Assembly of First Nations declares state of emergency over coronavirus fears – The Globe and Mail
March 24, 2020
Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde said Tuesday his advocacy organization has declared a state of emergency to ensure there is a heightened level of awareness from all governments about concerns over the coronavirus in First Nations communities.
Mr. Bellegarde, whose organization, which represents more than 900,000 people in 634 communities, told The Globe on Tuesday he has heard from many First Nations chiefs who are concerned about not having appropriate resources in place to confront the potential impact of the virus.
“We’ve said that some of the most vulnerable communities are First Nation communities, especially the fly-in ones,” Mr. Bellegarde said. “By passing the motion from our AFN executive for the state of emergency, it focuses attention and energy towards this pandemic that’s going to hit our communities.”
Last week, Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam acknowledged that First Nation, Inuit and Métis communities face a higher risk of “severe outcomes” with the coronavirus given health inequities, higher rates of underlying medical conditions and challenges faced in remote and fly-in communities.
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