The European Union says it now has enough doses to meet its goal of vaccinating 70 per cent of the region’s adult population by the end of this month.
With infections resurging in many countries in Europe, the next challenge will be ensuring that the doses find takers, as demand wanes in some areas. According to the European Centre for Disease Control (ECDC), 44 per cent of the adult EU population is fully vaccinated, and 64 per cent have received at least one dose.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said Saturday that by Sunday, 500 million doses will have been delivered to all regions of the 27-nation EU. She urged member countries to “do everything to increase vaccinations.”
So far EU countries have administered 386 million doses for the overall population of 447 million, according to the ECDC.
Meanwhile, outside the EU, coronavirus deaths in Russia have hit another daily record, with authorities reporting 752 more fatalities amid a continuing surge in infections.
Officials have attributed a steady rise in infections and an increase in mortality to the spread of the delta variant.
Despite the surge, the Kremlin has said there are no plans to impose another lockdown. Russia had one nationwide lockdown in the spring of 2020 that lasted six weeks, and the government has resisted another one to avoid damaging the economy.
The coronavirus task force has reported more than 5.7 million confirmed coronavirus cases and a total of 142,253 deaths in the pandemic.
However, reports by Russia’s state statistical service Rosstat — which tallies coronavirus-linked deaths retroactively — reveal much higher numbers.
What’s happening across Canada
As of 2 p.m. ET on Saturday, Canada had reported 1,420,237 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 5,404 considered active. National deaths stood at 26,427. More than 41.8 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered so far across the country, according to CBC’s vaccine tracker.
Ontario logged just 179 new cases, the fewest on a single day since Sept. 6, 2020. The province also reported eight new deaths.
In Quebec, the provincial government’s proposal to implement a vaccine passport has raised privacy and discrimination concerns from experts.
In the Atlantic region, New Brunswick is inching closer to half of the province’s eligible population being fully vaccinated; Prince Edward Island has reduced COVID-19 border testing and dropped its mask mandate; more than 80 per cent of eligible Newfoundland and Labrador residents had received at least one dose, and slightly more than 28 per cent received two doses; and Nova Scotia added just one new case on Saturday.
In the North, Yukon reported six new infections on Friday. It brings the territory’s active case count to 116, with the location of the new cases not yet confirmed, according to a news release from Dr. Brendan Hanley, Yukon’s chief medical officer of health.
What’s happening around the world
As of Saturday, more than 186.2 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 Asia, Tokyo has reported 950 new coronavirus cases, the highest daily number in two months, as infections steadily spread less than two weeks before the Japanese capital hosts the Olympics.
In the Americas, U.S. health officials say vaccinated teachers and students don’t need to wear masks inside school buildings.
In Africa, countries on the continent are expected to receive vaccine doses in the coming weeks through the African Union’s African Vaccine Acquisition Task Team, according to the African Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.
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All three levels of government, police, organizers granted full standing on inquiry
OTTAWA — The commissioner of the inquiry examining Ottawa’s use of the Emergencies Act to bring an end to the so-called “Freedom Convoy” protest in February has granted standing to the organizers, police and representatives of all three levels of government.
The decision by Paul Rouleau means those granted standing will be given advance notice on information submitted into evidence before the inquiry, and also gives them certain privileges, such as the opportunity to suggest or cross-examine witnesses.
Those granted full standing in the public inquiry include the federal, Alberta and Saskatchewan governments, the cities of Ottawa and Windsor, Ont., the Ottawa Police Service, Ontario Provincial Police and the organizers of the convoy, including Tamara Lich, Tom Marazzo and Chris Barber.
Former Ottawa Police Chief Peter Sloly will be allowed to produce documents, make submissions on factual, evidentiary and policy-related issues and examine witnesses, and the Manitoba government has been granted permission to provide written submissions.
However, Rouleau denied standing to the Conservative Party of Canada and several participants of the protests, some of whom had their bank accounts frozen under the Act.
Rouleau said it is important that the inquiry remain an independent, non-partisan process, noting there is also the Special Joint Committee of the Senate and House of Commons on the Declaration of Emergency reviewing the use of the Act’s powers.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 27, 2022.
The Canadian Press
Ottawa police say they're ready to shut down Canada Day occupation attempts – CBC.ca
Ottawa city officials say they are prepared for a “unique” Canada Day, with plans to keep anti-government protests from turning into another occupation.
The traditional nationally broadcast shows are returning for the first time since 2019, this time from the plaza in front of the Canadian War Museum because of ongoing construction on Parliament Hill.
Ottawa police say they expect more protests and larger crowds than usual during Canada Day celebrations as groups related to the Freedom Convoy continue to plan demonstrations. Some in those groups have indicated they’d like to protest through July and August.
“This is expected to be a unique Canada Day, with larger crowds and a larger event footprint,” interim Ottawa police Chief Steve Bell said during a Monday news conference.
“We’ve developed our plans in the shadow of the unlawful protests and Rolling Thunder event. We’ve been speaking with community members and businesses and we’re very aware of the lingering trauma and concern about what they’re hearing after those events.”
Bell said officers will allow legal protests while shutting down illegal activities, including setting up structures or speakers without a permit and the threat of occupation, like on downtown streets in the winter.
He said police have been following online commentary and trying to talk to people who’ve said they’re coming to protest.
“[We’ve] planned, we’re prepared and we have the resources,” Bell replied when answering a question about whether police were ready to step in again like they did in late April, when attempts to gather near the Rideau Centre mall were shut down by officers.
Provincial police and the RCMP have offered help to shut down occupation attempts as long as there’s a risk, he said.
The Ottawa Police Services Board received an update on plans for Canada Day when it met Monday evening.
Bell spoke about the toll recent months have taken on officers, noting the demand is not “sustainable” and describing police as “fatigued” ahead of the long weekend.
“For this event we’ve actually had to cancel days off, we’ve cancelled discretionary time off, called people back from annual leave,” said the chief. “This is an all hands on deck event, but that has a cost on the health and wellbeing of our members.”
At least 5 days of traffic control
Last week, Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson told people thinking of coming to the capital “not to be intimidated by individuals who may be coming to Ottawa to cause trouble.”
He said Monday he wants this to be a safe, festive event for children and families and that people who “come to disrupt” will be dealt with, without a warning.
Bell told the police board that the force has been clear with its expectations for demonstrators, and that harassment won’t be tolerated.
“If there is a hate or bias crime incidents, if there’s intimidation or threats, we will actively investigate those,” he said, adding police know residents have “scars” from the occupation.
“I want to reassure you that those feelings, that trauma that our community has felt is front and centre in all of our planning efforts and will be front and centre in our response efforts.”
Overall, Bell said police are expecting hundreds of thousands of people downtown. For comparison, an estimated 56,000 people went to the shows on Parliament Hill in 2019 and that doesn’t count everyone celebrating nearby.
There will be the traditional Canada Day road closures Friday July 1 and early Saturday, though there are more closures near LeBreton Flats because of that change in show location.
But Ottawa police are establishing another “vehicle exclusion zone” — similar to what was set up in late April for the Rolling Thunder motorcycle rally — with no street parking at all and no protest vehicles allowed in from 8 a.m. this Wednesday until at least 6 a.m. on Monday, July 4.
Those plans may change if needed, officials said Monday. People are asked to plan ahead, expect delays and check city pages and local media for updates.
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