Top Opposition leaders self-isolate as Canada sees fresh spike in Covid-19 cases
Canada recorded 1,037 new infections on Friday, an increase of 58% compared to the situation two weeks earlier. The total number of cases has surpassed 144,000, while deaths have crossed 9,250Updated: Sep 19, 2020, 10:27 IST
Leaders of the two main opposition parties in Canada have gone into self-isolation less than a week before parliament reconvenes as the country witnessed a marked resurgence in coronavirus cases that may signal the possible arrival of a second wave of the deadly respiratory disease.
Canada recorded 1,037 new Covid-19 cases on Friday, an increase of 58% compared to the situation two weeks earlier. According to the US-based Johns Hopkins University coronavirus tally, the total number of Covid-19 cases in Canada has surpassed 144,000, while the disease has claimed at least 9,250 lives.
Erin O’Toole, leader of Canada’s principal opposition Conservative Party, has gone into self-isolation along with family members after a member his staff tested positive for Covid-19.
Also in quarantine was Yves-François Blanchet, leader of the Bloc Québécois, the second largest opposition group in the House of Commons, after he tested positive along with his wife. Several MPs from his party have gone into self-isolation as a precautionary measure.
The Canadian parliament is scheduled to meet on September 23. The upcoming sitting is set to feature a Throne Speech from the country’s governor general that is expected to outline an ambitious agenda for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government.
Trudeau has already sought virtual voting in the House so that legislative business can continue even as many MPs are unable to attend sessions in Ottawa in person.
As cases surged, Tina Namiesniowski, the president of the Public Health Agency of Canada, has announced her resignation even as authorities responsible for dealing with the pandemic have increasingly come under criticism for their failure to control the spread of the disease.
While not yet declaring a second wave, Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer, has warned that the “ongoing increase in the national daily case count is an indicator of accelerated epidemic growth”.
She said in a statement, “This situation increases the likelihood that we could lose the ability to keep Covid-19 cases at manageable levels.”
Several provinces have been reporting a spike in cases, including Ontario, where over 400 new infections - the highest since June - have been recorded after the daily case count had dropped to under 100 last month.
British Columbia reported an all-time high of 179 Covid-19 cases on Friday, forcing the authorities to bring back some of the restrictions in Toronto, including limiting indoor gatherings to 10 and outdoor gatherings to 25.