Confinement in Ontario: “Stay Home” and Confusion
Ontario Premier Doug Ford. Source: Facebook Doug Ford
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TORONTO – Restrictions continue in Ontario. Your serious, tight throat, Doug Ford gave momentum to the new measures formulated last Tuesday. Especially since the establishment of this state of emergency – the second after that of March 17, 2020 – was intended as an electroshock against the persistent increase in the number of cases of COVID-19 in the territory.
Behind the importance of words, we have to admit that the Ontario Premier has not convinced everyone. Because in the content, the new measures in place remain unclear.
The government is ordering Ontarians to stay at home and limit travel to the essentials, without putting in place the rigid framework of a curfew as Quebec did last week.
Even more incomprehensible according to virologists and the political opposition: retail shops remain open, admittedly with more supervised hours, while outdoor gatherings are allowed with a maximum of five people, and even up to ten in interior for weddings.
It gives the impression that the Prime Minister wanted to spare the goat and the cabbage, anxious not to weaken further the economic forces, while refusing the option of a curfew where the “police will chases through the streets ”.
Paradoxically, the “stay-at-home” repeated by Doug Ford at a press conference with an unusual dramaturgy will have much less impact on the daily lives of the 14.5 million Ontarians than the extension of the closure of schools now. effective until February 10 in the Toronto, York, Peel, Hamilton and Windsor-Essex regions.
Comparison with Europe
Can Ontario get out of the rut? The 100 death mark for one day was reached on Friday, as the number of new daily cases appears to be stabilizing in a range of 3,000 to 4,000.
Since 1er January until Thursday, Ontario had recorded 46,710 new cases of COVID-19. This figure is certainly higher than Quebec (34,186). On the other hand, based on its population, Ontario remains in waters very similar to some European countries, such as France (228,799 cases since 1er January for 67 million inhabitants), Italy (229,113 cases and 60 million inhabitants), and even Germany (254,715 cases for 83 million inhabitants).
While taking into account the demographic and political differences of these countries, it seems that more restrictive measures are in place. In France, the curfew is now generalized throughout the country at 6 p.m., Italy limits travel between its different regions, while Germany, which for the moment favors the closure of schools and all places not essentials, plans to tighten its rules even further.
No more restrictions, some require
As the number of cases and deaths increases, many voices in Ontario are calling on the Ford government to go beyond a stay-at-home order. Ontario teachers’ unions, for example, want all schools to be closed. In terms of working conditions, demands for paid sick leave for essential workers are growing, as is the generalization of rapid tests in factories.
By confining himself to the “stay-at-home”, Doug Ford sent a strong message, but considered insufficient by many. Under these conditions, the start-up vaccination campaign could ultimately and quite simply be the best defense against the spread of the epidemic.
This analysis is also published in the daily Le Droit on January 16.