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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau leaves after a news conference in Ottawa, on Nov. 6, 2020.

PATRICK DOYLE/Reuters

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau continued to prod premiers towards more stringent measures to rein in the precipitous rise in COVID-19 cases, warning that his government doesn’t have “infinite resources” to stem the regional spread of the virus.

The caution came as Trudeau announced $1.5-billion in federal funding on Friday to help provinces retrain workers left jobless by the pandemic, on top of the $3.5-billion that had previously been announced.

Trudeau said he heard directly from premiers about the challenges they’re facing during a conference call Thursday evening.

Story continues below advertisement

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says tighter anti-pandemic lockdowns are damaging businesses at the same time as they're needed to protect people's health. A package of aid measures passed by the House of Commons is on pause as the Senate considers it, and Trudeau says moving the rent relief and extended wage subsidy into law is urgent. The Canadian Press

The prime minister said he assured the premiers that his government is prepared to offer assistance, but if they don’t take the necessary action to reduce case counts, there may not be enough to go around.

“If we have limited resources, we may at some point have to choose between helping one region or another,” Trudeau said in French at a news conference Friday. “We want to avoid having to make such tough choices.”

Canada is reporting more than 45,000 active COVID-19 cases, the highest total since the pandemic began. There was also a new national daily high of 5,516 new cases on Thursday.

Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer, told reporters Friday that Canada is projected to hit 10,000 COVID-19 cases a day by early next month if the wildfire spread of the virus continues at the current pace.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford dismissed criticism of the new colour-coded system as just differences of opinion in the medical community, and stressed the province needs to balance public health and the economy. The Canadian Press

Sign up for the Coronavirus Update newsletter to read the day’s essential coronavirus news, features and explainers written by Globe reporters and editors.

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