Provinces across Canada begin lifting restrictions as Canada cases top 60,000

A much anticipated new phase in the COVID-19 pandemic starts today as some provinces across Canada begin re-opening their economies and slowly lifting some of their lockdown restrictions.

Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, and Quebec are among the provinces to lift some COVID-19 restrictions and allow some businesses to open up starting today.  

As the number of COVID-19 cases in Canada surpassed 60,000, Canada’s health minister, Patty Hajdu warns even as several provinces and sectors engage in a “cautious reopening,” people should understand that the coronavirus outbreak is “not over.” 

Minister Hajdu said Monday that “the new normal will have to include new ways of living, new ways of working, that will protect us in this unique and difficult time.”

The total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Canada as of Monday afternoon, May 4, was recorded at 60,650, including 3,842 deaths, and 25,747 have recovered.

Quebec and Ontario collectively account for 83% of Canada’s cases and 92% of the national deaths related to COVID-19.

Quebec, the hardest-hit province which accounts for more than haft of Canada’s coronavirus cases, including deaths from the virus, is reopening retail stores outside Montreal today, while those in the greater Montreal area are to reopen May 18, a week later than previously announced. Construction and manufacturing sectors across Quebec will reopen, as scheduled, on May 11, as will non-essential businesses outside the Montreal region. 

Ontario, the other epicentre for the virus in Canada, is allowing a small list of seasonal businesses to reopen, including garden centres with curbside pick-ups and delivery, lawn care and landscaping companies, automatic car washes, car dealerships by appointment, and many construction projects. There are 370 new cases in Ontario reported by health officials today bringing the province’s total to 17,923 confirmed cases in the province since the COVID-19 outbreak began in late January, of which 12,505 cases have recovered. There have been a total of 1300 deaths in Ontario from the coronavirus. There are now 4,118 active cases. 

Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta are allowing non-essential medical activities, such as dentistry and physiotherapy to resume today. 

Manitoba’s museums, libraries, and retail businesses – including restaurant patios- can also re-open today, but only at half capacity. 

Alberta recorded a total of 5,766 cases today, with 2, 713 cases have recovered and 95 have died from the coronavirus. Cargill meat plant reopens today despite it is the site of the largest coronavirus outbreak in Canada. There have been 921 cases of the virus at the Cargill plant south of Calgary, which has 2,000 workers. One worker in her 60s died while her husband was hospitalized. Cargill plant said protective barriers have been installed on the production floor and that provincial health officials would be at the plant for Monday’s reopening.

British Columbia Premier John Horgan has promised to release details of its reopening plan this week. 

Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officials said Monday that even things begin to reopen, people will have to continue keeping physical distancing. People are no longer allowed to go to work sick, Dr. Tam said. 

The novel coronavirus first emerged in China and has since spread around the world infecting more than 3.5 million people according to Johns Hopkins University’s tracking tool.

There is no proven treatment or vaccine for it at this time. 

Sources: CBC and Global News

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