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Ontario planning new social gathering limits as COVID-19 cases rise-source

Credit: REUTERS/CARLOS OSORIO

The Canadian province of Ontario is considering introducing some strict new limits on social gatherings in three hot spots in the midst of a spike in COVID-19 cases, a government source told Reuters on Thursday.

Adds comment from premier's office, background

TORONTO, Sept 17 (Reuters) - The Canadian province of Ontario is considering introducing some strict new limits on social gatherings in three hot spots in the midst of a spike in COVID-19 cases, a government source told Reuters on Thursday.

A draft plan being discussed would reduce the size of indoor gatherings to 10, down from 50, and outdoor gatherings to 25, down from 100, the source said, adding that limits would apply in Toronto, nearby Peel region, and Ottawa. The plan does not yet have final approval.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford's spokeswoman Ivana Yelich said, "No decisions have been made."

Ford said on Wednesday that he would be meeting with cabinet ministers to discuss new measures, and that they would come with hefty fines.

New cases of COVID-19 have risen sharply over the last week in Ontario, breaking through the 300 mark on Monday. The province reported 293 new cases on Thursday.

The surge in cases, combined with school rules that require tests for most children or parents with mild symptoms, have driven tens of thousands to testing centers, where many have had to wait hours to be seen.

(Reporting by Allison Martell and Mahad Arale in Toronto Editing by Denny Thomas, Chizu Nomiyama and Diane Craft)

((allison.martell@thomsonreuters.com; +1 416 941 8196; Reuters Messaging: allison.martell.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

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