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Trudeau health minister was hesitant to close borders to China out of fear of discrimination to Chinese-Canadians

Health minister Patty Hajdu said that the risk to Canadians remained low as late as March 9, only two days before the WHO declared a global pandemic.
Roberto Wakerell-Cruz Montreal, QC

Internal memos from the Department of Health have unveiled that the government believed they were completely prepared for any potential pandemic scenario, saying that the health care system was "working exactly as it should."

Furthermore, health minister Patty Hajdu said that the risk to Canadians remained low as late as March 9, only two days before the WHO declared a global pandemic.

"Our preparedness has enabled us to respond quickly and efficiently," staff wrote in briefing notes on February 7, according to Blacklock's Reporter. "Our health system is working exactly as it should."

Despite the department's patting themselves on the back, saying that Canada had nipped the spread of the virus in the bud, Hajdu later said that it was "difficult work" keeping Canadians safe.

Records also reveal that Hajdu was hesitant to slow or restrict travel to and from virus hotbeds, namely China, out of fear of "discrimination in the Chinese-Canadian community."

By then, countries that had unveiled restriction on travel from China included: Taiwan, the United States, Australia, and South Korea, all of which did so before February 24.

Canada, on the other hand, allowed nearly 2,000 travelers from Hubei province, where the virus originated in the city of Wuhan.

Hajdu told the health agency on February 10 that it was important to not "signal to Canadians that the government believes the risk within Canada is changing and other measures are necessary. It will be important to underscore that this is not the case."

"We remain concerned about social anxiety, misinformation and discrimination in the Chinese-Canadian community with the coronavirus," Hajdu would say in a February 12 teleconference.

Despite knowing that Canada's pandemic supply stock was depleted, Hajdu again said that the risk to Canadians "continued to remain low," saying that "Canada's public health system is well equipped to contain cases coming from abroad, limiting the spread in Canada."

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Roberto Wakerell-Cruz
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