(Adds PM Trudeau comment, details, PIX available)
By Steve Scherer
OTTAWA, June 4 (Reuters) - The spread of the novel coronavirus in Canada has slowed significantly, and 90% of the COVID-19 cases in the past two weeks have been in the provinces of Ontario and Quebec, pubic health data showed on Thursday.
“The data shows that we are continuing to make progress in the fight against this virus,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in his daily news conference.
“We’re not out of the woods. The pandemic is still threatening the health and safety of Canadians,” he said, adding that the situation in long-term care and seniors homes “remains serious.”
Residents of long-term care and seniors’ homes accounted for 18% of total cases and 82% of deaths, the Public Health Agency said. Congregate living and working settings, including meat and poultry plants, continue to drive case counts.
However, two of Canada’s three territories and the province of Prince Edward Island on the Atlantic coast currently have no community transmission, and the third territory Nunavut has not had a single case.
“Canada flattened the curve sooner than a number of countries such as the UK, Italy and U.S.,” the agency said.
The coronavirus-related death toll, which was 7,543 on Thursday, will rise to between 7,700 and 9,400 by June 15, according to updated modeling released on Thursday.
The total number of cases by June 15 was projected to be between 97,990 and 107,454. Total cases on Thursday were 93,441.
There was no updated projection for what the death toll would be at the end of the pandemic. At the end of April, it was projected at between 4,000 and 44,000.
As public health restrictions put in place in March are gradually lifted across the country, there will need to be increased efforts at maintaining physical distancing, testing and contact tracing or the epidemic could “rebound”, the agency said. (Reporting by Steve Scherer Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Bill Berkrot)