In just a matter of days, it has become clear just how real the COVID-19 virus pandemic is and how it hits close to home.
The number of people Infected worldwide is now over 200,000. What is particularly concerning is the way that the number of infections and that is growing, including here in Manitoba and Canada.
As the pandemic crisis escalates, a number of things are clear. It can have particularly devastating impacts on vulnerable populations. At the same time, some jurisdictions have had success in slowing and even containing the virus. What has been clear is that comprehensive and in many cases dramatic action has been taken.
There have been a number of significant actions taken by both the provincial and federal governments. These range from restricting travel to and from Canada, the closure of schools, colleges, universities, restaurants, bars and other retail establishments.
As significant as these initiatives are, there is a growing concern that we are not sufficiently able to deal with any major outbreak of the pandemic here in our north.
Day after day, I have called on the federal government to do more to prepare for the pandemic. I pointed to the lack of health care resources needed to deal with a potential pandemic in northern and Indigenous communities in our area. I have called on the government to address the growing concerns about the potential spread of the virus in workplaces such as Keeyask. I also called for clear recognition of the need for support for working people facing being laid off, for small businesses and people that are self-employed who are being dramatically impacted. I have called for action to provide support to parents who now find themselves In a very difficult situation with the closure of schools and childcare facilities.
Over the next few days and weeks, I will be continuing to push hard for the support our region needs.
I have made it clear that we are one of the most vulnerable regions in the country when it comes to this virus. Much more needs to be done to prepare for it.
We must all be in this together. Employers. Governments. Unions. Everyone. Only then can we keep each other safe.