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



The latest:

A COVID-19 vaccine mandate for truckers crossing into Canada from the United States came into effect on Saturday, causing “limited delays” at some border crossings and raising worries about future disruptions to the supply chain as the pandemic drags on.

As of Saturday, Canadian truckers must be vaccinated if they want to avoid quarantine and a pre-arrival molecular test, while unvaccinated American big-riggers are to be turned back at the border.

Trucking industry groups accused the federal government of sparking confusion after the Canada Border Services Agency suggested earlier this week that Ottawa was backtracking on the rules, only to have that information refuted the next day.

The president of the Canadian Trucking Alliance says the application of the mandate could potentially cause some slowdowns at the border in the coming days if unvaccinated truckers have to turn their big rigs around.

Stephen Laskowski, president of the Canadian Trucking Alliance, says the application of the mandate could potentially cause some slowdowns at the border in the coming days if unvaccinated truckers have to turn their big rigs around. (CBC )

But Stephen Laskowski says the bigger concern is over wider impacts on the supply chain caused by driver shortages, which are likely to be felt cumulatively in the coming weeks and months.

Mike Millian, the president of the Private Motor Truck Council of Canada, said in an interview that as of midday Saturday, the borders appeared to be flowing smoothly.

But he said some Canadian truckers who were dispatched during the 16-hour window in which Ottawa’s erroneous announcement spread through the sector will have to face consequences upon their return.

“There’s going to be drivers returning in the next two, three, four days who were expecting not to quarantine who will have to quarantine,” he said in a phone interview with The Canadian Press.

A spokesperson for the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) said in an email that traveller processing times in the commercial stream had increased at some ports of entry, resulting in “some limited delays” in the hours following the new rules.

As of Saturday, Canadian truckers must be vaccinated if they want to avoid quarantine and a pre-arrival molecular test, while unvaccinated American big-riggers are to be turned back at the border. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press)

Rebecca Purdy added that there is normally a transition period when new measures are introduced, and said the CBSA would adjust its resources and staffing levels in the coming days if needed.

Up to 26,000 of 160,000 truckers who make regular cross-border trips will be sidelined, adding further bottlenecks and potential price hikes to the flow of goods into the country, according to the Canadian Trucking Alliance.

Laskowski said Canadian trucking companies have been working to adjust to the mandate by reassigning unvaccinated truckers to domestic duties.

A truck enters Canada from the U.S. at the Thousand Islands border in Lansdowne, Ont., in November 2021. (Lars Hagberg/The Canadian Press)

Public health experts have suggested in recent days that Canada could be nearing the peak of infections from the pandemic’s current, Omicron-driven wave. But hospitalizations and deaths, which tend to lag behind, showed no sign of easing on Saturday.

Meanwhile, Federal Emergency Preparedness Minister Bill Blair announced late Friday that Canadian Forces Rangers were being deployed to the remote northern First Nation of Attawapiskat, which has been struggling with a growing outbreak.

The Weeneebayko Area Health Authority, which serves the James Bay region of Ontario, reported nine new cases in Attawapiskat on Friday, bringing the total number of infected in the community to 40.

What’s happening across Canada

With lab-based testing capacity deeply strained and increasingly restricted, experts say true case counts are likely far higher than reported. Hospitalization data at the regional level is also evolving, with several provinces saying they will report figures that separate the number of people in hospital because of COVID-19 from those in hospital for another medical issue who also test positive for COVID-19.

For more information on what is happening in your community — including details on outbreaks, testing capacity and local restrictions — click through to the regional coverage below.

You can also read more from the Public Health Agency of Canada, which provides a detailed look at every region — including seven-day average test positivity rates — in its daily epidemiological updates.

In British Columbia, the 2022 B.C. Winter Games have been cancelled over COVID-19 concerns.

In the Prairies, students in Manitoba are preparing to go back to in-person schooling on Monday, even as the two largest universities in Alberta are delaying a return to in-person classes until late February, and an epidemiologist is countering a claim made by Saskatchewan‘s premier that restrictions don’t curb Omicron.

In Ontario, nurses are calling for pay parity with police officers and firefighters amid a pandemic staffing crunch.

In Quebec, the health agency representing hospitals in the east end of Montreal confirmed on Saturday that it will soon be reducing more services as hospitals struggle to balance the care of COVID-19 patients alongside others.

A person arrives at a COVID-19 test site in Montreal on Saturday. (Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press)

In the Atlantic provinces, Newfoundland and Labrador confirmed the province’s 25th death related to the virus; Nova Scotia announced it will not be following up with some people who tested positive for the virus due to high cases and testing demand; New Brunswick entered Level 3 of its lockdown measures — the province’s most restrictive level — on Saturday; and in Prince Edward Island, where the pandemic only made limited inroads in previous waves, officials recorded 309 new cases on Saturday.

In the North, Nunavut reported five new cases in the territory on Saturday, plus one presumptive case in the village of Naujaat, while the Yukon government is imposing stronger public health measures starting on Tuesday.

What’s happening around the world

As of Saturday, roughly 324.19 million cases had been reported worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University’s coronavirus tracker. The reported global death toll stood at more than 5.5 million.

In Europe, the Czech government will allow asymptomatic essential health-care workers and social service personnel who test positive for COVID-19 to keep working, the Health Ministry said.

WATCH | Half of Europe could be infected with Omicron within weeks, WHO says: 

Half of Europe could be infected with Omicron within weeks, WHO says

3 days ago

Duration 3:22

The World Health Organization says more than 200 million people in Europe could be infected with the Omicron variant of the coronavirus in the next six to eight weeks. 3:22

In the Americas, Uruguay has opened its borders to citizens and residents even if they are infected with COVID-19, a rare move amid surging cases worldwide. Passengers would need to travel in private vehicles across the border and be in a family “bubble.”

In Asia, Bhutan has reported its first 14 cases of the Omicron variant, a health official said, amid a surge of the pandemic in the Himalayan kingdom that has so far been relatively successful at keeping the disease at bay.

In Africa, the continent’s top public health body said it was in talks with Pfizer about securing supplies of Paxlovid, the drugmaker’s antiviral COVID-19 pills.

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Ellen DeGeneres makes her final entrance onto the Ellen Degeneres Show



Los Angeles, United States of America (USA)- Ellen DeGeneres yesterday made her final appearance on the Ellen Degeneres Show after 19 seasons.

The Ellen DeGeneres Show began back in September 2003 and has been host to various issues and people.

“Mary and Andy you have been with me since day one, and I am so grateful, I am so lucky that I have two executive producers that not only knew how to make a great show but make a great show for me because you understood me, you got me, you knew who was.

You have been with me for 25 years. We have been through everything together, 25 years, thick and thin. We have laughed, we have cried, you have been my constant source of support and love and I thank you. You are brilliant, you are talented, you are super smart, I admire you, I respect you, and I love you.

To all of you who have watched this show and supported me thank you so much for this platform and I hope that what I have been able to do over the last 19 years has made you happy and that I was able to take a little bit of pain away from a bad day or anything you are going through and I hope I have been able to inspire you to make other people happy and to do good in the world to feel like you have a purpose.

I have said it before and I will say it again if I have done anything in the past 19 years, I hope I have inspired you to be your true, authentic self and if someone is brave enough to tell you who they are, be brave enough to support them, even if you don’t understand. They are showing you who they are and that is the biggest gift anybody can ever give you, and by opening your heart and your mind, you are gonna be that much more compassionate and compassion is what makes the world a better place.

Thank you so much for being on this journey with me. I feel the love and I send it back to you. Bye,” said Ellen.

In May 2021, Ellen announced that the 19th season of her show would be her last. However, the show will continue to air new episodes with guest hosts and re-runs throughout the course of this year.

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US maintains it does not support Taiwan independence, China hints at chopping hands



Washington DC, United States of America (USA)- Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken, has reiterated that the country’s policy on Taiwan remains resolute.

Under the 1979 Taiwan Relations Act, the US recognizes but does not endorse, China’s sovereignty over Taiwan. While the act codifies the US’ one-China Policy, it also authorizes informal diplomatic relations with the government of Taiwan and allows Washington to provide Taipei with enough military support to enable Taiwan to maintain sufficient self-defence capabilities.

“In Taiwan, our approach has been consistent across decades and administrations. As the President has said, our policy has not changed. We do not support Taiwan’s independence, and we expect cross-strait differences to be resolved by peaceful means,” said Blinken.

However, Senior Colonel Wu Qian, spokesperson for the Chinese Ministry of National Defense, has said some people in the US will have their hands chopped if they play the salami-slicing tactic in dealing with the Taiwan question.

“We want to make it clear to some people in the US that their hands will also be chopped off when they play the salami-slicing tactic in dealing with the Taiwan question. The People’s Liberation Army is ready to take all necessary measures to crush any form of Taiwan independence moves and to safeguard our national sovereignty and territorial integrity.

The US has been continuously marginalizing and diminishing the one-China principle. It wants to use the salami-slicing tactic to play the Taiwan card to contain China and that is a complete illusion.

We request that the US stops disguising its own rules as international norms and promoting the US-style, hegemony-based order. It must accept China’s peaceful development with a rational, objective perspective, which is in the interest of Sino-US relations and the world’s peace and stability,” said the Senior Colonel.

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BBC to layoff 1 000 staff workers



London, Britain- The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) has revealed plans to layoff 1 000 of its staff within the coming few years.

According to the corporation, BBC World News and BBC News channels will merge to create a single 24-hour TV news channel serving both Britain and international audiences as part of the corporation’s wider plans.

Regional TV news programmes in Oxford and Cambridge are also among the services being scrapped merging with the BBC’s Southampton and Norwich operations.

BBC Four and Children’s BBC will no longer be aired as traditional broadcast channels after the next few years and will end as linear TV channels and are expected to move online to the iPlayer, while Radio 4 Extra could become available on the BBC Sounds service only.

According to Tim Davie, BBC’s Director-General, the layoffs will save at least £200 million (US$252 million) annually.

“When I took this job, I said that we needed to fight for something important, public service content and services freely available universally for the good of all. This fight is intensifying, the stakes are high.

Driven by the desire to make life and society better for our licence fee payers and customers in every corner of the UK (United Kingdom) and beyond. They want us to keep the BBC relevant and fight for something that in 2022 is more important than ever. To do that, we need to evolve faster and embrace the huge shifts in the market around us.

This is our moment to build a digital-first BBC. Something genuinely new, a Reithian organization for the digital age, a positive force for the UK and the world. Independent, impartial, constantly innovating and serving all. A fresh, new, global digital media organization which has never been seen before,” said Davie.

The move comes off the back of remarks made by Nadine Dorries, the Culture Secretary, in January, that the licence fee will be frozen at £159 (US$201) per annum for the next two years.


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