Following on the heals of Princess Cruises decision to suspend global operations for 60 days, the Government of Canada has deferred the start of the cruise ship season in Canada from April 2nd to at least July 1, 2020 and furthermore the entire season for the Arctic. The announcement comes with a $1 billion COVID-19 Response Fund to assist in plans, infrastructure, and resources needed to protect the health and safety of all Canadians. The economic impact will be devastating, and the Finance Minister has indicated that $10 billion would be available through the Business Development Bank of Canada for small and medium sized enterprises. The Bank of Canada has cut interest rates to 0.75 per cent as an emergency measure and the federal government will be launching a credit facility program.
With 152 cases so far in Canada, 53 of which are in British Columbia, the threat remains low, however efforts to reduce community transmission have ramped up significantly today in an effort to protect the Canadian health care system from the COVID-19 pandemic. Transport Canada is expected to release an update Marine Security Bulletin soon and in the meantime, the best source of information can be found on the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) website.