Trudeau says Canada winning virus fight, advises caution


Ottawa (AFP)

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau declared on Thursday that Canada is winning the fight against the new coronavirus, with the latest data showing new cases in decline.

But he also warned that the battle is not over yet.

"The data shows that we are continuing to make progress in the fight against this virus in many communities, the number of new cases is low, and we can trace where they came from," Trudeau told a daily briefing.

"That's an encouraging sign that the virus is slowing, and in some places, even stopping," he said. "But I want to be very clear: We're not out of the woods."

As of Thursday there were 93,700 coronavirus cases in Canada. More than half of those patients have already recovered.

New COVID-19 modeling for the country showed the epidemic has slowed after peaking mid-April.

And with strong containment measures -- such as social distancing, testing and contact tracing -- Canada could slay the virus by fall.

In the short term, Health Canada projects the total number of cases to rise to between 97,990 and 107,454, -- including 7,700 to 9,400 deaths -- by June 15.

Canada flattened its epidemic curve sooner than a number of countries such as Britain, Italy and the US, but lagged behind South Korea and Japan.

Ninety-four percent of the 7,495 deaths recorded so far have been among people aged 60 years or older; 82 percent were in long-term care homes.

Canada's two largest and most populous provinces continue to struggle. Ontario and Quebec accounted for 90 percent of new cases in last two weeks, Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam said.