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DENNIS KING: Message to Islanders pleads for people to stay home and heed advice surrounding COVID-19

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Premier Dennis King speaks with media on Thursday. The premier took part in an emergency conference call with other Canadian Premiers Wednesday night about the ongoing rail blockades. Stu Neatby/THE GUARDIAN
P.E.I. Premier Dennis King. - SaltWire file photo

The following is a transcript of the remarks made by P.E.I. Premier Dennis King on Monday, March 30, instructing citizens to heed chief public health officer Dr. Heather Morrison's advice concerning the coronavirus (COVID-19) strain.

As we see and hear every day, this pandemic persists around the world. We’re fortunate to have an incredible team of experts in the Public Health Office under the fearless leadership of Dr. Heather Morrison working so hard every day to flatten the curve and to keep us safe. Essential health-care workers and other front-line essential staff are working selflessly so that Islanders can be cared for and can access the necessary goods and services we need to live every day. Law enforcement continue to patrol communities and neighbourhoods, protecting Islanders.

All of these brave Islanders are working around the clock for Islanders. They are sacrificing time with their loved ones for us. They are leaving the comfort and safety of their home for us. They are putting themselves at risk for us. And what are we doing for them? We are putting them at greater risk by not staying home.

We have been navigating this situation in our province with Dr. Morrison’s expert advice. If I’m being honest – and I will always be honest with Islanders – I’m disappointed some still aren’t listening to her.

She leaned on the goodwill of Islanders and asked us to practise social distancing if we had to go out; to self-isolate if we had been travelling out of province. Then she had to tell us to do this because asking nicely didn’t work. We brought in fines, significant ones, and engaged law enforcement to ensure Islanders are following Dr. Morrison’s direction. Direction that she is giving to keep us all safe; to keep Islanders from getting sick, or worse, from dying.

This still isn’t enough for some of you.

So I’m asking the attorney general to reinforce to all Island law enforcement to make this a priority and fully enforce Dr. Morrison’s directions.

The time for education is over, the time for enforcement starts now – no more warnings.

Every Islander knows what they have to do and they have to do it now.

I am thankful for Dr. Morrison and her steady hand in guiding this ship and for all Islanders who are heeding her words. I am appealing to those of you who still don’t get it.

COVID-19 is serious. It is here in our province. It is making people sick. Do your part and stay home so you don’t get sick or make someone else sick.

No one here is invincible. COVID-19 knows no boundaries. It doesn’t matter if you’re a child or an adult, it doesn’t matter your gender, which communities or county you’re from, if you have travelled or not.

Now more than ever we have to do everything within our power to protect Islanders and to protect our fellow Islanders; to protect our loved ones, our neighbours and our communities. We have to get this right because we don’t want to be part of a growing number of cases, or worse, deaths.

We have to be practical. And we have to recognize that we have to go out of our way and we have a long way to go before we get to the finish line.

I am begging Islanders, right here, right now, to listen to Dr. Morrison’s direction. Stay home as much as possible. Practise social distancing if you have to go out. And self-isolate if you are arriving from out of province.

This means you.

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