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Canada says stronger response needed to fight coronavirus

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By David Ljunggren

Canadians need to do more to tackle a second wave of the coronavirus by slashing the number of personal contacts they have with others, health authorities said on Friday.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said more targeted measures could help avert another major national shutdown of the kind that hammered the economy earlier in the year.

Released modeling updates show the cumulative death toll in the country could range between 10,285 and 10,400 by Nov 8. Cumulative cases could be between 251,800 and 262,200 by the same date.

"(The) long-range forecast indicates that a stronger response is needed now to slow the spread of COVID-19," chief public health officer Theresa Tam told a briefing.

"If we decrease our current rate of contacts by 25% the epidemic is forecast to come under control in most locations," she said.

Canada has recorded 10,074 deaths and 228,542 cases so far and continues to break daily records for the number of new cases. Some of the 10 provinces are reintroducing bans on indoor dining and limiting the size of gatherings.

Trudeau, stressing "the situation is serious and this is not the time to relax", said authorities know more now about the pandemic than they did six months ago.

"There are things we can do to help to control the pandemic, the second wave, without - we hope - having to impose a nationwide shutdown," he told the briefing.

Tam said COVID-19 cases were increasing across all age groups but remained highest among those under 40.

"Worryingly, we are seeing the percentage of people testing positive is continuing to rise across the country," Tam said.

© Thomson Reuters 2020.

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

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