With COVID-19 numbers now at their highest levels yet since the start of the pandemic, Ontario is considering new measures that could make its stay-at-home order even more strict.
Premier Doug Ford and his cabinet are meeting again Friday to consider further restrictions to combat a worsening third wave that is pushing Ontario’s health-care system to the breaking point.
Ford is scheduled to make an announcement at 2:30 p.m. ET, alongside the ministers of health and labour, the solicitor general and the chief medical officer of health.
Health officials in the province reported a new daily record of 4,812 COVID-19 cases on Friday, surpassing the 4,736 cases recorded the previous day.
Ontario’s Science Advisory Table is presenting the latest modelling on Friday. According to a government source on Thursday, the province could see more than 18,000 new daily COVID-19 infections if current trends continue.
WATCH LIVE | Ontario’s chief medical officer of health presents updated modelling:
Doris Grinspun, head of the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario, says the organization is calling for a “complete lockdown” in the province, including a curfew. She says the RNAO wants the province to redefine essential services as only food and medications.
Ontario is set to make a formal request to the federal government for more than 600 critical care staff to help support the province’s hospitals, CBC has learned. The request comes as ICU admissions as a result of COVID-19 continue to rise in hot spots like Toronto.
The Canadian Medical Association is calling for a “truly national approach” in fighting COVID-19 as the third wave of the pandemic wreaks havoc on the health-care and public health systems.
Health-care resources should be deployed “where they are most needed to save the most lives,” the CMA said.
Deal for more doses of Pfizer
After word earlier Friday that Canada’s incoming vaccine supply from Moderna will be slashed in half through the rest of April, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said his government has now signed an agreement with Pfizer for additional doses of its COVID-19 vaccine.
He said Pfizer will deliver four million additional doses in May, two million additional doses in June and two million more in July.
Trudeau said for next month alone, the number of Pfizer doses will be double what Canada was expecting.
What’s happening elsewhere across Canada
WATCH | ICU nurse describes what it’s like to treat COVID-19 patients:
As of 12:45 p.m. ET on Friday, Canada had reported 1,103,082 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 84,716 considered active. A CBC News tally of deaths stood at 23,533.
In Quebec, health officials reported 1,527 new cases of COVID-19 and seven additional deaths on Friday.
In Atlantic Canada, Nova Scotia reported six new cases of COVID-19 on Friday and one additional death.
In Newfoundland and Labrador, meanwhile, health officials reported three new cases on Friday.
New Brunswick reported eight new coronavirus cases. P.E.I. reported two new cases on Thursday.
In the Prairie provinces, Manitoba reported 153 new cases and one additional death on Thursday. The province also reported the P1 coronavirus variant of concern had been detected there for the first time.
Health officials in Saskatchewan, meanwhile, reported 293 new cases Thursday and two additional deaths. The province said that as of Friday, anyone age 48 or older would be able to book an appointment to get a COVID-19 vaccine.
In neighbouring Alberta, 1,646 new cases and five additional deaths were reported Thursday, and British Columbia reported 1,205 new cases of COVID-19 and three additional deaths.
WATCH | COVID-19 3rd wave takes hold across much of Canada:
Nunavut reported 12 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, two days after the territory’s first case was confirmed in Iqaluit. Officials had identified 10 people as contacts of someone who became became symptomatic earlier this week. Premier Joe Savikataaq said all the additional cases are in Iqaluit.
As a result of the first case, all non-essential businesses, including government offices and schools, were ordered closed in Nunavut’s capital, starting Thursday.
Elsewhere in the North, no new cases were reported in Northwest Territories, Nunavut or Yukon on Thursday.
–From CBC News and The Canadian Press, last updated at 12:45 p.m. ET
What’s happening around the world
As of Friday morning, more than 139.2 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported worldwide, according to a Johns Hopkins University database. The reported global death toll stood at more than 2.9 million.
Around the world, cases and deaths are continuing to increase at “worrying rates,” the head of the World Health Organization said Friday.
WATCH | Doctor offers reassurance for those hesitant to get vaccinated:
“Globally, the number of new cases per week has nearly doubled over the past two months. This is approaching the highest rate of infection that we have seen so far during the pandemic,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.
He said some countries that had previously avoided widespread transmission are now seeing steep increases in infections. One of those countries is Papua New Guinea.
“Until the beginning of this year, Papua New Guinea had reported less than 900 cases and just nine deaths. It has now reported more than 9,300 cases and 82 deaths,” Tedros said.
In Europe, German Chancellor Angela Merkel urged legislators on Friday to approve new powers that would allow her to force lockdowns and curfews on areas with high infection rates.
The legislation seeks to end the patchwork of measures that have characterized the pandemic response across Germany’s 16 states. Passing the bill is an uphill battle for Merkel, with state governments reluctant to cede any authority over health care to the federal government.
“We are slamming on the brakes nationwide,” she told the German parliament. “I am convinced coming to an emergency stop across the country is urgent, it is overdue, because I have to say again today that the situation is serious, very serious. And we have to take it serious.”
Her speech came as the country recorded 25,831 new cases of COVID-19 overnight and 247 additional deaths, according to the Robert Koch Institute disease control centre.
In Asia, India closed its museums and tourist sites on Friday, including the iconic Taj Mahal, for a month to curb the country’s second wave of the coronavirus pandemic.
India’s 217,353 new cases on Friday marked the eighth record daily increase in the last nine days and took total cases to nearly 14.3 million. India’s case count is second only to the United States, which has reported more than 31 million infections.
Deaths from COVID-19 in India rose by 1,185 over the past 24 hours — the highest single-day rise in seven months — to reach a total of 174,308, the health ministry reported.
–From The Associated Press and Reuters, last updated at 10 a.m. ET
www.cbc.ca 2021-04-16 11:30:46