Canada marked a grim milestone as the country’s coronavirus death toll pushed past 20,000 on Sunday.
A total of 20,020 people have now died from the virus in Canada. The number emerged following Quebec’s announcement of 31 new deaths.
By 11:20 a.m. ET there were 778,123 confirmed cases of the virus in Canada. Another 3,701 cases have been reported on Sunday so far, with the majority — 1,848 cases — coming from Ontario.
So far, health authorities have administered 952,296 COVID-19 vaccine doses while more than 22 million tests have also been administered across the country.
Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer, said on Friday the number of new daily cases was at a “downward trend,” but advised against easing back on current COVID-19 restrictions and measures.
“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,” she said.
Sunday’s fatalities come on the same day the federal government’s new travel restrictions go into effect.
On Friday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that Air Canada, WestJet, Sunwing and Air Transat would all be cancelling their air services to Caribbean destinations and Mexico until April 30.
“With the challenges we currently face with COVID-19, both here at home and abroad, we all agree that now is just not the time to be flying,” Trudeau said in a press conference outside of Rideau Cottage in Ottawa.
In addition to having to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test to board a flight back to Canada, the prime minister also announced new mandatory PCR testing that will require international travellers to quarantine in an “approved” hotel designated by the federal government until their test results come back.
Incoming travellers will also be required to foot the bill for their stay, which is expected to be no longer than three days to wait for the results of their test and to cost more than $2,000.
The news also comes as Canada grapples with vaccine delivery delays from Pfizer-BioNtech and Moderna, which threaten to disrupt the country’s goal of having a majority of the country vaccinated by September.
Canada was off to a slow start with its COVID-19 vaccine rollout, falling quickly behind that of Israel, Britain and the United States.
According to Trudeau, a majority of Canadians should expect to be vaccinated by September 2021, though experts have since warned of provinces not being able to reach that target anytime soon should the country’s current pace of vaccination continue.
Recent numbers from Our World In Data showed that the total number of vaccination doses administered per 100 people in Canada was 2.5 as of Jan. 30, in comparison to the 8.4 in the U.S., 13.1 in the U.K. and 53.8 in Israel.
Moderna announced it would be cutting Canada’s next vaccine delivery by more than 50,000 doses on Friday — roughly three-quarters of the expected supply.
The drug developer joined the ranks of Pfizer-BioNtech, which said it would begin reducing vaccine shipments.
Yesterday, Canada reported an increase of 4,253 new COVID-19 cases, as well as another 148 deaths. Both Ontario and Quebec continue to tally the highest increases in cases and deaths across the country, though new numbers in those provinces and across Canada have seen a general decline since the holidays.
As of 11:20 a.m. ET on Sunday, a total of 102,691,967 people worldwide have since contracted the novel coronavirus, according to report. Over 2.2 million people have since died from the virus, with the U.S., India and Brazil continuing to lead in both infections and fatalities.