Canadian Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland says that a “safe restart” of the Canadian economy will take at least six to eight months. In a statement on Friday, Freeland echoed remarks by Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam, who warned that relaxing current lockdown and social distancing restrictions could cause COVID-19 infections to surge.
Since the pandemic broke out in March, Canada has recorded over 95,000 cases of COVID-19 infections and more than 7,700 deaths. While most provinces and territories have reported very few cases, numbers in Ontario and Quebec continue to surge with more than 300 new cases a day and account for more than 90 percent of cases.
“One other thing that we would like to really underscore is what we are talking about is the safe restart right now. So this is not a long-term plan,” said Freeland, who made her remarks about the government’s plan to provide $14 billion in support Canadian provinces and territories.
“This is for ensuring a safe restart over the next six to eight months. And I think it’s important for Canadians to understand that’s the timeframe that we are focused on,” she said, CTV News reported. “We really are approaching this by saying to the provinces and territories, we understand that a safe restart is essential. And that it is expensive.”
On Thursday, Tam said that an effective vaccine or treatment would be required for Canada to consider a full reopening of the economy, much of which has remained under lockdown, to prevent an “explosive” second wave of infections. Federal modeling shows that a second peak could be imminent in October without proper measures.
Previous projections, made in late April, were within the margins of the total number of infections and deaths to COVID-19.