Canada unlikely to go on lockdown as a result of COVID-19 epidemic

A few people walk the empty streets in Venice, Italy on Monday after country announces lockdown in efforts to stop spread of COVID-19 (Marco Di Lauro/Getty Images)

Canada is unlikely to go on national lockdown as the risk of contracting COVID-19 remains relatively low.

On Monday, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announced a national lockdown as the death toll went up from 366 to 463 this week. After China, Italy remains the second country with the biggest death toll as a result of the virus.

In Israel, all individuals arriving in the country are required to self-quarantine for 14 days. In France, bans have been placed on public gatherings of more than 1,000 people.

The COVID-19 death rate has raised to more than 3,900 deaths world wide with many countries taking on strong measures to mitigate the spread of the virus. 

While many private sport and public entertainment events have been cancelled in Canada in attempt to reduce the risk of public transmission, Canada shows no sign of going on lockdown as the risk remains low despite global concerns.

Public health experts confirmed that more than 80 percent of cases of the virus are estimated to be very mild and not life threatening, and most people with good health and of middle age who contract the virus should show minimal symptoms and manage to carry on with their regular activities.

Italy’s case of COVID-19 –How it differs from Canada

Italy’s case of COVID-19 is unique and fundamentally different from the outbreak seen in Canada.

The country has the oldest aging population after Japan. With the case of COVID-19, the death rate of people over the age of 80 who contract the virus dramatically increases by 15 percent. As Italy’s population is particularly vulnerable, the government sees it as cause for stricter government action in handling the coronavirus outbreak.

In Canada, the risk to the general population remains relatively low.

Italy is dramatically much smaller of a country than Canada which demonstrates as another reason for difference in number of community transmissions between both countries.

Geographically, populations in Canada remain very separate from each other. There is far less of a chance of spreading transmission from a community in one side of the country to another.

“We can localize this in Canada where we have a lot of regions that are geographically very separate. An outbreak in Vancouver, for example, would not necessarily mean an outbreak was imminent in Regina or even in Prince George.” says Tom Koch, a geography professors at the University of British Columbia who spoke with reporters from The CBC on the probabilities of community transmission.

Social Distancing- Canada’s strategy in tackling COVID-19

As COVID-19 continues to rapidly effect populations globally, Canada’s experience with the virus has been vastly different. It has taken much more time for the virus to arrive and spread to different areas. Due to this, the Canadian government has been able to learn from other cases through surveillance, mitigating the spread of the virus.

While other countries globally take harder stances on responding to the virus epidemic, with such low numbers of infected persons in Canada, the government is likely to continue its surveillance and monitoring of the epidemic and encourage people to refrain from holding public gatherings.

Canada’s strategy to handling COVID-19 within the weeks to come is most likely a promotion and stronger approach to pushing for social distancing and voluntary quarantine.

The Public Health Agency of Canada today published guidelines with the goal of helping public event planners understand when to cancel a gathering as a response to taking precautions in dealing with the potential transmission of the coronavirus.  

Public Health Agency of Canada announced the following risk mitigations strategies for event planners:

  • Reduce the number of participants possible at a venue
  • Spread out the arrivals and departure times for events.
  • Provide packaged refreshments and food instead of a buffets
  • Increase access to hand-washing stations;
  • promote personal protective practices
  • Offer virtual or live-streamed activities; and
  • changing the event program to reduce high risk activities such as those that require physical contact between participants.

The cancellation of some big public events with a mass amount of gathered people are expected, however with such low transmissions and deaths related to COVID-19 in Canada, the government is unlikely to follow the footsteps of action from Italian Prime Minister Conte.

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Written by
Paola Patrizia Floro

Paola Floro is a graduate of the Journalism-New Media Program at Sheridan College.She holds an Honours Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and Latin American Studies from the University of Toronto.

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