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

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The latest:

  • Ontario enters provincewide lockdown in effort to curb rising COVID-19 case counts.
  • Most Boxing Day shopping expected to happen online.
  • Worldwide cases surpass 80 million.
  • Millions of Americans lose jobless benefits as Trump refuses to sign aid bill.
  • Have a question about COVID-19 in Canada? Send your questions to COVID@cbc.ca.

A provincewide lockdown meant to bring down COVID-19 case counts takes effect Saturday in Ontario.

The restrictions will remain in place for southern Ontario until Jan. 23 but will lift for northern Ontario on Jan. 9.

The move was announced on Monday after the provincial government took part in emergency talks last weekend.

WATCH | Provincewide lockdown comes into effect in Ontario:

New restrictions came into effect Saturday, placing the entire province of Ontario in lockdown. In some regions, the measures will stay in place until at least Jan. 23. 4:18

Under the new rules, restaurants can only provide takeout, drive-thru and delivery, including the sale of alcohol.

Supermarkets, pharmacies and retailers that primarily sell food can stay open for in-person shopping but with distancing and limits on capacity.

When the holiday break is over, children enrolled in publicly funded elementary and secondary schools will participate in remote learning from Jan. 4 to Jan. 8, and some longer depending on their age and area.

WATCH | Health-care workers reflect on difficult year, unite in holiday message:

Health-care workers have spent a year working through the pandemic and several ER doctors shared a united message while working during a difficult holiday season. 1:58

The lockdown began with Ontario reporting a two-day total of 4,301 cases of COVID-19.

Health Minister Christine Elliott said 2,142 new cases of the virus were reported on Saturday and 2,159 new cases were logged on Christmas Day.

The 4,301 new infections bring Ontario’s COVID-19 case total to 169,411, including deaths and recoveries. There are nearly 20,000 active cases of novel coronavirus infection across the province.

There were 38 deaths reported on Saturday. Forty-three people died on Friday, bringing the total number of deaths reported since the pandemic began to 4,359.


What’s happening in Canada

As of about 11:30 a.m. ET, Canada’s COVID-19 case count stood at 539,547, with 76,523 of those cases considered active. A CBC News tally of deaths stood at 14,801.

Aside from Ontario, the only provinces to release new numbers so far on Saturday are New Brunswick and Alberta. 

New Brunswick announced two new cases, which means the province now has 38 active cases. There have been eight deaths and one person is in hospital, in the intensive care unit.

In Alberta, Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw released a modified update on Saturday. The province saw an estimated 1,200 new cases on Dec. 24 and 900 new cases on Dec. 25. There was a small increase in the number of patients in the province’s ICU, Hinshaw said on Twitter. 

Boxing Day is supposed to be the post-Christmas shopping day that deal hunters have been waiting for, but with non-essential retail shuttered or restricted across much of the country, the usual crowded malls and long lineups are expected to be replaced with internet searches and online orders.

Ontario, Quebec and Manitoba have all closed non-essential retail, while much of the rest of the country has curtailed in-store capacity.

People wear face masks as they make their way through a shopping mall in Montreal in December. In-person shopping for Boxing Day is expected to be sharply down compared with previous years. (Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press)

Farla Efros, president of HRC Retail Advisory, says there will be fire-sale prices on some items.

She said retailers don’t want to get stuck with a backlog of holiday and seasonal inventory and also need to shore up their balance sheets in the face of mounting lockdowns and restrictions.

WATCH | Pfizer, Moderna vaccines can be modified to tackle variants, expert says:

According to infectious disease specialist Dr. Zain Chagla, vaccines that use mRNA technology can be reverse engineered quite quickly to take on variants — such as the recent U.K. variant of the coronavirus. 1:42

What’s happening around the world

As of noon ET on Saturday, more than 80 million coronavirus cases had been reported worldwide, with more than 45.1 million cases considered recovered or resolved, according to a running tally kept by Johns Hopkins University researchers. The global death toll stood at more than 1.7 million.

In the Americas, millions of people in the U.S. saw their jobless benefits expire on Saturday after U.S. President Donald Trump refused to sign into law a $2.3 trillion US pandemic aid and spending package, protesting that it did not do enough to help everyday people.

Trump stunned Republicans and Democrats alike when he said this week he was unhappy with the massive bill, which provides $892 billion in badly needed coronavirus relief, including extending special unemployment benefits expiring on Dec. 26 and $1.4 trillion for normal government spending.

Without Trump’s signature, about 14 million people could lose those extra benefits, according to Labor Department data. A partial government shutdown will begin on Tuesday unless Congress can agree on a stop-gap government funding bill.

WATCH | Is one COVID-19 vaccine better than another?:

Infectious disease physicians answer viewer questions about COVID-19 vaccines, including if one is better than another and how vaccinations will impact the health-care system. 6:35

In Europe, Hungary began vaccinating its people against COVID-19 on Saturday, a day ahead of rollouts in several other European countries. Mass vaccination across the European Union, home to almost 450 million people, would be a crucial step toward ending the pandemic. Hungary administered the vaccine, developed by Pfizer and BioNTech, to front-line workers at hospitals in the capital, Budapest, after receiving its first shipment of enough doses to inoculate 4,875 people.

The rollout came a day before countries including France, Germany, Italy, Austria, Portugal and Spain are planning to begin mass vaccinations, starting with health workers.

In Asia, South Korea posted its second-highest daily number of coronavirus cases on Saturday as outbreaks at a prison, nursing homes and churches continued to grow, prompting authorities to plead for a halt to all year-end gatherings. The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) said there were 1,132 new coronavirus cases on Friday, not far off the record 1,241 logged a day earlier.

A pastor wearing a face mask sits among empty pews during an online Christmas service at the Yoido Full Gospel Church in Seoul on Christmas Day. (Jung Yeon-Je/AFP via Getty Images)

Meanwhile, China’s capital has urged residents not to leave the city during the upcoming Lunar New Year holidays, implementing fresh restrictions after several coronavirus infections last week. Two domestic cases were reported on Friday — a convenience store worker and a Hewlett Packard Enterprise employee. Another two asymptomatic cases were discovered in Beijing earlier in the week.

Beijing is conducting testing on a limited scale in the neighbourhoods and workplaces where the cases were found. To contain any new outbreaks, the Beijing government cancelled big gatherings such as sports events and temple fairs.

Coronavirus infections in Tokyo hit a record daily high of 949 cases on Saturday as Japan heads into the New Year holiday, which normally sees people stream from the capital into the provinces. Serious cases were unchanged from a day earlier at 81. Local media reported subdued scenes at Tokyo transport hubs a day after Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, under pressure as daily cases continue to climb, urged the nation to stay home and avoid social mixing.

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International students still need quarantine plan at Canada border – Canada Immigration News

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Published on July 26th, 2021 at 05:00am EDT

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Although Canada has begun easing border measures, having a quarantine plan is still required at the border — even if you don’t actually use it.

Fully vaccinated travellers no longer have to quarantine for two weeks. Starting August 9, if you are fully vaccinated, you no longer need an on arrival test unless you get randomly selected. Canada currently only considers you to be “fully vaccinated” if it has been 14 days since you got the final dose of a vaccine that has been approved by Health Canada. These currently include: Pfizer, Moderna, Astra Zeneca, and Janssen. Otherwise, you are still considered unvaccinated.

Discover your options to study in Canada

The ninth of August also marks the end of hotel quarantine, where travellers have to pay to stay in a government-approved hotel.

All that being said, you still have to show up to the border with a suitable quarantine plan in case the border officer determines you do not meet the exemption. The federal government issued a presser specifically for international students coming to Canada this fall, reminding them of what they need to do in order to travel to Canada.

Who can enter Canada to study

There are two things you need to come to Canada as a student:

Students coming from India will have to navigate the ban on direct flights. Canada has suspended direct flights between the two countries until at least August 21. Those travelling from India can take an indirect route, but will need a pre-departure COVID-19 test from a third country before coming to Canada.

Quarantine plan

Your should already have a plan to manage the quarantine period for international students as part of its COVID-19 readiness plan. They should also allow you access to food and medicine during your stay. Contact your school for help in developing your quarantine plan before you depart for Canada.

After that, you have to submit your plan to border officials through the ArriveCAN app. This app has been used throughout the pandemic for officer-traveller communication, and it is where you submit all the documents you will need for travel.

Again, you still need a quarantine plan even if you are considered fully vaccinated. Your proof of vaccination must be in English or French, or else you need a certified translation.

Rules subject to change

Health officials are continuing to monitor the coronavirus situation in Canada and around the world. Any change to border measures falls under Health Canada’s responsibility. Other departments, such as the Canadian border, works to implement the health department’s recommendations.

While international travel restrictions fall under the federal governments purview, provincial governments are responsible for their own healthcare systems. The federal government offers a list of each provincial government’s website, which include measures for travellers. Your learning institution will also have its own COVID rules and regulations.

Discover your options to study in Canada

© CIC News All Rights Reserved. Visit CanadaVisa.com to discover your Canadian immigration options.

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Mary Simon to be officially installed as governor general today – CBC.ca

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Join CBC News for live coverage Monday of the installation of Mary Simon as Canada’s first Indigenous governor general.


Mary Simon officially becomes Canada’s first Indigenous governor general today in a ceremony at the Senate building in Ottawa.

Simon — an Inuk from Kuujjuaq in northeastern Quebec — was tapped by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to fill the role earlier this month.

The swearing-in ceremony will, for the first time, be conducted in both English and Inuktitut and broadcast in eight Indigenous languages on CBC Radio.

CBC’s chief political correspondent Rosemary Barton will host coverage of Monday’s event from Ottawa on CBC News Network, CBC TV, and CBC Gem beginning at 10 a.m. ET.

Viewers can also follow the event on CBCnews.ca and on Facebook. CBC Indigenous Facebook is hosting the English stream, CBC Nunavut Facebook is hosting the Inuktitut stream, and CBC North Facebook is sharing both.

Following the ceremony, Simon will visit the National War Memorial to inspect a guard of honour and lay flowers in honour of Canada’s war dead — her first act as the Queen’s representative in Canada.

Simon took her first step into the official role Thursday when she spoke with the Queen.

In a short clip of the online conversation that was posted on The Royal Family’s Instagram account, the Queen said it was good to speak with Simon and told her she was “taking over a very important job.”

“Yes, I’m very privileged to be able to do this work over the next few years,” Simon said. “I think it’s vitally important for our country.”

Indigenous leaders — particularly representatives of the Inuit community — have praised the appointment.

“To see somebody like Mary Simon, who is an unquestioned Indigenous leader in this country and has been for decades, be recognized for her leadership and her service in taking on this new responsibility as governor general was something that was really powerful,” Natan Obed, the president of the national Inuit group Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK), told CBC earlier this month.

But concerns have been raised about Simon’s ability to speak French.

While she is fully fluent in English and Inuktitut, Simon is not fluent in French. Typically, the governor general is expected to have a complete command of both official languages.

Despite Simon’s promise to continue taking French lessons while serving as governor general, hundreds of French speaking Canadians have written complaints to the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages.

The complaints prompted Commissioner Raymond Théberge to launch an investigation into the process for nominating the governor general.

Despite growing up in northern Quebec, Simon said she never had an opportunity to learn French at an early age because it was not taught at the federal day school she attended.

Day schools operated separately from residential schools but were run by many of the same groups that ran residential schools. They operated from the 1860s to the 1990s.

WATCH | Languages commissioner says he’s received almost 600 complaints about next governor general’s lack of fluency in French

Official Languages Commissioner Raymond Théberge joins Power & Politics to discuss his investigation of the process that chose Mary Simon as the next governor general. 3:49

The government has maintained that Simon is an exemplary candidate despite her lack of fluency in French.

Simon brings an extensive resume with her to Rideau Hall, following a career that included various positions as an advocate and ambassador.

She helped negotiate the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement in 1975, a landmark deal between the Cree and Inuit in Quebec’s north, the provincial government and Hydro-Québec.

Widely seen as the country’s “first modern treaty,” the agreement saw the province acknowledge Cree and Inuit rights in the James Bay region for the first time, such as exclusive hunting, fishing and trapping rights and self-governance in some areas. It also offered financial compensation in exchange for the construction of massive new hydroelectric dams to fuel the growing province’s demand for new energy sources.

Simon was also an Inuit representative during the negotiations that led to the patriation of the Constitution in 1982 — which included an acknowledgement of Indigenous treaty rights in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. 

WATCH | Mary Simon challenges Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau in 1984

The First Ministers Constitutional Conference was held in March of 1984. This exchange happened during a discussion about gender equity. 3:29

In 1986, Simon was tapped to lead the Inuit Circumpolar Conference (ICC), a group created in 1977 to represent the Inuit in all the Arctic countries. At the ICC, she championed two priorities for Indigenous Peoples of the north: protecting their way of life from environmental damage and pushing for responsible economic development on their traditional territory.

In 1994, former prime minister Jean Chrétien appointed Simon as Canada’s first ambassador for circumpolar affairs.

During her time in that role, she helped negotiate the creation of an eight-country group known today as the Arctic Council. She would later be appointed as Canada’s ambassador to Denmark.

Beginning in 2006, Simon served two terms as president of the ITK. In that role, she delivered a response on behalf of Inuit to the formal apology for residential schools presented in the House of Commons in 2008.

WATCH | ᑕᑯᒃᓴᐅᕙᒌᖅᑎᓪᓗᒍ ᑕᐅᑐᒃᓯᐅᒃ: ᐊᕙᑎᒃ ᖁᓕᓪᓗ ᐊᑕᓂᐊᓘᑉ ᑭᒡᒐᑐᕐᑎᖓᑦ

ᖁᕕᐊᓲᑕᐅᓂᐊᖅᑐᖅ ᐊᕙᑎᒃ ᖁᓕᓪᓗ ᐊᑕᓂᐊᓘᑉ ᑭᒡᒐᕐᑐᕐᑎᒋᓂᐊᓕᖅᑕᖓ ᒥᐊᔨ ᓴᐃᒪᓐ 0:00

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Maggie Mac Neil swims to Canada's 1st gold medal of Tokyo Olympics – CBC.ca

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Maggie Mac Neil won Canada’s first gold medal of these Olympics, capturing the women’s 100-metre butterfly in a Canadian record of 55.59 seconds on Monday morning in Tokyo.

China’s Zhang Yufei (55.64) took the silver and Australia’s Emma McKeon (55.72) claimed bronze.

Mac Neil, from London, Ont., is competing in her first Olympics and already has two medals. 

“I can’t believe this moment happened,” she said after becoming an Olympic champion. 

Her time of 55.59 is the third-fastest time ever. Seconds after touching the wall inside the Tokyo Aquatics Centre, Mac Neil squinted up at the scoreboard in disbelief at seeing her name in the No. 1 position. 

“It was more than I was hoping for at this point. I really just wanted to have fun, which I think I did today,” Mac Neil said. “I’m really proud of that and am just trying to swim my best.”

Bring on the cheers

Find live streams, must-watch video highlights, breaking news and more in one perfect Olympic Games package. Following Team Canada has never been easier or more exciting.

More from Tokyo 2020

At the turn, Mac Neil found herself in seventh position but then put forward a memorable closing 50 metres to touch the wall first. 

WATCH | Maggie Mac Neil wins gold in 100m butterfly:

Maggie Mac Neil of London, Ont., won Canada’s first gold medal of these Olympics, capturing the women’s 100-metre butterfly in a Canadian record 55.59 seconds on Monday morning in Tokyo. 6:28

“I’m not usually out fast,” the 21-year-old said. “I like to have time to get going, stay smooth and strong. The second 50 metres is always my sweet spot and where I feel most comfortable.”

Just a day earlier, Mac Neil was part of the Canadian women’s 4×100-metre freestyle relay team that won silver. 

“We haven’t shown the world what we’re here for yet. We’re the underdogs and it’s working to our advantage,” she said. 

At the 2019 world championships, Mac Neil also won gold in the 100-metre butterfly and set a Canadian record at her first world championships. She admitted she was feeling the pressure being the reigning world champion coming into the Olympics. 

WATCH | Mac Neil receives gold medal:

Watch Maggie Mac Neil of London, Ont., receive her gold medal after winning the women’s 100-metre butterfly at Tokyo 2020. 4:55

“Coming in with a target on your back is hard in so many ways. Going into worlds I was relatively unknown so I had that to my advantage,” she said. “That added pressure makes it a little more challenging, so I was just focusing on having fun.”

In other events Monday, Canadian teenager Summer McIntosh finished fourth in the women’s 400-metre freestyle, as did the Canadian men in the 4×100-metre relay. Kylie Masse advanced to Tuesday’s final by finishing second in her 100-metre backstroke semfinal, but Taylor Ruck failed to advance.

Mac Neil, like many of the Canadian swimmers, had a curveball thrown into her journey to the Olympics. 

Normally she trains in the United States, swimming at the University of Michigan. At the 2021 NCAA championships, she won and set an NCAA record in the 100-yard butterfly, becoming the first woman in history to go under 49 seconds in that event.

But she had to change up her preparation leading into the Games because of COVID-19. 

Mac Neil was forced to leave her coaches and training program in the U.S. because of all the changing pandemic-related public health restrictions and start fresh with the team at the high-performance centre in Toronto — not an ideal situation just months before the Olympics. 

WATCH | Breaking down Mac Neil’s golden race:

Maggie Mac Neil wins Canada’s first gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics in the 100-metre butterfly event on Day 3. 1:31

After two weeks of quarantine Mac Neil got to work with the national team and coaches at the beginning of April. She said that while the change wasn’t optimal, she actually ended up improving on a number of different disciplines.

“I was quite nervous about how it was all going to turn out. Switching so close. It worked out for the best,”

McIntosh, 14, in her first Olympic final, was going up against some of the best swimmers in the sport’s history in American Katie Ledecky and Australia’s Ariarne Titmus. 

For most of the race McIntosh held her own, swimming strong behind the two powerhouses. But in the closing 100 metres McIntosh was passed by eventual bronze medallist China’s Bingji Li. Titmus won the gold and Ledecky took silver.

WATCH | Summer McIntosh 4th in 400m freestyle:

Australia’s Ariarne Titmus chased down American star Katie Ledecky to win the Olympic women’s 400-metre freestyle in 3 minutes, 56.69 seconds, swimming the second-fastest time in history. 14-year-old Summer McIntosh of Toronto set a Canadian record of 4:02.42 to finish in fourth place. 8:53

McIntosh finished fourth in the race, breaking her Canadian record she set a day earlier with a time of 4:02.02. 

In the men’s 4×100-metre final, Canada’s Brent Hayden, 37, blasted off the blocks and put the team in a strong opening position in the opening leg. Canada was in third going into the final leg, but anchor Markus Thormeyer was passed by Australia’s Kyle Chalmers in the last 50 metres.

The United States grabbed gold, 3:08.97, Italy finished in second place, 3:10.11, while Australia finished with bronze in a time of 3:10.22. 

Canada’s time of 3:10.82 is a Canadian record.

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