Stay home. It’s a simple message Manitoba’s premier and chief provincial public health officer have reiterated for weeks but not everyone is listening.
“This is disrespectful to each other,” Premier Brian Pallister said. “This is not what good citizenship looks like.”
The premier made the comments after social distancing questions were asked by Global News during a Wednesday afternoon news conference.
On multiple occasions, and at different locations, Global News cameras observed groups of young people still playing basketball, football and gathering in large groups around the city.
On Tuesday evening, groups of young men were running drills on a football field in St. Vital and holding an impromptu football practice.
“Listen carefully, understand, this is real. This is not pretend. This is not a video game,” Pallister passionately pleaded. “You have the chance to save lives. Do it, listen and act accordingly and respectfully.”
The premier said young people in the province need to understand what previous generations have sacrificed in the past and given up for their safety.
“Understand that previous generations fought and gave up their lives to protect their fellow citizens,” he said. “In both the First (World) War and the Second (World) War young people did their part. They stood up and they did their part… and you have the chance to do your part now and protect yourselves, but protect other people, too.”
On Wednesday, Manitoba recorded another 24 cases of COVID-19, putting the provincial total at 127 cases.
Chief Provincial Public Health Officer Dr. Brent Roussin also said the province is seeing community transmission.
“I can confirm that public health officials are seeing early signs of community transmission in Winnipeg,” Dr. Roussin said. “Public health investigations have not been able to confirm if several cases have had any connection to travel or to other confirmed cases.”
Four people were in hospital as of Wednesday morning with three of those patients in the intensive care unit. One person has died from COVID-19 in the province.
Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:
Health officials caution against all international travel. Returning travellers are legally obligated to self-isolate for 14 days, beginning March 26, in case they develop symptoms and to prevent spreading the virus to others. Some provinces and territories have also implemented additional recommendations or enforcement measures to ensure those returning to the area self-isolate.
Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.
To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out.
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