The new order will take effect on Thursday and will apply to Toronto and Ottawa. It is the second of its kind since the beginning of the pandemic.
“I was here last week and I told you that our province is in crisis,” Doug Ford, the Ontario prime minister, told a news conference in Toronto on Tuesday. “The facts are clear: cases and deaths are the highest since the beginning of the pandemic and the spread of the community continues to escalate.”
For at least four weeks, the Ontario government will “require everyone to stay at home with exceptions for basic purposes, such as visiting a grocery store or pharmacy, accessing health care, exercising, or doing basic work,”
All non-essential stores and restaurants have been closed in Ontario since Christmas and in Toronto since late November. Schools in Ontario hotspots, including Toronto and its suburbs, will not resume personal education until at least Feb. 10.
“We need to change our mobility patterns, too many people have too many contacts. The increased contacts are a result of increased mobility,” said Christine Elliott, Ontario’s health minister. “So to break that cycle, you have to stay home as long as possible and that starts with an order to stay home.”
Officials pledged to strictly enforce the new restrictions and warned violators of fines to be fined thousands of dollars and sentenced to up to a year in prison.
Ontario’s intensive care units are now close to capacity
Canada’s second wave of Covid-19 is now more widespread and serious than the first, with a seven-day national average of 8,100 new cases a day, the highest pandemic, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada.
Ontario public health officials warned at a news conference Tuesday that one in four Ontario intensive care units is now full and that the hospital system is at risk of overload.
Ontario has reported 14 cases of new options in the province, but officials say it is more worrying to open three cases this week that are not travel-related, which could mean the option is already in the community and spreading. .
“Three of our cases have no travel history,” said Dr. Barbara Jaffe, Ontario’s assistant chief medical officer. “If this is confirmed, we have evidence of transmission from the community and it is a very serious concern that the vaccine will not be able to cope quickly enough.”
Earlier on Tuesday, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that his government was buying an additional 20 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, adding that Canada would have at least 80 million doses of the vaccine by the fall. Canada is currently using the Moderna vaccine.
Trudeau reiterated his promise that every Canadian who wants the vaccine will be vaccinated by September.
“We are doing our best to offer more doses to speed up the process,” Trudeau told a news conference in Ottawa on Tuesday. “Because we know that the sooner we vaccinate as many Canadians as possible, the sooner we get through this pandemic.”
CNN’s Elizabeth Hartfield contributed to this report.