The number of novel coronavirus cases in Canada has now surpassed 60,000.
According to numbers reported by federal and provincial authorities on Monday, there are now 60,761 confirmed cases of COVID-19 across the country.
The province of Quebec accounts for more than half of the cases. Canada’s hardest-hit province reported a total of 32,623 cases on Monday and an additional 75 deaths linked to the virus, bringing Quebec’s total death toll to 2,280.
Across Canada, the coronavirus pandemic has claimed the lives of 3,854 people so far.
Just over 26,000 have recovered from the virus, according to the latest figures tracked by Global News.
Monday’s grim milestone comes as several provinces across the country are moving to reopen.
Quebec was one of the first to announce its phased plans to reopen the economy and loosen public health restrictions. But on Monday, the provincial government announced it would be postponing part of its strategy.
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Premier François Legault said on Monday that retail stores in Montreal and the surrounding areas will open on May 18, one week later than previously announced.
The island of Montreal accounts for about half of the total number of infections in the province.
Ontario, meanwhile, recorded 17,923 cases of COVID-19 and a total of 1,300 deaths on Monday, the same day the province permitted select seasonal businesses and some essential construction projects to start reopening.
Although cases and death tolls continue to climb, Canada’s chief public health officer said there are “continual signs” that public health measures “have slowed the growth of COVID-19 overall in Canada.”
“In some places, the epidemic has been brought under good control and the time is right for a cautious reopening,” Dr. Theresa Tam said in a daily press conference on Monday.
“Other areas of the country may not be quite there yet but will follow, guided by the careful assessment of public health authorities.”
Canada is “on a positive trajectory,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told reporters on Monday, but he cautioned once more that the country is “not out of the woods” and residents should continue following instructions from public health officials.
Over 965,000 people have been tested for the coronavirus across Canada. Of those, around 6.5 per cent have tested positive, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada.
Several other provinces also recorded additional cases on Monday.
British Columbia and Alberta reported 53 and 70 new cases, respectively, while Saskatchewan announced an another 34 infections of the virus.
In Atlantic Canada, New Brunswick, P.E.I. and Newfoundland and Labrador reported no cases however, with only Nova Scotia announcing 14 more COVID-19 infections on Monday.
-With files from Kalina Laframboise