Mayors of Peel Region urge to loosen restrictions as expert warns of third lockdown


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Mayors in Peel Region are asking the province to further loosen restrictions in their communities days after a stay-at-home order was lifted.

Peel Region – made up of Mississauga, Brampton, and Caledon – was moved into the strictest “grey lockdown” category of the province’s pandemic framework on Monday, following nearly two months under the stay-at-home order.

That meant non-essential retailers could reopen with capacity limits, although gyms, personal care services, and indoor restaurant dining remain closed.

The mayor of Mississauga is calling for her city to now be moved to the second-strictest “red” category of the framework, without or without the other communities in Peel. This came as the scientific director of Ontario’s COVID-19 Science Table said the province will need to enact a third lockdown even harsher than what was enacted in the past in order to avoid a crippling surge in coronavirus cases brought on by the spread of the B.1.1.7 variant.

Dr. Peter Jüni told CTV News Channel that Ontario is currently experiencing “two pandemics” at the same time, with older “wild” variants of the virus well under control and receding, while the variants of concern, chiefly the B.1.1.7 variant first detected in the United Kingdom, continue an exponential climb.

“We keep having the old variants under control, cases are plummeting, that’s all good but the problem is we don’t have the new one under control and therefore we start talking about a pandemic within a pandemic,” Jüni said.

Jüni and his colleagues on the Science Table spent much of the last four weeks warning that the variants of concern would spoil efforts to curb COVID-19 infection that spanned most of January and February.

“We need once more, firmer restrictions – firmer than before actually,” Jüni said. “If we lock down once more it will be the last time we will have to do that.”

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