Prime Minister Justin Trudeau receives his vaccine and orders millions of doses for 2022-2024.
New daily COVID-19 cases in Canada could almost double to more than 15,000 from 8,600 by the end of April, unless stricter measures are taken as new variants of the coronavirus spread, warned Friday health officials.
Officials said in a briefing that if people cut the number of personal contacts by 20 to 30 percent, the number of cases could drop to around 4,500.
“The high number of cases and trends in serious illnesses remind us that we are still in the right race between vaccines and variants and that our actions count,” said Director of Public Health Theresa Tam.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau echoed the call to reduce personal contact, saying “the COVID-19 situation is critical.”
The main provinces such as Ontario struggles to cope with a third wave of COVID-19 worsening and accusing Ottawa of not doing enough to curb the spread of new, more highly transmissible virus variants and also of spoiling the purchase of vaccines. Ontario reported more than 4,500 new cases as of Friday.
Vaccine shortages have prompted Canada to delay second doses of vaccine for up to four months.
Trudeau and his wife Sophie received their first doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine on Friday.
The Canadian Prime Minister said his country has signed an agreement with COVID vaccine producer Pfizer for 35 million booster doses for 2022 and 30 million in 2023, with options to add 30 million more doses in 2022 and 2023 and 60 million doses in 2024.
He said the government was also in discussions with other vaccine makers about their plans for recalls.
The vaccines are so new that experts do not yet have reliable data on how long they will be protected or whether they will be affected by emerging variants of the virus.
“Canadians expect us to be prepared for whatever happens. There is certainly hope that the booster injections may not be necessary, but we are much better off making sure that we are ready in case they are, ”Trudeau said at a press conference in Ottawa.
The Prime Minister says 30 percent of eligible adults in Canada have received at least one vaccine. It is expected that all eligible Canadians will be able to receive at least one dose by the end of June.
The Pacific Coast Province of British Columbia has restricted non-essential travel between three regional health districts in an attempt to curb the spread of COVID-19.
Solicitor General Mike Farnworth, who is also Minister of Public Safety, said the ordinance bans recreational travel between districts, but allows travel for essential reasons such as school, work, health care or commercial transport.
Canada has so far recorded a total of 23,835 deaths and 1,167,684 cases of COVID-19, according to a count from Johns Hopkins University.