With the COVID-19 outbreak “evolving rapidly internationally,” Justin Trudeau has created a new cabinet committee to address the federal response to the virus.
According to the Canadian government, the new committee on the federal response to the coronavirus disease will complement the work being done by the Incident Response Group.
The committee will meet regularly to ensure whole-of-government leadership, coordination, and preparedness for a response to the health and economic impacts of the virus.
“We take the international spread of COVID-19 seriously, and Canadians can be assured that their government and health officials are working tirelessly to keep them safe,” said Trudeau in a statement. “This new committee will continue to monitor the health and economic impacts of the virus, and make sure our response takes all possible measures to prevent and limit the spread of the virus in Canada.”
The members of the Cabinet Committee are: Chrystia Freeland (Chair), Jean-Yves Duclos (Vice-Chair), Navdeep Singh Bains, William Sterling Blair, Patricia Hajdu, Mélanie Joly, William Francis Morneau, and Carla Qualtrough.
Kirsty Duncan, Deputy Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, will also be a core participant of the meetings.
According to the government, it currently has multiple systems in place to prepare for, prevent, detect, and respond to the spread of COVID-19.
These include The Public Health Agency of Canada which is in close contact with provincial and territorial Chief Medical Officers of Health to share information, coordinate response efforts, and support informed vigilance as the situation evolves.
There will also be routine traveller screening procedures at all of Canada’s ports of entry, as well as additional border screening measures that have been expanded to all international airports in Canada to help identify any travellers returning to Canada who may be ill, and to raise awareness among travellers about what they should do if they become sick.
As of March 3, 2020, 33 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Canada.