MP Zimmer asks for calm, proper hygiene amid COVID-19 outbreak

MP Bob Zimmer says he will be limiting travel and remain in the riding after the House of Commons decided Friday to shut down for five weeks to ensure MPs do not contribute to the spread of COVID-19.

“The health and safety of Canadians is a top priority, which is why all parties agreed to adjourn the House of Commons until April 20 in an effort to avoid the possible spread of COVID-19," Zimmer said in a statement.

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“I will be limiting my travel, but will be in the riding to assist with any possible outbreak at the local level and to continue my elected duties outside of Parliament."

There are 152 cases of COVID-19 in Canada, the majority of them in B.C. and Ontario. There are 53 confirmed cases in B.C., and none yet reported in northern B.C.

Zimmer said the risk of transmission remains low and encouraged people to stay calm and practice good hygiene.

That includes washing your hands for at least 20 seconds, avoiding touching your eyes, nose or mouth, coughing or sneezing into a tissue or your sleeve, avoiding contact with people who are sick, and staying home if you are sick, Zimmer said.

All parties agreed to the House of Commons closure, which means MPs will miss two sitting weeks, as they had previously planned to be away next week and two weeks in April.

The agreement among MPs hastened passage of the new trade deal among Canada, the United States and Mexico. The House unanimously passed a bill on the trade deal and a handful of others on spending measures. The Senate then quickly gave its approval to the bills.

However, the federal budget, slated for March 30, won’t be delivered that day. It’s postponed to a time yet to be chosen.

The House is scheduled to next meet Monday, April 20.

Government House leader Pablo Rodriguez says the Commons could come back sooner if an emergency requires a meeting.

Concerns about COVID-19 have prompted cancellation of many large gatherings and sporting events

— with files from The Canadian Press

Email Managing Editor Matt Preprost at 

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