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Trudeau urges young people to stay home amid surging COVID-19 cases

Pleas come as B.C. reports surging case numbers in recent weeks
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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is asking young people to stay home as cases of COVID-19 continue to surge.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is pleading for young Canadians to stay home amid surging cases of COVID-19.

“You've made tremendous sacrifices over the past year to protect your parents, grandparents, and the heroes on the frontlines,” he said during a Tuesday media briefing in Ottawa.

“We need you to keep doing this a while longer. If you can stay home, please do.”

B.C. reported on Monday 890 new cases of COVID-19 over the previous 24 hours, while a total of 737 cases of the P.1 variant (Brazil) have been detected in the province so far.

That’s nearly double the 379 cases of the highly contagious variant that had been detected as of April 1.

“Early evidence suggests that the P.1 variant may reduce the effectiveness of vaccines, making it even more important to control the spread,” said Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer.

B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry ordered the suspension of all indoor dining early last week in an effort to control the recent surge in cases. Fitness centres and dance studios were also restricted to only one-on-one activity, while Whistler-Blackcomb has been temporarily closed.

The province did not, however, place any new restrictions on retail shops.

“Now is not the time to travel for recreational purposes,” Tam said.

“If different people from different provinces ended up at a ski resort that there are variants in those settings, [there’s] a potential for spread within Canada between provinces.”

Among the most high-profile situations to emerge over the past week in B.C. has centred on the Vancouver Canucks.

As of Monday afternoon, 17 players and three members of the coaching staff have been added to the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol list.

Meanwhile, U.S. news outlet Politico reports vaccine manufacturer AstraZeneca plc has 90 million doses ready or almost ready for use in the U.S.

Last week, truckers delivered 1.5 million doses of the vaccine from the U.S. as part of a negotiated deal in which Canada will need to reciprocate with its own allocated supply at a later date (the vaccine has not received regulatory approval from the Americans).

Trudeau did not directly answer when asked if he’s reached out to U.S. President Joe Biden about securing more doses.

“We have continued to engage in conversations with partners around the world including the United States about getting more doses quickly,” the prime minister said.

torton@biv.com

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