Ontario, B.C. and Alberta have declared states of emergency as COVID-19 fears deepen

British Columbia was the third province to declare a state of emergency on Tuesday, March 17, after it has seen 83 additional coronavirus cases and three new deaths. The province has now recorded a total of 186 cases and seven COVID-19-related deaths.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford called this an “unprecedented time in our history,” as he declared a state of emergency in the province Tuesday. 

Hours later, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney declared a public state of health emergency as “The situation is very serious,”  and “Decisive action is needed and we are taking that action.”

Alberta confirms 23 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, bringing the total in the province to 97 cases.

The emergency declarations will allow the province to set out new rules strictly limiting public gatherings, also will grant special powers for a limited amount of time to Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia – the three provinces hit hardest by the coronavirus pandemic.

The move has forced immediate closure of restaurants, bars, movie theatres, recreation centres and childcare facilities and religious gatherings. Restaurant take-out, delivery or drive-through service is permitted.

Schools in British Columbia are closed indefinitely, Premier John Horgan announced.

In Alberta, Premier Jason Kenney banned gathering with more than 50 people, but essential services are exempt.

Ontario is investigating its first possible death of COVID-19-related Tuesday.

Canada now recorded a total of 556 cases confirmed.

The federal government is looking at the Emergencies Act for special temporary measures it could take to help protect Canadians.  Prime Minister Trudeau said Parliament is working to pass a significant economic stimulus package of at least $20billion to “give people more flexibility to make payments and businesses to have more liquidity during this time,” he said.

Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland would replace Trudeau if he were unable to perform functions of his office due to COVID-19.

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