Canada's official COVID-19 death toll surpassed 20,000 today, after dozens of deaths were reported in Quebec and Ontario.
The sobering figure emerged after Quebec reported 31 new fatalities related to the virus and Ontario reported 43.
Canada has now recorded 20,016 deaths since the first case of COVID-19 surfaced in the country just over a year ago.
An average of 138 people with COVID-19 have died each day over the past week.
Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada's chief public health officer, has said the number of new daily cases is trending downward.
But she's warned that it's still too soon to lift widespread public health restrictions, saying the virus is still spreading rapidly across parts of the country.
Quebec and Ontario together account for about 80 per cent of Canada's COVID-19 fatalities.
The new numbers were reported as new limits on travel were coming into effect in the hopes of slowing transmission and limiting the importation of potentially more transmissible COVID-19 variants.
As of Sunday, four of Canada's major airlines suspended service to Mexico and the Caribbean.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Friday that Air Canada, WestJet, Sunwing and Air Transat had agreed to the measure in a bid to slow the spread of COVID-19.
The restriction will last until April 30, and Trudeau said the airlines will help arrange the return of customers currently on a trip.
It's one of a suite of new government measures aimed at preventing Canadians from travelling abroad during the doldrums of February and throughout spring break.
As of this Thursday, all international passenger flights must land at one of four airports — Vancouver, Toronto, Calgary or Montreal.
And in the coming weeks, all air travellers arriving in Canada will have to stay at a government-approved hotel for three nights and take a COVID-19 test — all at their own expense.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 31, 2021
The Canadian Press