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Coronavirus: Inuit say potential spread of COVID-19 a greater risk for northern communities

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The Inuit Circumpolar Council says if the novel coronavirus spreads to the North, communities in Canada, Alaska and Greenland are at a much higher risk of exposure because of a chronic lack of basic infrastructure and resources.

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The group says the Inuit must be considered in government responses because of the potential compounding threat to basic health and well-being in those communities.

The ICC says many communities lack sewers and running water, putting people at greater risk of contracting the virus and its accompanying respiratory disease, COVID-19.

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They have also called on governments to close those infrastructure gaps to protect against future health threats.

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NDP leader Jagmeet Singh wrote a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Friday, urging him to make sure Indigenous and Inuit communities are not disproportionately affected if a widespread outbreak of the virus hits Canada.

READ MORE: Cough, kiss, touch: How the new coronavirus can (and can’t) spread

The NDP says Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller should be on the new COVID-19 cabinet committee struck earlier this week to provide an all-government approach to combating the virus.

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