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Canada's COVID-19 cases exceed 200,000

FILE PHOTO: An employee dismantles the terrasse at closing time as the Quebec government has ordered all restaurants, bars and casinos to close for 28 days effective midnight September 30 as coronavirus disease (COVID-19) numbers continue to rise in Montreal, Quebec, Canada September 30, 2020. REUTERS/Christinne Muschi

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada reported a new COVID-19 milestone on Monday with total infections rising above 200,000 since the pandemic began in early March and as the country’s second wave was expected to be worse than the first.

Ontario and Quebec, which account for around 60% of Canada’s 37.6 million people and just under 80% of the country’s reported COVID-19 cases, have seen sharp increases in cases in recent weeks. Both provinces have taken fresh measures to curb the spread of the virus.

Less-populated provinces, including Manitoba and Alberta, are also seeing worrying increases.

Total cases rose by 3,289 to 201,437 while deaths reached 9,778, an increase of 18 over the previous day, government data released on Monday showed.

Although the increase in deaths from COVID-19 remains relatively low in Canada compared with the early months of the pandemic, Canada’s chief medical officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, said on Monday she was concerned the country will see an uptick in “severe impacts” of the virus in the coming weeks.

A Reuters tally found the global count of COVID-19 cases had crossed 40 million as of Monday.

Canada announced on Monday that its border with the United States would remain closed until at least Nov. 21, as cases in the U.S. remain high.

Reporting by Moira Warburton in Toronto; Editing by Sam Holmes and Sandra Maler

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