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What you need to know about COVID-19 in Ottawa on Saturday, Dec. 26

Recent developments: * The first cases of the U.K. variant of COVID-19 have been recorded in Ontario.  * The province’s lockdown is now in effect for the next 28 days. * Health officials in Ottawa reported 59 new cases on Boxing Day, reflecting data collected on Christmas Eve. What’s the latest?Ontario announced Saturday afternoon the country’s first two confirmed cases of the COVID-19 variant first identified in the United Kingdom.The cases were identified in a couple from Durham Region, east of Toronto, with no known travel history, exposure or high-risk contacts.Ottawa Public Health (OPH) recorded 59 new cases of COVID-19 but no new deaths on Boxing Day.The numbers reflect data collected on Christmas Eve. Data for Christmas Day has not been provided yet.Saturday marks the first day of Ontario’s provincewide 28-day lockdown meant to help curb climbing COVID-19 case numbers and spare hospitals from being inundated in January.The new measures came into effect at midnight and will run until at least Jan. 23, 2021 for southern Ontario, although some believe Ottawa’s lockdown should be shorter.The COVID-19 pandemic has been exhausting both physically and emotionally, and Ottawa’s medical officer of health Dr. Vera Etches has been at the forefront of the local response, along with her team at Ottawa Public Health.So how does she feel about the past year? Etches spoke with CBC Ottawa’s Lucy van Oldenbarneveld in a year-end interview. With the colder weather, bespectacled Ottawans are likely experiencing the seasonal problem of foggy lenses. Coupled with masks, that problem may be worse and an optometrist is offering up some tips.How many cases are there?As of Saturday, 9,569 people had tested positive for the virus in Ottawa. There are 372 known active cases, 8,807 resolved cases and 390 deaths linked to COVID-19. Public health officials have reported more than 16,800 COVID-19 cases across eastern Ontario and western Quebec, including more than 15,100 resolved cases.Ninety-two people have died of COVID-19 elsewhere in eastern Ontario and 101 people have died in western Quebec. CBC Ottawa is profiling those who’ve died of COVID-19. If you’d like to share your loved one’s story, please get in touch.What can I do?With Ontario’s lockdown measures now in effect, the Ontario government says people need to stop gathering and moving across the province to avoid even more COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths — including in areas with low case counts.People are asked to only leave home when they need to and if they leave the province, to isolate for 14 days upon returning.No indoor public events or indoor social gatherings will be allowed, except with members of the same household or one other home for people who live alone.Outdoor gatherings can’t have more than 10 people and should be distanced and masked.WATCH | Ottawa officials argue against 28-day COVID-19 lockdownIn-person shopping will be limited to essential businesses. Restaurants and non-essential businesses can offer curbside pickup and delivery.Schools won’t immediately return with in-person classes, except for post-secondary classes that can’t be held virtually. Child care centres will be open, but day camps will not.The province is offering support to Ottawa’s small businesses and central residents.Across southern and eastern Ontario the plan is for rules to be in place for four weeks, though that could be either shortened or lengthened depending on the data.Ottawa’s mayor and medical officer of health say Ottawa should have a two-week lockdown.In western Quebec, now considered a red zone by that province, health officials are asking residents not to leave home unless it’s essential, including for Christmas. There is an exception for people living alone.Being in the red means no indoor dining at restaurants and gyms, cinemas and performing arts venues are all closed.Quebec will shut down non-essential businesses today until at least Jan. 11 and has extended holiday school closures until Jan. 11.Travel from one region to another is discouraged throughout Quebec.Distancing and isolatingThe novel coronavirus primarily spreads through droplets when an infected person coughs, sneezes, breathes or speaks onto someone or something. These droplets can hang in the air.People can be contagious without symptoms.This means people should take precautions such as staying home when sick, keeping hands and frequently touched surfaces clean, socializing outdoors as much as possible and maintaining distance from anyone they don’t live with — even with a mask on.Ontario has abandoned its concept of social circles.Masks are mandatory in indoor public settings in Ontario and Quebec and should be worn outdoors when people can’t distance from others. Three-layer non-medical masks with a filter are recommended.Anyone with COVID-19 symptoms should self-isolate, as should those who’ve been ordered to do so by their local public health unit. The duration depends on the circumstances in both Ontario and Quebec.Health Canada recommends older adults and people with underlying medical conditions and/or weakened immune systems stay home as much as possible and get friends and family to help with errands.Anyone who has travelled recently outside Canada must go straight home and stay there for 14 days.Canada and several European countries have temporarily halted flights from the U.K. in response to a new coronavirus strain.Symptoms and vaccinesCOVID-19 can range from a cold-like illness to a severe lung infection, with common symptoms including fever, a cough, vomiting and the loss of taste or smell. Children can develop a rash.If you have severe symptoms, call 911.Mental health can also be affected by the pandemic and resources are available to help.Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine has been approved by Health Canada.Doses have been given to health-care workers in Ottawa as part of a pilot project and at CHSLD Lionel-Émond in Gatineau.While details are scarce, it’s expected the general public will be able to get vaccinated between April and September 2021.WATCH | Don’t reserve 2nd dose of COVID-19 vaccine, some experts sayWhere to get testedMany clinics have different hours around Christmas and New Year’s Day, with more information in the links below.In eastern Ontario:Anyone seeking a test should book an appointment.Ontario recommends only getting tested if you have symptoms, if you’ve been told to by your health unit or the province, or if you fit certain other criteria. That no longer includes international travellers.People without symptoms, but who are part of the province’s targeted testing strategy, can make an appointment at select pharmacies. Ottawa has nine permanent test sites, with mobile sites wherever demand is particularly high.The Eastern Ontario Health Unit has sites in Alexandria, Casselman, Cornwall, Hawkesbury, Rockland and Winchester.People can arrange a test in Bancroft and Picton by calling the centre or Belleville and Trenton, where online booking is preferred.Kingston’s main test site is at the Beechgrove Complex. Another site is in Napanee.The Leeds, Grenville and Lanark health unit has permanent sites in Almonte, Brockville, Kemptville and Smiths Falls and a mobile test clinic visiting smaller communities or people with problems getting to a site.Renfrew County residents should call their family doctor or 1-844-727-6404 for a test or with questions, COVID-19-related or not. Test clinic locations are posted weekly.In western Quebec:Tests are strongly recommended for people with symptoms or who have been in contact with someone with symptoms.Outaouais residents can make an appointment in Gatineau seven days a week at 135 blvd. Saint-Raymond or 617 avenue Buckingham.They can now check the approximate wait time for the Saint-Raymond site.There are recurring clinics by appointment in communities such as Gracefield, Val-des-Monts and Fort-Coulonge.Call 1-877-644-4545 with questions, including if walk-in testing is available nearby.First Nations, Inuit and Métis:Akwesasne had most of its known COVID-19 cases in November, with the virus still spreading in that community. Its council is asking residents to avoid unnecessary travel, and its curfew from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. is back.Akwesasne schools and its Tsi Snaihne Child Care Centre are temporarily closed to in-person learning. It has a COVID-19 test site available by appointment only.Anyone returning to the community on the Canadian side of the international border who’s been farther than 160 kilometres away — or visited Montreal — for non-essential reasons is asked to self-isolate for 14 days.The Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte had its first confirmed case in November and Kitigan Zibi logged its first in mid-December.People in Pikwakanagan can book a COVID-19 test by calling 613-625-2259. Anyone in Tyendinaga who’s interested in a test can call 613-967-3603.Inuit in Ottawa can call the Akausivik Inuit Family Health Team at 613-740-0999 for service, including testing, in Inuktitut or English on weekdays.For more information

Source: – Yahoo News Canada

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Italy consumer association sues Apple for planned iPhone obsolescence – The Globe and Mail

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Italian consumer association Altroconsumo said on Monday it had told Apple it has launched a class action against the U.S. tech giant for the practice of planned obsolescence.

In a statement Altroconsumo said it was asking for damages of €60-million ($73-million) on behalf of Italian consumers tricked by the practice which had also been recognised by Italian authorities.

Altroconsumo said the lawsuit covers owners of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, 6S and 6S Plus, sales of which in Italy totalled some 1 million phones between 2014 and 2020.

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Apple said in an email that it had never done anything to intentionally shorten the life of any Apple product, or degrade the user experience to drive customer upgrades.

Two similar lawsuits against Apple have been filed in Belgium and Spain for the planned obsolescence of iPhones. European consumer association Euroconsumers, which is coordinating the three lawsuits, said it was also planning to launch a class action in Portugal in the coming weeks.

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Cyberpunk 2077’s new 1.1 update introduces a game-breaking bug – The Verge

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Cyberpunk 2077’s big new 1.1 patch has introduced a game-breaking bug. Eurogamer reports that the “Down on the Street” quest appears to be broken for some players. The quest includes a holocall that’s supposed to trigger progress through the main part of Cyberpunk 2077’s storyline. Unfortunately, some players are reporting that the call remains silent, and it blocks progress of the game.

Developer CD Projekt Red has published a workaround for the issue, but it requires players to have an earlier save of the game to try to get the holocall to work correctly. Here are the steps:

  1. Load a gamesave before Takemura and V leave Wakako’s office
  2. Finish the conversation with Takemura outside the office right away
  3. Right after the finished conversation and when the quest was updated, skip 23h
  4. See if the holocall triggers and the dialogue with Takemura starts

Cyberpunk 2077 has been plagued by bugs since its release on December 10th, and CD Projekt Red has released three hotfixes to try to fix some of the early problems. Thankfully, most of the bugs and issues haven’t been game-breaking like the one players have discovered this week.

This new 1.1 update was supposed to be the first big patch to introduce stability improvements, not game-breaking bugs. CD Projekt Red is also planning another major 1.2 patch that is supposed to be a “larger, more significant update” that will arrive “in the weeks after” this latest 1.1 patch. It’s not yet clear if there will be a quick hotfix to resolve this latest issue, though.

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Apple faces yet another class action suit over throttling iPhones – The Verge

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A consumer advocacy group in Europe has filed the latest class action lawsuit against Apple saying the company intentionally throttled older iPhones in Italy. First reported by TechCrunch, the new lawsuit seeks €60 million (roughly $73 million) in compensation — or about €60 per device — for owners of iPhone 6, 6 Plus, 6S, and 6S Plus models sold in Italy between 2014 and 2020. Euroconsumers, an umbrella advocacy organization in the EU that includes Italy’s Altroconsumo, says the €60 compensation is the average amount consumers paid to replace their devices’ batteries.

“When consumers buy Apple iPhones, they expect sustainable quality products. Unfortunately, that is not what happened with the iPhone 6 series” Els Bruggeman, head of policy and enforcement at Euroconsumers, said in a statement. “Not only were consumers defrauded, and did they have to face frustration and financial harm, from an environmental point of view it is also utterly irresponsible.”

Euroconsumers filed two similar lawsuits in December on behalf of member orgs Test-Achats in Belgium and OCU in Spain. The group said in a press release that it plans a fourth lawsuit in Portugal.

“We have never — and would never — do anything to intentionally shorten the life of any Apple product, or degrade the user experience to drive customer upgrades,” an Apple spokesperson said in an email to The Verge. “Our goal has always been to create products that our customers love, and making iPhones last as long as possible is an important part of that.”

Apple agreed to a $500 million settlement in the US last March, after it admitted slowing down older iPhones. It compensated consumers who bought an iPhone 6 or 7, which were throttled to preserve battery life. The case grew out of the tech giant’s “Batterygate” controversy, when iPhone users discovered in 2017 that iOS limited processor speeds as iPhone batteries aged. Apple didn’t reveal to consumers that the feature — meant to address problems with phones’ performance — existed. Users said if they had known about the slowdown feature they would have simply replaced the battery rather than buying an all-new phone, as many did.

The company agreed to a second settlement in November — this time, with 34 US states —for an additional $113 million. The state attorneys general said Apple “fully understood” that by concealing the intentional slowing down of older phones, the company could profit from people buying new phones rather than replacing the batteries. Apple did not admit to any of the allegations in that settlement.

Update January 25th, 10:45AM ET: Adds comment from Apple spokesperson.

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