Canada's Alberta province toughens COVID-19 restrictions

Canada's Alberta province toughens COVID-19 restrictions”

However, the premier will not be answering questions from reporters until a press conference at 10 a.m. Wednesday, according to the premier's executive director of communications Brock Harrison on Twitter.

Health Minister Tyler Shandro hopes to see compliance through this new wave of restrictions and vaccine rollout. In his address, Kenney noted that if exponential growth of COVID-19 continues, Albertans risk pushing the limits of their healthcare system within weeks.

Kenney said the rules are necessary as current caseloads threaten to overwhelm frontline healthcare. "We must not and we will not force our doctors and nurses to decide who gets care and who doesn't", he said.

More than 1.66 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccines have now been administered in the province.

And beginning Sunday, hair salons, tattoo parlours and nail salons must close. Places of worship will be limited to 15 people and funerals to 10 people.

Outdoor gatherings will be limited to five people with a strong recommendation they be restricted to no more than two family cohorts. All workplaces with COVID-19 outbreaks will be ordered to close for 10 days, with the exception of critical workplaces, as of May 5th.

Starting on Friday, these students will transition to online learning until after May 25, in what Kenney described as the government's "most hard decision".

The province is also doubling the fine for Public Health Act violations to $2,000, and Kenney says there will be tougher enforcement for repeat offenders.

More news: New Zealand reports 4 new cases of COVID-19

Alberta, the center of Canada's energy industry, has the highest per capita rate of COVID-19 cases in the country and follows Ontario and Quebec in beefing up restrictions.

There are now 671 Albertans in hospital due to the virus, including 150 individuals in intensive care.

In total, there are 226 Albertans in ICUs - more than the system had room for before the pandemic.

The new measures apply to most of the province, except for in a small handful of communities with very low infection rates.

"Clearly as vaccination is being rolled out, we will position ourself as a safe destination", Joly said in a telephone interview after attending a virtual meeting with her G20 counterparts earlier in the day.

Nearly all will come into effect on May 5th and remain for at least three weeks for municipalities or areas with more than 50 cases per 100,000 people and with 30 or more active cases.

At the height of Alberta's second wave in December, there were more than 900 in hospital, but never as many in intensive care.

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