A home stay order is in effect across Ontario in response to worsening trends of COVID-19 in the province.
Premier Doug Ford announced the move on Wednesday, saying it was prompted by an increase in the number of cases attributable to more infectious variants.
“The reality is that despite everything we’ve done so far, the COVID-19 situation in Ontario is getting worse as these new variants continue to spread,” said Ford. “Our hospitals are reaching capacity and patients in the GTA now have to be sent to other parts of the province for care.”
Health officials in Ontario reported 3,125 new COVID-19 cases and 17 more deaths on Wednesday. A provincial dashboard that provides an overview of case data puts the number of hospitalizations at 1,397, including 504 people in intensive care units “due to COVID-related illness.”
As part of the home ordering, stores that sell products such as groceries, cleaning supplies, and drugstore products may remain open, but only to sell essentials. Non-essential outlets may be opened only for curbside pickup or delivery.
“The situation is extremely serious,” said Ford. “We just need to curl up right now. We need to limit mobility.”
The province declares the third state of emergency since the start of the pandemic to invoke the new measures.
The changes come after a month-long shutdown announced last week was criticized as being too weak to cope with the third wave of infections.
In Quebec, residents of regions hard hit by the virus face restrictions on gymnasiums, religious gatherings and some interregional travel. The province reported 1,270 new COVID-19 cases and eight additional deaths on Wednesday. COVID-19 hospitalizations, as reported by the province, stood at 543, including 123 people in intensive care.
Meanwhile, residents of Quebec with certain chronic conditions and under the age of 60 can also start getting vaccinated at the hospital on Monday, while essential workers can start making appointments on Friday.
-From The Canadian Press and TBEN News, last updated at 7 a.m. ET
What’s happening across Canada
WATCH | Canada faces a perilous mix of COVID-19 variants:
As early as Thursday morning, Canada had reported 1,028,047 confirmed cases of COVID-19, of which 62,136 were considered active. A TBEN News death tally stood at 23,173 people.
In Atlantic Canada, New Brunswick reported 14 new cases of COVID-19 and one additional death on Wednesday – a man in his 30s.
Health officials in New Scotland reported two new cases on Wednesday, while Newfoundland and Labrador reported a new case. No new cases were reported in Prince Edward Island.
All over the North, YukonThe chief medical officer of health said on Wednesday it was too early to lift COVID-19 restrictions in the territory. This despite the fact that the Yukon has no new cases of COVID-19 and that about 68 percent of residents have received at least one dose of the vaccine. Dr Brendan Hanley says there are too many cases involving variants in neighboring jurisdictions and a territorial election is underway.
Health officials in the Northwest Territories reported one suspected positive case related to a mine. No new cases were reported in Nunavut.
In the Prairie provinces, Manitoba reported 109 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday and one additional death. Saskatchewan, meanwhile, reported 189 new cases of COVID-19 and two new deaths.
In Alberta, health officials reported 1,351 new COVID-19 infections in its latest update. There were 333 people in the hospital, the province said, including 79 in intensive care.
Here is the latest COVID-19 data for Alberta:
• 1,370 new cases (1,351 net with adjustments to previous days)
• 11,464 active cases
• 333 hospitalized patients, including 79 in ICU
• 1 additional death. 2,002 in total
In British Columbia, meanwhile, health officials on Wednesday reported an additional 997 new cases and two more deaths. There were 330 people in the hospital and the number in intensive care rose to 105.
The province has seen a growing number of variant cases, including the B117 variant first reported in the UK and the P1 variant originally linked to travelers from Brazil.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has proven to be constantly evolving, and we also continue to evolve and adapt our response to the pandemic,” said Dr. Bonnie Henry, Provincial Health Administrator, and the Minister. of Health Adrian Dix.
“As part of this, we actively monitor and research all strains of the virus to understand how they may affect us and what additional measures might be needed to keep our communities safe.
-From The Canadian Press and TBEN News, last updated 7:05 am ET
What is happening in the world
As of Thursday morning, more than 133.1 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported worldwide, according to a Johns Hopkins University case tracker. The global death toll stood at over 2.8 million.
The African Union has abandoned plans to purchase COVID-19 vaccines from the Serum Institute of India and is exploring options with Johnson & Johnson, the head of the African Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Thursday.
The institute will still provide the AstraZeneca vaccine to Africa through the COVAX vaccine sharing facility, Dr John Nkengasong said, but the African Union would seek additional supplies from Johnson & Johnson.
In the Asia Pacific region, India reported a record 126,789 new cases of COVID-19, data from the Ministry of Health showed Thursday, with much of the country struggling to contain a second surge of coronavirus infections.
Indonesia’s health minister said the schedule for around 100 million doses of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccines was behind schedule.
Health officials in South Korea have said they will decide whether or not to resume giving AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccines to people 60 and under over the weekend. The injections were halted while regulators in Europe examined a possible link between the injections and rare blood clots.
In EuropeSpain plans to join other European countries in limiting the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine to the elderly over concerns over links to extremely rare blood clotting. Spain’s Health Minister Carolina Darias said on Wednesday after meeting with regional health chiefs that authorities would limit the use of the vaccine in people over 60.
The decision came after the European Medicines Agency said it found a “possible link” between the injection and rare clots.
Last week, Germany and France limited the vaccine to groups of the elderly, and earlier on Wednesday, UK officials recommended that the vaccine not be given to adults under the age of 30. Belgium said on Wednesday that it would not allow its use for people under the age of 56.
The EMA advised against such age restrictions, saying the vaccine’s benefits far outweigh the very rare cases of thrombosis.
In the Americas, Argentina tightened movement restrictions on Wednesday, including slashing the leisure industry and preventing non-essential workers from using public transport after the country hits record number of COVID-19 infections
The governor of Puerto Rico said officials would begin vaccinating all those 16 and over from Monday, sparking celebrations in a U.S. territory facing an increase in coronavirus cases.
Currently, only people 50 years of age and over as well as people 35 to 49 years of age with chronic illnesses are allowed to receive a vaccine. Governor Pedro Pierluisi also announced on Wednesday that he was implementing tougher measures to tackle the spike in infections.
-From Reuters and The The Bharat Express News, last updated 7:10 am ET