Canada Reports Zero COVID-19 Deaths for First Time Since March

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FILE PHOTO: People walk through the Eaton Center shopping mall, as the provincial phase 2 of the reopening of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) restrictions begins in Toronto, Ontario, Canada on June 24, 2020. REUTERS / Carlos Osorio / File Photo

TORONTO (Reuters) – Canada has reported zero deaths from COVID-19 in the past 24 hours for the first time since March 15, according to public health agency data released Friday evening.

The death toll in Canada from the pandemic stood at 9,163 as of September 11, the same as the number of deaths reported on September 10, according to government data. The number of positive cases increased from 702 to 135,626 on September 11 from the previous day, according to the data.

As most provinces ease lockdown restrictions and schools reopen for in-person classes, infections in Canada have seen a slight increase in recent days. Authorities are on high alert to prevent further outbreaks, and provinces, including British Columbia, have imposed new measures to combat the spread of the virus.

However, Canada’s situation seems relatively healthy compared to its neighbor to the south. Across the border in the United States, more than 190,000 people have died from the pandemic and more than 6.38 million people have been infected.

Canada’s experience with SARS, or Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, has helped health officials better prepare. SARS killed 44 people in Canada, the only country outside of Asia to report deaths from the outbreak in 2002-2003.

The first recorded case of coronavirus in Canada occurred in Toronto on January 25. Ontario, the country’s most populous province, and neighboring Quebec have become hot spots for COVID-19 infections.

Both provinces have struggled with outbreaks in long-term care homes. The first COVID-19 death in Canada was reported on March 9 in a long-term care facility in British Columbia.

As COVID-19 cases began to increase in mid-March, Canada closed its international borders to all foreign nationals and stepped up testing in a bid to isolate infected patients. Ontario and Alberta have faced outbreaks among temporary foreign workers on farms and meat processing plants, which has slowed reopening in some areas.

Reporting by Denny Thomas and Moira Warburton; Editing by Sandra Maler and Leslie Adler

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