TORONTO — Ontario Premier Doug Ford doesn’t want to see the Canada-United States border opened when the current closure expires July 21, considering the positive trends in the province compared to a COVID-19 resurgence in many states.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has extended a ban on non-essential travel between the two countries until at least that day, and Ford said even after that it seems too early.
“I know it’s inevitable, we’ve got to do it, I just don’t think we’re ready right now,” Ford said.
“You see what’s happening down in the states, you look at Florida, you look at Texas, Arizona, California — I don’t want to be those states.”
Several states set single-day COVID-19 case records this week, including Arizona, California, Mississippi, Nevada, Texas and Oklahoma.
Ontario, meanwhile, has recorded fewer than 200 new daily cases for 10 out of the past 12 days and with a growth rate of less than one per cent for almost three weeks.
“This isn’t over. I can’t stress it enough. We’re doing great because everyone listened,” Ford said.
“But man, this thing comes back, that’s what concerns me. So we have to stay focused and we can’t let our guard down for a heartbeat. We let our guard down and look what happened to Florida, look what happened to California and Arizona and Texas. That’s what happens when you’re reckless, you’re careless and you let your guard down.”
Ontario’s chief medical officer, Dr. David Williams, said some of the states with roughly the same population as Ontario are reporting more than 1,500 new daily cases. In Ontario, no day has seen an increase over 700.
“It says you cannot be casual about opening up,” he said.
“We’d like to get low enough to say with our methods, with our controls, with our protection, with our social circles, with our cohorting, we might even fend off a second wave.”
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Ontario’s Financial Accountability Officer said that last year the tourism, culture and heritage sectors generated $43.7 billion in economic activity, representing 4.9 per cent of Ontario’s Gross Domestic Product.
But until international travel can “significantly resume,” the loss in annual spending by international tourists will reach $11.4 billion, the office said in a report Thursday.
Ontario reported 189 new cases of COVID-19 Thursday, and 10 more deaths.
That brings the province to a total of 34,205 cases, including 2,641 deaths and 29,528 resolved cases.
That’s an increase of 192 resolved cases over the previous day, continuing a trend of those growing more quickly than active cases.
The number of people in hospital with COVID-19 fell from 278 to 270.
The number of people in intensive care and on ventilators — 69 and 47, respectively — fell to the lowest levels since the province started publicly reporting those figures at the beginning of April.
More than 27,500 tests were completed in the previous day.
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This report by The Canadian Press was first published on June 25, 2020.