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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

Jan 29, 2021 - Health

J&J says its one-shot vaccine is 66% effective against moderate to severe COVID

Photo: Thiago Prudêncio/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Johnson & Johnson announced Friday that its single-shot coronavirus vaccine was 66% effective in protecting against moderate to severe COVID-19 disease in Phase 3 trials, which was comprised of nearly 44,000 participants across eight countries.

Between the lines: The vaccine was 72% effective in the U.S., but only 57% effective in South Africa, where a more contagious variant has been spreading. It prevented 85% of severe infections and 100% of hospitalizations and deaths, according to the company.

Jan 30, 2021 - World

Science helps New Zealand avoid another coronavirus lockdown

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern (L) visits a lab at Auckland University in December. Photo: Phil Walter/Getty Images

New Zealand has avoided locking down for a second time over COVID-19 community cases because of a swift, science-led response.

Why it matters: The Health Ministry said in an email to Axios Friday there's "no evidence of community transmission" despite three people testing positive after leaving managed hotel isolation. That means Kiwis can continue to visit bars, restaurants and events as much of the world remains on lockdown.

Jan 30, 2021 - World

Germany to impose travel restrictions to curb spread of coronavirus variants

Border police officers check passports and COVID-19 tests at Frankfurt Airport. Photo: Thomas Lohnes via Getty Images

Germany announced Friday that it was imposing new travel restrictions in an effort to curb the spread of more contagious coronavirus variants.

Details: All non-German residents traveling from countries deemed "areas of variant concern," including the United Kingdom, South Africa, Portugal, Ireland, Brazil, Lesotho and Eswatini, will be banned from entering the country, even if they test negative for the coronavirus.