Canada marked a grim milestone as the country’s coronavirus death toll pushed past 20,000 on Sunday.
The mark was reached following Quebec’s announcement of 31 new deaths on Sunday. To date, the country’s death toll now stands at 20,032, after another 90 fatalities were announced on Sunday.
The data also pushed Canada’s total caseload to 778,976 confirmed cases of the virus after 3,924 new infections were reported on Sunday. The data paints a limited picture of virus’ spread across Canada however, as B.C., P.E.I. and both the Northwest Territories and Yukon do not release new case numbers on the weekend.
So far, health authorities have administered 957,226 COVID-19 vaccine doses while more than 22 million tests have also been administered across the country. Over 705,000 patients diagnosed with the virus have since recovered as well.
Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer, said on Friday the number of new daily cases was at a “downward trend,” but advised against easing back on current COVID-19 restrictions and measures.
“With still elevated daily case counts and high rates of infection across all age groups, the risk remains that trends could reverse quickly and some areas of the country are seeing increased activity,” she said.
Sunday’s fatalities come on the same day the federal government’s new travel restrictions go into effect.
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“With the challenges we currently face with COVID-19, both here at home and abroad, we all agree that now is just not the time to be flying,” Trudeau said in a press conference outside of Rideau Cottage in Ottawa.
In addition to having to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test to board a flight back to Canada, the prime minister also announced new mandatory PCR testing that will require international travellers to quarantine in an “approved” hotel designated by the federal government until their test results come back.
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Incoming travellers will also be required to foot the bill for their stay, which is expected to be no longer than three days to wait for the results of their test and to cost more than $2,000.
The news also comes as Canada grapples with vaccine delivery delays from Pfizer-BioNtech and Moderna, which threaten to disrupt the country’s goal of having a majority of the country vaccinated by September.
Canada was off to a slow start with its COVID-19 vaccine rollout, falling quickly behind that of Israel, Britain and the United States.
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According to Trudeau, a majority of Canadians should expect to be vaccinated by September 2021, though experts have since warned of provinces not being able to reach that target anytime soon should the country’s current pace of vaccination continue.
Recent numbers from Our World In Data showed that the total number of vaccination doses administered per 100 people in Canada was 2.5 as of Jan. 30, in comparison to the 8.4 in the U.S., 13.1 in the U.K. and 53.8 in Israel.
Moderna announced it would be cutting Canada’s next vaccine delivery by more than 50,000 doses on Friday — roughly three-quarters of the expected supply.
The drug developer joined the ranks of Pfizer-BioNtech, which said it would begin reducing vaccine shipments.
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Yesterday, Canada reported an increase of 4,253 new COVID-19 cases, as well as another 148 deaths. Both Ontario and Quebec continue to tally the highest increases in cases and deaths across the country, though new numbers in those provinces and across Canada have seen a general decline since the holidays.
Those two provinces also reported the highest increases in both new infections and deaths on Sunday as well. Ontario reported another 1,848 infections and 43 more deaths, while Quebec added another 1,223 cases and 31 fatalities.
Manitoba recorded another four COVID-19 deaths on Sunday, as well as 119 new cases. Saskatchewan added four more deaths and 238 new infections.
Alberta’s caseload now stands at 124,208 after 461 more cases added on Sunday. Eight more deaths were also recorded there.
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In Atlantic Canada, only one province reported an increase in new cases Sunday. New Brunswick added another 26 infections, bringing its provincial total to 1,256.
Nunavut reported another 10 cases of COVID-19 on Sunday as well, pushing its total cases to 294.
A total of 102,931,816 people worldwide have since contracted the novel coronavirus, according to Johns Hopkins University. Over 2.2 million people have since died from the virus, with the U.S., India and Brazil continuing to lead in both infections and fatalities.
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