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.