“Enough is enough,” a frustrated Canadian prime minister said Monday in a message to Canadians flouting public health recommendations to self-isolate to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus.
“We’ve all seen the pictures online of people who seem to think they’re invincible,” Trudeau told a news conference.
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“Well, you’re not. Enough is enough. Go home and stay home,” he said, warning that his administration was prepared to enforce a lockdown if calls to voluntarily self-isolate and social distance are not heeded.
Trudeau, who is himself self-isolating with his family after his wife Sophie was diagnosed with the COVID-19 virus, said he was to speak with provincial leaders in the evening about the possibility of taking stronger actions.
Some provinces have already imposed extreme measures to try to stem the spread of the virus, including closing most businesses and banning public gatherings.
The federal government, Trudeau said, would “rather not” use the Emergency Measures Act, which restricts civil liberties, noting that “millions of Canadians are doing their part.”
“But those who are not doing their part are putting at risk everyone else, including the eventual recovery of our economy and the well-being of millions of Canadians.
“So we’re going to continue to look very carefully at what could be the next steps as we move forward.”
On Sunday, Health Minister Patty Hajdu said she was looking at possible criminal penalties against Canadian travellers in particular who don’t follow guidance to self-isolate upon returning to Canada.
The health minister can designate quarantine zones, and fine or jail people who disobey quarantine requests under the Quarantine Act.
“When we say that you must stay at home for 14 days, that means you stay at home for 14 days. You do not shop for groceries, you do not go visit your neighbours or your friends, you rest in your house for 14 days. No exceptions,” she told reporters in Ottawa.
As of 1800 GMT Monday, Canadian public health authorities reported more than 2,000 cases of coronavirus, including 24 deaths.