As travelling Canadians are returning home, the spread of COVID-19 in Ontario continues as cases increase daily. Although the province remains in a state of emergency, Premier Doug Ford stressed Tuesday there are still no plans to close provincial borders with Quebec. Earlier on Tuesday, Quebec announced its confirmed cases have exceeded 1,000 for the first time.
As of Tuesday, March 24, Quebec now has 1,013 cases in the province. That is up by 385 in the past 24 hours; a major reason for the spike is that the province is now combining the number of confirmed and presumptive cases.
Speaking to reporters on Tuesday afternoon, Ontario Premier Doug Ford was asked if Ontario was considering closing the provincial borders.
Ford admitted he has chatted with Quebec Premier François Legault about the possibility but stressed it won't be happening anytime too soon as, for one, it'd be too difficult to regulate and maintain.
"I had that conversation with Premier Legault," Ford said during Tuesday's conference.
"It's a vast, vast border and, again, we're hoping and praying that people are listening and if they don't have to travel, do not travel. It's absolutely critical and we can't stress it enough."
When pushed on the border issue, Ford admitted, "It'd be very hard to police it. The border's absolutely massive on all sides. On the west, east, and south side. So, please, stay at home."
Ford being quizzed on the border followed a joint declaration from the respective mayors of Ottawa and the Quebec city of Gatineau earlier on Monday. The two cities notably share a close border.
According to CTV News, Jim Watson and Maxime Pedneaud-Jobin asked residents to limit interprovincial travel as much as possible in order to put a halt in the potential spread of the virus.
Mayor @MPedneaudJobin and I are calling on residents of the national capital region to reduce their interprovincial… https://t.co/ne6pcSmljn— Jim Watson (@Jim Watson)1585056043.0
"This is not the time to go back and forth between your home and the cottage, to shop anywhere other than at local businesses, or to go to parks other than your neighbourhood park,” said Pedneaud-Jobin in the statement shared onto social media.
These statements come after Monday, which was a banner day in the progression of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ontario revealed its confirmed cases had nearly doubled from 258 to 503 in the space of four days.
Shortly after that, Premier Ford ordered all non-essential businesses to shut down as of 11:59 p.m. tonight for a minimum of two weeks.
Ontario also confirmed on Tuesday morning its backlog of cases awaiting tests or results has exceeded 10,000 for the first time.