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Canada implements stay-at-home order for Ontario as officials warn of a looming health care system 'collapse'

January 12, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.

Compression ratio: 50.8%. 2 min read.

The new order will go into effect Thursday.

Ontario, Canada (CNN)Ontario, Canada's most populous province, issued a stay-at-home order Tuesday, as officials warn there is a "real and looming threat of the collapse of the province's hospital system" if Covid-19 case counts do not come down.

"Last week I stood here and I told you our province is in crisis," said Doug Ford, Ontario's premier, during a press conference in Toronto Tuesday.

For at least four weeks, the Ontario government will be "requiring everyone to remain at home with exceptions for essential purposes, such as going to the grocery store or pharmacy, accessing health care services, for exercise or for essential work," according to a statement provided to CNN.

Increased contacts result from increased mobility," said Christine Elliott, Ontario's health minister.

Canada's second wave of Covid-19 is now more widespread and serious than the first, with a seven-day national average of 8,100 new cases per day, a pandemic high, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada.

Ontario public health officials warned at a Tuesday press conference that one in every four ICUs in Ontario were already full, and that the hospital system was under threat of being overwhelmed.

Officials also said the United Kingdom variant of Covid-19 could be become the dominant variant in Ontario in less than two months if left unchecked.

Ontario has reported 14 cases of new variants in the province, but officials said what's more troubling is the discovery of three cases this week not linked to travel, which could indicate the variant is already in the community and spreading.

"Three of our cases we don't have a travel history," said Dr. Barbara Yaffe, Ontario's associate chief medical officer of health.

Earlier on Tuesday, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced his government is buying an additional 20 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, adding that Canada would have at least 80 million doses of vaccine available by fall.

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