Canada reports record daily COVID count
Ottawa, Dec 23 (UNI/Xinhua) Canada reported 14,934 new COVID-19 cases, setting a record daily count since the coronavirus outbreak in February 2020, reported local media.
The record tally came after the country recorded 11,690 new cases on Tuesday and 10,665 new cases on Monday.
Provinces across Canada have re-imposed new restrictions and speeded up booster shots to stem the spread of the Omicron variant, which is now the dominant variant in several populous provinces.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told a virtual press conference on Wednesday that he's taking all precautions and following all public health guidelines after three staff members and three security staff tested positive for COVID-19.
Trudeau urged Canadians to "hunker down in the coming weeks" to slow the spread of the virus.
"By the beginning of January we could have a very high number of cases, which underscores the need to act urgently now to reduce the acceleration," Canada's Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam said at a press conference on Wednesday.
"While Delta is still spreading in many areas, Omicron is increasingly responsible for a rapid rise in case counts," Tam said, adding that a fast-spreading wave of Omicron could make the problem in Canadian hospitals worse even if the variant turns out to be less severe.
Canada has detected more than 2,360 confirmed Omicron cases to date.
She urged all Canadians to do what they can to curb the spread of the virus, including changing their Christmas plans. "This variant spreads extremely quickly and the situation can rapidly get out of hand anywhere."
Quebec province reported a record count of 6,361 cases on Wednesday, with the Omicron variant accounting for nearly 80 percent of the new cases. The Quebec government predicted a steep exponential rise in COVID-19 cases.
Quebec Premier Francois Legault said Wednesday that as of Dec. 26, indoor gatherings in the province will be limited to six people or two family clusters in an effort to slow the spread of the Omicron variant and limit hospital admissions.
The Trudeau government announced on Wednesday its intention to temporarily expand the eligibility of several support programs to apply to those impacted by these new public health restrictions driven by the Omicron surge.