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TORONTO – No curfew in Ontario. The Ford government has decided not to follow in its Quebec neighbor’s footsteps but to declare a state of emergency, effective from January 14, the second since the start of the pandemic.
“Everyone must stay at home to save lives,” Premier Doug Ford said at a press conference on Tuesday, describing a system “on the verge of rupture and collapse”.
To combat the spread of the virus, the government has issued a home stay order, requiring everyone to stay at home except for essential travel (grocery store, pharmacy, doctor) and physical exercise and essential work.
Companies should ask all employees who can to switch to telecommuting. Schools in hot spots will not resume face-to-face classes and non-essential businesses will close at 8 p.m.
This is not, however, a curfew. “I’m not in favor of a curfew,” argued Doug Ford. “It’s too harsh and I have faith in the people of Ontario. Chasing someone if they close their garage at night after 8 p.m., I never believed it. “
A second wave more deadly than the first
Earlier in the morning, Dr.Barbara Yaffe, Deputy Chief Medical Officer of Health, called for tougher measures to avoid the worst: hospital overflow and a massacre in the long-term care system worse than during the first wave of COVID-19.
The number of patients in intensive care could indeed climb to 1,000 in February, according to the latest projections unveiled on Tuesday by the Ontario public health authorities. A scenario considered extreme but realistic, in particular because of the spread of the new variant, whose transmission rate could drop from 56 to 74%.
More details to come …