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Canada sees steady decline of COVID-19 cases, variants increase

Xinhua | Updated: 2021-02-14 08:11

A passenger arrives at Toronto's Pearson airport after mandatory coronavirus disease (COVID-19) testing took effect for international arrivals in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada Feb 1, 2021. [Photo/Agencies]

OTTAWA — Canada reported a total of 823,048 COVID-19 cases and 21,213 deaths as of Saturday afternoon, according to CTV.

From routine national surveillance data, Canada is observing a steady decline in COVID-19 activity. Currently, there are 36,944 active cases across the country, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada on Saturday.

"The latest national-level data show a continued downward trend in daily case counts, with a 7-day average of 3,347 new cases daily (Feb 5-11)" said the agency.

Now, much of Canada is lifting lockdown measures and reopening risky indoor settings while experts warn fast-spreading coronavirus variants threaten to jeopardize recent progress and trigger a third wave of COVID-19.

Infectious disease experts have sounded alarm bells of an approaching third wave expected to be driven by more contagious variants of the virus in Canada.

Theresa Tam, Canada's chief public health officer, said in a statement on Saturday that nine provinces had reported coronavirus variants as of Friday.

As of Friday, Canada reported 429 cases of the variant first identified in Britain, 28 cases of the variant first identified in South Africa, and one of the variant first found in Brazil.

"Although it is normal for variants to emerge as viruses continuously evolve, some variants are considered 'variants of concern' because they spread more easily, some may cause more severe illness, or current vaccines may be less effective against them," Tam said in the statement.

"This is why we need to maintain the strictest vigilance in our public health measures and individual practices. This will help to prevent these variants from re-accelerating the epidemic and making it much more difficult to control," Tam added.

Ontario confirmed 1,300 new COVID-19 cases and 19 more deaths on Saturday.

The province's seven-day average for the number of cases recorded is now 1,167, down from 1,479 one week ago.

Saturday's case count brings the total number of lab-confirmed cases in Ontario to 284,887, including deaths and recoveries.

The province confirmed there were 297 cases of the British variant, also known as B.1.1.7, and three cases of the South African variant, also known as B.1.351, one case of the Brazil variant, also known as P.1 as of Saturday.

This past week, experts, who presented the province's most recent modeling data, warned that the COVID-19 variants could lead to a possible third wave of the disease.

A total of 164,307 people in Ontario have received both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine and are now fully vaccinated against the disease.

Meanwhile, Quebec reported 1,049 new cases on Saturday, bringing the total number of cases to 275,880. The province also confirmed 33 additional deaths, raising fatalities to 10,201.

To date, 290,953 doses of vaccine have been administered in the province. 

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