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Trudeau cautions that premature reopening could send Canada “back into confinement”

11 May 2020

Prime Minister Trudeau warns that if provinces more too quickly to reopen their economies, second wave COVID-19 infections could send the country “back into confinement this summer.”

According to Reuters, the Prime Minister, who represents Montreal’s parliamentary district, told reporters in a daily briefing that his is concerned about the virus’ spread within his home province of Quebec. Quebec is the country’s epicentre of COVID-19 infections. He said any reopening should be gradual.

Although health officials have pointed to a flattening rate of daily cases in many provinces, Trudeau said Canada was "not in the recovery phase yet."

"We are still in the emergency phase... The vast majority of Canadians continue to need to be very careful."

Canada's death toll rose 3.5 percent to 4,628 from a day earlier, while cases approached 67,000. Nearly 60 percent of Canada's deaths have occurred in Quebec, where there are numerous outbreaks in nursing homes.

Some of the country's biggest individual outbreaks are in Cargill Inc and JBS SA beef plants in Alberta, which has forced them to reduce production.

This has resulted in a glut of live cattle and tight beef supplies.

On 6 May, President Trump said he urged the US Justice Department to look into allegations that the meatpacking industry broke antitrust law due to the widening gap between low prices for livestock and high prices for meat.

Canada will also take a "very careful look," Trudeau said. "We need to make sure no one is profiting in an exaggerated way from this crisis," he said.

Trudeau gave no specifics. The independent Competition Bureau reviews such concerns.

The pandemic helped cause a record-breaking loss of 2 million jobs in April, Canadian government data showed on Friday. The unemployment rate jumped less than expected, however, because some laid-off people collect federal aid and are waiting to return to their old jobs when the pandemic passes.

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