TORONTO, Ontario (CTV News) — Canada has now recorded more than 20,000 deaths connected to COVID-19, marking another grim milestone in the country’s fight against the novel coronavirus.
The death tally surpassed 20,000 when Quebec reported 31 more deaths on Sunday. Quebec’s announcement brought the national total to 20,016.
Across Canada, there are currently more than 52,000 active cases of COVID-19, with approximately 703,000 patients having recovered.
Ontario and Quebec have recorded the most deaths amid the pandemic with nearly 16,000 deaths logged between the two provinces. More than 6,180 people have died in Ontario so far, while more than 9,700 have died in Quebec.
The first Canadian death was reported on March 9, 2020, six weeks after the very first case of COVID-19 was confirmed in Toronto on Jan. 27.
Despite surpassing the grim milestone, some provincial leaders say they are considering easing COVID-19 restrictions. However, Canada’s top doctor warned Saturday against the move.
Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam said that even though daily cases of the novel coronavirus are trending down, it’s still too soon to lift lockdowns and other protective measures if the country hopes to bring the pandemic under control.
“With still elevated daily case counts and high rates of infection across all age groups, the risk remains that trends could reverse quickly and some areas of the country are seeing increased activity,” Tam said in a news release.
While some provinces are looking at relaxing measures, the federal government announced on Friday further travel restrictions to help limit the spread of COVID-19 and its more infectious variants.
On Sunday, Air Canada, WestJet, Sunwing and Air Transat agreed to suspend service to Mexico and the Caribbean until April 30 in an effort to discourage non-essential travel.
Additionally, starting Thursday, all international passenger flights can only land at airports in Vancouver, Toronto, Calgary, and Montreal.
In the coming weeks, all air travellers arriving in Canada will also have to stay at a government-approved hotel for three nights and take a COVID-19 test at their own cost.