Coronavirus: Manitoba asks for emergency federal fund; says PST won’t be reduced

Premier Brian Pallister says the province has little choice but to use the rainy day fund during the novel coronavirus pandemic, and he expects it will be depleted.

“Let’s talk about some things that need to be talked about,” he said, adding he wasn’t going to mince words.

“Our revenue is down. Not a little, a lot. Way down.”

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The rainy day fund will likely be depleted within three months, he said.

Pallister said he is calling on the federal government to establish an emergency credit fund in order for provinces to borrow money at a lower interest rate.

“The issue isn’t asking the federal government to give us money,” said Pallister. “It’s asking them to let us borrow at their interest rate,” to fund health care.

“This is about smarter borrowing.”

The rainy day fund was to be topped up to $800 million this year.

Pallister also said the PST will not be decreased this year as previously announced.

Manitoba’s cases currently stand at 36. One additional case was discovered Thursday. One person remains in hospital.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: 1 new case brings total to 36 in Manitoba; testing criteria widened slightly

Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out.

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