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Ontario declares a state of emergency as coronavirus outbreak swamps hospitals Canada



Ontario has declared a state of emergency after the latest modeling put Canada’s most populous province on track to have more than 20,000 new cases of Covid-19 a day by mid-February – an almost tenfold increase from the current number.

Ontario, which is battling a coronavirus surge that has flooded its hospitals and triggered blockages across the province, could also see about 1

,500 more deaths in its long-term care homes by mid-February, according to the worst-case scenario experts advising the government.

The new restrictions, which take effect on January 14th, require residents to stay at home, except for basic activities, while outdoor gatherings will be limited to five and minor construction work will be limited.

“I know that the order to stay at home is a drastic measure that we do not take lightly. “Everyone has to stay home to stay alive,” Ontario Prime Minister Doug Ford told a news briefing. “Enforcement and inspections will increase.”

Canada launched targeted vaccinations in December, with current efforts targeting healthcare professionals and residents of long-term care homes.

The federal government has ordered an additional 20 million doses of the coronavirus vaccine from Pfizer Inc and BioNTech, Justin Trudeau told reporters on Tuesday. That would take the total number of doses to be delivered to Canada this year to 80 million.

Ontario, the country’s economic engine, has been blocked since Dec. 26, with minor businesses closed and schools closed for personal training.

Still, the daily number of Covid-19 cases has risen to more than 3,500 on average over the past seven days, government figures show. Ontario reported 2,903 new cases on Tuesday.

In the worst case scenario, with a 7% increase in cases, there will be 40,000 new cases per day by mid-February, while the best case scenario, with a 1% increase, will lead to 5,000 new cases every day, Ontario data show the growth of cases is over 7% in the worst days, the data show.

In five of Ontario’s worst-hit areas – including Toronto, nearby Hamilton and Windsor-Essex, beyond the Detroit border – schools will remain closed until at least Feb. 10. Caring for children who are too young for school will remain open, along with caring for emergency children for some school-age children.

“We will have to face choices that no doctor ever wants to make and no family ever wants to hear,” Dr Steini Brown, head of case modeling in Ontario, told a briefing on Tuesday. “People will die from the virus itself and from an overloaded health system that is unable to meet their needs.”

Brown warned that the new version of the Covid-19 from the UK is already in Ontario and could reduce the time to double the cases – or how long it takes to double the number of cases, currently from 30 to 40 days – to 10 days.

Last week, Quebec, Canada’s hardest-hit province, became the first in the country to introduce curfews to curb the spread.


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