OTTAWA, Canada (AFP) — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Tuesday told Canadians exhausted by the coronavirus that the pandemic “really sucks” on the same day the nation’s death toll was reported to have topped 10,000.
With fatigue setting in as the pandemic enters its tenth month, Canada has seen an uptick in people flouting public health rules on social distancing and mask-wearing.
“We’re in an unprecedented global pandemic. That really sucks,” Trudeau told a news conference.
The prime minister acknowledged growing frustration, including over the lockdown of businesses once again amid a second wave of infections.
Figures released by several television news channels revealed Tuesday’s grim milestone, with a case count of 220,670 and a death toll of 10,001.
Most of the deaths are concentrated in the two largest provinces of Ontario and Quebec.
“It’s going to be a tough winter ahead,” Trudeau added, noting that most Halloween trick-or-treating this weekend has been banned and “there may not be the kinds of family gatherings we want to have a Christmas”.
“My six-year-old (Hadrien) asked me a few weeks ago, ‘Dad is COVID-19 forever?'” the prime minister shared with reporters.
“I mean he’s in grade one, this was supposed to be his big year as a big boy,” he added.
But he concluded that the country would “get through this”.
More than 80 people were fined this week for attending a house party in French-speaking Quebec, while in the central prairie province of Manitoba authorities publicly admonished citizens who ignored pandemic precautions.
Their actions have led to thousands being exposed to COVID-19 at shopping malls, offices and elderly care homes.
One person was singled out for not alerting doctors of their COVID-19 diagnosis ahead of a surgery. As a result, the entire surgical team had to be placed under quarantine for two weeks.
Another person went to work with symptoms and when told to go home, went shopping instead, according to authorities.
“Thoughtful Manitobans are making sacrifices and staying away from loved ones, while other people are doing dumb things endangering all of us,” a visibly upset Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister said on Monday as the number of per capita cases topped all other Canadian regions.
“Get with the program, grow up and stop going out there and giving people COVID,” he said.