People lineup at a COVID-19 assessment centre in Scarborough, Ont., on Dec. 2, 2020.
Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press
Canada edged towards a new milestone in COVID-19 cases Friday as accelerating infections had Prime Minister Justin Trudeau noting numbers are too high, especially in Alberta where the numbers are rising alarmingly.
Additions to the daily tally brought the nation to nearly 400,000 reported cases by Friday morning, including 1,780 new cases in Ontario, 1,345 in Quebec, eight in New Brunswick and eight in Nunavut.
Trudeau warned of increasing strain on hospitals and health-care workers, and urged Canadians to remain vigilant in public health care measures that he acknowledged will make for a difficult holiday season.
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Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott said spread had hit a critical point in her province, where there are 633 new cases in Toronto, 433 in Peel and 152 in York Region, and 25 more deaths linked to the virus.
The Ontario government said it is tightening restrictions on three more regions beginning on Monday.
Moving into the orange zone are the Middlesex-London and Thunder Bay areas.
The Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit moves to the yellow category of the provinces COVID-19 restriction system.
In Quebec, there are 1,345 new cases and 28 additional deaths, including five deaths that occurred in the past 24 hours.
Meanwhile, U.S. biotech firm Moderna said Friday it will have as many as 125 million doses available by the end of March, including 15 to 25 million doses available for non-U.S. countries.
Moderna said its messenger RNA vaccine is showing signs of producing lasting immunity to COVID-19 and that Canada the first country to sign a deal to buy its vaccine will get doses from the first batches.
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At least 20 million doses are guaranteed for Canadians, and Procurement Minister Anita Anand said on Friday that the country has exercised its option to purchase an additional 20 million.
Moderna also says new data from its first small clinical trial shows patients still showed signs of good immunity three months after receiving their second dose of the vaccine.
Trudeau acknowledged calls for more precise delivery dates of prospective vaccines but said it was important for Canadians to focus on lowering case counts before deliveries begin in the new year.
He also noted that Ottawa was ready to support provinces struggling with spread but would not overstep its authority. Alberta has strained under soaring numbers and has been leading the country in per-capita case rates.
It set a single-day record Thursday with 1,854 new cases, even more than in Ontario.
Now is not the time to blame one another or point fingers. Now is the time for us to keep working together, Trudeau said Friday.
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Every step of the way our job has not been to direct the provinces or judge the provinces; it has been to be there to support them. And we will be there to support the people of Alberta just like were there to support people right across the country.
With files from Reuters.
Trudeau says the wide inequality between rich and poor countries, which has been made worse by the pandemic, also needs to be dealt with in a co-ordinated way.The Canadian Press
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