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2 Edmonton McDonald's locations close temporarily due to COVID-19 – CTV News Edmonton



Two more McDonald’s locations in the Edmonton-area have closed temporarily because an employee tested positive for COVID-19.

The restaurants are on Webber Greens Drive in west Edmonton and 34 Street NW.

At both locations, the employee tested positive on Friday. 

This is the third and fourth McDonald’s in the Edmonton-area to have been affected by COVID-19.

The Manning Town Centre location in northeast Edmonton had a worker test positive on Thursday, and a St. Albert McDonald’s reopened last Monday after temporarily closing after an employee tested positive. 

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Trudeau announces vaccine pact as COVID-19 cases hit 150000 – CTV News



Quebeckers were urged to stop socializing, Ontarians were barred from late-night pub-hopping, and the entire country was sternly warned of “critical” containment measures required in coming weeks as soaring COVID-19 case counts edged past 150,000 on Friday.

The escalating pandemic drew repeated pleas for vigilance from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam in a joint press conference that also outlined a deal with AstraZeneca, which would guarantee up to 20 million doses of an experimental vaccine.

With cases surging in Ontario and Quebec hot-spots, Trudeau implored the public to adhere to public health guidelines, stressing that “what we do now, will be critical for the weeks and months to come.”

This was a repeated refrain across the country as political and public health officials took pains to tell the public it was time to scale back parties, dinners out, group activities and other individual actions they said were key factors in an alarming spike in transmission.

In Quebec, Health Minister Christian Dube told residents to a “make a special effort” to limit contact with other people for at least 28 days in order to contain spread and save hospitals from increased burden.

“I insist on this,” said Dube, nevertheless saying he had no problem with people dining in small numbers, within their bubble.

“We’re asking you (for) a month of effort to break the second wave.”

Dube called it a “28-day challenge” to flatten the curve, which on Friday pushed Quebec’s daily tally to 637 new cases, bringing the total number in the province to 70,307.

There have been 5,814 deaths in Quebec.

In Ontario, Premier Doug Ford said bars and restaurants must now close by midnight, with alcohol service to stop at 11 p.m., but that takeout and delivery will be permitted to continue into the wee hours.

All strip clubs will also close, he said, while explaining that the new restrictions strike a balance between public health needs and the province’s financial future.

“I don’t think it’s a huge ask if they can stop serving drinks at 11 o’clock and close their establishments at 12 o’clock,” he said during his daily media briefing.

The measures were not good enough for NDP Leader Andrea Horwath, who criticized the Ford government for failing to provide “a proper, comprehensive and effective second wave strategy.”

Ontario reported 409 new cases of COVID-19 and one new death — about half of the new cases in Toronto and 65 per cent of them in people younger than 40.

The total number of cases in Ontario stood at 48,905, including 2,837 deaths.

Elsewhere, Alberta reported 17,190 confirmed cases, while British Columbia stood at 8,543 confirmed.

COVID-19 cases jumped in Manitoba, too, where masks will be mandatory in Winnipeg’s indoor spaces starting Monday.

Officials also limited indoor and outdoor gatherings to 10 people after 54 new cases emerged in the province — 44 of them in the capital region.

COVID-19 cases reached about 150,140 nationwide, with caseloads spiking dramatically in the four largest provinces over the past few weeks.

In the joint televised press conference with Trudeau, Tam said Canadians still have a chance to keep the epidemic from escalating, “if we all act together now.”

“Local public health authorities cannot do this alone. Each of us must take action to protect ourselves, our loved ones and our communities,” she said.

Despite the sombre warnings, Trudeau offered assurances that Ottawa has taken steps to secure a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as one proves viable.

The latest deal is the sixth such arrangement to ensure Canadians have access to crucial supply.

Trudeau also addressed urgent calls to make more COVID-19 testing options available, stating “there are a number of rapid tests in the process of being evaluated by Health Canada, and they will be made available as quickly as possible.”

Tam added that Health Canada was trying to evaluate a variety of new tools including point-of-care devices and serological tests but suggested that work was hindered by a lack of clinical data from the companies seeking approvals.

“There was really little data submitted to the regulator, and you need basic, minimal clinical information. And so we’re also looking at how do we help in the assessment of those types of tests,” said Tam.

“The whole thing has to work in real life, if you like, but I think we’ll be providing more information to people next week and as things evolve.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 25, 2020.

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Feds announce $320M for N.L.'s struggling offshore industry –



The federal government has pledged $320 million to support offshore oil jobs in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Natural Resources Minister Seamus O’Regan was in St. John’s on Friday to announce the new measures, after six months of lobbying from oil industry groups and workers demanding assistance.

O’Regan said the money will “support jobs and ensure the sustainable, long-term, lower-emitting future for our offshore.”

He said it will be spent on safety improvements, maintenance and upgrades of existing offshore infrastructure, environmental services and clean technology.

O’Regan said the money will be handed over to the province with no strings attached and will come from Ottawa’s portion of royalties from the province’s Hibernia oil field.

Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Andrew Furey announced a new task force will decide how the money is spent.

Federal Natural Resources Minister Seamus O’Regan announced more than $300 million of federal funding for the offshore oil industry at the Johnson Geo Centre in St. John’s on Friday. (Terry Roberts/CBC)

While many details remain unclear, what is known is that the aid does not come in the form that major industry players were rooting for. Husky was asking the federal government to invest in equity stakes in its major projects in the province while offshore advocacy groups like the Newfoundland and Labrador Oil and Gas Industry Assocation — Noia — and the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers were rooting for tax credits and investment incentives.

In a press release sent after the announcement, CAPP said it needed to see more details but hoped it would lead to immediate help for workers. The group said it will continue pushing for tax reforms and other measures to help stalled projects off the coast of Newfoundland.

Hard times for province’s industry

The announcement comes after six months of crushing losses for the province’s offshore oil industry. Workers took to the steps of Confederation Building last week to speak about the anxiety they feel amid layoffs and cutbacks.

The biggest blow to the province could be still to come. Husky Energy has announced it’s reviewing the West White Rose extension — a $2.1-billion project in Placentia that employs more than 600 people on a daily basis — with the possibility of canning the entire job.

O’Regan said he spoke with Husky on Friday morning, and said the federal government is still at the table over a possible solution for the West White Rose extension.

Problems started in March with the onset of the pandemic in North America coupled with a price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia, which sent oil and gas prices into a nosedive.

Since then, Suncor has anchored its idled Terra Nova FPSO in Conception Bay, the long-standing Hibernia platform has suspended drilling, and future ventures that once sounded lucrative and promising have been shelved.

The result, according to Noia CEO Charlene Johnson, has been thousands of job losses and local companies closing up shop.

O’Regan acknowledged on Friday that the industry is “suffering from a double-whammy.” 

He said the new measures are a practical program, “because we believe in our workers. We believe in this industry. And we believe in its future.”

O’Regan also said the federal government is trying to strike deals with the owners of the West Aquarius and Transocean Barents exploratory rigs to support future development in the offshore industry.

The province announced a new incentive for offshore exploration on Thursday. That new measure gives oil companies a chance at a rebate for exploration by taking down payments that would typically go into provincial coffers and offering them back to companies.

Task force details

Furey said the task force will work on an “emergent” basis to get the money out as quickly as possible.

The task force will be chaired by Karen Winsor and Bill Fanning, two former oil executives who are members of the province’s Oil and Gas Industry Development Council — the group to which the task force is reporting.

“The remaining members, to be selected by the council, will bring a diverse mix of skills and experience so that they can contribute to driving the recovery of the Newfoundland and Labrador oil and gas industry,” reads a news release sent to media during Friday’s announcement.

O’Regan said he is OK with putting the province in charge of dishing out the money, since he believes the province should have control of its offshore industry under the Atlantic Accord agreement.

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

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Canada signs deal to secure 20M more COVID-19 vaccine doses, though none have been proven successful yet –



Canada has signed an agreement to secure another 20 million vaccine doses as the global race for a  COVID-19 vaccine intensifies.

During a news conference in Ottawa today, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a deal with AstraZeneca on access to a vaccine prospect now being developed at Oxford University. As a result, the federal government has now secured access to six leading vaccine candidates. None of the candidates have been proven to work so far.

“We’ve been guided by science since the very beginning and right now, both the COVID-19 vaccine task force and the immunity task force are doing important work to help us identify the most promising vaccine options and strategies,” he said.

There is no approved vaccine yet for COVID-19, though there are many in clinical trials and in development. Public Services and Procurement Minister Anita Anand said the global market is “intense and unpredictable.”

“Each supplier and therefore each negotiation is unique, with its own set of concerns,” she said. “The resulting agreements contain terms specifying the quantity, the price, the anticipated delivery schedule, the manufacturing and finishing parameters for each vaccine.

“When a vaccine is ready, Canada will be ready.”

The federal government already has reached vaccine agreements with Sanofi, GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson, Novavax, Pfizer and Moderna, for a total of 282 million doses.

Full payments to drug companies are contingent on the vaccines passing clinical trials and obtaining regulatory approval.

Health Canada says it will review the evidence on safety, efficacy and manufacturing quality for each vaccine to determine if individual vaccines will be approved for use in Canada before they are made available to Canadians.

Government buying syringes, swabs, needles

The government is also procuring equipment and supplies needed for vaccine manufacturing and packaging, as well as immunization equipment such as syringes, needles and alcohol swabs.

Trudeau also announced that Canada will provide $440 million to COVAX, a global procurement initiative meant to ensure fair, equitable and timely access to vaccines for less wealthy countries.

“This pandemic can’t be solved by any one country alone because to eliminate the virus anywhere, we need to eliminate it everywhere,” Trudeau said.

The U.S. is not participating in the global COVAX project.

Trudeau said the fact that 190 countries are participating — some as contributors, others as recipients — shows that “the world is coming together.”

“Unfortunately, there are a few large countries that have decided not to participate, but I can assure you that the number of countries that have stepped up and participated like Canada is ensuing that we’re going a long way towards having a vaccine accessible for the most vulnerable around the world, which is essential as we move forward to get past this pandemic,” he said.

Rapid test in the works

With frustratingly long waits for COVID-19 tests still the norm in some parts of the country, the federal government is under increasing pressure to approve rapid testing options. Asked about the holdup today, Trudeau said Health Canada accelerated the process to evaluate testing measures this spring.

“But at the same time we have to make sure that every step of the way we are not compromising science or the safety of Canadians,” he said.

Earlier this week, Tam warned that Canada is at a “crossroads” in its pandemic battle and said the actions of individual Canadians will decide whether there will be a massive spike in COVID-19 cases.

Modelling shows the epidemic is accelerating nationally, with projections that cases could climb to more than 5,000 daily by October. If Canadians don’t step up preventative measures, the virus could spread out of control and trigger a wave of infections bigger than the first one, Tam said.

The following day, Trudeau delivered a rare address to the nation with a similar message. He warned that infections could surge and urged Canadians to do their part to prevent transmission by following public health guidelines on masks, gatherings and physical distancing.

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