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Canada's 4 largest provinces see vaccine uptake boosted by mandates –



Federal data shows tens of thousands of people in Canada’s largest provinces received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine after public announcements of a vaccine passport, even before the new policy came into effect.

Vaccine passports require residents to show proof of vaccination before accessing some businesses deemed at a higher risk for transmission of the virus.

In Ontario, the policy came into effect on Sept. 22 with a proof of vaccination required to go to restaurants, bars, sports venues, gyms, theatres, cinemas and casinos. 

The province’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Kieran Moore, said he hoped the program would result in a meaningful increase in vaccination uptake to rival the province of Quebec, which now boasts almost 90 per cent of eligible people over the age of 12 with at least one dose.

‘The fire can’t burn anymore’

Ontario currently has about 85 per cent of eligible residents with at least one dose.

“I think we can get three more per cent from this policy initiative to better protect those high-risk environments. And there’s no reason why we can’t achieve Quebec’s rates of protection,” said Moore.

The bump in vaccination may not have been the primary goal behind the policy to bring in passports, but the impact in boosting uptake is “massive,” according to Doug Manuel, a senior scientist at the Ottawa Hospital and a member of Ontario’s COVID-19 Science Advisory Table,

“As we get higher, the reduction in transmission becomes exponential, and it’s like the fire can’t burn anymore,” said Manuel.

This week’s modelling showed the province has seen fewer cases and hospitalizations than projected in the fourth wave, but the science table continues to monitor the situation closely.

“It’s still very fragile, it’s still really tentative,” said Manuel.

An analysis of federally released vaccination data for the provinces of Quebec, British Columbia, Ontario and Alberta show increases in the weekly rate of first doses immediately after the policy announcement.


Quebec was the first of these provinces to announce a vaccine passport policy on Aug. 10.

The rate of first doses had reached its lowest point at the end of June and remained consistent until the policy was announced, then the uptake began to increase.

The federal data shows the week the vaccine passports came into effect, there was a 50 per cent increase in the rate of first doses given.

British Columbia

B.C. announced its vaccine mandate on Aug. 23 as the province’s first dose uptake slowed to its lowest rate since vaccinations began. 

The following week, the weekly rate of first doses given almost doubled, and has since stabilized.


Ontario announced its vaccine mandate on Sept. 1 after languishing for two weeks in a record low vaccine uptake. The province acted slower than Quebec and B.C.

The plan was leaked the week prior, which led to an immediate increase in the uptake of first doses, while several organizations had also announced their own vaccine mandates.

Like Quebec, the weekly rate eventually reached a number that was 50 per cent higher than the low point from the late summer. 


Alberta was the last to act among Canada’s four largest provinces, but it saw the largest increase in vaccine uptake.

Premier Jason Kenney announced the province’s vaccine mandate on Sept. 15.

After weeks of waning rates of first doses given, the data shows a threefold bump in the rate of vaccination. 

As of Sept. 21, Alberta is one of only two provinces or territories, along with Saskatchewan, where less than 80 per cent of the eligible population has at least one dose, so there is more room to grow.

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China condemns U.S., Canada for sending warships through Taiwan Strait



The  Chinese military on Sunday condemned the United States and Canada for each sending a warship through the Taiwan Strait last week, saying they were threatening peace and stability in the region.

China claims democratically-ruled Taiwan as its own territory, and has mounted repeated air force missions into Taiwan’s air defence identification zone (ADIZ) over the past year, provoking anger in Taipei.

China sent around 150 aircraft into the zone over a four-day period beginning on Oct. 1 in a further heightening of tension between Beijing and Taipei that has sparked concern internationally.

The U.S. military said the Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS Dewey sailed through the narrow waterway that separates Taiwan from its giant neighbour China along with the Canadian frigate HMCS Winnipeg on Thursday and Friday.

“Dewey’s and Winnipeg’s transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the commitment of the United States and our allies and partners to a free and open Indo-Pacific,” it added.

China’s People’s Liberation Army’s Eastern Theatre Command said its forces monitored the ships and “stood guard” throughout their passage.

“The United States and Canada colluded to provoke and stir up trouble… seriously jeopardising peace and stability of the Taiwan Strait,” it said.

“Taiwan is part of Chinese territory. Theatre forces always maintain a high level of alert and resolutely counter all threats and provocations.”

U.S. Navy Ships have been transiting the strait roughly monthly, to the anger of Beijing, which has accused Washington of stoking regional tensions. U.S. allies occasionally also send ships through the strait, including Britain month.

While tensions across the Taiwan Strait have risen, there has been no shooting and Chinese aircraft have not entered Taiwanese air space, concentrating their activity in the southwestern part of the ADIZ.

While including Taiwanese territorial air space, the ADIZ encompasses a broader area that Taiwan monitors and patrols that acts to give it more time to respond to any threats.

Taiwan’s defence ministry said on Sunday that three Chinese aircraft – two J-16 fighters and an anti-submarine aircraft – flew into the ADIZ again.

(Reporting by Ryan Woo in Beijing, Ben Blanchard in Taipei and Idrees Ali in Washington; Editing by Pravin Char and John

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No end in sight to volcanic eruption on Spain’s La Palma – Canaries president



There’s no immediate end in sight to the  volcanic eruption that has caused chaos on the Spanish isle of La Palma since it began about a month ago, the president of the Canary Islands said on Sunday.

There were 42 seismic movements on the island on Sunday, the largest of which measured 4.3, according to the Spanish National Geographical Institute.

“There are no signs that an end of the eruption is imminent even though this is the greatest desire of everyone,” President Angel Víctor Torres said at a Socialist party conference in Valencia, citing the view of scientists.

Streams of lava have laid waste to more than 742 hectares (1833 acres) of land and destroyed almost 2,000 buildings on La Palma since the volcano started erupting on Sept. 19.

About 7,000 people have been evacuated from their homes on the island, which has about 83,000 inhabitants and forms part of the Canary Islands archipelago off northwestern Africa.

Airline Binter said it had cancelled all its flights to La Palma on Sunday because of ash from the volcano.

“Due to the current situation of the ash cloud, operations with La Palma will continue to be paralyzed throughout today. We continue to evaluate the situation,” the airline tweeted.

Almost half – 22 out of 38 – of all flights to the island on Sunday have been cancelled, state airport operator Aena said, but the airport there remains open.

(Reporting by Graham Keeley; Editing by Pravin Char)

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Son of ex-Somali political aide held over UK lawmaker stabbing



Ali Harbi Ali, the son of an ex-media adviser to a former prime minister of Somalia, has been arrested by British police under  anti-terrorism laws following the killing of lawmaker David Amess, a source close to the investigation and British media said.

Amess, 69, from Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party, was knifed repeatedly as he met constituency voters in a church on Friday in Leigh-on-Sea, east of London.

The killing took place five years after the murder of Jo Cox, a lawmaker from the opposition Labour Party, and has prompted a review of politicians’ security.

Police said they had arrested a 25-year-old British man at the scene on suspicion of murder and have said it is believed he acted alone. They have not named the suspect but used additional powers under anti-terrorism laws to detain him until Oct. 22.

A British source close to the investigation named Ali Harbi Ali, a British citizen, as the detained suspect.

Harbi Ali Kullane, the father of Ali Harbi Ali, told The Sunday Times that his son had been arrested in connection with the murder.

“At this particular moment we are going through (an)unprecedented and horrific situation,” Harbi Ali Kullane, a former adviser to Hassan Ali Khaire, a former Somali prime minister, told Reuters in an email when asked about this.

“Due to the ongoing early investigation I am obliged and commanded not to talk about it,” said Harbi Ali Kullane, who is a former director of the Somali government’s media and communication department.

British police were on Sunday searching an address in north London linked to Ali Harbi Ali, Reuters reporters said.

Interior Minister Priti Patel said on Sunday Britain is considering a number of options to boost the security of lawmakers.

(Reporting by Nazanine Moshiri in Nairobi and Guy Faulconbridge in LondonAdditional reporting by Costas PitasEditing by Alex Richardson and Frances Kerry)

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