Canada’s capital Ottawa has moved to the red zone as the spread of the novel coronavirus has been getting out of control in the city.
Red brings with it some of the strictest restrictions detailed on the pandemic scale, second only to grey lockdown, reports Xinhua news agency.
Moving to the red zone means avoiding social gatherings, only leaving home for essential reasons, and not having inside visitors, on top of existing health advice including masking, distancing and staying home when being sick.
The decision to go to red was announced on Friday as the province of Ontario, where Ottawa is located, reported 1,553 new Covid-19 cases and 15 new deaths the previous day.
Ottawa has never been red: for most of November and December, it was in orange, then it went into the provincial shutdown during the Christmas holidays and emerged back into orange about a month ago.
On Thursday, the Ontario government confirmed in the clearest terms that the province was in fact under the third wave of the pandemic.
The province reported 1,745 new COVID-19 cases and 10 deaths on Friday.
Friday’s case count brings the total number of lab-confirmed cases in Ontario to 325,254, including deaths and recoveries.
Over the past week, there had been an 8 per cent increase in daily cases across the country, with an average of almost 3,300 new cases daily, the Public Health Agency of Canada said on Friday.
“Declines in lagging indicators of Covid-19 severity are also showing signs of levelling off or increasing slightly,” said Theresa Tam, Canadian chief public health officer, in a statement on Friday.
“To date, about 4,500 variant of concern cases have been reported across Canada, with the B.1.1.7 variant accounting for over 90 per cent of these to date,” Tam said.
“This includes 4,169 B.1.1.7 variants, 241 B.1.351 variants and 89 P.1 variants reported to date in Canada.”
Canada has so far reported 925,453 confirmed coronavirus cases, with 22,612 deaths and 870,124 recoveries.