Dec 22, 2020 - World

Canada's most populous province orders holiday coronavirus lockdown

The Christmas windows at the Hudsons Bay Company encourage people to social distance

The Christmas windows at the Hudsons Bay Company encourage people to social distance and wear masks in Toronto. Photo: Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images

Ontario officials announced Monday a weeks-long shutdown across Canada's most populous province from Boxing Day as the country is hit by spiking COVID-19 cases.

Driving the news: Nonessential businesses including gyms, salons and indoor dining have been shut in the hardest-hit areas of Toronto and the Regional Municipality of Peel for nearly a month. But Ontario Premier Doug Ford told a briefing "COVID is spreading rapidly from high outbreak areas to areas with fewer cases."

  • From 12:01am on Dec. 26, communities in Ontario's densely populated south will be locked down for a month, including Toronto and Ottawa. Communities in the north will shut down for two weeks, officials said.

Of note: Canada's second-most populous province of Québec plans to close most retailers from Dec. 25 through Jan. 11. Officials there have limited social gatherings, effective Dec. 17 until Jan. 10.

By the numbers: Ontario reported 2,123 new coronavirus infections Monday, marking the seventh straight day of case numbers higher than 2,000, compared to single-digit daily numbers in the late summer.

  • Canada has recorded an average of 177.8 additional cases a day over the past week, per data from Johns Hopkins compiled by the National Bank of Canada.
  • Canadian officials have confirmed 14,332 deaths from COVID-19 and 515,314 cases since the pandemic began, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada.

For the record: The country has begun a nationwide mass rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine.

  • Canada has secured more vaccine contracts than any other country and is in talks with other governments to donate excess doses to lower-income nations.
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