Schools in Canada's Montreal metropolis to remain closed until August

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OTTAWA, May 15 (Xinhua) -- Schools in the Montreal metropolis will not reopen as planned later this month, but will remain closed until the end of August, said Canada's Quebec Premier Francois Legault on Thursday.

The Montreal metropolitan area has been hit hard by the COVID-19 outbreak in Canada, with 2,154 deaths reported as of Thursday.

The situation there "remains fragile," Legault said at a news conference in Montreal, where the reopening of retail stores, which was originally set to be this month, could also be delayed.

Ontario, Canada's largest province with about 14.8 million residents or 39 percent of the country's total population, reported 1,798 virus-related deaths as of Thursday.

The Ontario government has been cautious in reopening the province's economy.

Late last month, Ontario Premier Doug Ford unveiled a three-stage restart that began earlier this month with the reopening of garden centers and hardware stores.

"Businesses should open only if they are ready," Ford said at his daily COVID news conference on Thursday, warning that the resumption of commercial activity could be halted if there is a "sudden increase in cases."

On Thursday evening, Legault, Ford and the other 11 provincial and territorial premiers participated in their ninth COVID-related conference call with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, discussing reopening the border between Canada and the United States.

The ban on cross-border traffic was scheduled to be lifted on May 21, while it was reported that the restriction might be extended for another month at the request of Canadian government. Enditem

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