COVID-19 in Canada: B.C. urges Canada-wide travel rules, Ontario to unveil new measures for hot spots

Elisabetta Bianchini
·5 min read

For more on today’s top stories and the spread of the novel coronavirus across the country, please refer to our live updates below throughout the day, as well as our COVID-19 news hub.

B.C. premier wants Canada-wide travel rules

British Columbia Premier John Horgan is calling on the federal government to work on a pan-Canadian approach to travel.

“We need to make sure that those who want to come to British Columbia must only do so if it is essential for their business or their well-being,” Horgan said at a press conference on Wednesday. “Beyond that, we need to stay in our tight social circles.”

“I’m not requesting the federal government to impose anything on any other jurisdiction in Canada. I’m asking the federal government to work with us and other provinces to get the message out that if you do not have to travel between jurisdiction, you shouldn’t do so.”

The premier went on to say that he is “confident” that prime minister will take the opportunity to broadly tell all Canadians to stay where they live and reduce social interactions.

Horgan stated that non-essential travel is prohibited and British Columbia and it will remain that way for “at least” the next two weeks.

“We can see the finish line, we can see some hope at the end of what has been a very, very difficult tunnel but we cannot lose our resolve now,” the premier said.

Ontario to announce more COVID-19 measures on Friday

At a press conference on Wednesday, Ontario Premier Doug Ford responded to reports of people “harassing” the chief medical officer of the Niagara region after opponents of the restrictions posting his phone number online, when more restrictive measures were added to restaurants in the area.

“I’ve got to ask the people that are harassing the chief medical officer, would you be harassing your own doctor if he said you should follow these protocols?” Ford said. “You think this is great, to give out his phone number and start harassing a [doctor] that’s been working [his] back off? It’s ridiculous.”

“I’m getting so tired of these anti-maskers, the world is fine, everyone just go out there. Yeah it’s OK for some people, if they get it god willing they get through it. How about their parents? How about their grandparents? My prayers and thoughts go out to the teacher that lost her life over COVID, how about other people?”

The premier went on to say that the public should “be prepared” for Friday when the provincial government is expected to announce new, more restrictive measures.

“Do not have birthday parties, do not have sleepovers, it’s dangerous,” Ford said. “It has to stop. We’re looking at lockdown if this continues in Peel and Toronto and York.”

Ontario confirms 1,417 cases, 32 more COVID-19 deaths

Ontario reported 1,417 news cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, including 463 new cases in Peel, 410 in Toronto and 178 in York Region.

The province also reported 32 more deaths, bringing the total to 3,415.

There are currently 535 people in hospitals in the province, with 127 in ICU. A total of 33,440 tests were completed in the previous day and 36,671 tests are under investigation.

In Ontario, 100 long-term care homes have a reported outbreak, with 678 active resident cases and 541 active staff cases.

The province reported 109 new school-related COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, including 92 student cases and 17 staff cases. Three schools are closed due to COVID-19 concerns.

Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown commented on the “finger-pointing” related to people questioning why the city has such a high number of COVID-19 cases, particularly the northeast area of Brampton which amount to a 19 per cent positivity rate.

“Brampton makes up some of the highest percentages of essential workers,” Brown said, adding that the particularly impacted area of the city has one of the highest levels of factory workers, people who work in industrial settings and food processing.

“These are unsung pandemic heroes and rather than finger-pointing people who are taking on necessary work, I really believe we need to say, what can we do to support them,” he said. “If you go to a grocery store and see food on the shelf, thank a Brampton essential worker. If you order your goods from Amazon, thank a Brampton essential worker who works at that Amazon warehouse.”

“They know they face a greater risk and they go to work without hesitation.”

Quebec reports more than 1,100 new COVID-19 cases

Quebec reported 1,179 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, including 280 cases in Montreal, 167 cases in Saguenay – Lac-Saint-Jean and 133 cases in Montérégie.

The province also confirmed 35 more COVID-19 deaths, including eight that occurred in the last 24 hours.

There are 652 people with the virus in Quebec hospitals, including 100 in intensive care.

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