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Wesley Wark, a University of Ottawa professor and one of the country's top intelligence experts, said the delay between the January 17 military briefing and the first meeting of the incident response group shows "there weren't a lot of alarm bells ringing anywhere in government" in the early days of this pandemic.
While the minister was briefed in mid-January about the new virus, the government's incident response group — led by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and composed of cabinet ministers and other senior governmental officials — didn't meet to discuss COVID until 10 days later, on January By that date, 82 people had died and more than 2, cases had been confirmed in mainland China.
While the actual contents of that military intelligence briefing are unknown, it is clear that the machinery of government was aware of COVID and its spread well before the Public Health Agency of Canada coordinated an almost complete shutdown of economic and social life two months later, in mid-March.
Military intelligence unit briefed sajjan on covid risk on january documents
John Paul Tasker Parliamentary Bureau. Between December 31, and January 3,44 patients with an unknown form of "pneumonia" were reported to the WHO by authorities in China.
What is known is that the contents of the January briefing to Sajjan did not lead the federal government to close borders or restrict flights — or to alter its public messaging on the risk the virus posed to Canadians. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments.
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By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. A month later, Canada would have more than 21, cases, many of them linked to China, Europe and U. As government documents show, as of Jan. Trudeau and other members of his cabinet have been reluctant to publicly look back at what could have been done to better prepare Canada for COVID with the country still in the grips of a pandemic.
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Wark said the January 17 briefing to Sajjan on the threat posed by COVID to Canada "wasn't particularly early," given China was already in the planning stages for the full lockdown of Hubei province that took place less than a week later. The note also said the public health system is "well-equipped to contain cases coming from abroad, limiting the spread in Canada.
John Paul J. He can be reached at john. As late as March 10a department-drafted briefing note prepared for Health Minister Patty Hajdu ahead of question period was saying that — with just 12 cases being reported nationwide at that point even though publicly available s already had climbed higher — "the risk of spread of this virus within Canada remains low at this time.
A variety of newsletters you'll love, delivered straight to you. More cases were being reported throughout the rest of Asia and around the world.
The Associated Press has reportedbased on leaked documents, that China's leaders sat on critical information that might have helped stave off a global pandemic. Already have an ? Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted. Comments are welcome while open. In response to an order paper question from Conservative MP James Bezan, the Department of National Defence confirmed that the medical intelligence unit shared its briefing documents about COVID widely with other government departments and agencies.
By the time cabinet and officials met on January 27, Wark said, Western intelligence agencies had already known for weeks that there was a new virus ripping through Hubei province and beyond. We reserve the right to close comments at any time. Our early warning system failed and our risk assessments were totally wrong and we've got to fix that as soon as possible," Wark said.
The U. I think we have to assume that the wasted time cost Canada enormously in terms of lives and, as economists say in a bloody-minded way, treasure. Bezan, the Conservative defence critic, said the latest details about the intelligence report amount to "just another example of how this Liberal government was slow to act" on COVID He said the incident response group should have been convened as soon as the intelligence report was prepared for Sajjan and disseminated to government departments.
Since mid-March, much of the government's focus has been on mitigating the spread of the virus and supporting Canadians through unprecedented job losses and economic decline.
As ly reported by CBCbased on documents presented at the House of Commons health committee, much of the government's focus in the early days of the pandemic was on repatriating Canadians from Hubei province and cruise ships while international borders remained open with minimal screening. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Social Sharing.
Since the start of the pandemic, we have monitored the progression of the outbreak to ensure the protection of Canadians and Members of the Canadian Armed Forces," Floriane Bonneville said in an statement to CBC News. The minister of National Defence receives regular briefings to ensure the safety and security of Canadians as well as Canadian Armed Forces members at home and abroad," DND said in its response to Bezan.
Thousands more such cases would follow in the days ahead.