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Trudeau leads Canadian celebrities in pandemic plea to stay home


Agence France-Presse

Ottawa, Canada   /  Wed, March 25, 2020  /  03:02 pm
Trudeau leads Canadian celebrities in pandemic plea to stay home

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks during a news conference on COVID-19 situation in Canada from his residence March 20, 2020 in Ottawa, Canada. (AFP/Dave Chan)

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's online plea for people to stay home during the coronavirus pandemic has gone viral, with actor Ryan Reynolds, musician Michael Buble and other Canadian celebrities on Tuesday helping to spread the word.

In the one-minute video the prime minister looks tired and a bit disheveled as he speaks to the nation from his kitchen in his second week of self-isolation with his family after his wife Sophie was diagnosed with the COVID-19 virus.

It was part of a massive advertising blitz to hammer home public health messaging to social distance in an effort to stem the spread of the virus.

"COVID-19 is hitting hard all around the world and right across the country," Trudeau says in the video posted on Twitter and watched by more than 1.2 million people and shared by 18,000 as of 1400 GMT.

"Everyone needs to step up to fight against this virus," Trudeau said, urging frequent hand-washing and keeping two meters (six feet) apart from others in public if people must go out to buy groceries and the like.

"Now is not the time to be hanging out in parks with friends or hosting dinner parties," he said. "Help me spread the word and let's plank the curve."

Read also: Celebrities soap up in online 'Safe Hands Challenge'

And help him they did, with Reynolds and Buble posting their own videos and each asking fellow Canadians -- including Seth Rogan, Stephen Page of the Barenaked Ladies, Shawn Mendes, Jason Priestly, YouTuber Lilly Singh and others -- to do the same.

"In times of crisis I think we all know that it's the celebrities that we count on most," deadpanned Reynolds. 

"They're the ones who will get us through this, right after healthcare workers of course, first responders, people who work in essential services, ping pong players..."

Rogan in a clip from his "bunker" quipped about hoarding toilet paper and sanitary wipes. "There are worse things you could be asked to do," he said. "Stay inside, let's not get sick."

According to public health authorities, there were at last count 2,079 cases of coronavirus in Canada, including 24 deaths.

On Monday, Canada's two most populous provinces -- Ontario and Quebec -- ordered the closures of all non-essential businesses.

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