"We're now fighting a new enemy".
The Canadian province of Ontario will go into a four-week lockdown effective Saturday amid a steady rise in variant cases of the coronavirus disease, Premier Doug Ford announced on Thursday. It will take effect at midnight.
"We are in the third wave of the pandemic and as the new variants spread, COVID is killing faster and younger", said Dr. Steini Brown, co-chair of the group. "That is our best protection against this deadly virus".
Construction will remain open and some outdoor activities.
Those figures follow weeks of rising case counts as more contagious variants of the virus spread across the province.More news: If You're Fully Vaccinated, a New Thumbs-Up
Outdoor gathering limits, which recently increased to a maximum of 10 people in Toronto, are once again being reduced to just five people, and residents are expected to maintain a distance of at least two metres from one another. This does not include social gatherings associated with these services such as receptions, which are not permitted indoors and are limited to five people outdoors.
Schools remain open because, the government says, they are crucial to students' mental health. Supermarkets and pharmacies will operate at 50% capacity and other retailers at 25%.
Prohibiting indoor and outdoor dining.
He called the measures "pulling the emergency brake" on the entire province.
Personal care services must also close.More news: Fully vaccinated people can fly in US
Crawley writes that "the only difference between this and the current lockdown provisions now seen in some areas of the province appears to be the closure of patio dining and golf courses, alongside a limit of five people instead of 10 for outdoor gatherings".
The last time the province reported a daily case total above the 2,500 mark was on January 22, during the height of the second wave, when 2,662 infections were reported.
It was during the update where Waterloo Region's Medical Officer of Health Dr. Hisu-Li Wang recognized the stricter measures will be hard and present hardships for many in the community but mentioned the province-wide shutdown will help control the impact and extent of the third wave.
Hot spots like Toronto have already largely been on lock down since November but patios recently opened in the city, the country's largest city.
A province-wide shutdown comes into effect on Saturday, April 3, 2021, at 12:01 a.m and will be in effect for at least 28 days.More news: Capitol Police officer killed in vehicle attack identified as 18-year veteran
Ontario's hospital intensive care units had 421 patients critically ill with COVID-19 as of Tuesday, more than at the worst point of the pandemic's second wave.