Toronto Ontario Canada
Pedestrians cross the intersection at Bay Street and Wellington Street West in the financial district of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, on Thursday, March 25, 2021. Image Credit: Bloomberg

Montreal: Canada’s most populous province is expected to return to lockdown after a sharp rise in COVID-19 infections, local media reported Wednesday.

Premier Doug Ford is set to announce that Ontario - home to 14 million people, more than a third of the country’s population - will return to lockdown for 28 days from Saturday, TV channels CBC and CTV reported.

The province has reported 2,000 new cases daily for a week, double the daily infections seen in the beginning of March.

The number of patients in intensive care also rose to 421 on Wednesday, equaling the peak reached in January, according to Radio-Canada.

Essential services will remain open with capacity limited to 50 per cent, while non-essential shops will be reduced to 25 per cent.

Gyms and hairdressers will also be closed, although schools are expected to remain open until the week beginning April 12.

Canada has recorded more than 982,000 cases of coronavirus as of Wednesday, with nearly 23,000 deaths.