Tighter restrictions can be in place throughout Ontario till no less than January 9, because the province seeks to curb rising COVID-19 infections.

Canada’s most populous province is imposing tighter COVID-19 restrictions on Saturday in an effort to curb rising infections, deaths and hospitalisations linked to the novel coronavirus.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford introduced the “provincewide shutdown” earlier this week, saying each day COVID-19 case numbers are placing the healthcare community and long-term care properties in danger.

“We need to stop the spread of this deadly virus. That’s why … we are taking the difficult but necessary decision to shutdown the province and ask people to stay home. Nothing is more important right now than the health and safety of all Ontarians,” Ford stated in a press release.

The restrictions, which come into impact at 00:01am native time (05:01 GMT) on Saturday, embody a ban on indoor gatherings between folks from totally different households and a 10-person restrict outside, in addition to limits on non-essential companies.

Large field shops that promote groceries can keep open, nonetheless, with capability restricted to 25 %, whereas pharmacies and grocery shops may also function at 50 % capability.

Folks wait in line to get a COVID-19 take a look at at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto as the town entered renewed COVID-19 lockdown in late November [File: Carlos Osorio/Reuters]

The restrictions can be in place throughout the province till January 9, however they are going to stay in impact in southern Ontario, together with Ottawa and Toronto, till January 23. Toronto, Canada’s largest metropolis, has already been underneath tight COVID-19 guidelines since late November.

On Thursday, Ontario had a seven-day common of two,306 new each day circumstances. That very same day, it recorded the very best single-day tally because the begin of the pandemic, with 2,447 new infections. Forty-nine extra deaths linked to the virus had been additionally reported.

‘Delayed action’

Some public well being consultants in Ontario have criticised Ford, saying the premier acted too late and is doing too little to stem the unfold of the virus, similar to guaranteeing paid sick go away for employees who could fall unwell.

Provincial information exhibits that 27 % of 923 lively COVID-19 outbreaks in Ontario are in workplaces.

“What part of ‘now’ and ‘action’ does Mr. Ford not understand?” Globe and Mail newspaper well being columnist, Andre Picard, wrote earlier this week.

Picard criticised the premier for saying the necessity for pressing measures on December 21 however solely imposing the brand new restrictions 5 days later – and stated the lockdown is hardly a lockdown in any respect.

“Half-measures and delayed action, an approach Ontario has embraced repeatedly, will not get results,” he wrote.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford stated this week he was ‘taking the difficult but necessary decision’ to impose tighter restrictions throughout the Canadian province [File: Carlos Osorio/Reuters]

Dr Nadia Alam, a household physician in Georgetown, Ontario, a city about 60km (37 miles) west of downtown Toronto, informed Al Jazeera on Friday that hospitals are full and struggling to deal with excessive numbers of each COVID and non-COVID sufferers.

She stated many nurses and different healthcare employees are doing double shifts, because the community is being stretched to its limits.

“We’ve run out of people. We’ve run out of space. The decisions [Ontarians] make in their individual lives will make or break our healthcare system,” she stated.

Alam stated the provincewide shutdown is important to attempt to restrict peoples’ contact with others and the potential unfold of the virus – and he or she urged folks to respect the brand new, stricter public well being directives.

“If lockdown doesn’t work, we’re in trouble. It already feels like we’re in trouble.”

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