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Coronavirus: 12 new cases reported in Manitoba Tuesday – Globalnews.ca

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There were 12 new probable and confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus reported in Manitoba Tuesday.

Of those cases, seven were in the Interlake, two in Winnipeg, two in Prairie Mountain Health Region and one in the Southern Health region.

The new cases bring the total to 366, with 41 active cases, one person in hospital in intensive care, 318 have recovered and seven deaths.

An additional 1,201 tests were done Monday, bringing the total to 77,551 since February.

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“One of the individuals announced as a positive COVID-19 case was a passenger on flights from Melbourne, Australia to Winnipeg,” said the province.

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People who were on the following flights and in the following seats should self-isolate for 14 days:

  • July 5 – Melbourne to Doha, Qatar Airways, QR905, rows 39 to 45;
  • July 6 – Doha to Montreal, Qatar Airways, QR763, rows 26 to 32; and
  • July 6 – Montreal to Winnipeg, Air Canada AC8595, rows unknown.

That’s 36 cases reported in seven days, after 13 straight days of no new cases.

The 12 new cases come on the heels of 18 cases over the weekend, many of them in Hutterite colonies in rural Manitoba.

Mark Waldner with the Hutterian Safety Council said of the about 100 colonies in the province, more than 20 have chosen to voluntarily shut down.

“(They) are restricting who comes in and out of the community and amping up sanitization and so forth. The response has been, in my view, just wonderful. Communities care. Their leaders care — they are doing whatever they can to try and stop it, even going as far as contact tracing,” he said.

Waldner said since the pandemic hit the province, the Hutterian Safety Council has been distributing information to colonies on the importance of social distancing and handwashing.

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-With files from Amber McGuckin

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

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Facebook launches its new TikTok clone, Instagram Reels – Business News – Castanet.net

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Facebook’s Instagram is officially launching its answer to the hit short video app TikTok — Instagram Reels.

The new Instagram feature will let users record and edit 15-second videos with audio, and will let users add visual effects. Users will be able to share Reels with followers in Instagram in a dedicated section called Reels in Explore, or in the Story feature where posts disappear after 24 hours.

The Reels option will be available in the Instagram app. The company has been testing Reels in Brazil since November and in France, Germany and India since earlier this summer.

Facebook has a long tradition of cloning competitive services. The Instagram “Story” feature, which lets people share photos and videos that expire in 24 hours, is similar to Snapchat. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg faced tough questioning about the company’s habit of copying rivals before a congressional hearing on July 29.

Facebook earlier launched a TikTok knockoff called Lasso in 2018, but closed that down in July. It also tried services similar to Snapchat called Slingshot and Poke before Instagram Stories caught on. But those were separate apps — it might have more success with a feature built into Instagram.

In fact, copying Snapchat’s features was successful for Instagram in part because Snapchat was difficult to figure out for new users. They were already comfortable with Instagram. But TikTok is very easy to use — easier than Instagram — and part of its appeal is that you’re able to sit back and scroll endlessly with just swipes, without the need to follow anyone or post anything.

Even with the success of Stories, Snapchat remains popular with younger people, though the Instagram feature has likely limited its growth. Snapchat has more daily users than Twitter.

For Reels to succeed, Facebook will have to lure video creators away from TikTok. This might be easier to do with Reels since many creators are already on Instagram. In response to published reports that Instagram is paying TikTok influencers to join Reels, Instagram said in a statement that the company “have a long history of reaching out to emerging creators and working to break new stars on Instagram.”

“As with previous products, we remain committed to investing in both our creators and their overall experience, and in certain cases, we may help cover production costs for their creative ideas,” the company said.

TikTok, in turn, launched a $200 million “creator fund” in July that it says will grow to over $1 billion in the U.S. in the next three years and more than double that globally, to pay video creators for their material.

TikTok, however, is under fire, possibly opening an opportunity for Facebook.

Microsoft is in talks to buy part of TikTok in what would be a forced sale, following threats from President Donald Trump to ban the Chinese-owned video app, which claims 100 million U.S. users and hundreds of millions globally.

Experts think Facebook has an opportunity to lure in young users with Reels, but its success is not guaranteed.

“Social media users, especially younger users, tend to use social platforms for different things,” said eMarketer analyst Debra Aho Williamson. This means Snapchat to message friends privately, Facebook to keep up with school groups or check up on parents and grandparents, Instagram to follow their passions and TikTok for entertainment.

“Instagram has put a lot of effort into developing Reels and making it attractive to TikTok users and the creators who work on the app, but I’m not sure it can replace TikTok,” Williamson added. “Even if TikTok were to be banned in the U.S. (which I think is unlikely to happen), users would find a way to keep using it. They are incredibly loyal and protective of TikTok.”

Since early July, some TikTok users have been posting videos urging viewers to follow them to other platforms like Instagram, reflecting the threat of a TikTok ban. Mary Keane-Dawson, Group CEO at the influencer marketing agency Takumi, said the creators she works with have been sad, angry and upset about the threat of a ban. Still, they’re “pragmatic,” she said, and the smart ones were already active on TikTok, Instagram and YouTube.

Reels is debuting in over 50 countries, including the U.S., the U.K., Japan, Australia and others, as well as officially launching in the test countries — Brazil, France, Germany and India.

Instagram has more than a billion users worldwide.

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Canada's trade deficit widens to $3.2B on import surge – BNN

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Canada’s trade deficit rebounded sharply in June as the movement of motor vehicles and parts revved up with a resumption of production after months of COVID-19 lockdowns.

Statistics Canada reported Wednesday that the country’s merchandise trade deficit widened to $3.2 billion from a deficit of $1.3 billion in May and $858 million a year ago.

The import of goods rose 21.8 per cent in the month to $42.9 billion but were down 15 per cent from June 2019.

Exports were up 17.1 per cent to $39.7 billion but down 20 per cent from $49.6 billion a year earlier. After a 5.6 per cent gain in May, export levels remained well below the pre-pandemic level of $48.4 billion.

Trade activity has resumed as COVID-19 related restrictions have eased.

“Last week’s GDP report may have painted a dour picture of Q2, but we can add today’s trade data to the list of indicators pointing to a good-sized rebound for Q3,” said Brian DePratto, senior economist at TD Economics.

He said it was encouraging to see further improvement in U.S. manufacturing sentiment last month and robust U.S. housing activity of late that augurs well for Canadian exporters.

However, the durability of the recovery remains an open question.

“Ultimately, as wild and challenging as both the Q2 downswing and Q3 upswing are likely to be, the bigger question is what comes after the whipsaw. Unless and until a vaccine or effective treatment is widely available, expect a more gradual recovery path to emerge, leaving lingering challenges for all areas of the economy — international trade included.”

After falling to a low of $1.7 billion in May, the imports of motor vehicles and parts climbed to $5.2 billion in June and represented almost half the growth of total imports in the months.

Imports of passenger cars, light trucks and parts surged to $5.2 billion from $1.66 billion in May, driven by imports from the United States, Germany, Mexico and South Korea. June was the first full month of production as North American auto assembly plants since February, but productions capacity remained below pre-pandemic levels.

Auto exports rose 218 per cent to $6.1 billion.

Imports of aircraft and other transportation equipment and parts nearly doubled to $2.1 billion in June while imports of parts for other transportation equipment reached a record high of $738 million, led by higher imports of parts for other transportation equipment from Belgium. Exports were flat.

Compared with the month before the COVID-19 pandemic’s economic impact was felt, imports were down 14.3 per cent from February while exports decreased 17.9 per cent.

In volume terms, imports rose 28.3 per cent while exports increased 10.6 per cent. Import prices were down 5.1 per cent while export prices were up 5.9 per cent.

Canada’s trade surplus with the United States narrowed to $1.1 billion from $1.9 billion in May as imports from the U.S. increased 28 per cent to $26.4 billion while exports from the United States gained 21.8 per cent to $27.5 billion.

The trade deficit with China was $1.6 billion as imports reached $3.97 billion while exports were $2.37 billion.

Canada’s trade deficit with countries other than the United States widened to $4.3 billion in June from $3.3 billion in May as exports fell 24.7 per cent to $105.7 billion, the lowest level since the fourth quarter of 2010. Exports of energy products plunged 56 per cent, motor vehicles and parts down 56 per cent.

On a quarterly basis, Canada’s trade deficit widened to $9.4 billion in the second quarter from $8.4 billion three months earlier.

Exports decreased 24.7 per cent to $105.7 billion. the lowest amount since the fourth quarter of 2010 as exports of energy products and vehicles and parts decreased 56 per cent. Imports fell 22.7 per cent to $115.1 billion, the lowest level since the third quarter of 2011, with motor vehicles and parts down nearly 67 per cent.

Meanwhile, service exports rose 4.1 per cent to $8.1 billion while imports increased 17 per cent to $8.8 billion.

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Feds strike deal with pharmaceutical firms for millions of doses of COVID-19 vaccine – CTV News

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OTTAWA —
The federal government is partnering with biopharmaceutical and biotechnology giants Pfizer and Moderna to help secure millions of vaccine doses to be ready for distribution across Canada in 2021.

Procurement Minister Anita Anand said on Wednesday that the deal with the two multinational corporations will help position Canada at the front of the line when a vaccine is made available.

“Pfizer is evaluating at least four experimental vaccine candidates and is currently undergoing clinical trials. These trials are occurring in various countries including Germany and the United States and they’re already exhibiting promising results,” said Anand during a press conference in Toronto on Wednesday.

The minister didn’t provide detail on how many doses would be developed, or the exact dollar amount of the contract, pointing to ongoing, sensitive negotiations with other suppliers. Pfizer and Moderna’s candidates will require Health Canada approval.

“We have to remember that these suppliers are at various stages of vaccine development. It is important for Canadians to know that we are taking an approach to contractual negations that builds in flexibility for us to be able to increase orders,” Anand said.

“In the weeks to come, I will hope to be disclosing further information.”

There are currently 55 potential COVID-19 drugs, including vaccine candidates, that are currently being investigated in clinical trials authorized by Health Canada.

To be approved for use, any potential vaccine must move through a well-established testing process that involves three phases of human trials. The first and second phases focus on monitoring whether the drug produces the desired response from the human immune system. The third phase involves far more test subjects and aims to determine whether the vaccine candidate is actually able to stop the virus from infecting a body.

Moderna was among the first to develop a vaccine candidate – it was shipped to the U.S. government in February and human testing began in March. The company has said that mRNA-1273 is able to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus in a lab setting, and 30,000 volunteers were given the potential vaccine starting July 27 as part of the final phase of human trials.

Pfizer doses were given to human test subjects in Germany in April and in the U.S. in May. Company CEO Albert Bourla said a few weeks later that one vaccine candidate could be ready by October “if things go well, and the stars are aligned.” Phase III trials began in late July.

Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains, who joined Anand for the announcement Wednesday, underlined the government’s efforts to diversify therapies, which he said will addressed at one of two task forces the Liberals have established.

“Until we immunize all Canadians, we must also focus on producing treatments for those who contract the virus,” he said. “[The task force] will be co-chaired by Nancy Harrison, director and past-chair of LifeSciences B.C. and Cedric Bisson, partner at Teralys Capital.”

Bains also announced $56 million to bolster vaccine development in Canada through Variation Biotechnologies Inc. (VBI).

“Through the Strategic Innovation Fund the government will support VBI’s work on preclinical studies and clinical trials. More investments will follow,” he said.

Both Bains and Anand said they will be working closely with Health Minister Patty Hajdu and Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam on a vaccine rollout plan, which will include decision-making on whether to make vaccination mandatory or voluntary.

On Tuesday, Tam tried to temper expectations that development of a vaccine would mean the coronavirus threat disappears.

“We’re planning, as a public health community, that we’re going to have to manage this pandemic certainly over the next year, but certainly it may be planning for the longer term on the next two to three years during which the vaccine may play a role. But we don’t know yet,” Tam told reporters during a routine COVID-19 press briefing.

Deputy Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Howard Njoo said a vaccine won’t act as a “silver bullet.”

Anand echoed her colleagues’ comments on Wednesday, stating there is no single solution that will transition Canadians entirely out of the pandemic.

“Multiple efforts on multiple fronts must be made and followed,” she said. “We all want a silver bullet but unfortunately that’s not the case. So the approach of the Government of Canada and particularly us in contracting has been to say, ‘Look, we need multiple contracts over multiple periods of time,'” she said.

Infectious disease specialist Dr. Isaac Bogoch told CTV News Channel the announcement signals the government is taking an aggressive and proactive approach to the recovery stage of the pandemic.

“The other interesting thing that Canada is doing is we’ve already purchased 37 million vials to administer a vaccine that we don’t even have just yet so you can just see them taking the steps to really reduce the time from having a successful vaccine trial and approval from health regulatory bodies to administering the vaccine to the population,” he said.

In mid-July the government announced it was ordering more than 75 million syringes, alcohol swabs, and bandages to prepare for an eventual vaccine.

Bogoch added that he suspects health officials to prioritize vaccinating Canadians at greatest risk of contracting the virus, like those in long-term care facilities or those in congregate settings, and those who are likely to experience the virus most severely.

With files from CTV News’ Rachel Aiello and Ryan Flanagan

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