OTTAWA, March 17 (Reuters) - Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Tuesday his government would provide financial support to people during the coronanvirus outbreak as he urged them to stay at home to slow the spread of COVID-19.
“We’re going to be flowing income supports to millions of Canadians,” he said.
Trudeau announced a “significant” stimulus package last week. On Tuesday, he said direct income support for people who do not qualify for unemployment benefits and money for businesses that keep people on the payroll even if they stay home are among the possible measures.
“There’s a range of measures that we’re looking at,” Trudeau said in an interview with 680 News radio.
Other measures could include greater access to credit for businesses, help for people struggling to pay their mortgages, a possible increase to child care benefits and increased support for low-income families.
Details of the government’s financial support package are likely to be announced on Wednesday, Trudeau said. Meanwhile, authorities urged people to stay at home and avoid social gatherings.
The death toll in Canada rose to four on Monday. The number of infected jumped to 407 from the 341.
“Everyone who can stay home should stay home,” Trudeau said.
Ontario, Canada’s most populous province, banned gatherings of more than 50 people and ordered the closure of bars and restaurants on Tuesday. The province accounts for nearly half of confirmed cases.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford committed C$300 million to boost the province’s healthcare system, including to buy more protective gear and ventilators.
Canada’s six largest banks will temporarily limit operating hours and cut the number of operating branches as part of new coordinated measures to support social distancing to curb the outbreak, the Canadian Bankers Association said.
Canada is weighing a multi-billion dollar aid package for industries hit hardest by the coronavirus outbreak, such as the tourism, energy and hospitality sectors, a source directly familiar with the matter told Reuters on Friday. (Reporting by Steve Scherer and David Ljunggren, additional reporting by Amran Abocar in Toronto; Editing by Dan Grebler)