Justin Trudeau claims UK is facing ‘very serious’ third Covid wave amid Canada’s slow vaccine rollout
Justin Trudeau has bizarrely claimed that the UK is facing a “very serious third wave” of Covid-19, despite cases in Britain currently being much lower than in Canada.
The Canadian prime minister made the claim in response to criticism of his government’s vaccine rollout, arguing that immunisation alone would not protect the country against coronavirus.
“We know for example that the UK is ahead of just about everybody else on vaccinations and yet they maintain very strong restrictions and are facing a very serious third wave,” Mr Trudeau told the Canadian House of Commons.
“Vaccinations on their own are not enough to keep us safe.”
However, as of 14 April, the UK’s coronavirus case rate remains much lower than in Canada, where infections are rising.
The UK’s rolling seven-day average of cases per million people is 24, while Canada’s is 225, according to figures collected by Our World in Data.
On Thursday, Downing Street responded to Mr Trudeau’s comments by arguing that the UK’s case data “speaks for itself”.
“I don’t have a specific response for Justin Trudeau but I think the case data speaks for itself with this,” Boris Johnson’s spokesperson said.
“Case numbers are down and ditto for hospitalisations and deaths and that’s a tribute to our vaccine rollout and the work of the British public and our NHS.”
Conservative MP Peter Bone accused the Canadian PM of trying to deflect criticism away from the slow pace of his government’s vaccination rollout.
“It would sound to me, like with the EU, there's a lot of fake news in what he is saying,” Mr Bone told the Daily Mail, referring to the tense relationship between the UK and EU in recent months.
“He should butt out of UK affairs and concentrate on running his own country, which he doesn't seem to be doing very well.”
Canada has so far given at least one Covid-19 vaccine dose to about 21 per cent of its population, putting it behind the UK (on 47.5 per cent) and the US (37 per cent), as of 14 April.
Although Canada had secured the world's largest number of potential Covid vaccine doses per capita earlier this year, it has struggled with getting those doses to its population.
The country’s government is due to import enough doses to ensure every person can receive a shot by the end of June but there are now fears that the spread of new virus variants risks overtaking the pace of vaccination.
“More contagious and dangerous variants are spreading and threatening the progress we’ve made,” Mr Trudeau told a briefing on Tuesday.
Chief public health officer Theresa Tam said new cases had risen by 33 per cent over the last week, with the number of daily cases over 8,000 and nearing the peak seen in the second wave earlier this year.
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