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Canada’s coronavirus cases surpass 650K as Quebec imposes new overnight curfew – Global News

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Cases of the novel coronavirus in Canada surpassed 650,000 on Saturday as surges in new infections continued to be reported across parts of the country.

Health officials detected 8,124 new COVID-19 cases Saturday, bringing Canada’s total caseload of the virus to 651,972. Another 126 fatalities were announced as well, raising the death toll to 16,833.

Read more:
‘I made mistakes’: Man changes mind on wearing a mask after COVID-19 hospitalization

To date, 545,971 patients have since recovered from the virus, while over 19,371,000 tests have been administered.

According to COVID19Tracker.ca, a total of 296,241 vaccinations have since been given.

Saturday’s data paints a limited snapshot of the virus’ spread across the country however, as provinces like P.E.I. and B.C., as well as all of the territories did not release new case figures.

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Coronavirus: Montreal anti-curfew protest met with strong police presence, 17 people given fines


Coronavirus: Montreal anti-curfew protest met with strong police presence, 17 people given fines

A majority of Saturday’s new cases were reported by Ontario and Quebec, as both provinces continue to see a surge in new cases, fatalities and hospitalizations from the virus.

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Quebec, which has long been the hardest hit province in Canada from the virus, imposed the country’s most stringent public health measure to date — a new curfew lasting from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m., which will be in place for at least a month.

According to the province, the new rules would apply to everyone except a select few which includes essential workers and those walking their dogs, with violators facing fines of as much as $6,000.

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The measures came into effect as the province broke the 3,000 daily case mark for the first time Saturday, raising its total to 226,233. Another 41 deaths were also reported in Quebec, raising it’s death toll to 8,647 — the highest in Canada so far.

Ontario on the other hand added another 3,443 cases of COVID-19, raising its provincial caseload to 211,837. Another 40 deaths were also reported there Saturday, bringing its total fatalities to 4,922.


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Coronavirus: Heavy police presence expected across Quebec as 8 p.m. curfew begins


Coronavirus: Heavy police presence expected across Quebec as 8 p.m. curfew begins

Alberta logged just under 1,000 new cases on Saturday as well, with the province’s total infections now standing at 110,641.

Saskatchewan reported 329 new cases, while Manitoba recorded just over 200.


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Coronavirus: Ontario reporting nearly 120% spike in COVID-19 cases involving school-aged children


Coronavirus: Ontario reporting nearly 120% spike in COVID-19 cases involving school-aged children

In Atlantic Canada, two provinces reported additional cases on Saturday as well.

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New Brunswick logged 30 new infections on Saturday — just one infection under its provincial record of 31. In Nova Scotia, another three cases were reported by health authorities, raising its caseload to 1,529.

Newfoundland and Labrador, as well as all three territories, reported no new cases on Saturday.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Coronavirus: Canada in talks with other G7 nations about prospect of vaccine passports to travel: Hajdu – CTV News

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OTTAWA —
As countries continue to vaccinate larger segments of their populations, federal Health Minister Patty Hajdu says that discussions about introducing some form of vaccine passport are “very live” among the G7 countries.

“We’re certainly working on the idea of vaccine passports with our G7 partners. I was on a call with my G7 health minister counterparts just a couple of weeks ago, and that is a very live issue,” Hajdu said in an interview on CTV’s Question Period.

While Hajdu wouldn’t say if it’s an idea Canada is pushing for—requiring some form of proof of vaccination to travel to Canada—she said other nations and industry groups are looking into the kind of evidence or documentation that could be requested in order to travel internationally.

“We’ll be coming back to Canadians as we understand more about the intentions of our counterparts internationally, and as we understand more about how that will unfold around the world,” she said.

Some European countries have begun to signal they’ll be requesting proof of immunization against COVID-19 to allow foreign travellers to enter, in a similar way to how nations like Canada are requiring non-essential visitors to show a pre-departure negative test.

Canada is currently not allowing people to show a proof of vaccination as a way to be permitted entry under the pandemic restrictions.

“At this time, proof of having a vaccine does not replace a valid test result,” reads the federal government’s international travel information page.

U.K.’s Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for COVID-19 Vaccine Deployment Nadhim Zahawi told CTV’s Question Period in a separate interview that the British government is working on the logistics of these requirements so that its citizens will have the ability to resume travel for work or leisure abroad

Canadian health ethicists have cautioned against rushing to adopt forms of vaccine passports to permit citizens to attend large events or resume other pre-pandemic norms, but when it comes to travel it may become “almost inevitable,” as University of Toronto bio-ethicist Kerry Bowman recently said on CTV News Channel.

Hajdu said that Canada is concerned about equity and doesn’t want to see a two-tiered system given the limited number of people who are able to access COVID-19 vaccines so far, but noted “there are requirements to travel internationally around disease prevention already.”

The federal government continues to strongly advise against international travel, as the threat of variant spread continues to be a pressing concern.

Nearly a year into the global pandemic Canada’s border strategy continues to shift, including most recently the rocky and contentious introduction of mandatory quarantine in hotels.

As of late February the federal government has required all travellers who have returned to Canada from travel abroad to stay in a designated hotel for at least three days, at their own expense, while they await a PCR test taken upon arrival. The system’s faced criticisms from travellers raising issues with the service, as well as serious concerns over the safety of these sites.

In the interview, Hajdu said she “wasn’t exactly thrilled” in the early days with how the program unfolded, but isn’t heeding calls from the Conservatives to pull the plug on the facilities altogether.

She said the issues experienced by some travelers are being worked out and as the virus evolves, Canadians should expect border measures to as well. Vaccine or not, people should continue to avoid any non-essential travel outside of Canada, she said.

Asked whether the conversation around proof of vaccination could play a role when it comes to domestic travel, Hajdu said it hasn’t come up yet in talks she’s had with her provincial and territorial health counterparts.

“We know that different provinces and territories have taken different stances around domestic travel, and of course, while COVID-19 is raging in parts of the country, often we will hear the requests by different parts of the country to just stay put to resist the urge to travel even domestically. But what I can say is that the health ministers are always reviewing their own stances on interprovincial travel,” she said.

In a recent interview with CTVNews.ca, University of Toronto public health ethicist Alison Thompson spoke about the need to balance incentivizing people to get vaccinated while ensuring any requirements to prove vaccination before being able to travel or attend larger events doesn’t become coercive.

Thompson said that it’s a conversation the general public should be having and not just among policymakers because it will impact everyone.

“This is maybe one of those times because it has implications for people’s freedom of movement and for immigration and those types of things that I would hope that the federal government would want to lead that conversation and have an eye on the kinds of inequities across provinces that could arise,” she said.

With files from CTV News’ Sarah Turnbull

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Canada adds 21 new COVID-19 deaths as total cases near 850K – Global News

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Canada added another 2,325 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday, pushing the country’s total caseload past 844,000.

Another 21 deaths linked to the virus were reported as well, with the country’s death toll from COVID-19 standing at 22,213. A total of 831.901 patients have since recovered from contracting the virus, however, while over 25.57 million tests and 2.32 million vaccine doses have since been administered.

The new data comes amid new updates from the country’s top doctor, who said that there have been no unexpected safety issues with the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine across the country.

Read more:
Fast-spreading variants boost coronavirus surge across Europe

In a statement Saturday, Canada’s chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam said that there have been a total 1,591 reports of adverse reactions following immunizations as of Feb. 26, but specified that these reactions occur after getting vaccinated and are “not necessarily related to the vaccine or the immunization process.”

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According to Tam, severe outcomes linked to contracting COVID-19 continue to decline nationally, though infection rates have either leveled off or increased. Tam also said that the spread of several variants of the virus was a continuing concern in Canada’s fight against the pandemic.

“Until vaccine access fully expands and sufficient levels of population immunity are achieved, and with the continued increase of cases and outbreaks associated with more contagious variants, we must all remain vigilant with public health measures and individual precautions to prevent a rapid shift in trajectory of the epidemic,” read Tam’s statement.

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Ontario reported another 990 cases of COVID-19 on Saturday, as well as six new deaths. In Quebec, another 749 infections were reported alongside 10 fatalities.

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Alberta’s infection count reached 135,537 on Saturday after another 341 new cases were announced. One more death was announced there on Saturday, as well.

Manitoba added 71 more cases and one new fatality, while Saskatchewan reported 163 new infections and three more deaths.

Several provinces in Atlantic Canada reported new cases as well.

Newfoundland and Labrador reported two new cases while both Nova Scotia and New Brunswick added six. P.E.I. did not report any new cases on Saturday.

Nunavut was the only territory to report new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday, with four new infections.


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Vaccines, Vaccines, Vaccines!


Vaccines, Vaccines, Vaccines!

To date, over 116,468,100 COVID-19 infections have been reported worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University. A total of 2,587,683 patients have since succumbed to the virus, with the U.S., India, Brazil and Mexico leading in either cases or deaths.

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© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Coronavirus vaccine: Health Canada approves Johnson and Johnson vaccine as Pfizer bumps up deliveries – CP24 Toronto's Breaking News

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Mia Rabson and Stephanie Levitz, The Canadian Press


Published Friday, March 5, 2021 9:38AM EST


Last Updated Friday, March 5, 2021 7:39PM EST

OTTAWA – The approval of a fourth COVID-19 vaccine and news of accelerated deliveries for another had government officials taking an optimistic tone Friday about the path of the pandemic in Canada.

“We can be really increasingly optimistic in our outlook and that is really great,” said Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer, at a news conference in Ottawa.

Her excitement grew out of news that Health Canada has now authorized the Johnson & Johnson vaccine for use here. It joins vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and Oxford-AstraZeneca among the offerings now available to Canadians.

It is the first and only vaccine Canada is buying that is a single dose, and is deemed safe and effective for all adults.

“Assessing all the data, we concluded that there was strong evidence that showed that the benefits of this vaccine outweigh the potential risks,” said Dr. Supriya Sharma, chief medical adviser at Health Canada.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also said Pfizer will ship 1.5 million more doses of its vaccine to Canada this month, and two million more in the spring. That means instead of getting 12.5 million doses from Pfizer between now and the end of June, Canada will get 15.5 million doses.

Procurement Minister Anita Anand said in total Canada now has confirmed deliveries of 36.5 million doses of vaccines by Canada Day, which would be more than enough to get a single dose to each adult Canadian by then.

That doesn’t include any of the 10 million doses purchased from Johnson & Johnson, and includes none of the 20 million doses coming directly from AstraZeneca. Anand says some of those are to be delivered in the spring, and all of them by the end of September, but specific delivery dates aren’t yet firm.

After being burned by production and delivery delays last month that saw Canada’s vaccine rollout performance pale in comparison to most of its allies, the Liberals are reluctant to adjust their formal timeline of getting every Canadian the chance to be inoculated by the end of September.

“What we are hearing today is important news, but we need to ensure that those delivery schedules are firm before we can discuss changing that timeline,” said Anand.

Still Tam said with most Canadians now likely to be vaccinated earlier than expected, at least with first doses, this winter should be the end of the worst the pandemic will offer.

“I think my optimism is that this following fall is going to look quite different to the preceding one,” said Tam.

While every vaccine except Johnson & Johnson’s is given in two doses, every province is moving to implement new guidance from the National Advisory Committee on Immunization that those doses should be spaced out up to four months, rather than three or four weeks.

That is being done to get more people vaccinated with a first dose, after real-world evidence showed strong data that one dose is highly effective on its own.

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine uses a modified common-cold virus to carry a piece of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19 to convince the body to mount an immune response to prevent future COVID-19 infections.

Clinical trials found it to be 66 per cent effective against moderate illness from COVID-19, 85 per cent effective against severe illness, and 100 per cent effective against death.

Sharma stressed that all vaccines authorized in Canada will protect Canadians from severe illness and death, and won’t be effective at all if Canadians don’t get them.

“Our advice to Canadians is to get whichever vaccine is available to you,” she said. “It’s that simple. The longer you wait to get vaccinated, the longer the time goes by that you are not protected.”

Dr. Ebele Ola, vice-president of medical affairs for Johnson & Johnson’s pharmaceutical arm, Janssen, said data showed the vaccine to be effective against the viral variants of concern that appear to be more contagious.

Ola said the vaccine was tested in the United States, South America and South Africa, and it was extremely effective at preventing severe illness in places the variants were common.

She echoed Sharma’s call for Canadians not to hold out for a specific vaccine, but rather to marvel in the “remarkable” achievement of so many effective vaccines being available.

“The best vaccine is the one that is offered,” said Ola.

Nearly 1.7 million Canadians have now been vaccinated with at least one dose, and the pace of vaccinations has quickened in the last two weeks. In the last seven days, more than 457,000 people were vaccinated, 2 1/2 times as many as in a similar period two weeks before.

While all Canadian adults can now expect their turns to get vaccines will come in the next few months, children are going to wait a lot longer.

Sharma said clinical trials are underway to see if any or all of the approved vaccines are safe and effective for children. Data for teenagers is going to come first, followed by that for children under 12.

“Potentially, by the end of the calendar year, we might have some answers for children,” she said.

There remains only one more vaccine currently under review by Health Canada, called Novavax, but it is still completing its clinical trials, and doesn’t expect data any earlier than late March.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 5, 2021.

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