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Toronto to remain locked down into March over COVID-19 fears

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Posted at 10:05 PM, Feb 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-19 22:05:37-05

A lockdown and stay at home order is being extended in Toronto until at least March 8.

The lockdown in Canada’s largest city began Nov. 23 after a second coronavirus wave hit the province. Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott says it was a difficult, but necessary decision to keep the areas under tight public health measures.

Toronto officials asked the provincial government this week to extend the lockdown after Toronto’s medical officer of health said she has never been more worried about the future because of new coronavirus variants.

Schools just reopened in Toronto this week and retail stores had been scheduled to reopen Feb. 22.

The stay-home order was lifted for the majority of the province earlier this week as the government moved ahead with an economic reopening despite warnings it could set off a third wave of infections.

The lockdown is also being extended in Peel and North Bay-Parry Sound regions. Scientists say the U.K. variant found in Ontario spreads more easily and is likely more deadly, but so far existing vaccines appear to be effective against it. Canada has had a shortage of vaccines until this week.