#Canada; #Covid19; #People'sLivesChanged; #MissedOpportunities
Ottawa, Apr 11 (Canadian-Media): The government of Canada's late realization of the severity of the problem of the issue of coronavirus which caused COVID-19 pandemic, had caused a change in the people's lives for ever, media reports said.
Justin Trudeau. Image credit: Official site
"Like everything when it comes to this pandemic, it's the people and leaders who moved early that made the difference," said Dr. Raiyan Chowdhury, a critical care specialist and ear, nose and throat surgeon at the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Edmonton.
While the government's initial focus was on repatriating stranded Canadians in Wuhan, China, and on evacuating Canadians from cruise ships and quarantines order for repatriated travelers, Canada did not issue stricter border controls, which multiple studies said can slow them down by days or even weeks.
Canada's decision, a month later to close the border to all foreign nationals and to non-essential travel from the U.S. was weeks too late.
Before the closure, incoming travelers were asked to voluntary self-isolate for 14 days and some people were given a pamphlet on COVID-19 and what symptoms to look out for, and what to do if they developed them.
But it was not until March 25, 14 days after the WHO declared COVID-19 a pandemic that Canada invoked Quarantine Act, and fines up to $750,000 and even jail for those not following.
"People coming from high-risk regions need to be quarantined," said Dr. Ashish Jha, a professor of global health at Harvard University and the director of the Harvard Global Health Institute.
Canada's actions up to the end of March was to be based on some early and faulty assumptions of unlikelihood of an asymptomatic person to transmit the virus.
Even after it had been known for about six months that asymptomatic transmission is real, when first asymptomatic case of virus developed in Germany, yet it wasn't until the end of March, that Chief medical officer Dr. Theresa Tam acknowledged the growing body of evidence.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, along with the health minister and other federal ministers, had been deferring to World Health Organization (WHO), Chowdhury said that the WHO doesn't necessarily make decisions solely based on medicine.
Jha also had been advising against countries that have strong scientific communities from following the organization blindly.
All these missed opportunities resulted in Canada scrambling to produce millions of items as it competes in the global race for much-needed supplies.
Provinces still struggling to test people for the virus and to obtain faster results are a long way off from being able to test asymptomatic people, and then isolate those who test positive.