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Trudeau says citizens should wear masks to stave off second COVID-19 wave

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau rises during a sitting of the Special Committee on Covid-19 Pandemic in Ottawa, Wednesday May 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says individual actions will be key to controlling an expected second wave of COVID-19, and he is repeating a call for people to wear masks in public.

Trudeau told reporters today that pandemics often produce more than one surge in infections, and governments across the country must be ready to rapidly intervene if a second COVID-19 wave occurs.

But the prime minister adds that citizens need to do their part in keeping a second wave of infections under control, and that includes wearing a mask when they cannot maintain a distance of two metres from others.

(Below: Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta's chief medical officer of health, demonstrates how to use a non-medical mask.)

On Wednesday, Dr. Theresa Tam, the chief public health officer for Canada, recommended Canadians wear non-medical face masks in public when they aren't sure they will be able to physically distance.

Her comments were a turnaround from her advice seven weeks ago that people who are not sick should not be wearing a face mask at all.

In Quebec, the province with the most COVID-19 cases in the country, authorities have been strongly recommending people wear masks on public transit and in retail stores.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 21, 2020.

The Canadian Press