Canada steps up as Toronto struggles with COVID-19

PM Trudeau: "Canada continues to face a serious situation with this third wave."

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Friday that the Canadian government will help Toronto as the country's largest city struggles to cope with a rapidly worsening wave of COVID-19.

"In Toronto in particular, numbers are breaking record after record and ICU hospital beds are filling up. There's no doubt that Canada's largest city is struggling under the weight of this third wave. So we're going to do whatever it takes to help."

In Toronto - the capital of Ontario - cases could grow three-fold by the end of May unless tough restrictions are imposed, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation cited sources as saying.

While some Ontario hospitals say they are close to a breaking point as the latest wave rips through the country's most populous province.

Trudeau said Ontario had reached out for help with vaccinations and that the government was ready to deploy the Canadian Red Cross with mobile inoculation teams.

"This is about getting doses to people where the situation is most serious."

Ontario announced a record 4,736 daily cases on Thursday and the CBC said this could hit 18,000 by end of May if current trends continued.

Canada's response has been complicated by the division of responsibilities between the provinces and Ottawa.

The federal government is buying vaccines but the provinces are in charge of inoculations.