Canada has handled the coronavirus outbreak better than many of its allies, including the United States, said Justin Trudeau on Wednesday, in a rare public comment on the faltering effort to contain the pandemic in the US.
Canada – with a population a tenth of the size of the United States – has so far recorded 8,711 deaths and 106,167 cases and Trudeau said the situation was stabilizing, although some hotspots remained.
In contrast, the United States on Wednesday surpassed more than 3m cases and 131,000 deaths. Authorities have reported alarming upswings of daily caseloads in roughly two dozen states over the past two weeks.
“We were able to control the virus better than many of our allies, particularly including our neighbor,” Trudeau told a briefing, saying this would help efforts to restart the economy.
Canada and the United States have blocked non-essential travel between the two nations since March and are discussing whether to extend the ban when it expires on 21 July.
In a poll this week, more than 80% of Canadians said the shared border should remain off-limits for travelers.
Canadian health officials said the death toll could hit 8,900 by 17 July.
Deputy chief public health officer Howard Njoo said the outbreak was largely under control while stressing measures such as contact tracing and quarantine would still be essential.
‘It’s like night and day’: Trudeau’s and Trump’s Covid-19 responses fuel wildly different outcomes
“If we relax too much or too soon, the epidemic will most likely rebound, with explosive growth as a distinct possibility,” he told a separate news conference.
Although Trudeau’s relations Donald Trump has been good over the last 18 months, he skipped a Washington meeting on Wednesday to herald the start of a new continental trade agreement with the US and Mexico.
Trudeau, who would have had to enter a 14-day quarantine period on his return, repeated concerns about the possible imposition of US tariffs on Canadian exports of aluminum.
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