Another 7,471 cases of the novel coronavirus have been detected in Canada, marking the highest single-day increase since the pandemic began.
More than 8,000 new cases were reported on December 26, however, several provinces reported cases detected over 48 hours, because of the Christmas holiday.
The new cases and deaths come as the federal government announced Canada will now require all air passengers to obtain a negative COVID-19 test three days before arriving in the country.
The new rules are expected to come into effect in the next few days.
“We strongly advise against travel unless absolutely necessary,” Public Safety Minister Bill Blair told reporters at a news conference in Ottawa on Wednesday.
“If you must travel, understand that upon your return, you must follow guidelines and quarantine for 14 days,” he said. “It’s not just the right thing to do — it’s the law. And if you don’t, it can result in serious consequences.”
In a series of tweets Wednesday afternoon, Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam, said while Canadians can be “hopeful heading into 2021 as vaccines are being administered, we must remember that until they are more widely available, following proven #PublicHealth measures is key to #SlowtheSpread.”
Tam said the country remains on a “trajectory for resurgence” adding that COVID-19 infections rates “remain very high in many areas.”
She said this means we must celebrate New Year’s Eve “differently and resolve to carry on with effective public health practices” in the new year.
Thousands of new cases in the provinces
In Ontario, a record 2,923 new cases of the virus were detected, and provincial health authorities said another 19 people have died.
To date, Ontario has seen 178,831 infections and 4,474 fatalities related to COVID-19.
Meanwhile, in Quebec, 2,511 new cases were detected, marking the highest single-day increase since the pandemic began.
The new cases bring the province’s total case load to 199,822. Forty-one more fatalities mean a total of 8,165 people have died in Quebec after testing positive for the virus.
Saskatchewan reported 138 new cases of the coronavirus, and three more deaths.
So far, the province has seen 15,160 infections and fatalities.
Health officials in Manitoba said 130 new cases have been detected, and two more people have died, bringing the total number of infections and fatalities to 24513 and 661 respectively.
Four new cases were detected in Atlantic Canada on Wednesday.
Nova Scotia added three new cases, while New Brunswick saw one new infection, bringing the total number of cases in the provinces to 1,483 and 946 respectively.
Newfoundland and Labrador did not report any new infections, meaning its case load remained at 390.
Prince Edward Island did not release any new COVID-19 data on Wednesday, however the latest numbers issued on Dec. 29 said the province has seen 96 cases of COVID-19, 90 of which are considered to be resolved.
None of the Maritime provinces, or Newfoundland and Labrador reported any new fatalities associated with the virus on Wednesday.
Alberta added 1,287 new infections and health authorities confirmed 18 more deaths have occurred.
Since the pandemic began, the province has seen 100,428 cases and 1,046 people have died after falling ill.
In British Columbia, 485 new cases were detected, five of which are considered epidemiologically-linked meaning they have not yet been confirmed by a laboratory.
Eleven new deaths mean 893 people have died in B.C. since the pandemic began.
The new cases bring the total confirmed number of infections to 50,843, along with an additional 457 epidemiologically-linked cases.
No new cases in the territories
The Yukon did not report any new cases or fatalities. To date, the territory has seen 60 cases — 59 of which are considered to be resolved — and one death related to COVID-19.
Nunavut did not report any new cases or deaths on Wednesday, either, meaning the territory’s case count and death toll remained at 266 and one, respectively.
The Northwest Territories has not reported a new case of the novel coronavirus since Dec. 18.
To date, 24 people in the territory have contracted the virus, but all have since recovered.
Global deaths top 1.8 million
By 7 p.m. ET, the virus had claimed 1,800,400 lives globally.
The United States remained the viral epicentre with over 19.6 million confirmed cases and more than 341,300 deaths.
India has reported the second-highest number of infections, with over 10.2 million cases, and over 148,400 fatalities.