Manitoba considers declaring state of emergency over COVID-19

By | March 20, 2020

Provincial health officials are actively considering following the lead of other provinces and calling a state of emergency in Manitoba over COVID-19, Manitoba’s top public health doctor says. 

As of Friday morning, there are 17 confirmed and presumptive cases in the province. One person has been hospitalized. 

A daily briefing on coronavirus in Manitoba will take place at 11 a.m. CBC News will live stream it here.

Chief provincial public health office Dr. Brent Roussin told CBC Information Radio host Marcy Markusa that if a state of emergency is declared, it will allow him to make orders under the Public Health Act, such as banning gatherings of more than 50 people.

“The Public Health Act makes it an offence to contravene any orders and so there are potential penalties for people who violate that,” he said. 

The penalties could be fines or even jail time, he said. 

Manitobans should expect to practice social distancing measures for “many many weeks” as the country works to get the virus under control, Roussin said. 

Ontario, B.C., Saskatchewan and New Brunswick have all called a state of emergency over COVID-19. 

As of 8:30 a.m. Friday, there were 873 confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 in Canada and 12 people have died.

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