Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, left, arrives with Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland as she prepares to table the federal budget in the House of Commons in Ottawa, on Monday, April 19, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

Trudeau pushes back at Biden’s messaging on safe COVID-19 holiday gatherings

Prime Minister urging Canadians to limit contacts during the holidays

The Trudeau government is pushing back at U.S. President Joe Biden’s televised message to vaccinated Americans that they can gather safely for the holidays despite the spread of the Omicron variant.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and top health officials are urging Canadians to limit contacts during the holidays to control the spread of COVID-19 and ease effects on exhausted front-line health workers.

Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland says Canada is not the United States and has a lower death rate from COVID-19 than its neighbour.

In a televised address viewed far beyond the U.S. on Tuesday, Biden said Americans can safely celebrate the holidays with friends and loved ones if they are fully vaccinated, especially if they have a booster shot.

Biden also told unvaccinated Americans to get a COVID-19 shot, saying it was their patriotic duty to do so.

Biden said the arrival of vaccines means Americans are now protected from hospitalization and death, which was not the case at the start of the pandemic in March 2020.

—The Canadian Press

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