Canada's Trudeau predicts 'tough winter,' deaths top 10,000


By Steve Scherer

OTTAWA, Oct 27 (Reuters) - Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Tuesday predicted a "tough winter" in the face of a second wave of COVID-19 infections engulfing much of the country, and called it a horrific national tragedy as deaths topped the 10,000 mark.

Canada's case numbers have been rising, triggering new restrictions on public gatherings and indoor activities in several provinces. On Tuesday, Canada recorded 2,674 new cases, while there are now 10,001 deaths and a total of 222,887 cases.

"This sucks. It really, really does," Trudeau told a news conference when asked about the fatigue Canadians feel after living amid the pandemic for more than seven months.

The comments marked a rare show of emotion and frustration from Trudeau, who has regularly given nationally televised briefings to reassure Canadians that his Liberal government is managing the crisis as best it can.

"What we are living through is a horrific national tragedy. Families have lost loved ones, been devastated by these tragedies, and we need to know that there are more tragedies to come," Trudeau said.

Quebec, Canada's second-most populous province, on Monday extended a shutdown of bars, gyms and restaurant dining rooms in hot spots like Montreal, with new cases coming in at about 1,000 per day.

The province, the country's hardest-hit region, reported 963 cases on Tuesday and 19 deaths from COVID-19.

Alberta on Monday limited social gatherings to 15 people, and British Columbia also imposed more restrictions on the number of people who could meet at one time after a spike in new cases there over the weekend.

"My 6-year-old asked me a few weeks ago: 'Dad, is COVID-19 forever?'" Trudeau said, saying it was "frustrating" to tell him he could not go trick-or-treating this year. "This is really difficult."

"It's frustrating knowing that unless we're really, really careful, there may not be the kinds of family gatherings we want to have at Christmas," he added.

But he also said things would get better and that the federal government would be there to help out, while urging Canadians to do their part to limit the spread of the disease.

"It's going to be a tough winter," he said, but "spring and summer will come and they will be better".

(Reporting by Steve Scherer; Additional reporting by Julie Gordon in Ottawa, Allison Lampert in Montreal, Moira Warburton in Toronto, and Rod Nickel in Winnipeg; Editing by David Gregorio and Peter Cooney)

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