Canada's Ontario to start lifting Covid-related curbs, Quebec more cautious

People queue to collect Covid-19 antigen test kits at the Rideau Centre mall in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada January 7, 2022. ― Reuters file pic
People queue to collect Covid-19 antigen test kits at the Rideau Centre mall in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada January 7, 2022. ― Reuters file pic

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ONTARIO, Jan 21 ― Canada's most populous province of Ontario has blunted transmission of the Omicron coronavirus variant and will gradually ease restrictions on businesses from end-January, Premier Doug Ford said yesterday.

The health care system is starting to stabilize in the wake of limitations imposed on January 5, Ford told a news conference, saying Omicron cases should peak later this month.

“We can be confident that the worst is behind us and that we are now in a position to cautiously and gradually ease public health measures,” Ford said.

The province will allow restaurants, malls, and cinemas to operate with a 50 per cent capacity limit from January 31, before removing more curbs in February and March.

“While February will continue to present its own challenges, given current trends these are challenges we are confident we can manage,” Ford said.

In neighbouring Quebec, premier Francois Legault said he would maintain restrictions to help protect the health care system even though Omicron cases had peaked.

“I understand we are all tired, but lives are at stake. I'm currently under a lot of pressure to remove measures, but my duty is to be responsible to protect the lives of Quebecers,” he told a news conference.

Ontario and Quebec together account for around 61 per cent of Canada's population of 38.2 million people. ― Reuters

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