Canada is facing “a very serious third wave” of the COVID-19 pandemic, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Tuesday, as the country’s most populous province is struggling to respond to rising infections and hospitalisations, and the rapid spread of coronavirus variants.
During a news conference in Ottawa, Trudeau warned that hospitalisations are increasing, intensive care units are filling up, and coronavirus variants are spreading.
“Around the world, countries are facing a very serious third wave of this pandemic and right now so is Canada,” he said.
“Even if the sun is shining and the weather is getting warmer, COVID-19 isn’t done with us yet.”
Canada has reported at least one million cases of COVID-19 and more than 23,000 deaths since the start of the pandemic, according to a Johns Hopkins University tally.
A recent increase in cases and hospitalisations in several provinces has prompted calls for stricter public health measures to stem the spread of the virus.
Health officials have reported cases involving the coronavirus variants first discovered in the UK, South Africa and Brazil.
“We do know that a lot of that is the variant[s], and it does seem like it is a more transmissible strain and it also seems that people do get sicker with some of these variants,” Dr Gerald Da Roza, head of medicine at Royal Columbian Hospital in New Westminster, BC, told CBC News.
“Some people say this is the busiest we’ve been in 15 years,” he said.