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Omicron variant seen rebounding after Canada's Ontario eases curbs

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By Reuters
Omicron variant seen rebounding after Canada's Ontario eases curbs
Omicron variant seen rebounding after Canada's Ontario eases curbs   -   Copyright  Thomson Reuters 2022

– Infections and hospitalizations linked to the Omicron variant of the coronavirus will start rising in the Canadian province of Ontario after it eased some restrictions, a panel of experts said on Tuesday.

Ontario, the most populous of Canada’s 10 provinces, removed some limits on businesses on Monday, allowing restaurants, malls, and cinemas to start operating with a 50% capacity. It plans to further relax curbs later in February and March.

A report by the Ontario COVID-19 Science Advisory Table released on Tuesday said Omicron infections had peaked around Jan. 11, but relaxing the measures “will increase the spread of COVID-19.”

The panel said “we expect hospitalizations to rebound after reopening on January 31, and to remain at a prolonged peak, except under the most favorable assumptions”.

A spokesperson for Ontario’s health minister Christine Elliott said the province had sufficient hospital capacity to respond to the panel’s projections.

“While we know that the coming weeks will continue to be difficult for our hospital partners, hospitalizations are currently stable and given current trends, we are confident in our ability to ensure capacity,” the spokesperson said in a statement.