South Africa’s resurgence of COVID-19, centred in Johannesburg and driven by the delta variant, is setting record numbers of new daily cases, health officials said Sunday.
More than 26,000 new cases were reported on Saturday, up from 24,000 the previous day, according to the National Institute for Communicable Diseases, surpassing the country’s highest number of new cases in previous waves and quickly bringing many hospitals to capacity.
More than 13,800 COVID-19 patients are currently in South African hospitals where some facilities are cancelling elective surgeries to free up beds and health workers.
South Africa’s official death toll has risen above 63,000, although statistics on excess deaths suggest the country’s actual number of virus fatalities may be more than 170,000.
WATCH | ‘Alarming’ increase in COVID-19 in some African countries, says WHO:
South Africa’s two million cases account for more than 30 per cent of the cases reported by Africa‘s 54 countries, according to the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa last week increased restrictions to try to reduce the spread of the virus, including extending a nighttime curfew, banning the sale of alcohol, closing many schools and stopping travel into and out of Gauteng — the country’s most populous province that includes Johannesburg and the capital, Pretoria.
Gauteng accounts for more than 60 per cent of the new cases and officials fear other provinces and cities will soon follow.
After a slow start, South Africa’s vaccination drive is picking up pace but is still far behind developed nations. To date, more than 3.3 million of South Africa’s 60 million people have received at least one jab of the Pfizer or Johnson & Johnson vaccines.
The inoculation campaign started with health care workers, those aged 60 and over and schoolteachers. On Monday police can get a jab and soon those 50 and over can too.
The nation’s Health Products Regulatory Authority on Saturday authorized the vaccine manufactured by China’s Sinovac, providing that it submits final results of ongoing clinical studies.
Nearby countries including Mozambique, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe are also struggling to cope with a surge of infections.
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What’s happening across Canada
As of 3:45 p.m. ET on Sunday, Canada had reported 1,416,969 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 6,159 considered active. A CBC News tally of deaths stood at 26,360. More than 38 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered so far across the country.
In British Columbia, 78.5 per cent of eligible residents have been administered their first COVID-19 vaccine shot. About 33 per cent of those eligible have received a second dose.
In Alberta, Calgary’s city council will re-evaluate the city’s mask mandate on Monday. The decision will be based on metrics like how many second doses have been administered and the rate of infection.
In June, council voted 8 to 6 in favour of extending the measure until July 5 in Calgary. The provincial government lifted its mask mandate for Alberta on July 1.
WATCH | Alberta drops most COVID-19 restrictions, including mask mandate:
Manitoba registered 64 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, as the province’s death toll linked to the illness has climbed by two, and Saskatchewan reported 27 new cases and no fatalities.
Ontario logged 213 new cases and nine more deaths.
Starting Monday at 8 a.m., residents 12 to 17 years old will be eligible to book an appointment to receive their second shot of Pfizer through the provincial booking system. They must wait 28 days between doses, as recommended by the Ontario health ministry.
In Quebec, Gisele Levesque, the first person in Canada to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, has died. The 89-year-old died on June 28 peacefully of natural causes, surrounded by family, according to the public health authority in Quebec City.
In a statement, the health authority says her death was not related to COVID-19.
Levesque received the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine last Dec. 14 at the CHSLD St-Antoine, a long-term care home in Quebec City.
In the Atlantic provinces, Nova Scotia, which confirmed three new cases on Sunday, says international travellers can start entering the province again on Monday; New Brunswick saw one new infection and an additional death; and, in Prince Edward Island, more than 82 per cent of eligible residents have been administered their first vaccine dose, with just under 24 per cent fully vaccinated.
In the Northwest Territories, mask requirements and appointments at many Yellowknife institutions — such as the public library and pools — will be lifted on Monday.
What’s happening around the world
As of Sunday, more than 183.5 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported around the world, according to data published by Johns Hopkins University in the United States. The reported global death toll stood at more than 3.9 million.
In Asia, Indonesia is requiring foreign visitors to be fully vaccinated as one of the entry requirements.
In Europe, Russia on Sunday reported more than 25,000 new cases of coronavirus infection, the largest number since January, as the country faces a sharp surge over the past month.
In the Americas, Dr. Anthony Fauci — the top infectious disease expert in the U.S. — says about 99.2 per cent of recent COVID-19 deaths in the United States involved unvaccinated people.
Have a coronavirus question or news tip for CBC News? Email: Covid@cbc.ca or join us live in the comments now.
How to play online casinos with minimal investment
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Busting the myths
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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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