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Ontario's third wave of COVID-19 is 'killing faster and younger'

Ontario's third wave of COVID-19 is 'killing faster and younger'”

Premier Doug Ford has confirmed he will be pulling the emergency brake for all 34 public health units in the province.

Outdoor organized public events or social gatherings to a five-person maximum, except for gatherings with members of the same household, or gatherings of members of one household and one other person from another household who lives alone.

"Ontario, like many other provinces and jurisdictions around the world, is in the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic and immediate action is required to help turn the tide", said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health.

Premier Doug Ford has announced a province-wide shutdown due to a surge in COVID-19 cases and intensive care admissions.

Indoor or outdoor sports and recreational fitness must also cease operations, with exceptions including high-performance athletes and access to physical therapy for a person with a disability.

"The bottom line is that we need more time", he adds.

The source, who was not authorized to speak publicly about the announcement, said schools will remain open after the Easter weekend.

A government spokesperson said the measures are somewhat different from those in the grey "lockdown" tier of Ontario's COVID-19 restrictions system.

"What we are introducing is an emergency brake shutdown that allows some activities to be carried out but the lockdown, we know, with the warmer weather coming, with all that we've asked Ontarians to sacrifice, is too hard to do".

"They spread faster and do more harm than the virus we were fighting a year ago", Ontario Premier Doug Ford said during a news conference in Toronto on Thursday.

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Outside gatherings are capped at five people while schools will stay open with COVID-19 safety protocols in place.

The government is asking Ontarians to limit trips outside the home to necessities such as food, medication and other essential services.

The change, coming just two weeks after opening the province to outdoor dining, is "devastating" for members of his organization, said Todd Barclay, CEO of Restaurants Canada.

The science advisory table also suggested Thursday that limiting inter-provincial movement - similar to what was imposed in January and expired starting in mid-February - would help brings the number of new cases down.

These increases are being driven by COVID-19 variants, which are transmitted easily and result in a higher risk of death and hospitalization, including in younger populations.

Critical Care Services Ontario counted 421 hospital patients with COVID-related critical illness as of midnight.

Ford's comments come after a report shows there are now more COVID-19 patients in Ontario intensive care units than at any other point in the pandemic.

Business that deliver or support community services are allowed, including policing, fire and emergency services, coroner, paramedics, sewage treatment and disposal and more.

"While some good employers out there are already doing this, most are not and won't unless [the] government forces them to just do the right thing", said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President on Thursday.

The seven-day average is up to 2,341 cases daily and 113 weekly per 100,000.



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