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Coronavirus: B.C. confirms first case of COVID-19 variant detected in U.K. – Global News

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B.C. health officials have confirmed the province’s first case of a coronavirus variant first identified in the U.K.

Health officials said Sunday that the case involves a person in the Island Health region, who had recently flown from London to Vancouver on Air Canada flight 855 on Dec. 15.

Rows 34 to 40 on the flight are affected, according to a list of exposures on the BC Centre for Disease Control website.

Read more:
U.K. coronavirus variant spreads to more European countries

The person developed symptoms while in quarantine and was tested immediately, the province said. Testing confirmed the positive diagnosis on Dec. 19.

Canada announced a 72-hour ban on incoming flights from the U.K. on Dec. 20. The ban was extended until Jan. 6, 2021.

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New strain of the coronavirus found in the U.K.


New strain of the coronavirus found in the U.K.

A small number of close contacts are isolating and public health officials are following up with them on a daily basis.

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The province said a BC CDC lab detected the U.K. variant using whole genome sequencing.

Read more:
List of recent flights through British Columbia with COVID-19 exposures

“Ongoing review may identify additional cases in the coming days,” the province said.

“It is important to note there is no evidence that the new COVID-19 variant is more likely to cause severe illness, nor is there evidence to suggest the Health Canada-approved vaccines will be any less effective against the new variant.”

“However, studies suggest the COVID-19 variant first identified in the U.K. can spread more quickly and easily, which is why British Columbians everywhere must continue to be cautious and follow all PHO orders and guidelines, stay close to home, avoid non-essential travel,  practice safe, physical distancing and wear a mask when in public indoor spaces.

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Earlier in the day, health officials confirmed a case of the U.K. coronavirus variant in Ottawa, marking the third known case in Canada. That person is now reported to be in self-isolation and contact tracing is underway.

Read more:
Canada reports first cases of U.K. coronavirus variant. Here’s what you need to know

Canada’s first two known cases of the variant were confirmed by Ontario involving a couple in Durham Region.

— With files from Ryan Rocca and Katie Dangerfield

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

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Pfizer delays delivery of COVID-19 vaccines – CityNews Toronto

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  1. Pfizer delays delivery of COVID-19 vaccines  CityNews Toronto
  2. Pfizer to temporarily reduce vaccine deliveries to Canada, minister says  CBC.ca
  3. Pfizer is cutting shipments to Canada | How will the COVID-19 vaccination strategy be impacted?  CTV News
  4. Americans need COVID-19 vaccinations now — here’s how Biden can ramp up the process | TheHill  The Hill
  5. 39 active COVID-19 cases in Medicine Hat, 5000th recovery in South Zone  CHAT News Today
  6. View Full coverage on Google News



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Couche-Tard drops bid to take over Carrefour: sources – CBC.ca

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Canada’s Alimentation Couche-Tard has dropped its 16.2 billion euro ($24.9 billion Cdn) bid to acquire European retailer Carrefour SA after the takeover plan ran into stiff opposition from the French government, two sources familiar with the matter told Reuters on Friday.

The decision to end merger talks came after a meeting on Friday between French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire and Couche-Tard’s founder and chairman, Alain Bouchard, the sources said, speaking on condition of anonymity as the matter is confidential.

Couche-Tard and Carrefour declined to comment.

Earlier on Friday, France ruled out any sale of grocer Carrefour on food security grounds, prompting the Canadian firm and its allies to mount a last-ditch attempt to salvage the deal.

“Food security is strategic for our country so that’s why we don’t sell a big French retailer,” Le Maire said. “My answer is extremely clear: we are not in favour of the deal. The no is polite, but it’s a clear and final no.”

Couche-Tard was hoping to win France’s blessing by offering commitments on jobs and France’s food supply chain as well as keeping the merged entity listed in both Paris and Toronto, with Carrefour boss Alexandre Bompard and his Couche-Tard counterpart Brian Hannasch leading it as co-CEOs, one of the sources said.

The plan also included a commitment to keep the new entity’s global strategic operations in France and having French nationals on its board, he said.

Couche-Tard was also going to pump in 3 billion euros of investments to the French retailer — a plan that was widely backed by Carrefour, which employs 105,000 workers in France, its largest market, making it France’s biggest private-sector employer.

Criticism of foreign investment strategy

The French move, with ministers shooting down the offer less than 24 hours after talks were confirmed, sparked disquiet in some business circles over how French President Emmanuel Macron decides which foreign investment is welcome and which is not.

Some politicians and bankers said the push-back could tarnish Macron’s pro-business image while others highlighted that the COVID-19 crisis had forced more than one country to redefine its strategic national interests.

The comments sparked a trans-Atlantic flurry of lobbying and Couche-Tard’s Bouchard flew to Paris to explain the merits of the deal to Le Maire, the source said.

Bouchard said the finance minister reiterated his opposition without listening to the terms of the transaction.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, asked about the prospects for a deal, said he would always be there to help Canadian firms succeed internationally and said he spoke this week with Macron.

One of France’s biggest employers

Along with other retailers, Carrefour, with roughly a fifth of France’s groceries market, played a major role in ensuring smooth food supplies as the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

A woman pushes her full shopping cart as she leaves a Carrefour supermarket in Drancy, France, on April 15, during the 30th day of a strict COVID-19 lockdown. (Bertrand Guay/AFP via Getty Images)

The country has tightened takeover rules to protect French companies deemed strategic, including under the presidency of Macron, who will face a presidential election in 2022.

During the pandemic, Macron has ramped up calls to protect French sovereignty in areas such as health care and industry, although the former investment banker has tried to strike a balance with a business-friendly approach.

Couche-Tard made a non-binding offer on Wednesday for the French grocery group, largely in cash.

A source familiar with the discussions told Reuters that 20 euros per share was not enough but was a starting point for discussions. Initial contact between the two companies came at the end of last year and Couche-Tard sent its first letter in early January, the source said.

Carrefour acknowledged Couche-Tard’s approach to discuss a combination on Wednesday.

A Couche-Tard convenience store is shown in Montreal. The company’s non-binding offer for Carrefour was made largely in cash. (Graham Hughes/Canadian Press)

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Global National: Jan. 15, 2021 | COVID-19 vaccines delayed after manufacturing expansion – Global News

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[unable to retrieve full-text content]

  1. Global National: Jan. 15, 2021 | COVID-19 vaccines delayed after manufacturing expansion  Global News
  2. Pfizer to temporarily reduce vaccine deliveries to Canada, minister says  CBC.ca
  3. Pfizer is cutting shipments to Canada | How will the COVID-19 vaccination strategy be impacted?  CTV News
  4. COVID-19 Update: Snowbirds head to Florida for shots | Pfizer delay a setback for Alberta | Drumheller inmates go on hunger strike  Calgary Herald
  5. Pfizer delays delivery of COVID-19 vaccines  CityNews Toronto
  6. View Full coverage on Google News



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