The Canadian prime minister, Justin Trudeau, warned the country had reached a “tipping point” as it battles a second wave of the coronavirus.
“I know this is discouraging … the increase in new cases is putting an enormous pressure on hospitals and health care workers, who are more and more swamped,” Trudeau said Friday, pleading with residents to download the country’s Covid-19 alert app, which notifies users of possible exposures to the virus.
With the country’s Thanksgiving long weekend approaching, health officials have asked residents to refrain from gathering with friends and family to prevent new transmission.
In revised modelling, the federal anticipates cumulative deaths could reach between 9,690 and 9,800 by October 17, with 188,150 to 197,830 infections.
Almost 80% of the cases have been recorded in Ontario and Quebec, the two most populous provinces.
On Friday, Quebec logged 1,102 new cases. Its two largest cities, Montreal and Quebec City, have been designated “red zones” by health officials and have restrictions on businesses, including bars and restaurants.
Ontario reported 939 new Covid-19 cases on Friday, its highest number ever during the pandemic. The province is expected to shut down indoor dining, gyms and casinos. Schools and preschools will remain open.
Earlier in the week, Premier Doug Ford said he wouldn’t close thousands of businesses in the province—many of whom are facing dire financial prospects— because of a few “bad apples”.
The new restrictions will take effect at midnight and apply to Toronto, Ottawa and Peel region, and apply to nearly seven million people.
Health officials warned on Friday that Ontario’s updated modelling shows that without drastic action the province could experience “worst-case scenarios” similar to northern Italy and New York City, where hospitals were overwhelmed and logged high death tolls.