Canada’s Ontario imposes a four-week lockdown as Covid-19 cases surge

Ontario said to plan another stay-at-home order as COVID spreads

"The situation is extremely serious".

Ontario Premier Doug Ford is expected on Wednesday to announce a province-wide stay-at-home order that will close all non-essential businesses to in-person shopping starting on Thursday. Those essential aisles include pharmaceutical, health care and personal care items, groceries, household cleaning supplies and pet care supplies.

"By all of us staying at home, while still taking some time to enjoy the outdoors with the people we live with in our local neighbourhoods and maintaining two metres physical distance from others, we can reduce our mobility, minimize transmission, protect our loved ones and our communities, safeguard health system capacity, and save lives".

That framework triggered backlash from the small business community for allowing big-box stores to sell non-essential wares while smaller stores were limited to online sales and curbside pickup.

Stores that sell safety supply equipment, assistive devices, eyeglasses, cellphones, vehicle rentals, mechanics and auto dealerships can only operate at a 25% capacity limit, and by-appointment between the same hours as non-essential businesses.

The province of Ontario appears on track for another crackdown in its attempt to curb the spread of COVID-19.

Australia-NZ bubble set for April 19
The decision also ends a tortured 11-month journey from when the bubble was first agreed to its implementation. About 1.5 million Australians used to visit New Zealand annually pre-Covid.

His announcement came nearly a week after Ford had to reverse the plans of reopening businesses and a couple of days after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau warned against a very serious third wave in the country.

Provincial data showed more COVID-19 patients in intensive care units (ICU) than at any point since the pandemic began.

Education workers who provide direct daily support to students with special education needs across the province will also be eligible for the vaccine. Vaccinations will start during the April break with priority neighborhoods in Toronto and Peel, then rolling out to priority neighborhoods in other hot spot regions, including York, Ottawa, Hamilton, Halton and Durham.

"Schools and child care will remain open for in-person care and learning in public health regions where it is permitted, with strict safety measures in place".

Hours earlier, Ford had told reporters that schools were safe and closures would be unnecessary.

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