Federal finance note says lifting lockdowns, restrictions no sure road to economic recovery

A newly obtained federal document shows officials believed in late summer that an economic recovery would not magically follow if pandemic lockdowns and public health restrictions disappeared.

The internal Finance Department briefing note says a key to recovery is the level of trust people have in their government’s ability to contain the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19.

The Canadian Press used the Access to Information Act to obtain the briefing note, prepared in early September.

While restrictions and lockdowns are common ways to reduce transmission rates, the note also lays out other options, including increased testing and contact-tracing.

It says countries that have managed to reduce transmission of the virus to very low levels have seen more people visit retailers, use transit and head to workplaces.

Countries that haven’t kept COVID-19 under control, including where restrictions have been loose or non-existent, “have had a much more uneven recovery,” the note says.

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