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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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Apple hires former BMW executive for car project

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Apple Inc has hired Ulrich Kranz, a former senior executive at BMW AG’s electric car division, to help its vehicle initiatives, Bloomberg News reported on Thursday, citing people familiar with the matter.

Kranz will report to Apple veteran Doug Field, who led development of Tesla Inc’s mass-market Model 3 and now runs Apple’s car project, the report said.

Apple did not immediately respond to Reuters request for comment.

The iPhone maker’s automotive efforts, known as Project Titan, have proceeded unevenly since 2014 when Apple first started designing its own vehicle from scratch.

In December, Apple said it was moving forward with its self-driving car technology and targeting to produce a passenger vehicle that could include its own breakthrough battery technology by 2024.

 

(Reporting by Mrinalika Roy in Bengaluru; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli)

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Amazon SideWalk in Canada

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Amazon is ready to initiate the sidewalk throughout the world including Canada. So many people are concerned about what exactly is a sidewalk and should you be concerned in any way?

Well to put it simply amazon sidewalk is a new way of communication where amazon creates a network by using its echo devices and other devices. What is going to happen is that these devices would be using your home’s internet connection and creating a small network for communication. Using the ring and echo devices this will be executed where they would be forming a bridge (as the company calls it) between the two devices. While these various bridges would be used to create networks.

Amazon said this is done for easier connections and simpler setups even when your wifi goes out. Which would allow you to use title trackers and find pets easily. You would not have to spend 500 dollars on those devices but rather just use this to get updated information on your belongings. This is going to get a lot of people hooked on the devices. Using your ring and echo devices without your own internet connection sounds pretty good but is there a hidden reason for amazon to become an ISP on its own well that is something only time will tell.

So now the question is should you be concerned about this?

Well if you own an amazon echo device you will have to ask Alexa to opt you out of it because this is going to come in as activated by default. This means that you will need to put in some effort to change this if for any reason you don’t want to be a part of this program.

There are tutorials online that would help you to opt-out of this by using your Alexa app on your phone.

Another concern is that this is not the first time a company has done something like this. Apple has enhanced the find my network in a similar manner with the introduction of air tags and have responsibility for finding phones, and things using other users devices that might not know that their device is being used in the process.

Well most common people that are using the internet nowadays are more concerned about the data that is being used by these huge corporations and who are they gathering and using the data for their personal and private benefits. Additionally are data sharing policies being used and met with proper standards. Creating a rule is one thing and following it is completely another.

What bodies are placing a check on whether the huge tech giants are following these steps or not? These are the big questions with few answers and to think that now the internet is being owned by one of these giants. I mean the real question everyone should be asking is how big can these giants become and what kind of influence they hold onto our lives in the future?

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Big tech supports global tax, but wants digital services levies axed

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U.S. tech giants could benefit from the agreement of the Group of Seven rich countries’ agreement to create a global minimum 15% corporate tax rate if the final deal also scraps increasingly popular digital services taxes, according to industry lobbyists.

The deal, reached Saturday, was designed to reduce companies’ incentives to shift profits to low-tax offshore havens and could bring hundreds of billions of dollars into government coffers.

The statement on the U.S. Treasury Department website touting the deal also discusses the “removal of all Digital Services Taxes, and other relevant similar measures, on all companies.”

Facebook Inc was quick to praise the deal, and Alphabet Inc’s Google followed suit: “We strongly support the work being done to update international tax rules. We hope countries continue to work together to ensure a balanced and durable agreement will be finalized soon,” said spokesman Jose Castaneda.

The industry wants levies like France’s 3% tax on certain online revenues removed. In 2019, France applied a 3% levy on digital services revenue earned in France by companies with revenues of more than 25 million euros there and 750 million euros worldwide. It suspended collection in early 2020 while negotiations were underway on international tax rules.

Levied on revenue rather than profit, the taxes have become an increasingly popular way for countries to balance their budgets, said Matthew Schruers, president of the Computer and Communications Industry Association. CCIA members include Facebook, Google and Twitter.

He noted that the communique over the weekend set expectations that digital services taxes will be repealed. “Companies are supportive of these global tax talks and the minimum tax is the price of tax certainty.”

Adam Kovacevich of the Chamber of Progress, whose partner companies include Amazon.com Inc, Facebook and Twitter Inc, agreed, saying that big companies had been targeted for the past five to 10 years by “discriminatory digital services taxes” and wanted a different system for taxing corporations.

NetChoice, which also has Facebook and Google among its members, had a different view.

“More taxes means higher costs for consumers and less R&D spending, at the same time the administration and Congress are clamoring for more R&D to compete with China,” President Steve DelBianco said in a statement.

DelBianco was unimpressed with the possibility of the deal scrapping digital services taxes. “That 15% tax is a floor — not a ceiling, and it’s not likely to stop European governments from enacting new digital taxes and taking antitrust action to hurt U.S. companies.”

(Reporting by Diane Bartz; additional reporting by Paresh Dave; editing by Jonathan Oatis)

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