Ontario, Canada begins to lift COVID-related curbs, Quebec is more cautious


Canada’s most populous province, Ontario, has slowed the transmission of the Omicron coronavirus variant and will gradually ease restrictions on business from the end of January, Doug Ford said Thursday.

Ford said in a press conference that the health care system is beginning to stabilize under the restrictions imposed on January 5, and Omicron cases should peak later this month.

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

The state will allow restaurants, malls and cinemas to operate with a 50% capacity limit from January 31st, before further curbs are removed in February and March.

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

In neighboring Quebec, Prime Minister François Legor said he would maintain restrictions to protect the health care system, even if Omicron’s cases peaked.

“We all understand that we are tired, but our lives are at stake. I am currently under great pressure to take action, but my duty is the life of the Quebécois. It’s your responsibility to protect, “he said at a press conference.

Together, Ontario and Quebec make up about 61 percent of Canada’s 38.2 million population.

By Ismail Shakil and David Ljunggren

Reuters

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