Canada’s Coronavirus caseload continues to surge

FILE PHOTO: Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau attends a news conference at Rideau Cottage, as efforts continue to slow the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

The coronavirus caseload in Canada has continued to increase as the overall tally has surged 1,018,894, after 4,521 people were infected in the last 24 hours, according to authorities.

The death toll stood at 23,135, according to official reports

The ongoing increase in severe and critical illnesses has been placing a heavy strain on the health system in many places in the country.

Over the past week, on average there have been almost 6,100 new cases and 31 deaths reported daily, the Public Health Agency of Canada said on Tuesday.

“We are still in a crisis and so our focus remains right now on getting Canadians and Canada through this global health crisis,” Health Minister Patty Hajdu said.

Ontario, the most populous province with a population of 14 million, is widening its vaccination plan in hard-hit areas and Premier Doug Ford hinted at further restrictions as the province faces a growing strain on hospitals and intensive care units from Covid-19 cases.

On Tuesday, Ontario reported 3,065 new cases and eight additional deaths.

Hospitalisations stood at 1,161, with 510 people listed as being in ICU “due to Covid-related illness”.

Ford announced on Tuesday that his government will take further public health restrictions in addition to the province-wide “emergency brake” as cases continue to climb and hospital strain mounts.

Ford said that despite the massive impact of last week’s emergency brake announcement, which closed all indoor and outdoor dining, more may be necessary.

“We’re going to have further restrictions moving forward very, very quickly.”

Quebec, another populous province that has expanded its lockdown to include several additional municipalities, on Tuesday reported 1,168 new cases and four additional deaths.

Covid-19 variants of concern are contributing to the current resurgence.

“Of the over 15,000 variant of concern cases reported to date across Canada, the B.1.1.7 variant continues to account for over 90 percent and has likely replaced the original virus in some locations,” said Theresa Tam, the country’s chief public health officer, in a statement on Tuesday.

A significant increase in the number of cases of the P.1 variant is also a cause for concern.

Canada has reported 14,010 B.1.1.7 variants, 857 P.1 variants, and 337 B.1.351 variants till date, Tam added.

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