Canada’s chief public health officer urged residents to continue making a “collective effort” to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic on Saturday as parts of the country braced for new rounds of restrictions meant to curb the spread of the virus.
Dr. Theresa Tam issued a statement acknowledging that confusion over appropriate public health measures is understandable in light of the fact that the pandemic is playing out differently across different provinces and territories.
But she stressed that Canadians must “keep our number of in-person close contacts low” and adhere to public health practices.
“There are no quick fixes and COVID-19 is not going away, so public health is focused on making the response sustainable through to the end of the pandemic, balancing the health, social and economic consequences,” Tam said Saturday in a news release.
To date, labs across 🇨🇦 have tested 8,563,059 people for <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/COVID19?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#COVID19</a>, w an average ~2.2% positive overall, for a rate of 227,806 people tested per million population in Canada. <a href=”https://t.co/jrZH3tHRUo”>https://t.co/jrZH3tHRUo</a>
“What is certain is that our response requires a collective effort. Everyone’s actions matter.”
With different approaches across the country while schools and some businesses remain open, the situation is “complicated” and challenging for individuals, families and public health authorities, Tam said.
But we need to remember that every person we encounter “brings with them a whole network of contacts.”
“So, as much as you can, I urge you to reduce encounters with people outside of your consistent, trusted close contacts,” Tam said.
“I especially urge you to avoid these encounters in crowded and closed settings with limited ventilation. Keeping apart is difficult, but it is what will make us stronger, more resilient and better able to sustain public health efforts through the fall and winter.”
What’s happening elsewhere in Canada
As of 5:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, Canada had 196,321 confirmed or presumptive coronavirus cases. Provinces and territories listed 165,446 of those as recovered or resolved. A CBC News tally of deaths based on provincial reports, regional health information and CBC’s reporting stood at 9,746.
Quebec reported 1,279 new cases of the respiratory infection on Saturday. That’s more than any single day in the initial surge of cases in the spring. The pandemic appears to be gaining strength in the Mauricie, Quebec City and Lanaudière regions.
The province’s public health institute urged Quebecers to shrink their social circles even further as the province reported another 1,055 new COVID-19 cases and one new virus-related death on Friday.
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The majority of the cases are concentrated in Toronto, Peel Region and Ottawa. As of Friday, residents of long-term care homes in those regions are not allowed to leave for social or personal reasons.
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The Manitoba government is scaling up its restrictions in the Winnipeg area amid growing concern about community spread.
The two-week mandate, which comes into force Monday, prohibits gatherings of more than five people, shuts down beverage rooms and casinos, and restricts restaurants, lounges and retail stores to half-capacity.
Manitoba health authorities reported 85 new cases and 19 recoveries on Saturday.
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Saskatchewan reported 36 new cases and nine recoveries.
New Brunswick added eight new cases on Saturday.
Newfoundland and Labrador reported three new confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Friday, all related to travel.
Meanwhile, the Northwest Territories said three people have received presumptive positive test results for the virus.
What’s happening around the world
According to Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, the global total of confirmed coronavirus cases stands at more than 39.5 million. More than 1.1 million people have died while more than 27.1 million have recovered.
In Asia, the United Arab Emirates has announced its highest single-day total of new cases of the coronavirus amid a spike. Recorded infections have soared again in recent weeks, as authorities have relaxed restrictions and resumed schools for in-person instruction. Dubai has reopened its airport for international travellers and embarked on an active campaign promoting itself as a tourism destination amid the pandemic.
In Europe, coronavirus infections in the Czech Republic have surpassed 10,000 in one day for the first time, setting a new record high for the third straight day.
WATCH | European ‘hot spots’ driving increase in COVID-19 cases, WHO says:
In the Americas, the U.S. state of Pennsylvania reported 1,857 new COVID-19 cases, the second-highest daily total since the beginning of pandemic, days after officials said the commonwealth was seeing a “fall resurgence” of the coronavirus.
Africa has seen more than 1.6 million cases and more than 39,000 deaths. South Africa accounts for the majority of the continent’s infections, with more than 700,000.
Over 1.6 million confirmed <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/COVID19?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#COVID19</a> cases on the African continent – with more than 1.3 million recoveries & 39,000 deaths cumulatively.<br><br>View country figures & more with the WHO African Region COVID-19 Dashboard: <a href=”https://t.co/V0fkK8dYTg”>https://t.co/V0fkK8dYTg</a> <a href=”https://t.co/GrHiV8HGeK”>pic.twitter.com/GrHiV8HGeK</a>