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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."

A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.
  • 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.

Go deeper

20 hours ago - Health

Biden admin to boost COVID vaccine delivery to states for at least 3 weeks

Vice President Harris receives her second COVID-19 vaccine dose in Bethesda, Maryland, on Jan. 26. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

The Biden administration plans to increase its COVID-19 vaccine shipments to states and tribes from 8.6 million doses per week to 10 million for at least the next three weeks, as part of an effort to vaccinate the majority of the U.S. population by the end of this summer.

Why it matters: Hospitals in states across the U.S. say they are running out of vaccines and the country's death toll is sharply rising.

Scammers have stolen over $130 million in coronavirus-related schemes

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Over 100,000 Americans have collectively reported roughly $132 million in fraud losses from scams related to the coronavirus and government stimulus checks since the March start of the pandemic, according to the Federal Trade Commission.

Why it matters: Coronavirus-related fraud complaints peaked in May when the IRS began sending its first round of stimulus checks. Congress recently proposed a second round of stimulus.