Emergency Preparedness Minister Bill Blair says rising case counts deeply concerning – CTV News

The rapid spread of the Omicron COVID-19 variant is prompting more provinces to reinstate and tighten public health restrictions, with new regulations taking effect this week.

Quebec reported a record number of cases for the third day in a row, with the Omicron variant accounting for nearly 80 per cent of the 5,043 new infections.

Public Security Minister Genevieve Guilbault says she has asked Ottawa for military help to accelerate the province’s mass vaccination campaign.

Emergency Preparedness Minister Bill Blair says the rising case counts in Quebec and across Canada are deeply concerning and the federal government will work with the province.

Ontario is investigating complaints of businesses or individuals reselling rapid antigen COVID-19 tests, with anyone caught doing so facing steep fines, and several hospitals have introduced stricter visitor policies.

Just before midnight tonight, bars, nightclubs, gyms, fitness centres, and dance studios in B.C. must close.

Starting Friday, Alberta is limiting venues that seat more than 1,000 people, including arenas, to half capacity.

Prince Edward Island has joined Newfoundland and Labrador in requiring visitors to isolate upon arrival to the province.

Despite projects that Omicron-driven cases and hospitalizations will increase dramatically by the end of the month without stronger interventions, Saskatchewan is not planning to tighten public health measures for the holidays.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 22, 2021.