Province wide lockdown to begin Saturday ONTARIO

Ontario Premier Doug Ford announces the new shutdown due to the

Ontario Premier Doug Ford announces the new shutdown due to the"alarming surge in COVID-19 cases. Credit Doug Ford Twitter

Now, Canada is in the midst of a third wave or surge in new infections in several of the most populous provinces, including Ontario, Quebec, and British Columbia.

"We need to take action now", says Ford, noting the situation is not unique to Ontario, as provinces across the country as well as some states are facing similar challenges".

"This is a new pandemic", Ford said.

"We're now fighting a new enemy".

Under the shutdown restaurants will be closed to in-person dining but allowed to open for takeout and delivery. This does not include social gatherings associated with these services such as receptions, which are not permitted indoors and are limited to five people outdoors.

The decision to move the entire province into shutdown follows new modeling released by public health officials showing that COVID-19 variants of concern are fuelling a third wave in the province, leading to more cases, hospitalizations, and ICU admissions, particularly amongst younger people.

Thursday's lockdown will require the closure of hair salons, gyms, and indoor dining in regions not now under such restrictions.

As of 8:00 p.m. yesterday, 2,424,063 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in Ontario.

Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit has been in the red-control zone of the framework since the shutdown ended, with the exception of a week (March 1-7) in grey-lockdown.

The emergency lockdown also means stronger restrictions.

Doctor Abdu Sharkawy, who works at Toronto Western Hospital, said the 47-year-old teacher tested positive for COVID-19 after coming in contact with a student who was also positive.

"Join this war effort and help Ontario's hospitals navigate the next several weeks, which I assure you will shock you", Dale says.

Weddings, funerals and other religious services will be capped at 15 per cent of regular indoor capacity.

New modelling also shows Ontario could have up to 6,000 new cases a day by the end of April due to the new variants of the virus.

Health Minister Christine Elliott said the shutdown does not include a stay-at-home order, because last time there were tremendous ill effects on both children and adults.

Restricting in-person shopping in all retail settings, including a 50% capacity limit for grocery stores, convenience stores, indoor farmers' markets, other stores that primarily sell food and pharmacies, and 25 per cent for all other retail including big box stores, along with other public health and workplace safety measures.

Multiple sources with direct knowledge of the decision said Wednesday the shutdown is expected to begin on April 3 and will last at least a month.

One notable change from the January 2021 shutdown is the province will not issue a stay-at-home order this time.

On the advice of the Chief Medical Officer of Health, all Ontarians are asked to limit trips outside the home to necessities such as food, medication, medical appointments, supporting vulnerable community members, or exercising outdoors with members of their household.

Meanwhile, more than 150 intensive care unit doctors signed an open letter to the government on Thursday, calling for new, stricter, measures.

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