'They are beginning to make a difference': COVID-19 restrictions extended in Manitoba because they are working, says premier
Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister speaks at a press conference during the Council of Federation meetings in Edmonton on July 18, 2017. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson)
WINNIPEG -- Manitobans will have to deal with COVID-19 restrictions for a longer period as the province continues its fight against the disease.
Manitoba's current round of restrictions for COVID-19 was set to end on Dec. 11.
The premier announced on Tuesday those restrictions will be extended with some modifications until Jan. 8.
Premier Brian Pallister had a simple reason for why the restrictions are being extended.
"They’re working," said Pallister. "They are beginning to make a difference. You are beginning to make a difference and that is critical as we move forward."
The premier compared Manitoba to other provinces across the country on how the COVID-19 case count has changed from last week compared to the previous week.
"Canada up 14.8 per cent, British Columbia up 30.7 per cent, Alberta up 18.5 per cent, Saskatchewan up 21.6 per cent, Ontario up 9.9 per cent, Quebec up 12.7 per cent, Manitoba down 0.4 per cent.
"Manitobans need to know that what they've done has helped. It has made a difference, it has saved lives."
Despite the good news, Pallister said more still needs to be done and Manitobans shouldn't view this as a victory lap.
Dr. Brent Roussin, the chief provincial public health officer, reiterated a similar sentiment as the premier saying people need to continue to stay home as much as possible and follow the orders.
"We need Manitobans to step up and we need a high level of compliance to our public health orders from Manitobans," said Roussin. "When these conditions are met, interventions are shown to be successful. We can expect the current restrictions to follow the same pattern with widespread public buy in."
Roussin said the restrictions are necessary to "rapidly" lower the number of cases in the province.
He said if people comply, then they will once again be able to do things that they like to do.
"Such as visiting out loved ones in personal care homes. We want to be able to keep our kids in school and have them attend their activities. We want to gather with our loved ones again."
Pallister understands life has not been easy for the past couple of weeks and he said it will continue to be tough going into the new year; however, he noted it will be worth it as the numbers continue to go down.
"I would want Manitobans to know, by doing the right things here and by listening to Dr. Roussin, and effectively following the public health orders, we are beginning to get back in the fight against COVID in a successful way," said Pallister.
READ MORE: Strict Manitoba health orders extended through the holidays, but they come with some changes
The majority of health orders will remain unchanged but restrictions will be loosened for drive-in events such as church services.
People will also be able to buy certain Christmas supplies and shop at thrift stores.