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Canada adds over 5,000 new coronavirus infections as global cases top 60 million – Global News

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Canada added 5,018 new novel coronavirus cases on Wednesday, bringing the country’s total number of infections to 347,150.

Health authorities across the country also said 92 more people have died after testing positive for COVID-19.

The virus has now been linked to 11,710 deaths in Canada. 

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A total of 2,243 people are in hospital after contracting the respiratory illness, while 277,232 have recovered.

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In a statement Wednesday, Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam said “more and larger” COVID-19 outbreaks are occurring in long-term care homes, congregate living settings and hospitals and in Indigenous communities and remote areas.

“These developments are deeply concerning as they put countless Canadians at risk of life-threatening illness, cause serious disruptions to health services and present significant challenges for areas not adequately equipped to manage complex medical emergencies,” she said.

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Tam also said the number of Canadians across the country experiencing “severe illness continues to increase.”

“This situation is putting pressure on local health-care resources and forcing hospitals to make the difficult decision to cancel elective surgeries and procedures in several areas of the country,” she said.

Tam said “collective effort” from individuals and public health officials is needed “to support and sustain the response through to the end of the pandemic, while balancing the health, social and economic consequences.”


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Coronavirus: Trudeau says Canada working to ensure equitable access to vaccines


Coronavirus: Trudeau says Canada working to ensure equitable access to vaccines

Between Ontario and Quebec 2,473 new cases of the virus were reported.

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Ontario saw 1,373 new infections, while health officials in Quebec said 1,100 new cases had been identified. The provinces also reported 35 and 28 additional fatalities respectively.

In Saskatchewan, 164 new cases of COVID-19 were detected, but health authorities said no new deaths associated with the virus were reported.

Meanwhile, Manitoba saw 349 new coronavirus infections on Wednesday and eight new fatalities, pushing the provincial death toll to 256.

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In Atlantic Canada, 21 new novel coronavirus infections were detected.

New Brunswick saw three new cases, while Nova Scotia added 16 new cases. Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador each saw one new case, bringing the provincial totals to 70 and 324 respectively.

None of the maritime provinces saw any new deaths associated with the respiratory illness on Wednesday.

In Alberta, 1,265 new cases were reported, and health officials said eight more people had died.

The province has now seen 50,801 infections and 500 fatalities related to COVID-19.

British Columbia saw 734 new cases and 13 new deaths, bringing the total number of confirmed COVID-19 infections to 28,770 and the death toll to 371.

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Coronavirus: Trudeau says Canada working on vaccine distribution, ‘premature’ to give date


Coronavirus: Trudeau says Canada working on vaccine distribution, ‘premature’ to give date

Nunavut added 11 new cases of the virus on Wednesday, pushing the territory’s total case load to 155. The territory has not yet seen a fatality related to COVID-19. So far two people have recovered after falling ill.

Meanwhile the Yukon reported one new case of COVID-19, but no new deaths.

The Northwest Territories has not reported any new cases of the virus since Nov. 13, and health officials say all 15 confirmed cases are considered to be recovered.

Global cases top 60 million

The number of cases of the novel coronavirus worldwide topped 60 million on Wednesday.

By 6:30 p.m. ET, there were a total of 60,207,001 cases globally, according to a tally from Johns Hopkins University.

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Read more:
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Since the virus was first detected, it has claimed 1,417,906 lives around the world.

The United States remained the epicentre of the virus with more than 12.7 million cases and 261,874 fatalities to date.

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Canada deporting thousands even as pandemic rages

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canadian association of refugee lawyers

By Anna Mehler Paperny

TORONTO (Reuters) – Canada deported thousands of people even as COVID-19 raged last year, data seen by Reuters shows, and lawyers say deportations are ramping up, putting people needlessly at risk in the midst of a global health emergency.

Like many other countries, Canada is struggling to stop a second wave from spiraling out of control, and its political leaders are begging residents to stay home to prevent the spread.

Lawyers and human rights advocates are decrying Canada‘s November decision to resume deportations. Until now, the extent of the country’s pandemic deportations was not known, but recent interviews with immigration lawyers and scrutiny of government numbers has shed light on the situation.

Canada counted 12,122 people as removed in 2020 – 875 more than the previous year and the highest number since at least 2015, according to Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) data seen by Reuters. The government says this was necessary and done safely.

The CBSA says the high number last year is because it includes people who decided to leave on their own, termed “administrative removals.” In 2019 there were 1,657 administrative removals, compared with 8,215 last year.

Even subtracting those numbers, that leaves thousands of people deported as the pandemic raged and governments cautioned against travel of any kind for safety reasons.

Even as Canada continues to deport non-citizens during a health crisis, U.S. President Joe Biden paused deportations for 100 days within hours of being sworn in on Wednesday.

Canada officially imposed a moratorium on deportations in March that it lifted at the end of November.

“As much as a human rights concern it’s a common sense concern,” said Bill Frelick, director of Human Rights Watch’s Refugee Rights Program.

Countries’ deportation practices have varied over the course of the pandemic. Several, including the United Kingdom, suspended deportations before resuming them. Others, like Ireland, have kept suspensions in place.

The CBSA said it has been prioritizing deportations for reasons of “serious admissibility,” including criminality.

The vast majority of people deported in 2020 were for reasons of “noncompliance.” Even taking into account administrative removals, more than 1,000 people were deported during the suspension, the data shows.

 

‘IT’S UNBELIEVABLE’

Public health experts have warned that travel of any kind can spread COVID-19 from one place to another, a risk that grows with the advent of more highly transmissible COVID variants.

Many of the deportation trips involve transfers at multiple airports and flights during which people are placed in enclosed space in close quarters with other people for hours at a time, a situation ripe for transmission.

Since August Canada has been conducting deportations with CBSA escorts, so Canadians are also making thousands of these round-trip flights for deportation purposes.

Organizations including the Canadian Bar Association and the Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers spoke out against Canada‘s decision to resume deportations.

“As everybody is putting in place more restrictions in an effort to flatten the curve … CBSA made a shocking decision to simply go back to business as usual,” said Maureen Silcoff, president of the Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers.

Canada has taken the position that nonessential travel is barred yet people are now being removed and there’s no indication that those removals are essential.”

The CBSA said in a statement it lifted the moratorium on deportations because foreign government offices and borders had reopened, airlines restarted their routes and public-health protocols “have contributed to a high degree of safety for persons being removed by air.”

Canada continues to uphold both its human rights and public safety obligations in relation to the removal of inadmissible foreign nationals,” the statement said. “The removal process includes many checks and balances to ensure that the removal is conducted in a fair and just manner.”

But these deportations are endangering not only the people being deported but the government officers tasked with accompanying them to their destination, lawyers say.

Immigration lawyer Lorne Waldman’s Toronto office went from getting no removal cases to getting three or four in the space of a week, he said. He is now fighting for a failed refugee claimant with two young Canadian children who faces deportation to Egypt Monday.

“They’re ramping it up as if there was no pandemic,” he said. “It’s unbelievable.”

 

 

(Reporting by Anna Mehler Paperny in Toronto; Editing by Denny Thomas and Matthew Lewis)

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Canada’s Trudeau presses Pfizer CEO on vaccine shortage, hints at travel crackdown

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By David Ljunggren

OTTAWA (Reuters) – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Friday that Pfizer had reassured him it would meet Canada‘s vaccine order in full by end-March as, with a second COVID wave spreading across the country, he hinted at a clampdown on citizens leaving home.

Pfizer, which is retooling a European manufacturing plant, told Canada on Tuesday it would receive no vaccine next week, promising more pain for provinces already complaining about a shortage of supplies.

Pfizer also said it would cut supplies to the European Union.

Trudeau, under pressure from political opponents to do more to address the shortage, said that, though the coming weeks would be challenging, the company’s Chief Executive Albert Bourla had reassured him it would supply 4 million vaccine doses as scheduled by March 31.

Expressing irritation that Canadians were still taking vacations despite the worsening second wave, Trudeau also indicated Ottawa would bring in measures designed to make it harder and more expensive to travel.

He spoke on Thursday to the premiers of the 10 provinces, some of whom want Ottawa to clamp down on non-essential travel. He reiterated that people should stay home.

“We could be bringing in new measures that significantly impede your ability to return to Canada at any given moment, without warning,” said Trudeau, promising more details in coming days.

Canada, which has so far reported 18,622 coronavirus deaths from a total of 731,450 cases, already requires all arrivals by air to go into self-administered quarantine for 14 days.

Trudeau said one option was to force people to spend the time in hotel rooms they would have to pay for.

 

 

(Reporting by David Ljunggren; editing by John Stonestreet)

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New cases of COVID-19 dropping in Canada as experts say lockdowns are working – CTV News

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TORONTO —
New cases of COVID-19 have steadily dropped over the last 12 days, a downward trend that experts say offers reason for hope even as the second wave pushes hospitals dangerously close to capacity.

Tracking by CTVNews.ca shows the country’s seven-day average has consistently fallen since Jan. 10, from 8,260 cases to 5,957 cases by Jan. 22.

Twelve days may seem brief, but infectious disease specialist Dr. Isaac Bogoch said the trajectory is a clear trend in the right direction.

“It looks like we have at least started to turn the corner, but we have a long road ahead,” Bogoch told CTVNews.ca on Friday.

The downward trend is particularly good news because respiratory viruses typically flourish during the winter, said infectious disease specialist Dr. Zain Chagla.

“Clearly it’s not just a few days’ numbers. There is a significant decrease, which is great,” Chagla said.

It may be tempting to point to vaccines as a potential reason for the drop, particularly as countries such as Israel have seen cases plummet amid their own aggressive vaccination plan. But both doctors rejected the idea that vaccines are responsible, since only two per cent of Canada’s population has received vaccines. In Israel, more than a quarter of the country has been vaccinated.

“(Canada’s vaccines) have been rolled out primarily to long-term care and health-care workers. That enough is not enough to drive down the case counts,” Chagla said.

Instead, both Chagla and Bogoch point to stricter public health measures in Quebec and Ontario, where lockdowns have shuttered non-essential businesses and social gatherings have been banned for weeks.

“So really it does come to the lockdowns,” Chagla said.

The downward trend comes at a time when some experts had predicted the country would still be experiencing the worst of a post-holiday surge in cases. While that’s not happening right now, Bogoch pointed out that Canada still experienced a sharp rise in cases following the holidays, with Canada’s seven-day average hitting its peak on Jan. 8 with 8,310 cases.

“It was pretty bad. I honestly think if we didn’t have those measures to blunt it, it would’ve been significantly worse,” he said.

Even as new cases fall, Canadian hospitals continue to struggle to keep up with hospitalizations, according to David Fisman, a professor of epidemiology at the University of Toronto.

“Unfortunately critical illness lags, so we still have ICU admissions at high levels that reflect the holiday surge,” he said.

Canada’s case count may hold promising news, including the possibility of providing more breathing room for hospitals, but Bogoch said it’s far too soon to pat ourselves on the back.

“I still think we’ve got to be careful here. While the trend is going down, we can’t let out guard down,” Bogoch said.

“We cannot plateau. We have to continue that downward trend.”​

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