Several provinces are tightening public health measures today to curb rising COVID-19 infections, with British Columbia officials set to announce new provincial travel restrictions and two Ontario hot spots poised to see workplace closure orders to control outbreaks come into effect.
Business owners in some tourist areas near the British Columbia-Alberta are frustrated by B.C.’s new restrictions against travelling out of a local health region and say they need more support from the province. 2:03
In Ontario, which is similarly dealing with rising cases, Toronto and Peel Region could begin today to order the temporary closure of some businesses to control workplace COVID-19 outbreaks.
The orders from the top doctors in both regions were expected to come into effect today, a measure they both said was designed to protect tens of thousands of essential workers from the virus.
Both regions said the orders would close businesses with recent outbreaks of five or more linked cases in the past two weeks. The shutdowns will last for 10 days and workers will have to self-isolate during that time.
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Alberta has confirmed its first case of COVID-19 linked to the B1617 variant fuelling a surge of cases in India. 1:59
Alberta reported 1,857 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday and six new deaths. There are 1,326 cases involving variants of concern in the province, including a first case of the B1617 variant driving cases up in India.
British Columbia reported 1,006 new cases of COVID-19 and four additional deaths on Thursday. Hospitalizations stood at 502, a new record high, with 161 in intensive care.
– From CBC News and The Canadian Press, last updated at 10:30 a.m. ET
What’s happening around the world As of early Friday morning, more than 144.8 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University’s case tracking tool. The reported global death toll stood at more than three million.
In the Asia-Pacific region, India reported the world’s highest daily tally of coronavirus cases for a second day on Friday, surpassing 330,000 new cases, while deaths in the past 24 hours also jumped to a high of 2,263. Officials across northern and western India warned most hospitals were full and running out of oxygen.
Japan declared a third state of emergency for Tokyo and three western prefectures on Friday amid skepticism it will be enough to curb a rapid coronavirus resurgence ahead of the Olympics in July. Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga announced the emergency for Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto and Hyogo from April 25 through May 11.
People walk on Shibuya crossing in Tokyo on Thursday amid the coronavirus pandemic. Japan’s capital has been placed under emergency orders only three months before the postponed Olympics are set to open. (Kyodo/Reuters)
The measures this time are to include shutdown orders for bars, department stores, malls, theme parks, theatres and museums. Restaurants that do not serve alcohol and public transportation services are asked to close early. Schools will stay open, but universities are asked to return to online classes.
In Europe, Hungary will allow outdoor terraces at restaurants and bars to open Saturday and plans further openings next week, even as the COVID-19 death rate in the country remains among the highest in the world.
The number of people who have received at least a first dose of a vaccine in Hungary surpassed 3.5 million Friday, a threshold earlier set by the government for when outdoor seating areas could reopen.
In Africa, South Africa remains the hardest hit by COVID-19 among countries on the continent, with more than 1.5 million reported cases and more than 53,000 deaths since the pandemic began.
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