Ontario, Canada’s most populous province and economic engine, is expected to announce a 28-day reconfinement as the number of Covid-19 cases increases, local media reported on Wednesday.
Premier Doug Ford is expected to announce Thursday the re-containment of the entire province, which has 14 million inhabitants, as of Saturday, according to English-language channels CBC and CTV.
Ontario has crossed the threshold of 2,000 new cases every day for a week, up from around 1,000 at the beginning of March.
In addition, the number of intensive care patients climbed to 421 Wednesday, while the previous peak was in mid-January, according to Radio-Canada.
Non-essential businesses could remain open with a reception capacity limited to 25% while essential businesses could only accommodate 50% of customers in order to facilitate barrier gestures.
Sports halls and hairdressing salons would close their doors again. Schools would remain open next week until the Easter holidays.
Last January, Doug Ford declared a state of health emergency for one month in the province. Gradual deconfinement, including a partial reopening of non-essential businesses was authorized in February, thanks to a drop in the number of Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations.
Non-family indoor gatherings were still prohibited.
Quebec, the second province most affected by the pandemic, announced Wednesday a tightening of measures in several regions, including that surrounding Quebec City due to an increase in the number of new cases.
These regions will be “on pause” until April 12, said Prime Minister François Legault, announcing in particular the closure of non-essential businesses and schools.
In addition, the French-speaking province has imposed a night-time curfew since the beginning of January, an unprecedented measure in Canada on a province-wide scale since the Spanish flu epidemic a century ago.
Canada had more than 982,000 cases of coronavirus on Wednesday and nearly 23,000 deaths.
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