OTTAWA (Reuters) – Canada’s hospitalizations are surging and its intensive care beds are filling up, as COVID-19 variants and a third wave of the pandemic sweeps across much of the country, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Tuesday.
“Around the world, countries are facing a very serious third wave of this pandemic,” Trudeau told a news conference. “And right now, so is Canada.”
Canada has averaged nearly 5,200 new coronavirus cases per day over the past week, and has recorded a total of more than a million positive tests and 23,000 deaths.
The Canadian province of Ontario – the nation’s most populous – entered a limited lockdown on Saturday, but some local health officials are calling for more drastic measures. Trudeau said he would speak with Ontario Premier Doug Ford later on Tuesday, without providing further details.
At a separate briefing on Tuesday, Ford said more restrictions were coming.
“We’re going to have further restrictions moving forward very, very quickly,” Ford told reporters in Toronto. “We’ll discuss that tomorrow.”
He expressed frustration at seeing people in Toronto allegedly “going into the mall, doing their little wander ‘round, and coming out with no bags,” Ford said. “That tells me they were just out for a daily jaunt. You can’t do that.”
The Globe and Mail newspaper reported that Toronto will close in-person learning in schools starting Wednesday.
Canadian provinces from Quebec westward to British Columbia, with the exception of Manitoba, are struggling against surging numbers of coronavirus infections.
The federal government has delivered more than 10 million doses of coronavirus vaccines so far, and provincial health agencies are in the process of administering shots. Trudeau has said everyone among the 38 million Canadians who want to be vaccinated will be by the end of September.
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