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Brexit a 'step backwards' and Canada's coronavirus plans; In The News for Jan. 31 – Lethbridge News Now

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“You know this has been working very well in Canada, because we have actually been able to detect cases very quickly, support those people to get better and prevent the spread of disease.”

The UN health agency defines an international emergency as an “extraordinary event” that constitutes a risk to other countries and requires a co-ordinated response.

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Though many people experience only mild symptoms from the virus, China has reported more than 9,600 cases, including 213 deaths.

Hajdu stressed the need and the responsibility to remain calm.

“I think that anything that we are doing as politicians or leaders or members of the media that will create a sense of anxiety or panic is actually a dangerous road to travel down,” she said.

Dr. Theresa Tam, chief public health officer, reiterated Thursday that the chances of an outbreak in Canada remain low.

Also this …

Canadian bats are unlikely to be the source of virus strains that can infect humans such as the one currently raising global alarms, a bat expert says.

“We’ve lived with our bats for a long time and it’s never happened,” said virologist Vikram Misra of the University of Saskatchewan.

“I really think it’s not an issue.”

Researchers are closing in on bats as the origin of the new coronavirus scare that has quarantined a Chinese city of 11 million people and infected humans in at least 18 countries.

More than 7,700 people in China have been diagnosed with the new virus and 170 of them have died. The World Health Organization on Thursday declared the outbreak a “public health emergency of international concern.”

In research released Thursday, scientists said the new virus is closely related to three coronaviruses found in bats. A separate report published in the medical journal The Lancet said data collected so far is consistent with the virus having initially been hosted by bats.

Misra, who has published a series of papers on bat viruses, said even healthy bats are normally full of them, but they are kept in check by the animal’s unique immune system.

“There are very, very few viruses that make bats sick.”

— 

What we are watching in the U.S. …

Republican seatmates Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski passed a piece of paper back and forth, nodded — and then sent the note on an unusual journey across the Senate aisle, into the hands of Democratic Sen. Kyrsten Sinema.

Two hours later, Sinema posed the trial’s first bipartisan question. On behalf of the power pocket of moderates, she asked: Will President Donald Trump assure the American public that private citizens won’t conduct foreign policy unless the State Department requests it?

The query referred to the president’s private lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, pressuring Ukraine to give Trump political help. But by asking it together — with Sen. Joe Manchin, a Democrat from West Virginia — the impeachment trial wildcards showed off their combined, potential influence over the deeply polarized Senate.

The trial’s outcome is all but known: With a 53-seat Republican majority, the Senate is expected to acquit the impeached president of the abuse and obstruction charges against him. And the question of calling witnesses and Trump’s acquittal could be answered quickly. GOP Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, who is retiring, was expected to announce his decision on witnesses after the end of Thursday’s questions.

Meanwhile, both sides were keeping close tabs on where the moderates stand.

What we are watching in the rest of the world …

Former French President Valery Giscard d’Estaing, who has spent much of his 93 years working to forge a united Europe, is remarkably blasé about Brexit.

Barely 24 hours before Britain becomes the first country to quit the European Union, Giscard d’Estaing called it a “step backward” geopolitically, but took the long view.

“We functioned without Britain during the first years of the European Union … So we will rediscover a situation that we have already known,” he told The Associated Press in an interview.

Born in Germany in the wake of World War I, Giscard d’Estaing helped liberate Paris from the Nazis in the next world war, and later laid the groundwork for the shared euro currency and helped integrate Britain into what became the EU in the 1970s.

Seeing the Britons leave, “I feel great regret,” he acknowledged, both for himself and the world order his generation built.

“We live in troubled times, with the United States taking a rather surprising direction, with this continuing situation of violence in the Middle East and disorder within the global system,” he said.

“Europe was a means to develop a stable and efficient system, respectful of political and economic rules. It was an important project,” he said, “and Brexit is the first step backwards.”

ICYMI (In case you missed it) …

OTTAWA — Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson says a national ban on many single-use plastics is on track for next year after a government report concluded there is more than enough evidence proving plastic pollution is harmful.

The federal Liberals promised last June they’d seek to ban plastic versions of number of products such as straws, take-out containers and grocery bags.

The report says that in 2016, 29,000 tonnes of plastic garbage, the equivalent of about 2.3 billion single-use plastic water bottles, ended up as litter in Canada — on beaches, in parks, in lakes, and even, says the report, in the air.

Some of the litter is easily visible: pieces bigger than 5 mm are called “macroplastics.” But much of it is plastic most of us can’t easily see, known as “microplastics” and “microfibres.” These are tiny remnants of plastic smaller than 5 mm, that come when larger pieces of plastic are broken apart. They are also shed off things like clothes made of synthetic fabric, fleece blankets, and tires.

The science looks at the impact of all types of plastics and concluded that evidence is clear macroplastics are hurting wildlife: Dead birds found with plastic in their intestines, whales that wash up on shore with stomachs filled with tonnes of plastic they ingested as they swam, including flip flops and nylon ropes.

The evidence is less clear about the harmful impacts of people or wildlife ingesting microplastics, and the scientists recommended further study be undertaken. A new fund of $2.2 million over the next two years will fund research on microplastics.

Wilkinson says the specific items that will be banned are still being worked out with scientists. A list will be released in the next few months, he said.

Weird and wild …

LA VISTA, Neb. — Two customers at a movie theatre bar in Nebraska were treated at a hospital after they were served cleaning solution in their drinks apparently by accident.

Authorities say the women took sips and soon began to feel burning sensations in their throats and stomachs Tuesday at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in the Omaha suburb of La Vista.

They’ve been released from the hospital.

The La Vista police chief says a bottle that had contained a liqueur was being used to store the cleaning solution and had been placed near the bar.

A partner in the franchise location says employee responsible has been fired.

Know your news …

Canadian soccer star Christine Sinclair set the overall international goals record during an Olympic soccer qualifying match this week. Sinclair scored her 185th goal against Saint Kitts and Nevis in Texas to surpass retired U.S. star Abby Wambach. Who holds the men’s record?

(Keep scrolling for the answer)

On this day in 1996 …

Canada’s foremost prima ballerina, Karen Kain, announced she would retire as principal dancer with the National Ballet of Canada after the 1996-97 season. Her career spanned more than 25 years.

Entertainment news …

OTTAWA — Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault is hinting that changes to Canada’s broadcasting and telecom rules could include making online streaming giants like Netflix and Amazon pay sales taxes and requiring them to invest in Canadian programming. 

This week, an expert panel delivered a report recommending sweeping new powers be given to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, including oversight of foreign streaming services.

Guilbeault promises legislation to reform Canada’s broadcasting and telecom rules within a matter of months, but offered few details on what the proposed changes will be.

He suggests there were a few of the panel’s particular recommendations that he agreed with, including one saying Ottawa should immediately require streaming companies to start collecting and remitting GST/HST.

“I think that’s about fairness. Everybody is paying the GST in Canada, I don’t see why some of the richest companies in the world shouldn’t pay GST in Canada,” Guilbeault said.

He also noted that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in a recent interview that a measure to tax online streaming services could be coming in the federal budget.

Know your news answer …

Ali Daei. Daei had 109 goals in 149 international appearances.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 31, 2020.

The Canadian Press

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Dedicated flu, COVID, cold clinic opens at St. Joe's on Hamilton Mountain – CHCH News

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A dedicated flu, COVID, and cold clinic opens on Tuesday at St. Joseph’s Healthcare on the Hamilton Mountain.

The clinic at the West 5th campus is intended to offer more timely care for COVID, cold, and flu patients who can’t get in to see a family doctor.

The opening of the new clinic is part of measures aimed at easing pressure on emergency departments.

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The clinic is open to both adults and children and a doctor’s referral is not required, but it’s not a walk-in clinic.

Patients are expected to make an appointment at St. Joseph’s Healthcare’s website.

The clinic can be accessed from the door beside the Fennell Ave. outpatient entrance and St. Joe’s stresses that patients must not access the flu, COVID, cold clinic through other hospital entrances or walk through the hospital.

The clinic is open from 4:30-9 p.m. during the week and from 8-4 p.m. on the weekends.

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Aid group with Canadian funding leads mission to deliver medical supplies in Ukraine

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POLTAVA, Ukraine — As the Toyota Tundra following a tractor trailer loaded with humanitarian aid heads into dangerous territory in eastern Ukraine, “Promiscuous” by Nelly Furtado and Timbaland plays over the speakers.

The small convoy transporting 20 tonnes of medical supplies is headed for Balakliya in a part of the country that was retaken by the Ukrainian army in September after six months of brutal Russian occupation. Their mission to help the devastated region crosses areas where Russian shelling continues. In Kupiansk, not far from Balakliya, shells continue to rain down.

At the wheel of the Tundra last Friday was Dr. Christian Carrer, a pediatrician from France. With his partner Tetyana Grebenchykova, he runs the Association internationale de coopération médicale, a non-governmental organization that receives support from the Canada-Ukraine Foundation and the Ontario government.

It will take the vehicles, which also include a minivan ahead of the tractor trailer, five hours to travel from a warehouse in Poltava to Balakliya, a distance of barely 200 kilometres. The roads are pockmarked from fallen bombs, and there are frequent stops at military checkpoints on guard against Russian infiltration.

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The strapping pediatrician with the face of an old adventurer has been on the ground since 2014, helping people in the Donbas region after it was invaded by the Russians. Last January, he suspected Ukraine’s menacing neighbour was planning something.

“There were strange gatherings and constant provocations,” Carrer said as he drove. “Everyone knew that clearly, something was going to happen.”

His organization started ensuring various supplies, in particular bandages, were positioned ahead of the feared assault. The last hospital received its delivery on Feb. 24, he said, the day the Russians launched their war.

“The people funding us had confidence in us because we sensed the attack,” he said.

Canada is the third most generous contributor to his group, which has also drawn donations from French, American and British sources.

The organization is well stocked and knows the terrain, and it focuses its aid in a few administrative regions in the northeast of the country. It has more than 800 items available, general or specialized medicines that hospitals and pharmacies in disaster zones can order.

Even in regions that have officially been liberated, the needs remain desperate.

The road crosses sprawling plains, and in one village after another, homes have been destroyed and gas stations and other businesses are shuttered. Crops remain unharvested in the fields. The tires make a constant purring noise as they drive over asphalt perforated by constant tank traffic.

Signs of the suffering and destruction of war are everywhere, and residents have little left to survive on. The occupiers emptied pharmacies and pillaged hospitals.

The convoy passes Chuhuiv, a municipality where the Association internationale de coopération médicale positioned medical supplies ahead of the war but that was later occupied. “The Russians took everything,” says Carrer, who has lived in Ukraine since 2006.

He describes the health condition of those who lived for weeks in shelters as pitiful, looking like “zombies.” Some are even losing their teeth, and he said visiting physicians are shocked by what they find.

As a pediatrician, he is especially worried about the state of pregnant women, young mothers and their children: a large part of that day’s delivery is destined for them.

Once in Balakliya, a desolated city with some buildings completely gutted, the aid valued at $4 million is unloaded in an old warehouse. It will later be distributed among eight municipalities in the area. A small welcoming committee includes the administrative head of Izyum district to the south, Stepan Maselski.

“This aid is very important because we are still at war,” Maselski said in an interview. “The invader destroyed our infrastructures. Just two days ago, we didn’t have electricity or water. The occupation was painful — no medicine, no medical supplies, no good food.”

A forklift empties pallets from the tractor trailer, containing cases and cases of medicine to treat chronic illnesses, epilepsy and heart problems, anesthetics for surgeries, surgical equipment, bandages, gloves, stethoscopes and diapers, among other items. There is also baby formula because infant malnutrition is widespread, Carrer says.

“Often women who give birth have trouble nursing because of the stress and the situation,” he explained. He said Ontario has provided vitamins, and the impact was practically miraculous.

There are also supply kits for those left homeless and even boxes of pet food, which is in short supply.

A special big red bag, which resembles an insulated delivery bag, is handed to Paulina, a medical official who intervenes in the provision of urgent care across the region. It is a kit conceived by doctors in California to treat people in war zones, whether for injuries caused by a landmine or for heart attacks. Paulina says the supplies are of superior quality and they are badly needed.

Suddenly the unloading operation is halted when the forklift breaks down. But the Ukrainians are creative: they tow the old forklift out of the way with a tractor — like their compatriots were often seen doing with Russian tanks on viral videos — and build a wobbly wooden ramp to complete the unloading.

Counting on Ukrainians’ ability to adapt, Carrer’s group has also delivered large numbers of warm blankets as well as small wood-burning stoves manufactured in the Poltava region for residents who have no way to heat their homes due to power outages.

Carrer says there are complex  reasons why the Ukrainian government is struggling to provide basic services in liberated territories. For one thing, he explains, the budget for health spending was cut by about one fifth to fund the war effort. And the annual provision of equipment and funding for the health system comes in February or March, which was when the Russians invaded. The number of refugees has also drained local resources.

“The needs are enormous in all the hospitals,” he says. “And now it’s serious. We see hospitals that are at the end of their tether. We used to deliver two boxes, and now we deliver whole pallets, basic supplies like plaster, gloves, cotton.”

Night falls quickly, and it is cold. The rig is empty, and it is time to leave so the group can make it through all the checkpoints on the way back to Poltava. Carrer knows his group will likely have to return soon with another load.

“Either a good soul is there to help, or they’ll call us back in a month …. We are the first to help, and perhaps the last to help.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 28, 2022.

— Patrice Bergeron is a Quebec-based journalist with The Canadian Press. In addition to two decades of political and general news experience, he was a CP war correspondent in Afghanistan in 2009.

 

Patrice Bergeron, The Canadian Press

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COVID-19 Outbreak Declared at Southbridge Roseview

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November 28, 2022 – The Thunder Bay District Health Unit (TBDHU) and Southbridge Care Homes confirm that the COVID-19 outbreak previously declared at Southbridge Roseview has been updated to include Cheshire and Renaissance Units only, Primrose Unit has been resolved.

TBDHU has initiated a thorough assessment of the situation. Further measures will be taken as needed to manage this situation.

Prior to the outbreak, significant measures were already in place to reduce likelihood of transmission of the virus within the facility. For additional information about COVID-19 and the TBDHU area, please see the TBDHU Website.

-30-

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For more information – Health Unit Media: news@tbdhu.com.

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