Nov 20, 2020 - Health

Toronto, Peel placed under lockdown as COVID cases soar across Canada

 A medical worker wearing protective gear is seen outside a COVID-19 assessment center in Toronto,

A medical worker walks outside a COVID-19 assessment center in Toronto, Canada. Photo: Zou Zheng/Xinhua via Getty Images

Ontario officials announced new coronavirus lockdown measures for Toronto and Peel Region on Friday, as Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau urged all residents to stay home, saying COVID-19 "cases across the country are spiking massively."

Why it matters: Canadian officials predict that by end of the month, the death toll from COVID-19 could be between 11,870 and 12,120, with the country's total cases between 366,500 and 378,600, Reuters reports. Canada has recorded 315,751 cases and 11,265 deaths since the pandemic began.

  • Ontario reported 1,418 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday.

Details: Ontario Premier Doug Ford said Friday his administration was moving Toronto and Peel to the "lockdown" category, the strictest classification in the province's COVID-19 tiers.

  • Starting Monday:
    • Restaurants will be limited to take-out, drive-through and delivery.
    • Non-essential retail and malls must close, except for curbside pickup or delivery services.
    • Gyms, salons and other personal services must close.
    • Residents will not be allowed to hold indoor gatherings with anyone outside their household.
    • Outdoor gatherings will be limited to 10 people.
    • Religious services and weddings will be restricted to 10 people.
    • Most post-secondary institutions will move to virtual instruction.
  • The Durham and Waterloo regions are moving into the red "control" category, Ford said, and Huron-Perth, Niagara, Simcoe-Muskoka, southwestern Ontario and Windsor are moving to the orange "restrict" zone, per CBC.

What they're saying: “The situation is extremely serious, and further action is required to avoid the worst-case scenario,” Ford in a news conference Friday afternoon.

  • “We cannot put in-class learning at risk. We can’t risk widespread outbreaks in our long-term care homes. We cannot risk overwhelming our hospitals. To protect our most vulnerable and protect what matters most we have to get the community spread under control," he added.
  • Earlier on Friday, Trudeau warned that Canada’s hospital system could be overwhelmed if COVID-19 cases spike as predicted.
    • “The cases across the country are spiking massively. We are facing a winter that’s going to drive people inside more and more, and we’re really at risk of seeing caseloads go up and hospitals get overwhelmed and more loved ones dying," Trudeau said in televised remarks.
    • “A normal Christmas is quite frankly right out of the question,” he added.
    • “This is the future of our country. This is the future of our children. It’s the future of our loved ones and our seniors. It’s our economy. It’s our businesses. It’s everything all together."
    • Trudeau added he was not "looking to bring in a federal hammer to try and do things," including imposing a nationwide lockdown.
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