Prime Minister Justin Trudeau addressed Canadians from Rideau Cottage on Friday afternoon, vowing that the federal government will “help Canadians financially” in the midst of a snowballing COVID-19 pandemic.
“No one should have to worry about paying rent, buying groceries or additional childcare because of COVID-19,” Trudeau said. “We will help Canadians financially.”
“The government of Canada will be introducing significant fiscal stimulus packages in the days ahead.”
The prime minister remains under a 14-day self-isolation after his wife, Sophie, tested positive for COVID-19.
“Her symptoms remain mild, but we are following medical advice and taking every precaution,” Trudeau said. “She will remain in isolation for the time being.”
“I want to be clear I have no symptoms,” he added. “I’m feeling good and technology allows me to work from home.”
Trudeau tried to ease the collective anxiety of Canadians during his address.
“I know that you are worried, you are worried about your health, your family’s health, about your job, your savings, about paying rent, about your kids not being in school. I know that you’re concerned about uncertainty in the global economy. The steps being taken to keep you safe have an economic impact. But what is also true is we are in the enviable position of having significant fiscal firepower available to support you.”
Trudeau reiterated earlier calls from officials urging Canadians to cancel or postpone travel out of the country, and said additional screening measures would be implemented at airports.
When pressed for details, he responded: “We are looking to reduce the number of airports that accept travellers from overseas in order to be able to give proper resources on all arrivals to assure we are doing everything we can to keep Canadians and Canada safe.”
When asked why he hasn’t yet been tested for the virus, Trudeau said because he remains asymptomatic, testing is not advised.
“It was explained to me that as long as I do not show any symptoms at all, there is no value in having me tested.”
“For now I am continuing to work extremely hard from home.”
Watch the prime minister’s full address below.