PM, ministers, Tam take break from daily updates on COVID-19 pandemic

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, his ministers and top public health officials are taking a rare break today from the daily briefings they've been providing since the COVID-19 pandemic shut down Canada in mid-March.

Chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam will post online her regular update on the number of Canadians infected with the deadly virus that causes COVID-19 and the number who have died because of it.

As of Friday evening, more than 55,000 Canadians had tested positive for the disease and almost 3,400 had died.

Since the outbreak hit Canada, it's become routine for Trudeau to provide daily briefings and take questions from reporters, followed by a separate briefing and question-and-answer session with Tam, her deputy, Dr. Howard Njoo, Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland and other ministers.

Prior to today, that routine has been broken only rarely _ on Easter Sunday and last Sunday.

However, Trudeau devoted most of his briefing Thursday to the crash of a Royal Canadian Air Force helicopter off the coast of Greece, and most of Friday's briefing to his government's decision to ban some 1,500 models and variants of military-style assault firearms.