COVID-19: Trudeau pushes back on border closures after Ontario Progressive Conservative ad

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says finger-pointing won’t help Ontarians as the province grapples with the third wave of COVID-19.

Trudeau made the comment in response to an ad issued Thursday by Ontario’s Progressive Conservative Party, which accuses him of failing to appropriately restrict travel into the province.

The prime minister says Ottawa is willing to work with Ontario on further limiting the number of people allowed to enter the province.

Read more: Feds ‘happy to work’ with Ontario after request to halt arrival of international students

But he says Premier Doug Ford has yet to follow up on a request for tighter rules made last week.

Trudeau says he has offered to impose stricter limits on temporary foreign workers and agricultural workers, on compassionate exceptions and on international students, noting Ontario approved the arrival of 30,000 international students over the last month.

Ford’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Meanwhile, Ontario reported 3,166 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday and 23 more deaths linked to the virus. The Ministry of Health said that due to a technical issue with the laboratory data feed, the case count may be under-reported.

Health Minister Christine Elliott said there are 876 new cases in Toronto, 817 in Peel Region, and 300 in York Region.

The data is based on more than 51,300 completed tests.

READ MORE: ‘Desperate’ Ford to Trudeau at First Ministers’ Meeting: Shut the borders

The province said 1,924 people are hospitalized because of the novel coronavirus, with 858 in intensive care and 611 on a ventilator.

Ontario reported that 144,724 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine were administered since Thursday’s report, for a total of 5.8 million doses.

© 2021 The Canadian Press

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