Coronavirus: Health Minister faces pushback after Canadians told to stockpile food, medicine

CKTB - News - Labour Minister Patty Hajdu

The federal health minister is facing some pushback after Patty Hajdu suggested last week that people should consider stockpiling food and medicine in case of a potential outbreak of the new coronavirus.

Officials continue to insist the risk of the virus spreading in the community is low.

Critics suggest the minister's advice may have been overblown or too vague, prompting other problems.

This past weekend, shoppers stormed clubhouse and grocery stores to stock up on supplies such as toilet paper and disinfectant wipes.

Christine Elliot, the health minister of Ontario, where three new cases of the virus were confirmed yesterday, believes stockpiling is unnecessary, and that people should continue to go about their lives while being cautious.

Federal Conservative health critic Matt Jeneroux says telling people to stockpile can incite a lot of public concern, and that the government should be more specific about the steps people should take to prepare for a possible outbreak.

Other health officials, like Ottawa Public Health's Dr. Vera Etches, says staying well supplied is good standby advice that's always applicable.