Canada sounds the alarm as Covid-19 cases overtake US

Canada sounds the alarm as cases overtake US
Vaccination rollout in Canada got off to a slow start but is now picking up. Source: Reuters
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Daily US Times: The rate of Covid-19 infections in the biggest province of Canada, Ontario, has reached an all-time high as hospitals warn they are close to being overwhelmed.

A panel of experts say coronavirus infections in the province could increase by 600% by June if public health measures are weak and vaccination rates do not pick up.

Last week, Canada registered more cases per million than the US for the first time since the pandemic began.

About 22% of Canadians have now received a first Covid-19 vaccine dose.

That compares to 37% in the United States.

Ontario province is now introducing strict new public measures in an attempt to contain the virus, including:

  • restrictions on non-essential travel, including checkpoints at the borders with the neighbouring provinces of Quebec and Manitoba
  • a six-week stay-at-home order
  • new powers for police to stop and question people who leave home
  • a halt to non-essential construction

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the federal government would help Toronto, the largest city of Canada, which has been hard-hit by the latest surge of infections.

Mr Trudeau said on Friday: “We’re going to do whatever it takes to help. Discussions are ongoing about extra healthcare providers, and we are ready to step up.”

New coronavirus variants – especially the UK variant, B1.1.7 – account for more than two-thirds of infections in Ontario.

Even with vaccinations progressing, experts warned that the number of new infections in Ontario could go as high as 30,000 a day – in a province with 14 million people, 38% of the total population of Canada.

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