Coronavirus yet another challenge 'thrown at Alberta,' premier says

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney says it’s difficult to watch global oil prices fall due to reduced demand tied to the novel coronavirus outbreak while his government refocuses its efforts on job creation.

“I won’t hide it: it frustrates me that I think we’re doing everything that we reasonably can to get this economy moving again,” Kenney said Monday. “And yet we’re being side-swiped by global events that are beyond our control.”

Spread of the novel coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, has resulted in a downturn in the global economy, pushing down oil prices.

“It’s very clear the coronavirus situation is affecting the global economy,” Kenney said. “Mass reduction in air travel, in demand for energy products and commodities generally will affect us.

“We hope it doesn’t get any worse than it is today. I take some solace in seeing a declining number of infections in China.”

Kenney said the worldwide outbreak is yet another challenge “thrown at Alberta.”

Alberta’s budget, introduced last week, is banking on the West Texas Intermediate benchmark for oil at $US 58 a barrel. But the price has been hovering around $50.

Dr .Deana Hinshaw, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, will update the public on preparations for COVID-19 at 3:30 p.m. Monday.

Officials have reported no probable or confirmed cases in Alberta.

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