Canada’s chief public health officer is warning a “stronger response is needed immediately” to combat COVID-19 as a number of provinces reported record single-day increases in new cases
“Given the recent developments, there is an urgent need for everyone to take individual actions to not only protect ourselves but also our populations and communities at high risk,” Dr. Theresa Tam said in a statement on Saturday.
Tam said federal modelling showed Canada could see 20,000 cases a day by the end of December if the spread of coronavirus is not tamped down.
“To do this, we need to limit close contacts to those in your immediate household and reduce in-person interactions to only essential errands and activities, while consistently maintaining key public health practices,” she said.
2/4 Both short & longer range models forecast a worrying trajectory of <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/COVID19?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#COVID19</a> rapid growth in 🇨🇦. <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/PHAC?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#PHAC</a> short-term models forecast we could reach 366,500 to 378,000 cases & 11,870 to 12,120 deaths by November 30th.<a href=”https://t.co/PYalP6ooCW”>https://t.co/PYalP6ooCW</a>
Tam’s statement comes as Ontario reported a singe-day record for new cases, and a day after the province announced Toronto and neighbouring Peel Region are going back into lockdown, as of Monday, and several other regions are moving to higher restriction levels.
The province reported 1,588 more cases of COVID-19 on Saturday, including 522 in Peel Region, 450 in Toronto and 153 in York Region, Health Minister Christine Elliott said on Twitter.
The total number breaks a previous single-day record of 1,581 cases, reported on Nov. 14.
Premier Dough Ford announced on Friday that the lockdowns in Toronto and Peel Region will last a minimum of 28 days, equal to two incubation periods for the coronavirus, and the province says it will fine people $750 for violating public health rules.
WATCH | Ontario puts Toronto and Peel Region into lockdown:
Non-essential retail stores must close and only offer curbside pickup or delivery. Grocery stores, pharmacies, convenience stores, hardware stores and liquor outlets will stay open, operating at 50 per cent capacity.
Schools and daycare centres will also remain open. Gyms, hair salons and other personal services must close. Restaurants can offer only takeout and delivery. Big-box retailers and discount stores that sell groceries can remain open.
What’s happening across Canada
As of 1:45 ET, Canada’s COVID-19 case count stood at 323,917, with 52,873 of those considered active cases. A CBC News tally of deaths based on provincial reports, regional health information and CBC’s reporting stood at 11,397.
Manitoba reported 387 new cases of COVID-19 and 10 additional deaths on Saturday.
The new figures come a day after the province’s new restrictions came into effect. As of Friday, the sale of non-essential items are banned in stores — though people can still buy those items for delivery or curbside pickup — and almost all visitors to homes, with a few exceptions, are prohibited.
WATCH | Winnipeg’s big retailers block access to non-essential goods:
Quebec saw 1,189 new cases of COVID-19 and 32 more deaths.
New Brunswick officials announced 23 cases in the province, setting a new single-day high since the start of the pandemic.
Dr. Jennifer Russell, the province’s chief medical officer, said New Brunswickers are facing a situation that can quickly turn “serious” without immediate action.
“We need a renewed commitment to slow the spread of COVID-19, and we need it now,” she said.
Nova Scotia reported eight new cases, after seeing five new cases on Friday.
Newfoundland and Labrador announced five new cases on Saturday, the largest single-day increase in cases in the province since April 16.
What’s happening around the world
As of Saturday, there were more than 57.7 million reported cases of COVID-19 worldwide, with more than 37 million of those cases listed as recovered, according to a COVID-19 tracking tool maintained by Johns Hopkins University. The global death toll stood at more than 1.3 million.
In Europe, Russia reported 24,822 new cases and 467 more deaths — both new daily highs. The recent surge in infections is straining Russia’s vast but underfunded health-care system, with many infected people reportedly forced to search for sparse hospital beds.
WATCH | Inside a Moscow COVID-19 ward:
In Asia, India has reported 46,232 new confirmed coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, with the situation particularly alarming in New Delhi. Intensive care wards and the capital’s main crematorium are near capacity, and health officials this week found the prevalence of infections in markets much higher than expected.
In the Americas, the U.S. state of California is enacting a nighttime curfew on Saturday as spiking coronavirus cases threaten to overrun health-care systems. Los Angeles County, the state’s largest with about 10 million people, warned that a more drastic lockdown could be imminent.
Africa has surpassed two million confirmed coronavirus cases and seen more than 48,000 deaths on the continent. The World Health Organization says the current wave of infections on the continent is driven by North African nations as temperatures fall there.