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

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The latest:

International air travellers touching down in Ontario will have to take a COVID-19 test upon arrival in Toronto starting Monday.

Premier Doug Ford announced the plan on Friday, saying it was the latest effort to stop new, more contagious variants of the virus from further infiltrating the province. The initial airport testing program will eventually be expanded to land-border entries.

Health officials in Ontario on Sunday reported 1,848 new cases of COVID-19 and 43 more deaths from the virus, bringing the provincial death toll to 6,188.

The federal government recently announced its own travel rules, saying last week that airlines were suspending flights to major sun destinations until the end of April. 

Ottawa’s measures will also include mandatory PCR testing for travellers returning to Canada, and a hotel quarantine of up to three days to be paid for by the traveller. 

Speaking to CBC’s Rosemary Barton over the weekend, Transport Minister Omar Alghabra said people should be prepared for the new measures to be in place “as soon as Feb. 4.”

“I can’t tell you if that’s exactly when it’s going to start, but I would ask people to be ready for it as soon as possible,” he said on Sunday.

The federal government, in a statement released Friday with initial details of the new rules, said the testing and hotel quarantine rules would apply to “all air travellers arriving in Canada, with very limited exceptions.”

-From The Canadian Press and CBC News, last updated at 6:30 a.m. ET


What’s happening in Canada

WATCH | Quebec considers loosening some restrictions as COVID-19 cases drop:

The Quebec government is believed to be loosening some of its COVID-19 restrictions as cases take a downward turn, but the premier has warned a nightly curfew will likely remain in place. 3:37

Canada passed another grim milestone over the weekend as the country’s COVID-19 death toll surpassed 20,000.

Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam noted in a tweet on Sunday that two weeks of “falling case counts across most jurisdictions tells us strong community-wide public health measures are working,” but she noted that in areas with “renewed activity” measures aimed at slowing the spread of the virus must be strong and sustained.

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As of early Monday morning, Canada had reported 778,972 cases of COVID-19, with 53,281 cases considered active. A CBC News tally of deaths stood at 20,032.

In British Columbia, one man was arrested and dozens were fined, with police alleging a man was using a penthouse as a makeshift nightclub

In Saskatchewan, health officials reported 238 new cases of COVID-19 and four additional deaths on Sunday, bringing the provincial death toll to 304. Nearly half of the deaths recorded in the province have happened in the last month.

Quebec, which has seen the most cases and deaths of any Canadian jurisdiction, reported 1,223 new cases of COVID-19 and 31 additional deaths on Sunday. Radio-Canada reported over the weekend that Premier François Legault is considering easing some restrictions on businesses later this month amid a slowing in new COVID-19 cases.

Meanwhile, in New Brunswick, health officials reported 26 additional cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the province to 1,256.

Here’s what else is happening across Canada:

-From CBC News and The Canadian Press, last updated at 7 a.m. ET


What’s happening around the world

Kindergarteners wear masks while sitting at modified desks to ensure physical distancing at the Thai Niyom Songkhrao School in Bangkok on Monday. (Lauren DeCicca/Getty Images)

As of early Monday morning, more than 103 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported worldwide with more than 57.1 million of those cases considered recovered or resolved, according to a tracking tool maintained by Johns Hopkins University. The global death toll stood at more than 2.2 million.

In the Asia-Pacific region, Japan is expected to extend a state of emergency to fight the spread of COVID-19 this week for Tokyo and other areas as hospitals remain under pressure despite a decline in cases from their peaks.

South Korea will extend its physical distancing curbs by two weeks until the end of the Lunar New Year holidays as new COVID-19 infection clusters emerge in the country.

China reported the lowest daily increase in new COVID-19 cases in more than three weeks on Monday, reversing a sharp uptick a day earlier.

Western Australia state reported no new local COVID-19 cases on Monday, a day after it recorded its first case in 10 months that prompted authorities to enforce a five-day lockdown in the capital city of Perth.

In the Americas, Mexico City’s international airport will set up facilities to perform COVID-19 tests to help passengers who need to show they are free of the virus to enter other countries.

Peru began what was supposed to be a severe lockdown Sunday to combat surging COVID-19, but the order was widely ignored in the nation’s capital.

Buyers put oxygen tanks in a truck to refill in Lima, Peru on Sunday. Due to the increase in demand, oxygen is in short supply. (Raul Sifuentes/Getty Images)

President Francisco Sagasti went on television urging Peruvians “to make an extra effort to contain the growing wave of infections and deaths.” His government told people in the capital and nine other regions to limit trips outside the home to 60 minutes and closed churches, gymnasiums, museums, libraries and other institutions.

But marketplaces were crowded. Even some bus drivers ignored mandatory face mask rules. Seventy per cent of Peruvians have no income if they stay home. The government says it will give $165 each to four million families — but only after the two-week quarantine. Hundreds of people crowded bus stations in Lima to head for less-restricted rural regions before terminals close later this week. Flights from Brazil and Europe have been cancelled.

In the U.S., Chicago Public Schools on Sunday delayed the resumption of in-person classes for thousands of elementary and middle school students by at least a day as the district and teachers failed to reach an agreement on a safety plan.

In Africa, Ghana plans to procure 17.6 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine by the end of June with the first doses arriving in March.

In Europe, the European Union said vaccine maker AstraZeneca has agreed to supply nine million additional doses to the 27-nation bloc during the first quarter. The new target of 40 million doses by the end of March is still only half what the company had originally aimed for, triggering a spat between AstraZeneca and the EU last week.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said late Sunday that the British-Swedish pharmaceutical maker will also begin deliveries one week sooner than scheduled and expand its manufacturing capacity in Europe.

The EU is far behind Britain and the United States in getting its population of 450 million vaccinated against the virus. The slow rollout has been blamed on a range of national problems as well as slower authorization of the vaccines and an initial shortage of supply.

WATCH | U.K.’s COVID-19 response criticized as deaths top 100,000:

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s leadership of the country’s COVID-19 response has faced harsh criticism by other politicians, health officials and the public as deaths from the virus topped 100,000. 8:31

In the Middle East, Israel extended a national lockdown as coronavirus variants offset its vaccination drive and officials predicted a delay in a turnaround from the health and economic crisis.

Saudi Arabia’s health minister said complacency around coronavirus restrictions had led to a notable increase in daily cases in the kingdom.

-From The Associated Press and Reuters, last update at 7:10 a.m. ET

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Why Can’t The Federal Government Eliminate Systemic Racism In The Canadian Military?

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“Racism in Canada is not a glitch in the system; it is the system.

By Harinder Mahil

A recently released report indicates that systemic racism is rampant throughout the Canadian Armed Forces which is putting the country’s national security at risk. 
 
The report released by Defence Minister Anita Anand says that the military has not acted on dozens of previous studies and reviews on racism in the ranks over the past two decades. The report says the military is not doing enough to detect and prevent white supremacists and other extremists from infiltrating its ranks.
 
I have read numerous stories about the racism in the military over the years but never thought it was such a big problem. I am shocked at the extent of the problem as identified in the report.
 
The report concludes that more and more Canadians will have no interest in joining the military until it fixes its long-standing issues of racism, abuse of power, gender discrimination and sexual misconduct.
 
“Unless it is rapidly reined in and addressed, the impact of this toxicity will linger for years, affecting the reputation of the Defence Team to the point of repulsing Canadians from joining its workforce”
 
The report says military leadership must accept that some members will either leave or need to be removed.
 
The report comes after a yearlong review by a panel of retired Armed Forces membersand follows numerous incidents linking some military personnel with violent extremism and hate groups, including white supremacists and neo-Nazis.
 
“Racism in Canada is not a glitch in the system; it is the system,” reads the report by the Minister of National Defence’s Advisory Panel on Systemic Racism and Discrimination.
 
There has been increasing pressure on the military to do more to crack down on hateful ideologies within its ranks.
 
“A common thread was evident throughout these consultations: membership in extremist groups is growing, it is becoming increasingly covert, and technological advances such as Darknet and encryption methods pose significant challenges in detecting these members,” the report said.
 
White men account for 71 per cent of Canadian military members but only 39 per cent of the country’s civilian workforce. The report notes Indigenous Peoples, visible minorities and women are significantly under-represented in Canada’s armed forces.
 

Over the last two decades the military has been seeking recruits from the Indigenous and visible minority communities. Why would Indigenous and visible minority communities’ members join the military if they are discriminated against by others especially those who have links with neo-Nazis?

 
I am of the opinion that the report only scratches the surface of the problem. It talks about consultations but who is consulted. 
 
If the military is serious about dealing with the problem it should monitor the social media posts of its members and weed out those who harbour white supremacist views and recognize those who are likely to be drawn towards extremist groups.
 

Harinder Mahil is a community activist and President of the West Coast Coalition Against Racism (WCCAR).

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Government’s changing vape strategy shifts focus away from cigarettes, advocates fear

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OTTAWA — In the eight years or so since he opened his first vape shop in Ottawa, Ron Couchman said a great sense of community has been lost.

A former cigarette smoker himself, Couchman said he remembers when his store operated almost as a support group for people trying to find a healthier alternative to cigarette addiction.

“We could teach other people how to vape when people were struggling to get off cigarettes, we’d play board games and have movie nights,” Couchman said.

As provincial and federal legislation started to clamp down on those activities, he said the camaraderie has faded.

Couchman is a passionate advocate for the potential of vaping to help people leave more harmful tobacco habits behind. At one point the federal government appeared to be onside with that, he said, but that seems to be changing.

“The last few bouts of legislation (have) really swung the other way to the point that it’s serving as a disincentive to quit smoking,” he said.

The government is in the midst of its first review of the 2018 legislation that legalized vaping, and appears to be veering away from the narrow path between treating vapes as a harm reduction tool, or a danger in and of themselves.

The harms of vaping relative to smoking tobacco cigarettes are still something of a mystery, but the government’s website suggests it’s safer than inhaling cigarette smoke.

Advocates on both sides of the issue say regulations have become tougher on vapes and have more or less abandoned the product as an alternative to cigarettes, leaving them to wonder how the government plans to deal with cigarette smoking in Canada.

“They bet heavily on harm reduction as a way to address tobacco. It hasn’t worked for them, and they didn’t have a more comprehensive plan,” said Cynthia Callard, executive director of Physicians for a Smoke-Free Canada.

Health Canada’s goal is to reduce the number of people who smoke tobacco to just five per cent by 2035, from about 14.8 per cent in 2019.

An audit of the department shows tobacco smoke is declining in popularity, but mainly because young people aren’t picking up the habit and existing smokers are dying.

Tobacco use is still the leading cause of preventable death and disease in Canada, with approximately 48,000 people dying from smoking-related illnesses every year, the government says.

Vaping remains relatively unpopular for adults over the age of 25, with just three per cent reporting that they vaped within the last month in 2020, according to the results of the Canadian Tobacco and Nicotine Survey. That’s about the same it was in the 2017 Canadian Tobacco Alcohol and Drugs Survey.

But vaping has spiked among youth between 15 and 19 years old, to 14 per cent in 2020 up from six per cent in 2017.

In response, the government clamped down on vaping with a range of regulations, banning promotion and advertising of the products in certain spaces and putting limits on the amount of nicotine that can be in them. It’s also expected to restrict which flavours can be sold.

In their most recent budget, the Liberals proposed an excise tax on vape products as of Oct. 1.

Now, it’s as if Health Canada is fighting the war on two fronts, Callard said.

The department has been focusing resources on youth vaping, leaving anti-smoking groups like Callard’s concerned that a tobacco strategy may be falling by the wayside.

The recent audit shows the department has been taking on projects to reduce tobacco use, but it won’t be enough to meet their own targets.

Meanwhile, advocacy groups like Rights4Vapers say smokers are being punished for making a healthier choice.

“It is probably the only addiction currently where we continue to use fear and shame to get individuals to quit,” said Maria Papaioannoy, the group’s spokesperson and a vape store owner.

The strategy does appear to be at odds with the harm-reduction approach the government has embraced when it comes to to drug use, said David Sweanor, chair of the University of Ottawa’s Centre for Health Law, Policy and Ethics.

“We’ve seen the success replicated numerous times simply by giving people alternatives, which is consistent with what we’ve done with things like clean needles, safe injection sites,” said Sweanor, who contributed to the 1988 Tobacco Products Control Act.

The government must table its legislative review this year. The discussion paper the department released touches almost exclusively on how to toughen vaping regulations, Sweanor said, though that’s not what the legislation was primarily set out to do.

“Is it accomplishing what it’s supposed to be accomplishing? Are there ways that you can improve it?” he said.

“Instead, what we got is a document that takes very few aspects of, primarily, their anti-vaping strategy.”

In the paper the government says the review will focus on vaping regulations because the vaping products market in Canada has changed so much in the years since the law was passed.

The review gives the opportunity to examine whether the act offers the government enough authority to address the rise in youth vaping, the paper said.

“A full assessment of whether the measures taken since the legislation was introduced in 2018 have been effective in responding to the rise in youth vaping will benefit from more time and data. Subsequent reviews will continue to monitor youth use along with other dimensions of the Act,” the document reads.

Advocates for and against using vaping as a way to transition people away from harmful cigarette smoke agree, tobacco is being left out of the conversation.

“Tobacco remains the fundamental problem,” said Callard. “It’s tobacco that continues to kill.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 17, 2022.

 

Laura Osman, The Canadian Press

 

 

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Multiple reports say Marner’s SUV was stolen in an armed carjacking in west Toronto

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There are multiple reports that an SUV belonging to Toronto Maple Leafs star Mitch Marner has been stolen in a carjacking in the city’s west end.

The Toronto Sun, Global News and City TV all quoted unnamed police sources as saying Marner’s black Range Rover was taken outside a movie theatre in Etobicoke.

Police confirmed there was a carjacking without any injuries, but would not give any information out on the victims or witnesses.

The Sun says Marner was shaken but not hurt.

Police tweeted they were called to The Queensway and Islington Avenue area around 7:46 p.m. for reports of a man robbed of his car.

Authorities are looking for three suspects armed with two handguns and a knife, who took off in the stolen vehicle.

Marner and the Leafs were eliminated from the playoffs on Saturday in a seventh and deciding game against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 17, 2022.

 

The Canadian Press

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