Canada's Quebec expected to announce new restrictions as coronavirus cases rise

MONTREAL, Sept 28 (Reuters) - Quebec, the Canadian province hardest hit by the novel coronavirus, reported another sharp increase in daily infections on Monday, amid media reports that Premier Francois Legault would announce new restrictions for Montreal and capital Quebec City.

Quebec added 750 new coronavirus cases on Monday despite existing restrictions on mask wearing and social gatherings put in place by Canada’s second-most populous province to contain the spread of infections.

Health Minister Christian Dube told a French-language talk show on Sunday night the two cities were close to being listed as red zones, referring to the province’s traffic light system for designating transmission, with red being the hardest-hit.

Ontario, Canada’s most populous province, on Monday reported a new daily high of 700 cases, with a bit more than a day’s worth of samples still pending at labs, latest data showed. The number of patients in hospital is also rising steadily, reaching 128, the data showed.

The Ontario Hospital Association called on the province to “intensify public health measures” in Toronto, Greater Toronto and Ottawa, given rising cases.

The hospitals’ group urged the government to bring back restrictions on indoor dining and bars, places of worship, weddings, gyms and other non-essential businesses.

Overall, cases in Canada rose by 1,454 to 153,125 while six more deaths taking the total 9,268, according data released on Sunday.

Canada garnered praised after it reported zero deaths for the first time since March earlier this month, but health officials are now warning that some local authorities could be overwhelmed unless the wave of infections was curbed. (Reporting By Allison Lampert in Montreal and Allison Martell in Toronto; editing by Grant McCool)