COVID-19 Update: ‘It’s time to come home’ says Prime Minister to Canadians abroad

Published On March 16, 2020 | By tylerbiggs | Business, Life, News, Politics
A woman watches Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announces measures to combat the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) on the television screen of a bank in Toronto, Ontario on March 16, 2020. (REUTERS/Chris Helgren)

A timeline of COVID-19 news in Canada on Monday, March 16. This story is no longer being updated.

1:52 p.m: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced he would be closing borders to non-Canadian citizens permanent residents, telling Canadians, “If you’re abroad, it’s time to come home.”

Trudeau added that all Canadians should stay home as much as possible and that if you are returning to Canada, you must enter into a 14-day self-isolation.

Only four airports will accept passengers from international destinations. Toronto, Calgary, Montreal and Vancouver.

The federal government is also mandating air carriers to screen passengers for symptoms and prevent infected passengers from boarding planes to Canada.

Trudeau still urged communication in this time of social distancing, suggesting phone calls, email and skype to talk to your loved ones.

US residents will still be allowed to enter at this time.

11:00 a.m: Premier Doug Ford held a news conference Monday morning to provide an update on Ontario’s response to COVID-19.

Premier Ford confirmed the province is currently trying to amend the Employment Standards Act to protect Ontario workers and retroactively include anyone impacted by the virus after Jan. 25, 2020.

If passed, the legislation would see job security for anyone that needed treatment or isolation for COVID-19. As well as protection for an employee following in accordance with the Health Protection and Promotion Act.

Ford additionally urged the federal government to tighten up borders and that the province was not ordering wide-spread closures but “nothing was off the table.”

10:38 a.m: Ontario confirms 32 new cases of COVID-19, marking the second-largest single-day jump so far.

Of the new cases, 11 people reside in Toronto, five in the York region, four in the Peel region, one in Durham and one is in the Halton region.

This is a significant increase in cases as last Monday, Ontario only has 35 patients.

Ontario has the most confirmed cases in Canada with 177, British Columbia is second with 73 and Alberta has 56.

The province has tested 10,178 people with 1,537 results still pending.

10:15 a.m: Toronto stock market takes another hit as trading starts this morning.

The S&P/TSX index tumbled 945.43 points and the Canadian dollar traded at 71.76 cents as the whole world is feeling the financial pinch from COVID-19.

8:30 a.m: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is expected to announce international flight restrictions today.

The restrictions will see some international flights rerouted after cases in Canada continue to rise at an uncontrolled rate. These rerouted flights will go enhanced screening for COVID-19 after most of Canada’s cases are from outside travellers coming to Canada.

Trudeau will be speaking at 1:00 pm.

6:24 a.m: Mayor John Tory announced a special task force to combat COVID-19’s impact on the economy.

In the press release, Tory said the task force will be to “identify immediate and longer-term economic recovery strategies for residents and businesses.”

Tory also said he would be providing a grace period of 30 days for businesses.

Last Night: Goodlife fitness closes its doors across Canada due to the growing COVID-19 outbreak.

All gyms will be closed immediately and member payments will be suspended as of March 17th.

No re-open date has been suggested but Goodlife says it will continue to follow the advice of Canada’s public health authorities on that timeline.

Yesterday: Popular buffet restaurant Mandarin closes doors amid the outbreak.

Mandarin restaurant President James Chiu said in a statement that they have suspended service at all of their 29 locations, until further notice.

The closure will take effect Friday.

Yesterday: 3 Toronto bound passengers and CBSA test positive for COVID-19 a day after complaints about the lack of airport screening. Despite an announcement Friday for new national screening measures.

One passenger was flying from London’s Gatwick airport and two others were flying from Phoenix, Arizona.

The airline is advising guests that were on those flights to self-isolate and call their public health officials.

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