People in Quebec who aren’t fully vaccinated could be denied access to certain activities in the event of a COVID-19 outbreak, starting in September.
Quebec Health Minister Christian Dubé outlined a plan on Thursday to introduce COVID-19 passports on a limited basis, saying they would help avoid widespread lockdowns.
Dubé said the plan would not be implemented until every Quebecer has been given the chance to receive two doses of a vaccine. He stressed proof of vaccination would only be needed in regions that experience outbreaks.
Still, some fear an infringement on fundamental rights.
While the intention may be to encourage more people to get vaccinated before a fourth wave hits, Kerry Bowman, a bioethicist at the University of Toronto, said vaccine passports raise ethical concerns as they “absolutely come with an element of surveillance to them.”
However, Vardit Ravitsky, a bioethicist who teaches at Université de Montréal and Harvard Medical School, said she thinks announcing the plan early was a good move and will encourage people to get vaccinated — something she said could prevent the passport’s use entirely.
She said it’s the right approach to require proof of vaccination for specific locations and to lift the health order when an outbreak is over.
“This is such a targeted … finely nuanced proposition that it really takes care of all the worries that we sometimes have about discrimination, because it’s not meant to punish those who are not vaccinated,” she said.
“It’s meant to protect the health-care system while protecting our economy.”
She said it’s reasonable to prevent someone who chose not to get vaccinated from visiting a bar for a specific period of time. “The limitations that they will face will be so minor, that I think for the common good, it’s a very reasonable, proportional idea.”
In a news release Thursday, the province’s health department didn’t provide a concrete list of places where the vaccine passport would be required, but suggested it could be used at bars, gyms, restaurants, sporting events and festivals.
What’s happening across Canada
As of 4:25 p.m. ET on Friday, Canada had reported 1,419,796 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 5,447 considered active. National deaths stood at 26,419. More than 41.7 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered so far across the country, according to CBC’s vaccine tracker.
In British Columbia, health officials announced 59 new cases of COVID-19 and one new death on Thursday.
Alberta health officials on Thursday reported no new deaths from COVID-19 and 23 new cases, the lowest daily count in 13 months.
The Calgary Stampede officially kicked off Friday morning, returning after being cancelled last year for the first time in almost a century due to the pandemic.
New safety measures include cutting daily attendance in half, sanitation stations for the public and enhanced cleaning throughout the grounds. Staff and volunteers are required to wear masks and get COVID-19 rapid tests.
Officials in Manitoba reported 72 new cases and three additional deaths on Friday.
Saskatchewan reported 36 new cases of COVID-19 and one death Friday.
The province said the rise in cases is “largely attributable” to the previously reported outbreak at the Hatchet Lake Denesuline First Nation, which is located about 850 kilometres north of Saskatoon, near Wollaston Lake.
In Atlantic Canada, Nova Scotia logged one more case on Friday.
New Brunswick reported no new cases or deaths from COVID-19 on Friday. The province has vaccinated 79.1 per cent of its eligible population with at least one dose and 47.5 per cent with two doses.
Newfoundland and Labrador on Friday confirmed two more cases of COVID-19 aboard the Iver Ambition cargo ship, currently anchored in Conception Bay.
This brings the total of confirmed positive cases aboard the ship to 14 of its crew members. All of them are still isolating on the ship, and there is no risk to the community, the Department of Health said in a media release.
Prince Edward Island reported no new cases on Friday. Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Heather Morrison said point-of-entry testing rules have been adjusted so that a COVID-19 test will not be required for anyone from within Atlantic Canada who has a PEI Pass. There has been no decision yet on how people from outside Atlantic Canada will be handled once they can enter the province with a PEI Pass as of July 18.
The province has also dropped the mandatory wearing of masks indoors. People will not be required to wear masks in most indoor spaces, but they will be encouraged to, based on vaccine status, personal heath status and the setting, Morrison said.
Across the North on Thursday, there were no new cases reported in Nunavut or the Northwest Territories, but Yukon recorded 10 new infections.
In Quebec, health officials on Friday reported 77 new cases, as well as one additional death that occurred prior to the last 24 hours.
Ontario registered 183 new cases of COVID-10 and nine new deaths on Friday, a day after government officials announced that more than 50 per cent of adults in the province have had two vaccine doses. The province will further lift COVID-19 restrictions ahead of schedule on July 16, allowing for larger indoor and outdoor gatherings and for gyms and indoor dining to re-open.
What’s happening around the world
As of Friday, more than 185.7 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported around the world, according to a tracker from Johns Hopkins University. The reported global death toll stood at more than four million.
In the Middle East, U.N. children’s agency UNICEF says more than 1.4 million Johnson & Johnson vaccine doses will be delivered to Afghanistan on Friday as the country battles a third wave of infections. The COVID-19 vaccines are being donated by the United States and delivered through the U.N.-backed COVAX program. Since the third wave started last month, the country has averaged more than 2,000 new confirmed cases a day.
Having escaped the worst when the pandemic erupted last year, Southeast Asia is now suffering dramatic rises in deaths and cases, while vaccination shortfalls and highly contagious variants derail containment efforts.
Indonesia will impose emergency restrictions in some areas outside of Java and Bali islands to curb the spread of COVID-19, a senior minister said on Friday.
The emergency measures will be similar to those in place on Bali and Java and will impact 15 cities in Sumatra, Kalimantan and Papua, chief economic minister Airlangga Hartarto told a news conference.
In the Americas, U.S. health officials say vaccinated teachers and students don’t need to wear masks inside school buildings. The guidance, announced Friday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, generally leaves it to local officials to figure out how to ensure the unvaccinated are using precautions while letting those who are fully protected go mask-free.
In Europe, France’s health minister on Friday said the more contagious delta variant of the coronavirus will probably account for a majority of new COVID-19 cases in the country, starting this weekend.
Olivier Veran said the variant now represents nearly 50 per cent of new infections. He has said that a fourth wave of COVID-19 could hit France as early as the end of July and is urging as many people as possible to get vaccinated.
Coronavirus: What's happening in Canada and around the world Tuesday – CBC.ca
Chinese authorities have announced mass coronavirus testing in Wuhan as an unusually wide series of COVID-19 outbreaks reached the city where the disease was first detected in late 2019.
The provincial capital of 11 million people in central China is the latest city to undergo city-wide testing. Three cases were confirmed in Wuhan on Monday, its first non-imported cases in more than a year.
China has largely curbed COVID-19 at home after the initial outbreak that devastated Wuhan and spread globally. Since then, authorities have tamped down and controlled the disease whenever it pops up with quick lockdowns and mass testing.
The current outbreaks are still in the hundreds of cases in total but have spread much more widely than previous ones. Many of the cases have been identified as the highly contagious delta variant.
The National Health Commission said Tuesday that 90 new cases had been confirmed the previous day.
-From The Associated Press, last updated at 7:05 a.m. ET
What’s happening in Canada
What’s happening around the world
As of early Tuesday morning, more than 198.9 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported, according to Johns Hopkins University. The reported global death toll stood at more than 4.2 million.
In the Asia-Pacific region, Japan will focus on hospitalizing patients who are seriously ill with COVID-19 and those at risk of becoming so while others isolate at home amid worries about a strained medical system as cases surge in Olympics host city Tokyo.
Pakistan’s top health official says his country for the first time has administered one million doses of COVID-19 vaccine across the country in the past 24 hours. The latest development comes days after Pakistan imposed a lockdown in the southern port city of Karachi and in other high-risk areas.
In the Americas, the U.S. states of Florida and Louisiana were at or near their highest hospitalization numbers of the coronavirus pandemic on Monday, a trend driven by the still-spreading delta variant.
Nearly three out of four Americans above the age of 18 have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine as of Monday, according to the U.S. Centers for Disesae Control.
In Africa, Morocco will lengthen its night curfew as it tightens restrictions to counter a surge in infections.
In the Middle East, Iran on Monday reported 37,189 new cases of COVID-19 — a single-day high, according to Johns Hopkins University’s COVID-19 tracker. The country, which has been hit hard by several waves of the novel coronavirus, also saw 411 additional deaths.
In Europe, France’s overseas territory of Guadeloupe will to go into a new lockdown for at least three weeks.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he wanted to get the travel industry moving again with a simple user-friendly system to allow for trips abroad without importing new virus variants.
–From The Associated Press, Reuters and CBC News, last updated at 6:55 a.m. ET
Canada fines travellers for fake vaccination and testing papers – BBC News
Canada has fined two travellers arriving from the US who, officials say, forged Covid-19 testing and vaccination documents.
Each was fined C$19,720 ($16,000, £11,500) after inspectors at the Toronto airport found their vaccine cards and proof of testing were fake.
It comes as Canada is set to ease travel restrictions on US visitors.
Around the world, nations are grappling with how to re-open their borders to travellers amid a virus surge.
According to a statement from the Public Health Agency of Canada, the two unnamed travellers had entered Canada from the US during the week of 18 July.
The Canada Border Services Agency, which inspects Covid travel documents for authenticity, determined that the duo had faked the documents that they had uploaded to the government’s ArriveCAN travel website.
“The Government of Canada will continue to investigate incidents reported and will not hesitate to take enforcement action where it is warranted to protect the health of Canadians from the further spread of Covid-19 and its variants of concern,” the agency said in a statement.
Canada did not identify the travellers or their itineraries. The health agency told Newsweek in a statement that they were Canadian citizens.
Canada loosened requirements for international travellers on 5 July. Anyone entering the country must provide proof of vaccination. The unvaccinated have to submit to multiple tests, and stay for three days in a government-run hotel before quarantining for 14 days.
Canada will begin letting vaccinated Americans enter the country starting on 9 August.
The US border with Canada and Mexico, however, remains closed to foreigners until 21 August.
Other countries are quickly amending their travel restrictions, depending on the rise or fall of new infections and vaccinations.
On Monday, the UK began allowing vaccinated Americans and Europeans to enter without undergoing quarantine.
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US Customs agents arrest Canadian woman attempting to smuggle drugs – CTV Toronto
A Canadian woman has been caught attempting to import a significant quantity of cocaine into the country, U.S. border agents report.
The suspect, who was driving a commercial truck loaded with watermelons and peppers, attempted to cross into Canada at the office in Sweetgrass, Mont. on July 29.
Upon further inspection of the truck, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers discovered a number of bags hidden among the cargo.
The substance inside the bags tested positive for cocaine, officials said. The total amount of drugs seized was 31.5 kilograms.
“Utilizing high-tech tools, our frontline CBP Officers used a combination of their training and experience to detect and seize 69.5 pounds of cocaine in the cargo environment,” said area port director Jason Greene, Sweetgrass Port of Entry, in a release.
“The ability to facilitate lawful trade and travel while sustaining a focus on enforcement, is critical to our border security mission.”
Charges are pending against the suspect, who has not been identified.
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