A group of employees who work the same shift at a Canada Post facility in Mississauga have been sent home and advised to isolate to prevent further spread of COVID-19 as the number of cases at the site continues to climb.
The Crown corporation said 350 employees and contractors who worked on the afternoon shift (shift 3) in Gateway East were instructed to leave the Dixie Road location Friday evening and told to self-isolate for 14 days.
“This precautionary measure was recommended by Peel Public Health late Friday, January 22 as the most effective way to control further spread at this stage,” Canada Post said in a statement.
Shift 3 workers who were not working Friday are also being told not to return to the facility for two weeks from the last day they were in the facility.
Public health officials conducted rapid testing of shift 3 workers earlier this week, which resulted in 42 positive tests. So far, a total of 190 workers have tested positive for COVID-19.
“Given the significance of the Gateway facility within our processing network, we are evaluating and adapting our existing contingency plans to manage the impact on customers,” said the Crown corporation.
When asked if mail or parcel delivery could be affected, a spokesperson for Canada Post said customers should track their packages online or on its app.
Canada Post noted that rapid on-site testing will also begin next week for employees working on shift 2. Those who refused to be tested will need to self-isolate for 14 days.
Enforcement of safety protocols will continue at the facility, Canada Post said, with an increased focus on washrooms, lunchrooms and locker rooms.
Meanwhile, the Canada Border Services Agency said its officers working at the facility had been moved to the main floor to the upstairs mezzanine area to limit contact with Canada Post employees.
“International mail continues to be processed by CBSA officers at the CPC satellite facility located at Toronto Pearson International airport,” a spokesperson for the agency said in a statement.
There are no known COVID-19 cases among officers linked to the outbreak, and there have been no positive cases among CBSA staff at the facility since November 2020, the agency said.
More than 4,500 employees work in mail processing, technical services, transportation, casual and administration at the facility.
Federal government moves to counter security threats to Canada's economy – CBC.ca
The Trudeau government is pressing ahead with efforts to counter economic-based threats to national security, such as theft of valuable intellectual property and damage to critical energy and information networks.
In its newly published plan for the coming year, Public Safety Canada says it will lead the government-wide development of a comprehensive framework to deal with a broad range of risks to Canada’s economic well-being.
The move comes as security agencies warn Canadians of the rising danger of hostile nations pilfering trade secrets and cyber criminals demanding ransom for sensitive files.
The government says that in a few short years, the threat landscape — once dominated by the scourge of international terrorism — has evolved dramatically as potential adversaries develop new and aggressive tactics made possible by the rapid spread of technology.
Canada already has taken steps during the economic uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic to more strictly scrutinize foreign investments.
National security expert Wesley Wark says the federal plan will require improved economic intelligence-gathering and related threat assessments, which currently have no central focus within the Canadian security-and-intelligence community.
Coronavirus: What's happening in Canada and around the world on Monday – CBC.ca
- COVID-19 outbreak ‘painful’ reminder, says P.E.I. premier as province closes classes, non-essential businesses for 72 hours.
- Variants on the rise as Quebec reaches grim anniversary of COVID-19’s arrival.
- Ontario reports 1,023 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday and six additional deaths.
- Long-term care minister in Ontario was “ahead” of top public health doctor on COVID-19, commission hears.
- Health Canada received more Johnson & Johnson data on same day as U.S. approval.
- Have a question about the coronavirus pandemic? Send your question to COVID@cbc.ca
Nearly four million doses of the newest coronavirus vaccine available to people in the U.S. are being delivered to states for injections starting on Tuesday.
The White House said the entire stockpile of the newly approved single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine will go out immediately. J&J will deliver about 16 million more doses by the end of March and 100 million total by the end of June, but the distribution would be backloaded.
Though the new shot is easier to administer and requires only one dose, the administration is not altering its distribution plans.
The White House is encouraging Americans to take the first dose available to them, regardless of manufacturer.
Advisers to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention voted overwhelmingly Sunday to recommend the vaccine for adults 18 years old and up. It adds to the vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna that were authorized in December.
Health Canada is currently reviewing the J&J vaccine, the department’s chief medical adviser said over the weekend.
“It’s really difficult to predict exactly when we might make a final decision because it really depends on that data. But we’re looking at … the next couple of weeks,” Dr. Supriya Sharma said in an interview on Rosemary Barton Live.
The two-dose vaccine from Oxford University and AstraZeneca was approved for use in Canada late last week, bringing the number of vaccines available in the country up to three.
Health Canada’s chief medical adviser, Dr. Supriya Sharma, said the agency is waiting on manufacturer data to make a determination on Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose COVID-19 vaccine, but contingent on that data, approval could come in the next few weeks. <a href=”https://twitter.com/RosieBarton?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@RosieBarton</a> <a href=”https://t.co/aLvpldFF1e”>pic.twitter.com/aLvpldFF1e</a>
-From The Associated Press and CBC News, last updated at 7:25 a.m. ET
What’s happening across Canada
As of 10:15 a.m. ET on Monday, Canada had reported 867,531 cases of COVID-19, with 30,809 cases considered active. A CBC News tally of deaths stood at 22,000.
As of late last week, the Public Health Agency of Canada had reported 1,010 cases of variants of concern, including:
- 964 cases of the B117 variant first reported in the U.K.
- 44 of the B1351 variant first reported in South Africa.
- 2 of the P1 variant, first identified in travellers from Brazil.
Ontario reported 1,023 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday and six additional deaths. Hospitalizations in the province stood at 659, with 280 COVID-19 patients in intensive care units.
With case numbers on the rise in some regions and amid growing worry over variants of concern, two regions — Thunder Bay and Simcoe Muskoka — were being sent back to lockdown as of Monday.
But seven other regions were relaxing some public health restrictions Monday amid declining COVID numbers. They include Niagara Region, Chatham-Kent, Middlesex-London, Southwestern, Haldimand-Norfolk, Huron Perth and Grey Bruce.
In Atlantic Canada, Prince Edward Island moved to close schools and ban gatherings for 72 hours as health officials try to stop the growth of two clusters of cases.
WATCH | P.E.I. tightens up rules amid concern about COVID-19 outbreaks:
Speaking to Island Morning host Mitch Cormier on Monday, Premier Dennis King said health officials are working to gather details on how the outbreaks in Summerside and Charlottetown originated.
“All of us should take this very seriously and act accordingly,” the premier said.
Health officials in P.E.I. on Sunday reported five new cases of COVID-19, bringing the number of active cases on the island to 18.
P.E.I. is also ramping up testing efforts, asking all Islanders aged 19 to 29 who work in a range of sectors — including food service, transportation and call centres — to get a test for COVID-19.
In Newfoundland and Labrador, health officials reported seven new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday. The province, which had 10 people in hospital with COVID-19, reported 262 active cases.
In Quebec, health officials reported 737 new cases of COVID-19 and nine additional deaths on Sunday. Hospitalizations stood at 601, with 117 COVID-19 patients in intensive care units across the province.
In the Prairie provinces, Manitoba reported 50 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday and two additional deaths. In Saskatchewan, health officials reported 141 new cases of COVID-19 and no new deaths, while Alberta reported 301 new cases of COVID-19 and three additional deaths.
Health officials in British Columbia don’t provide updated figures over the weekend.
Across the North, one new case of COVID-19 was reported in Nunavut on Sunday, bringing the number of active cases in the territory to 18. Yukon and the Northwest Territories report updated figures from Monday through Friday, so there were no updates available on case numbers over the weekend.
-From The Canadian Press and CBC News, last updated at 10:17 a.m. ET
What’s happening around the world
As of early Monday morning, more than 114.1 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported worldwide, with 64.4 million cases listed as recovered on a global tracking site maintained by Johns Hopkins University. The global death toll stood at more than 2.5 million.
In the Asia-Pacific region, the Philippines launched a vaccination campaign Monday but faces supply problems and public resistance, which it hopes to ease by inoculating top officials.
Cabinet officials, along with health workers and military and police personnel, were among the first to be vaccinated in six hospitals after 600,000 doses donated by China were received on Sunday.
The Philippines has reported more than 576,000 infections, including 12,318 deaths, the second-highest totals in southeast Asia after Indonesia.
Aside from China’s donated vaccine from Sinovac Biotech Ltd., the government has separately ordered 25 million doses from the China-based company but no date has been set for the deliveries. Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said the delivery of an initial 525,600 doses of AstraZeneca’s vaccine that was initially scheduled for Monday would be delayed by a week due to supply problems.
The government has been negotiating to secure at least 148 million doses from Western and Asian companies to vaccinate about 70 million Filipinos for free in a massive campaign funded by foreign and domestic loans.
In the Americas, Brazil’s capital has entered a two-week lockdown, joining several states in adopting measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19 as intensive care beds begin to fill in some important cities.
At least eight Brazilian states adopted curfews over the past week due to the rise in cases and deaths from COVID-19. Thursday was Brazil’s deadliest day since the beginning of the pandemic, with 1,541 deaths confirmed from the virus. So far more than 254,000 people have died overall.
Brasilia Gov. Ibaneis Rocha decreed the total closure of bars, restaurants, shopping malls and schools until March 15 and prohibited gatherings of people. Sale of alcoholic beverages was prohibited after 8 p.m. In the federal district, 85 per cent of hospital beds were occupied on Sunday, according to the local health ministry.
President Jair Bolsonaro again criticized such measures, saying on his Twitter account: “The people want to work.” He threatened on Friday to cut off federal emergency pandemic assistance to states resorting to lockdowns.
In Europe, health officials in Britain have identified six cases of the P1 variant — including one in a person who has not been traced. Direct flights from Brazil to the U.K. have been halted, but the newly identified cases have been linked to people who came to the U.K. from Brazil through other European cities in early February.
The arrivals came days before the U.K. imposed a 10-day hotel quarantine on people arriving from high-risk countries, including Brazil.
Three of the cases of the variant are in Scotland and two in southwest England. The sixth individual has not been identified because they did not correctly fill in a form with their contact details. Public Health England said it was working to find the person and is conducting local mass testing to see whether the variant has spread in the community.
In the Middle East, Iran has surpassed 60,000 known coronavirus-related deaths, the latest grim milestone for the hardest-hit country in the Middle East. The Health Ministry reported 93 new deaths from COVID-19 on Sunday and more than 8,000 new infections, pushing the total infection count over 1.63 million.
After more than a year of the pandemic, deaths from COVID-19 recently have declined in Iran as movement restrictions in the capital have set in, including inter-city travel bans, mask mandates and school closures.
The government on Sunday banned incoming travellers from a list of 32 countries, including Britain and other states in Africa and Latin America, due to fears of new virus variants. Over the year, Iran has struggled with surges that at times overwhelmed its health system as authorities resisted a total lockdown to salvage an economy crippled by U.S. sanctions.
Iran’s vaccine drive recently has gotten underway, with Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine administered to health workers this month. An additional 250,000 doses by the Chinese state-backed pharmaceutical company Sinopharm arrived in Iran over the weekend.
In Africa, Ivory Coast has begun giving shots to inoculate against COVID-19 with vaccines delivered last week by the global COVAX initiative, which was created to ensure that low- and middle-income countries have fair access to doses.
The West African country’s mass vaccination campaign started with jabs being given to health workers, teachers and members of the armed forces in the commercial capital, Abidjan, where 95 per cent of the country’s cases have been recorded. According to the World Health Organization and UNICEF, some 24 other African countries are expected to start receiving vaccines via COVAX this week in what they say is the world’s largest vaccine procurement and supply operation in history.
South Africa remained the hardest-hit country in Africa, with more than 1.5 million reported cases of COVID-19 and nearly 50,000 deaths. With fewer new cases being reported, South Africa is easing some restrictions — but President Cyril Ramaphosa urged people to stick with measures like physical distancing.
-From The Associated Press, Reuters and CBC News, last updated at 9:20 a.m. ET
Hurdles remain in Canada-U.S. relationship despite renewed commitments – CBC.ca
Challenges still lie ahead for the Canada-U.S. relationship despite several days of bilateral meetings between the two countries on their shared priorities and close ties as longtime allies.
During what Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland dubbed “Canada-U.S. week,” leaders and officials touted joint commitments to tackling climate change, recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic and securing the release of detained Canadians in China Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor.
But among the questions Canada needs answered is whether the country will be spared from its neighbour’s “Buy American” provisions — and whether Canada might be able to tap into the U.S. supply of COVID-19 vaccines.
When asked by CBC chief political correspondent Rosemary Barton whether the Biden administration would consider exempting Canada from the provisions, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken focused instead on the existing trading relationship between the two countries.
“We are each other’s largest trading partners. We have a remarkably vibrant commercial and trade relationship. I think the potential going forward, particularly as we’re trying to build more resilient supply chains … there is huge opportunity there,” Blinken said in his first Canadian interview, which aired Sunday on Rosemary Barton Live.
“We both have a strong incentive to work together on a whole series of projects, as well as to make sure that that trading relationship — already arguably the strongest in the world — grows even stronger,” he said.
‘Buy American’ weakens relationship, expert says
But hours before Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and U.S. President Joe Biden met virtually last Tuesday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Washington was still “evaluating” how the order might be applied.
Christopher Sands, director of the Wilson Center’s Canada Institute, says that if Blinken wants to discuss the strength of the Canada-U.S. relationship, he should acknowledge that protectionist policies will weaken those ties.
“What has made us resilient has been that rather than trying to do everything ourselves, we built these supply chains across borders. And it means that when you have a crunch, you can go to Canada for help,” Sands said.
“You don’t make supply chains more resilient by putting a ‘Buy American’ provision in, because what that means is we’re restricted to the amount of supply that’s available at home.”
Biden signed an executive order promoting the purchase, production and development of made-in-America goods several days after he took office — a priority he emphasized during his presidential campaign.
Sands told CBC News he thought the Biden administration might have distanced itself from “America First” rhetoric in the wake of the Trump presidency.
“To me, it advertises their feeling of relative weakness, that they feel that they need to address sort of populist and nationalist feelings as well,” he said.
WATCH | Top U.S. diplomat ‘confident’ Canada-U.S. relations will grow:
U.S. prioritizing own vaccination effort
The U.S. president also has not reversed an executive order introduced by former president Donald Trump ensuring vaccine manufacturers prioritize U.S. contracts before exporting doses elsewhere.
When asked by Barton, Blinken did not say whether there was a future scenario that would allow Canada to access domestically produced shots.
“We’re focused on getting every American vaccinated, and that’s job one,” he said. “But we’re also looking, at the same time, at how we can help get vaccines around the world.”
Blinken said that as vaccine production ramps up in the weeks ahead, access to doses will also increase around the world, including in Canada.
Sands said that while executive orders aren’t as binding as legislation, he was disappointed that officials haven’t done more to assure Canadians that the U.S. could share its supply.
“The easy thing to say would be, ‘Canada, you put in orders to get vaccine from Pfizer … and the U.S. is committed to expanding production of vaccine,'” he said.
“That’s the kind of thing that you would have expected the U.S. to say after World War II, kind of that leadership.”
Back in November, Pfizer told the Globe and Mail that Canada would be sent doses from the company’s plant in Kalamazoo, Mich. — but Pfizer backtracked on that statement earlier this year.
Pfizer Canada president Cole Pinnow told Barton earlier this month that the company “re-evaluated what our supply chain plan was going to be” after “some uncertainty” with the previous U.S. administration, deciding instead that Canada’s shipments would come from Puurs, Belgium.
Pinnow said doses will continue to come from the company’s European facilities at least until the end of June.
On Friday, Health Canada approved the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, 20 million doses of which are expected to come from the United States.
Procurement Minister Anita Anand says she has received “positive indications” that the U.S. shipment is on track to arrive in the second and third quarter of this year.
You can watch full episodes of Rosemary Barton Live on CBC Gem, the CBC’s streaming service.
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