COVID-19 measures expected to last until July, govt document says

Canadians are far from done with dealing with COVID-19, as measures to fight the spread of the virus are expected to continue until at least July, according to a government document obtained by the National Post.

“Current GoC [Government Operations Centre] modelling suggests as a best case scenario that current measures continue until at least July.”

That short line, written in a COVID-19 “Daily Sitrep Highlights” by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) on March 30 and obtained by the National Post, is the clearest timeline we’ve seen from the federal government to date on how long Canadians will have to endure measures to fight COVID-19.

Is IRCC referring to social distancing measures such as encouraging self-isolation or banning public gatherings? Or the closure of the Canadian border to most foreigners? Maybe the obligatory 14-day quarantine for those who return to the country? Possibly all or none of the above?

The document does not specify, and spokespeople for IRCC and Public Safety Canada (that oversees the GOC) did not respond to questions.

But the Government Operations Centre is Ottawa’s brain during a national crisis. During such times, some of its many roles are creating risk assessments, “national-level planning and whole-of-government response management,” according to its website.

Thus, it holds a central role in coordinating all the measures put in place by the federal government to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, such as the ones mentioned above.

As of now, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has refused to answer specific questions by reporters regarding the government’s internal projections of the spread of COVID-19.

But over the last week, government officials have been hinting that distancing measures would be recommended – or enforced if necessary – for more than just the next few weeks.

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