Inuit Concerned About Potential Spread of COVID-19 in North

March 6, 2020 Updated: March 6, 2020

OTTAWA—The Inuit Circumpolar Council says if the novel coronavirus spreads to the North, communities in Canada, Alaska and Greenland are at a much higher risk of exposure because of a chronic lack of basic infrastructure and resources.

The group says the Inuit must be considered in government responses because of the potential compounding threat to basic health and well-being in those communities.

The ICC says many communities lack sewers and running water, putting people at greater risk of contracting the virus and its accompanying respiratory disease, COVID−19.

They have also called on governments to close those infrastructure gaps to protect against future health threats.

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh wrote a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Friday, urging him to make sure Indigenous and Inuit communities are not disproportionately affected if a widespread outbreak of the virus hits Canada.

The NDP says Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller should be on the new COVID-19 cabinet committee struck earlier this week to provide an all-government approach to combating the virus.