons, will also be a “core participant.” Duncan is a medical geographer who studied and lectured on pandemics before she was elected to parliament, and wrote a book on her studies of the 1918 Spanish flu. She also was minister of science for a time.

Trudeau said the government has been watching the global impact of the virus on the economy closely.

“We’re seeing that in terms of tourism there’s an impact, there’s an impact on investment, on the airline industry, on the auto industry as well. We’re seeing a slowdown,” he said.

He pointed to supply-chain disruptions in China affecting Canadian businesses as well.

“There will be an impact and we’re there to try to find solutions together with companies and communities.”

The risk of community transmission of the virus and its accompanying respiratory disease, COVID-19, is still considered low in Canada, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada.

Canada now has 33 cases of the new coronavirus, most of them in Ontario.

But globally, the number of countries detecting new cases increases by the day, and the virus is circulating in several of those countries, including the United States.

There are now at least 90,870 confirmed cases in 72 countries, including nearly 3,000 deaths, according to the latest numbers released by the World Health Organization.

Laura Osman, The Canadian Press

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Victoria Flamenco Festival goes virtual for 2020 event

The show will go online from July 23 to 26

Metchosin bird card project finds its wings

On display at Metchosin ArtPod from July 10 to 12

UVic research team creating virus-resistant washbasins for post-pandemic world

Civil engineer Rishi Gupta hopes basins will be installed in public spaces

Walk for Peace takes a virtual turn for Victoria Hospice

Residents can still register for Gordy Dodd’s 11th annual fundraiser

United Way Greater Victoria launches Hi Neighbour program in Esquimalt

Feedback sought from residents about funding for micro community projects

B.C. accommodators need phone lines to light up as in-province travel given green light

Travel restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic have decimated the tourism and hospitality industries

300 Cache Creek residents on evacuation alert due to flood risk as river rises

Heavy rainfall on Canada Day has river rising steadily, threatening 175 properties

First glimpse of Canada’s true COVID-19 infection rate expected mid-July

At least 105,000 Canadians have tested positive for COVID-19 since the coronavirus was identified

Annual music event in Comox Valley celebrates online instead

Vancouver Island MusicFest holds virtual celebration set for July 10

Police ramp up efforts to get impaired drivers off B.C. roads this summer

July is dedicated to the Summer CounterAttack Impaired Driving Campaign

Migrant workers stage multi-city action for full status amid COVID-19 risks

‘COVID-19 has exacerbated an existing crisis’

Okanagan school drops ‘Rebels’ sports team name, citing links with U.S. Civil War

Name and formerly-used images “fly in the face” of the district’s human rights policy, says board chair

PHOTOS: B.C.’s top doc picks up personalized Fluevog shoes, tours mural exhibition

Murals of Gratitude exhibit includes at least one portrait of Henry alongside paintings of health-care workers

In troubled times: Independence Day in a land of confusion

Buffeted by invisible forces and just plain worn out, the United States of America celebrates its 244th birthday

Most Read