Canadian govt to send support to virus-hit province

Toronto (Canada) (AFP) –


Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Sunday that the federal government will send resources and support to Ontario, the province battling a worrying spike in Covid infections.

Ottawa will mobilize health professionals from different federal departments and deploy them to Ontario, particularly the Toronto region, where "the situation is most critical," Trudeau said in a video posted to Twitter.

The government is also in discussion with multiple provinces, including Nova Scotia and Newfoundland, to free up personnel and equipment resources "over the coming days," the prime minister said.

Ottawa will cover the transport costs and coordinate the transfer of caregivers from different provinces to Ontario, he said.

The federal government will also send rapid Covid-19 tests to the areas of Ontario that have been the most-affected by the pandemic.

Ontario, Canada's most populous province with 14 million people, has for the past few days been battling record coronavirus case numbers, hospitalizations and intensive care patients, all of which are threatening to overwhelm its health system.

On Sunday, the province reported 4,250 new cases, 18 new deaths and 2,107 new hospitalizations, 741 of which were in intensive care.

"Canadians are watching surging cases, driven by more contagious variants in places across the country, including in our largest province and Canada's largest city," Trudeau said in his video message.

"If you live in Ontario. I want you to know that Canadians are with you."

On Friday, Ontario announced it was tightening and extending its lockdown orders to curb the pandemic, including closing its inter-provincial borders to non-essential travel.

Canada has recorded more than 1.1 million cases since the start of the pandemic and about 23,600 deaths.