Ontario: Ontario is declaring a state of emergency and introducing a stay-at-home order effective Thursday amid an increase in coronavirus variant cases, Premier Doug Ford announced on Wednesday.
“I am declaring a state of emergency with a province-wide stay-at-home order effective 12:01 a.m. [4:01 a.m. GMT] Thursday. This will be in effect for four weeks,” Ford told reporters.
The premier noted that non-essential businesses will be limited to curbside pick-up service, while big box stores will be limited to selling essential items, including groceries and medical supplies.
Ontario introduced a four-week lockdown starting on Saturday, but that has not stopped the surge in coronavirus variant cases.
Ford noted that the daily case counts are rising faster than the worst-case scenario projected by an expert panel advising the provincial government.
Ontario’s public health authorities are recording an average of more than 3,000 new cases daily since the introduction of a third province-wide lockdown since the onset of the pandemic. Experts estimate that variants – particularly the B.1.1.7 one first identified in the United Kingdom – now make up two-thirds of all new cases.
To date, Ontario has reported 370,817 cases and 7,475 virus-related deaths since the onset of the pandemic a year ago.