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Governor-General Julie Payette speaks during the Order of Canada ceremony at Rideau Hall in Ottawa, Nov. 21, 2019.

BLAIR GABLE/Reuters

Governor-General Julie Payette is urging Canadians to maintain social distancing and resist the temptation to visit friends or neighbours.

Ms. Payette said Canadians have found themselves in a complex and difficult situation. In a video posted on social media, she called the COVID-19 pandemic “an invisible adversary that threatens our way of life.

“Now, things are not going to be easy in the coming weeks. This is not the time to let your guard down. This is the time to stay the course. To be patient and disciplined. To stay united. No matter how hard it is. This situation might very well last a while. But we have seen uncertain times before and we will prevail. We have the will. We have the spirit,” she said.

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Ms. Payette said Canadians are fortunate that governments in Canada have responded "vigorously,” adding that decision-makers and community leaders are preparing for all possible scenarios. However, she said, every Canadian is needed to “help hold the line.

“Because this virus does not know borders, or timeline, colour or nationality. It zeroes in on the most vulnerable, but it lives everywhere. Not just on people, but on doorknobs and table counters. It is a clever beast that we cannot underestimate,” she said.

Ms. Payette said the spread of COVID-19 can be slowed down, telling viewers they know the drill: “Stay at home, wash your hands. Stay informed and follow the directives of public health officials.

“Keep away from people other than your immediate family. Resist – and this is important – resist the temptation to visit friends and neighbours.”

She also encouraged people to “trust science,” adding that the virus will be defeated and that scientists are working on it “frantically,” including Canadian researchers.

She said that while social distancing seems drastic at times, it is necessary.

“But it only works if we all do it.” ​

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