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Canadians may face travel restrictions for years if coronavirus vaccine not available for everyone – Global News

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A sense of normalcy is on the horizon with COVID-19 vaccination rollout underway in Canada.

It’s expected the majority of Canadians could be vaccinated against the novel coronavirus by next September, according to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Read more:
Low-income nations could be without a coronavirus vaccine until 2024, report says

While that’s great news for Canada, experts warn that unless other nations have access to vaccines, Canadians will have to continue to live in a “bubble” — meaning our borders could remain closed.

“It’s the old adage, ‘No one is safe until everyone is safe,’” Raywat Deonandan, an epidemiologist with the University of Ottawa, said. “We cannot get close to the eradication of coronavirus unless vaccines are made available to everyone.”

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But vaccines may not be available to everyone, especially in low-income nations.


Click to play video 'Coronavirus: Canada secures 2nd agreement with Moderna for early vaccine doses'



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Coronavirus: Canada secures 2nd agreement with Moderna for early vaccine doses


Coronavirus: Canada secures 2nd agreement with Moderna for early vaccine doses

According to a Reuters investigation published Wednesday, COVAX, the global effort to deliver COVID-19 vaccines to poorer countries, faces a “very high” risk of failure, potentially leaving nations home to billions of people with no access to vaccines until as late as 2024.

That is because the program is struggling from a lack of funds, supply risks and complex contractual arrangements, which could make it impossible to achieve its goals, the investigation found.

“One could argue that if I am vaccinated, what do I care?” Deonandan said. “But we don’t know if the vaccination makes you immune to being infected again. If the disease is prevalent anywhere, then we all suffer the probability of infection. “

He warned that unless other nations have access to vaccines, then Canadians hoping to travel internationally in the near future will be out of luck.

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Read more:
Canada to join global coronavirus vaccine procurement program

Canada is one of the largest contributors to the COVAX program, according to the federal government.

In a statement to Global News, the office of the Prime Minister said that Canada had announced a $440 million into COVAX — the second-largest contribution any country has made so far.

Canada’s Minister of Democratic Institutions Karina Gould told Global News Wednesday, the country recognizes how “important it is for us to respond to this issue globally.”

“Until we defeat COVID everywhere, we defeat in nowhere,” she said.

Canadian border could remain closed

The Canada-U.S. border has been closed since March. The border restrictions, which do not cover trade or travel by air, have been rolled over several times and will remain until at least Jan. 21 of next year in an effort to curb rising cases of the novel coronavirus.

The federal government has also warned that non-essential travel outside of Canada must be avoided.

As the vaccines continue to roll out and coronavirus levels potentially start to lower in the country, many Canadians may be itching to hop on a plane for a much-needed vacation, or even cross the border into the United States to see friends or family.

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Click to play video 'Task force will examine re-opening U.S.-Canada border'



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Task force will examine re-opening U.S.-Canada border


Task force will examine re-opening U.S.-Canada border – Nov 29, 2020

But Deonandan said that if other nations can’t innoculate their citizens, then the coronavirus will continue to spread, and travelling may be impossible.

“There’s no such thing as a hermetically sealed nation that no infection seeps into,” he explained. “Even the countries that have isolated themselves, like Australia and New Zealand, they monitor their borders very, very carefully and they’re always finding coronavirus cases.”

As of Thursday, there have been more than 74 million cases of COVID-19 worldwide, and the numbers are continuing to grow. The virus that has killed more than 1.6 million people has exposed vast inequities between countries, as fragile health systems and smaller economies were often hit harder.

Read more:
Your guide to COVAX, the WHO’s coronavirus global vaccine plan

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And many low-income nations lack the funds, resources and infrastructure to efficiently roll out a coronavirus vaccine.

Their best chance of receiving a COVID-19 vaccine is through the COVAX initiative, led by the World Health Organization. But the initiative has secured only a fraction of the two billion doses it hopes to buy over the next year, has yet to confirm any actual deals to ship out vaccines and is short on cash.

Gould said Canada is pushing for other nations to contribute more to the COVAX initiative, as there is still $4.8 billion to raise in order to make advance purchase agreements with pharmaceutical companies.


Click to play video 'Coronavirus: WHO urges countries to join forces in global COVID-19 vaccine plan'



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Coronavirus: WHO urges countries to join forces in global COVID-19 vaccine plan


Coronavirus: WHO urges countries to join forces in global COVID-19 vaccine plan – Aug 24, 2020

She warned that if the vaccines do not reach people around the world, not only will it cause inequity in healthcare in poor nations, but also it could lead to a continued border closure in Canada.

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“We can do everything here at home to protect ourselves from COVID-19, but we don’t want to keep our borders closed in the long-term. We want to be connected to the world,” Gould said. “And so that’s why having this international mechanism to try and address these challenges is so important.”

Everyone needs access to a vaccine

According to a recent report, nine out of 10 people in 70 low-income countries are unlikely to be vaccinated for the virus in 2021 because the majority of the most promising vaccines have been bought up by the West.

Rich countries with 14 per cent of the world’s population have secured 53 per cent of the most promising vaccines, according to the People’s Vaccine Alliance, which includes Amnesty International, Frontline AIDS, Global Justice Now and Oxfam.

Canada has secured more doses per head of population than any other – enough to vaccinate each Canadian five times, said the alliance.

“COVAX is all about allowing nations to purchase vaccines, but if a vaccine is not there to purchase, you cannot purchase it,” Deonandan said.

Read more:
Coronavirus vaccine storage issues could leave 3 billion without access

He recommended that nations, like Canada, commit to donating vaccines once the country reaches a surplus — potentially by the end of 2021.

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Maybe some people aren’t on board with just giving it away,”  Deonandan said, adding there could be agreements put in place for surplus supply to be made available to COVAX for purchase.

“There are all kinds of strategies to prevent it from sitting in a warehouse going to waste.

Lessons from eradicating smallpox

The WHO has pointed to the global effort to eradicate smallpox as a way to combat the coronavirus.

Smallpox was eradicated 40 years ago after “unprecedented” co-operation between nations, and a similar global effort could help bring an end to COVID-19, World Health Organization officials said in May.

In 1959, the WHO started an initiative to eradicate smallpox. Although the virus had been stamped out in rich nations, it continued to spread in populations in South America, South Asia and Africa.

But the global eradication campaign suffered from a lack of funds and a shortage of vaccine donations.


Click to play video 'Coronavirus: Trudeau says Canada contributing close to $500M towards WHO’s COVAX facility'



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Coronavirus: Trudeau says Canada contributing close to $500M towards WHO’s COVAX facility


Coronavirus: Trudeau says Canada contributing close to $500M towards WHO’s COVAX facility – Sep 29, 2020

In 1967 there was a renewed global effort to eradicate the deadly disease, which included measures such as increased financial aid and vaccine donations. In 1980, the World Health Assembly officially declared the world free of smallpox.

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Speaking in May on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the eradication of smallpox, WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that “smallpox is the first and to date the only human disease to be eradicated globally.”

“Humanity’s victory over smallpox is a reminder of what’s possible when nations come together to fight a common health threat,” Tedros said. “Many of the basic public health tools that were used successfully then are the same tools that have been used to respond to Ebola and to COVID: disease surveillance, case finding, contact tracing and mass communication campaigns to inform affected populations.”

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

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Coronavirus: What's happening in Canada and around the world on Monday – CBC.ca

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The latest:

With hospital intensive care units in parts of Ontario reaching capacity due to COVID-19, a new hospital will open in Vaughan, Ont., next month to help relieve pressure on other facilities in the Greater Toronto Area, the province announced Monday.

The Cortellucci Vaughan Hospital, due to open Feb. 7, will be a “dedicated resource to support the province’s COVID-19 response,” taking in critical patients from other hospitals, Premier Doug Ford said.

“It’s like reinforcements coming over the hill,” Ford said, adding that the province is also adding 500 additional surge capacity hospital beds in Toronto, Durham Region, Kingston, Ont., and Ottawa.

Canada’s vaccination efforts against COVID-19 took a notable step forward on Monday with the opening of mass immunization centres in Toronto and Brandon, Man. This follows the opening of a similar immunization supersite in Winnipeg two weeks ago.

Toronto’s supersite is being described as a “proof-of-concept” clinic that will help the city fine-tune the operation of its future clinics, “ensuring safety and increasing efficiency in advance of wider immunization,” according to a city news release.

Retired general Rick Hillier, who heads the province’s vaccine distribution plan, told CBC News on Sunday that Ontario wants to have everyone vaccinated by late July or early August.

The Toronto site is not open to members of the public and will instead operate with a sample group of health-care workers, including those involved in harm reduction and Streets to Homes staff who support the city’s vulnerable populations. 

Ontario Premier Doug Ford, right, is given a tour of an ICU room at Cortellucci Vaughan Hospital by Altaf Stationwala, CEO of Mackenzie Health in Vaughan, Ont., on Monday. The new hospital, which is set to open Feb. 7, will take patients from other hospitals that are strained by COVID-19. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press)

The clinic aims to vaccinate 250 people per day. However, due to the delay in obtaining the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine from Europe, the clinic inside the Metro Toronto Convention Centre is set to close until further notice after the work day on Friday, said Matthew Pegg, head of the city’s immunization task force.

He said anyone who got a first dose of the vaccine at the clinic will be able to receive a second dose within the recommended time frame.

Ontario reported 2,578 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, which is the fewest logged on a single day in about two and a half weeks. However, the province’s labs processed just 40,301 test samples for the novel coronavirus, nearly 20,000 fewer than the day before.

The province also reported 24 new deaths and a total of 1,571 patients with COVID-19 in hospital. Of those, 394 were being treated in intensive care units and 303 were on ventilators — the first time the latter has climbed above 300 since the pandemic began.

Meanwhile, vaccinations got underway at the mass vaccination site in Brandon on Monday morning, following an initial hiccup in which hundreds of health-care workers with immunization appointments were given the wrong address.

Joanna Robb, a cytotechnologist who works at Shared Health’s Westman Lab, which deals with COVID-19 specimens, was the first to receive a dose of the vaccine. 

“You hear the death tolls every day and the numbers, and it’s heartbreaking,” Robb said. “And we can do something.”

The Brandon site was slated to give out more than 550 shots on Monday alone, provincial officials said. The centre will be open 12 hour a day, seven days a week, for eligible health-care workers.

Manitoba registered 118 new COVID-19 cases and four more deaths on Monday. Forty-six of the new cases are in the province’s North Health Region.

WATCH | Manitoba opens 2nd COVID-19 vaccination supersite:

The Keystone Centre in Brandon, Man., is now a supersite for COVID-19 vaccinations. It opened on time Monday despite incorrect information about its location originally being given out. 1:51

What’s happening across Canada

As of 6:40 p.m. ET on Monday, Canada had reported 715,073 cases of COVID-19, with 75,461 cases considered active. A CBC News tally of deaths stood at 18,120.

Over the weekend, federal Procurement Minister Anita Anand sought to allay Canadians’ concerns about Pfizer’s decision to delay international vaccine deliveries while it upgrades its manufacturing facility.

Anand said on Twitter she has been in touch with the drugmaker and was assured that it is “deploying all efforts” to return to its regular delivery schedule “as soon as possible.” The minister said shipments for this coming week will be largely unaffected.

New Brunswick has rolled back the Edmundston and Grand Falls region to a more restrictive red phase, and other regions face the same prospect as the province continues to see a surge in COVID-19 cases.

The province reported 26 new cases on Monday. That follows a tally of 36 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday — 24 of them in the Edmundston and Grand Falls region, about 380 kilometres northwest of Saint John — marking its highest single-day total since the start of the pandemic.

The move to red-phase restrictions, which took effect in the region at midnight, mean som businesses — including movie theatres, barbershops and hair salons — must close, while restaurants can only operate with takeout and delivery. However, schools will remain open with additional health measures in place.

The rest of Atlantic Canada has not seen the recent spread of COVID-19 infections to the extent that New Brunswick has. 

Nova Scotia reported no new cases on Monday, after reporting four additional cases on Sunday, all of which are related to travel outside Atlantic Canada.

Newfoundland and Labrador added one new case on Sunday, in a person who returned home from work in Alberta.

P.E.I. reported four new cases on Monday, three of them linked to travel outside of Atlantic Canada and one involving someone who was in contact with a previously reported case, the province said in a news release.

In Quebec, high schoolers headed back to classrooms on Monday after a month at home, joining elementary students who returned to in-person instruction a week before the older kids. Among other health precautions, students must wear medical-grade masks and will be tested immediately if they show any COVID-19 symptoms.

The province reported 1,634 new cases on Monday, though it noted that a delay in the transmission of laboratory data caused a delay in the reporting of cases to public health departments on Sunday, as well as a drop in the number of new cases reported.

It also reported 32 deaths, nine of which occurred in the last 24 hours and 23 that occurred between Jan. 11 and 16.

Saskatchewan added 290 new COVID-19 cases and four more deaths on Monday.

The province administered 2,449 doses of COVID-19 vaccine on Sunday. The total number of vaccines administered in the province has now reached 22,618.

Alberta will have no more COVID-19 doses available to administer by the end of Monday or early Tuesday due to the Pfizer supply disruption, Premier Jason Kenney has announced.

The premier told a news conference on Monday that the province is putting a temporary hold on the first dose of COVID-19 vaccinations to ensure it has enough vaccine to provide a second dose to people who have already received their first shot.

Alberta reported 474 new COVID-19 cases and 11 new deaths on Monday. Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, said 739 people are in hospital with the respiratory illness, 120 of whom are in intensive care.

British Columbia on Monday reported 1,330 new cases of COVID-19 and 31 more deaths over the last three days. As of Monday, 87,346 people in B.C. had received at least one dose of vaccine.

WATCH | Risks of hockey arenas amid pandemic:

Air quality research and a growing understanding of how COVID-19 spreads are helping to explain why facing off in hockey arenas can be risky during the pandemic. 8:27

In the North, Northwest Territories health officials placed the hamlet of Fort Liard under a two-week containment order after three cases were discovered in the community.

A dozen employees of Agnico Eagle’s Meliadine gold mine in Nunavut are now in self-isolation after a worker at the mine tested positive for COVID-19, the company said in a news release on Friday. There have been nine confirmed cases of COVID-19 at the mine since the start of the pandemic, an Agnico Eagle spokesperson told CBC News on Saturday via email.

Meanwhile, members of Yukon‘s two mobile COVID-19 vaccination teams held one last dry-run at a Whitehorse high school on Friday before hitting the road.


What’s happening around the world

As of Monday, more than 95.4 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported worldwide, with more than 52.5 million of those considered recovered or resolved, according to Johns Hopkins University’s COVID-19 case tracking tool. The global death toll stood at more than two million.

The head of the World Health Organization says it’s “not right” that younger, healthier adults in rich countries get vaccinated against COVID-19 before older people in poorer countries.

Director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus kicked off WHO’s week-long executive board meeting — virtually from its headquarters in Geneva — on Monday by lamenting that only 25 vaccine doses have been provided in a single poor country, while more than 39 million doses have been administered in nearly 50 richer nations.

“Just 25 doses have been given in one lowest-income country — not 25 million, not 25,000 — just 25. I need to be blunt,” Tedros said. He did not specify the country.

Tedros again criticized “bilateral deals” between drug companies and countries that hurt the ability of the WHO-backed COVAX program, which aims to get vaccines to all countries based on need.

“Most manufacturers have prioritized regulatory approval in rich countries, where the profits are highest, rather than submitting” data to WHO, he said, so it can approve vaccines for wider use.

In Europe, France on Monday began a campaign to inoculate people over 75 against the coronavirus, as its death toll rose past 70,000 over the weekend.

Robert Farquar of Westman Lab gets vaccinated by public health nurse Jennifer Cochrane in Brandon, Man., on Monday morning. (Tim Smith/The Brandon Sun/Pool)

The new variant of COVID-19 first detected in Britain is now starting to gain a foothold in Belgium, officials say, with cases reported in several northern schools on top of an outbreak in a nursing home.

Officials in the Swiss mountain resort of St. Moritz quarantined employees and guests of two luxury hotels, closed ski schools and kept schoolchildren home from class on Monday after a dozen positive tests for a highly infectious coronavirus variant.

In Asia, a Chinese province grappling with a spike in coronavirus cases is reinstating tight restrictions on weddings, funerals and other family gatherings, threatening violators with criminal charges.

The notice from the high court in Hebei province did not give specifics but said all types of social gatherings were now being regulated to prevent further spread of the virus.

New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs said the Moncton, Saint John and Fredericton regions are ‘on the cusp’ of a return to red as the province moved the Edmundston and Grand Falls region back to the more restrictive phase. (Submitted by the Government of New Brunswick)

In the Americas, California became the first U.S. state on Monday to record more than 3 million known COVID-19 infections, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. California only reached 2 million reported cases on Dec. 24 and has the highest count of any state. Nearly 34,000 deaths in the state have been attributed to the novel coronavirus.

Incoming White House chief of staff Ron Klain says the coronavirus pandemic will get worse in the U.S. before it gets better, projecting another 100,000 deaths from COVID-19 in the first five weeks of president-elect Joe Biden’s administration.

Speaking on CNN’s State of the Union, Klain said Biden was inheriting a dire situation, saying even with vaccines, “it’s going to take a while to turn this around.” Biden has set a goal of injecting 100 million doses of coronavirus vaccine in his first 100 days in office, a goal Klain said they were on pace to meet.

Brazil’s health regulator on Sunday approved the urgent use of coronavirus vaccines made by Sinovac and AstraZeneca, enabling Latin America’s largest nation to begin an immunization program that’s been subject to months of delay and political disputes.

Brazil currently has six million doses of Sinovac’s CoronaVac vaccine ready to distribute in the next few days and is awaiting the arrival of another two million doses of the vaccine made by AstraZeneca and partner Oxford University.

French singer and actress Line Renaud receives an injection of a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre in Rueil-Malmaison, west of Paris, on Monday. (Christophe Archambault/AFP/Getty Images)

In Africa, South Africa, which has yet to receive its first coronavirus vaccine, has been promised nine million doses by Johnson & Johnson, the Business Day newspaper reported.

South Africa has delayed reopening schools as it faces a rapid resurgence of COVID-19 overwhelming the country’s hospitals and driven by a more infectious variant of the virus.

Ghana’s president said Sunday that infection rates are skyrocketing and include variants of the virus not before seen in the country, filling treatment centres and threatening to overwhelm the health system.

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Canada continues to ‘make the case’ for Keystone XL to Biden’s team, feds say – Global News

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Canada’s Natural Resources Minister Seamus O’Regan says the government is continuing to “make the case” for the Keystone XL pipeline expansion despite reported plans from Joe Biden to immediately quash the project.

Read more:
Biden plans to block Keystone XL pipeline with day 1 order, documents show

His comments come on the heels of reports that Biden is planning to cancel the planned pipeline expansion as one of his first moves after becoming U.S. president on Wednesday.


Click to play video 'Calgary political scientist analyzes what it means should Biden cancel Keystone XL'



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Calgary political scientist analyzes what it means should Biden cancel Keystone XL


Calgary political scientist analyzes what it means should Biden cancel Keystone XL

Transition documents, which The Canadian Press has seen, show that one of his to-do list priorities for inauguration day includes a plan to rescind the Keystone XL construction permit granted in 2019 by predecessor Donald Trump.

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“Our government’s support for the Keystone XL project is long-standing and well-known. And we continue to make the case for it to our American colleagues,” O’Regan said in a statement sent to Global News.

“Canadian oil is produced under strong environmental and climate policy frameworks, and this project will not only strengthen the vital Canada-U.S. energy relationship, but create thousands of good jobs for workers on both sides of the border.”

He added that workers in Alberta and across Canada “will always” have the government’s support.


Click to play video 'Oil and gas industry forecasts small spending rise after slashed budgets in 2020'



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Oil and gas industry forecasts small spending rise after slashed budgets in 2020


Oil and gas industry forecasts small spending rise after slashed budgets in 2020

Meanwhile, the reaction in Alberta to the news has been explosive. Alberta Premier Jason Kenney’s government invested $1.5 billion into the project last year, and on Monday he slammed Biden’s plan to shut the door on the pipeline’s expansion.

“That would be, in our view, an economic and strategic error that would set back Canada-U.S. relations with the United States’ most important trading partner and strategic ally: Canada,” Kenney said during a Monday press conference.

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“All we ask at this point is that president-elect Biden show Canada respect to actually sit down and hear our case about how we can be partners in prosperity, partners in combating climate change, partners in energy security.”

Read more:
‘Show Canada respect’: Kenney prepared to defend Keystone XL as critics slam project

Kenney has also said his government is prepared to use any legal avenues it can to protect its interest in the project.


Click to play video 'Trudeau says his government ‘very well-aligned’ with incoming Biden administration'



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Trudeau says his government ‘very well-aligned’ with incoming Biden administration


Trudeau says his government ‘very well-aligned’ with incoming Biden administration – Dec 16, 2020

Canada’s ambassador to the United States, Kirsten Hillman, has also weighed in on the planned cancellation of the pipeline project, imploring the soon-to-be Biden administration to reconsider the plan.

“This infrastructure will safely transport Canadian crude oil that is produced under one of the strongest environmental and climate policy frameworks in the world, and will strengthen the vital Canada-U.S. energy relationship,” she said in a statement issued over the weekend.

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“My team and I will continue to work with Alberta and the industry to make sure American lawmakers and stakeholders understand the facts about energy production in Canada, and that KXL will strengthen US energy security safely, sustainably and responsibly.”

However, not all Canadians were aghast at the decision. Green Party Leader Annamie Paul applauded Biden’s planned move on Monday, urging the feds not to push back.

“We have a real chance, because this is a…president-elect who has made it very clear that the climate is going to be on the top of his agenda.”

“We should be working with the United States…rather then pushing them to reverse the commitment to end the Keystone pipeline.”


Click to play video 'Green party leader says Canada shouldn’t push Biden admin to reverse Keystone XL pipeline cancellation'



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Green party leader says Canada shouldn’t push Biden admin to reverse Keystone XL pipeline cancellation


Green party leader says Canada shouldn’t push Biden admin to reverse Keystone XL pipeline cancellation

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh also applauded the decision on Monday.

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“I support the decision, because I know that this is the direction that the future requires,” Singh told reporters.

“We’ve got to fight the climate crisis.”

Biden has yet to formalize the decision to kill the project, meaning the government has at least two more days to change the new administration’s mind. That’s exactly what they intend to try to do, O’Regan said, in addition to hitting the ground running in working with the new president.

“We’re looking forward to working with the incoming Biden administration and further strengthening the relationship with our closest ally.”

With files from The Canadian Press and 630CHED’s Kirby Bourne

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

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Coronavirus: What's happening in Canada and around the world on Monday – CBC.ca

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The latest:

With hospital intensive care units in parts of Ontario reaching capacity due to COVID-19, a new hospital will open in Vaughan, Ont., next month to help relieve pressure on other facilities in the Greater Toronto Area, the province announced Monday.

The Cortellucci Vaughan Hospital, due to open Feb. 7, will be a “dedicated resource to support the province’s COVID-19 response,” taking in critical patients from other hospitals, Premier Doug Ford said.

“It’s like reinforcements coming over the hill,” Ford said, adding that the province is also adding 500 additional surge capacity hospital beds in Toronto, Durham Region, Kingston, Ont., and Ottawa.

Canada’s vaccination efforts against COVID-19 took a notable step forward on Monday with the opening of mass immunization centres in Toronto and Brandon, Man. This follows the opening of a similar immunization supersite in Winnipeg two weeks ago.

Toronto’s supersite is being described as a “proof-of-concept” clinic that will help the city fine-tune the operation of its future clinics, “ensuring safety and increasing efficiency in advance of wider immunization,” according to a city news release.

Retired general Rick Hillier, who heads the province’s vaccine distribution plan, told CBC News on Sunday that Ontario wants to have everyone vaccinated by late July or early August.

The Toronto site is not open to members of the public and will instead operate with a sample group of health-care workers, including those involved in harm reduction and Streets to Homes staff who support the city’s vulnerable populations. 

Ontario Premier Doug Ford, right, and Toronto Mayor John Tory tour the mass vaccination clinic at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre on Sunday, the day before it opened. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press)

The clinic aims to vaccinate 250 people per day. However, due to the delay in obtaining the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine from Europe, the clinic inside the Metro Toronto Convention Centre is set to close until further notice after the work day on Friday, said Matthew Pegg, head of the city’s immunization task force.

He said anyone who got a first dose of the vaccine at the clinic will be able to receive a second dose within the recommended time frame.

Ontario reported 2,578 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, which is the fewest logged on a single day in about two and a half weeks. However, the province’s labs processed just 40,301 test samples for the novel coronavirus, nearly 20,000 fewer than the day before.

The province also reported 24 new deaths and a total of 1,571 patients with COVID-19 in hospital. Of those, 394 were being treated in intensive care units and 303 were on ventilators — the first time the latter has climbed above 300 since the pandemic began.

Meanwhile, vaccinations got underway at the mass vaccination site in Brandon on Monday morning, following an initial hiccup in which hundreds of health-care workers with immunization appointments were given the wrong address.

Joanna Robb, a cytotechnologist who works at Shared Health’s Westman Lab, which deals with COVID-19 specimens, was the first to receive a dose of the vaccine. 

WATCH | Manitoba opens 2nd COVID-19 vaccination supersite:

The Keystone Centre in Brandon, Man., is now a supersite for COVID-19 vaccinations. It opened on time Monday despite incorrect information about its location originally being given out. 1:51

“You hear the death tolls every day and the numbers, and it’s heartbreaking,” Robb said. “And we can do something.”

The Brandon site was slated to give out more than 550 shots on Monday alone, provincial officials said. The centre will be open 12 hour a day, seven days a week, for eligible health-care workers.

Manitoba registered 118 new COVID-19 cases and four more deaths on Monday. Forty-six of the new cases are in the province’s North Health Region.

Robert Farquar of Westman Lab gets vaccinated by public health nurse Jennifer Cochrane in Brandon, Man., on Monday morning. (Tim Smith/The Brandon Sun/Pool)

What’s happening across Canada

As of 3:15 p.m. ET on Monday, Canada had reported 713,269 cases of COVID-19, with 74,475 cases considered active. A CBC News tally of deaths stood at 18,078.

Over the weekend, federal Procurement Minister Anita Anand sought to allay Canadians’ concerns about Pfizer’s decision to delay international vaccine deliveries while it upgrades its manufacturing facility.

Anand said on Twitter she has been in touch with the drugmaker and was assured that it is “deploying all efforts” to return to its regular delivery schedule “as soon as possible.” The minister said shipments for this coming week will be largely unaffected.

New Brunswick has rolled back the Edmundston and Grand Falls region to a more restrictive red phase, and other regions face the same prospect as the province continues to see a surge in COVID-19 cases.

The province reported 26 new cases on Monday. That follows a tally of 36 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday — 24 of them in the Edmundston and Grand Falls region, about 380 kilometres northwest of Saint John — marking its highest single-day total since the start of the pandemic.

The move to red-phase restrictions, which took effect in the region at midnight, mean some businesses — including movie theatres, barbershops and hair salons — must close, while restaurants can only operate with takeout and delivery. However, schools will remain open with additional health measures in place.

New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs said the Moncton, Saint John and Fredericton regions are ‘on the cusp’ of a return to red as the province moved the Edmundston and Grand Falls region back to the more restrictive phase. (Submitted by the Government of New Brunswick)

The rest of Atlantic Canada has not seen the recent spread of COVID-19 infections to the extent that New Brunswick has. 

Nova Scotia reported no new cases on Monday, after reporting four additional cases on Sunday, all of which are related to travel outside Atlantic Canada.

Newfoundland and Labrador added one new case on Sunday, in a person who returned home from work in Alberta.

P.E.I. reported four new cases on Monday, three of them linked to travel outside of Atlantic Canada and one involving someone who was in contact with a previously reported case, the province said in a news release.

In Quebec, high schoolers headed back to classrooms on Monday after a month at home, joining elementary students who returned to in-person instruction a week before the older kids. Among other health precautions, students must wear medical-grade masks and will be tested immediately if they show any COVID-19 symptoms.

The province reported 1,634 new cases on Monday, though it noted that a delay in the transmission of laboratory data caused a delay in the reporting of cases to public health departments on Sunday, as well as a drop in the number of new cases reported.

It also reported 32 deaths, nine of which occurred in the last 24 hours and 23 that occurred between Jan. 11 and 16.

Saskatchewan added 290 new COVID-19 cases and four more deaths on Monday.

The province administered 2,449 doses of COVID-19 vaccine on Sunday. The total number of vaccines administered in the province has now reached 22,618.

Alberta will have no more COVID-19 doses available to administer by the end of Monday or early Tuesday due to the Pfizer supply disruption, Premier Jason Kenney has announced.

The premier told a news conference on Monday that the province is putting a temporary hold on the first dose of COVID-19 vaccinations to ensure it has enough vaccine to provide a second dose to people who have already received their first shot.

Alberta eased some public health restrictions on Monday, allowing personal and wellness service businesses to reopen by appointment only. The province reported 750 new COVID-19 cases and 19 new deaths on Sunday.

In British Columbia, Kelowna RCMP issued a $2,300 fine to the organizer of a protest in the city’s downtown area on Saturday that contravened provincial public health orders related to COVID-19. Police did not name the organizer but said this is the third time they have issued a fine to this person for organizing a large gathering of people opposed to measures meant to reduce the spread of the coronavirus.

WATCH | Risks of hockey arenas amid pandemic:

Air quality research and a growing understanding of how COVID-19 spreads are helping to explain why facing off in hockey arenas can be risky during the pandemic. 8:27

In the North, Northwest Territories health officials placed the hamlet of Fort Liard under a two-week containment order after three cases were discovered in the community.

A dozen employees of Agnico Eagle’s Meliadine gold mine in Nunavut are now in self-isolation after a worker at the mine tested positive for COVID-19, the company said in a news release on Friday. There have been nine confirmed cases of COVID-19 at the mine since the start of the pandemic, an Agnico Eagle spokesperson told CBC News on Saturday via email.

Meanwhile, members of Yukon‘s two mobile COVID-19 vaccination teams held one last dry-run at a Whitehorse high school on Friday before hitting the road.


What’s happening around the world

As of Monday afternoon, more than 95.3 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported worldwide, with more than 52.4 million of those considered recovered or resolved, according to Johns Hopkins University’s COVID-19 case tracking tool. The global death toll stood at more than two million.

The head of the World Health Organization says it’s “not right” that younger, healthier adults in rich countries get vaccinated against COVID-19 before older people in poorer countries.

Director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus kicked off WHO’s week-long executive board meeting — virtually from its headquarters in Geneva — on Monday by lamenting that only 25 vaccine doses have been provided in a single poor country, while more than 39 million doses have been administered in nearly 50 richer nations.

“Just 25 doses have been given in one lowest-income country — not 25 million, not 25,000 — just 25. I need to be blunt,” Tedros said. He did not specify the country.

Tedros again criticized “bilateral deals” between drug companies and countries that hurt the ability of the WHO-backed COVAX program, which aims to get vaccines to all countries based on need.

“Most manufacturers have prioritized regulatory approval in rich countries, where the profits are highest, rather than submitting” data to WHO, he said, so it can approve vaccines for wider use.

In Europe, France on Monday began a campaign to inoculate people over 75 against the coronavirus, as its death toll rose past 70,000 over the weekend.

French singer and actress Line Renaud receives an injection of a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre in Rueil-Malmaison, west of Paris, on Monday. (Christophe Archambault/AFP/Getty Images)

The new variant of COVID-19 first detected in Britain is now starting to gain a foothold in Belgium, officials say, with cases reported in several northern schools on top of an outbreak in a nursing home.

Officials in the Swiss mountain resort of St. Moritz quarantined employees and guests of two luxury hotels, closed ski schools and kept schoolchildren home from class on Monday after a dozen positive tests for a highly infectious coronavirus variant.

In Asia, a Chinese province grappling with a spike in coronavirus cases is reinstating tight restrictions on weddings, funerals and other family gatherings, threatening violators with criminal charges.

The notice from the high court in Hebei province did not give specifics but said all types of social gatherings were now being regulated to prevent further spread of the virus.

A large quarantine facility capable of holding several thousand people is being built in Shijiazhuang, in northern China’s Hebei province, as shown in this photo released by the country’s Xinhua News Agency on Saturday. (Jin Liangkuai/Xinhua/The Associated Press)

In the Americas, incoming White House chief of staff Ron Klain says the coronavirus pandemic will get worse in the U.S. before it gets better, projecting another 100,000 deaths from COVID-19 in the first five weeks of president-elect Joe Biden’s administration.

Speaking on CNN’s State of the Union, Klain said Biden was inheriting a dire situation, saying even with vaccines, “it’s going to take a while to turn this around.” Biden has set a goal of injecting 100 million doses of coronavirus vaccine in his first 100 days in office, a goal Klain said they were on pace to meet.

Brazil’s health regulator on Sunday approved the urgent use of coronavirus vaccines made by Sinovac and AstraZeneca, enabling Latin America’s largest nation to begin an immunization program that’s been subject to months of delay and political disputes.

Brazil currently has six million doses of Sinovac’s CoronaVac vaccine ready to distribute in the next few days and is awaiting the arrival of another two million doses of the vaccine made by AstraZeneca and partner Oxford University.

A man pulls boxes containing a batch of Sinovac’s COVID-19 vaccine to be distributed in Campinas as vaccination starts in São Paulo, Brazil, on Monday. (Amanda Perobelli/Reuters)

In Africa, South Africa, which has yet to receive its first coronavirus vaccine, has been promised nine million doses by Johnson & Johnson, the Business Day newspaper reported.

South Africa has delayed reopening schools as it faces a rapid resurgence of COVID-19 overwhelming the country’s hospitals and driven by a more infectious variant of the virus.

Ghana’s president said Sunday that infection rates are skyrocketing and include variants of the virus not before seen in the country, filling treatment centres and threatening to overwhelm the health system.

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