Ontario to limit outdoor gatherings as coronavirus cases surge in Canada

Ontario to limit outdoor gatherings as coronavirus cases surge in Canada

Capacity limits at essential stores have been furthered reduced to 25%.

Amid a spiking third wave of infections, Ontario, Canada's most populous province, announced new public health restrictions on Friday, including closing the province's borders to domestic travellers.

"We're losing the battle between the variants and vaccines..." "The reality is there are few options left". "We have made the hard but necessary decision to give police and bylaw officers, special authorities to enforce public health measures for the duration of the stay at home order".

The Canadian Civil Liberties Associations had decried that extension of police power and warned of its potential abuse.

"Random police stops during COVID are unconstitutional, presuming those outdoors or driving to be guilty", said Michael Bryant, head of the CCLA.

Around 700 to 1,000 beds will also be added to build hospital capacity, Ford said.

"In the initial 24-72 hours of this operation, officers will focus on education and awareness", police said.

The province's total COVID-19 case count now stands at 416,995 since the pandemic began, with 367,691 people having now recovered from the virus. "We've implemented the strictest measures in all of North America, and the hard truth is every public health measure we have left has a massive cost to people and their lives".

Ontario reported another record in new daily COVID-19 infections on Friday.

Andrew Fletcher, chief of the South Simcoe Police Service, said officers would only act on complaints. It said enforcement will be a last resort. "I'm checking our Charter out on that one", he said in a post on Twitter.

"Let's be very real here: We are not going to police our way out of the pandemic", Andrews said.

A spokesperson for the Ontario government told CTV News Winnipeg these travel restrictions mean no person from Manitoba or Quebec will be allowed into the province unless the person's principal residence is in Ontario.

"The OPS will not be conducting random stops", he said in a release.

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Inspectors will be making sure people who must absolutely work out of the home are following public health measures. "If there is anything the federal government can do to help us get more supply sooner, now is the time to do it".

Ford said some of the new restrictions are outdoor gatherings being limited to members of your household.

Ottawa police say starting at 12:01 a.m. Monday, officers will be screening travellers at all Ottawa-area interprovincial border crossings from Gatineau.

Hospitalizations in the province declined slightly, falling by nine to 683.

"Our progress is both frustrating and frightening", Dr. Adalsteinn Brown, co-chair of Ontario's science advisory panel, said grimly.

P.E.I. now has 10 active cases of COVID-19 and has had 170 positive cases since the onset of the pandemic. It also reported 25 more deaths related to the virus.

The province's top doctors said six week stay-at-home order and more than 100,000 vaccinations a day are needed to flatten the curve.

The group says vaccines are not reaching high-risk people fast enough to overcome serious illness seen in hospitals.

" Low-income racialized people (many are essential workers) have a history of being over-policed".

Another 3,611 people recovered from the disease, resulting in 40,694 active cases across the province.

The first shipment of Johnson and Johnson one-shot COVID-19 vaccine will be coming on April 27.

Ensuring workplaces were safe, supporting workers with sick leave and limiting mobility would make a provincial shutdown more effective, Brown said.

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