- Canadians who had allergic reaction to first vaccine dose can safely get second, advisory committee says.
Two provinces are set to ease restrictions on Monday as Canada’s top doctor says nearly 90 per cent of eligible residents in the country have been administered at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
“Nevertheless, since no vaccine is perfect, post-vaccination cases can be expected,” Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam said Sunday on Twitter.
“This is why it is important that vaccines are part of a comprehensive, layered protection strategy that includes other practices and precautions.”
Tam’s comments come as British Columbia and Ontario are set to lift some public health measures starting Monday.
B.C. residents in swaths of the province will be allowed to attend events such as hockey games, concerts and weddings without any limits on numbers, but capacity will be capped at 50 per cent in areas where vaccination rates are low, including parts of the Fraser, Northern and Interior health regions.
Attendees at all organized events in B.C. will be required to wear face coverings and show proof of COVID-19 vaccination.
Ontario on Monday is also lifting capacity limits in a majority of settings where patrons are now required to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination. Those settings include:
- Bars and other food and drink establishments.
- Indoor areas of sports and recreational facilities such as gyms and where personal physical fitness trainers provide instruction.
- Casinos, bingo halls and other gaming establishments.
- Indoor meeting and event spaces.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced on Friday that the province plans to lift all COVID-19 restrictions by the end of March.
What’s happening across Canada
- P.E.I. launches fund for organizations needing tablets to verify Vax Pass.
- More establishments to re-open in Yellowknife with capacity limits, appointments.
What’s happening around the world
As of Sunday, more than 243.5 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported worldwide, according to a case-tracker maintained by Johns Hopkins University. The reported global death toll stood at more than 4.9 million.
In Africa, scientists in South Africa are attempting to reverse engineer and replicate the Moderna vaccine amid a global vaccine disparity that has disadvantaged the continent.
The number of COVID-19 infections recorded so far in eastern Europe surpassed 20 million on Sunday, according to a Reuters tally, as the region grapples with its worst outbreak since the pandemic started and inoculation efforts lag.
In Asia-Pacific, Melbourne, one of the world’s most locked-down cities that emerged from its latest spate of COVID-19 restrictions heading into the weekend, will see more curbs eased later this week when the Australian state of Victoria reaches an 80 per cent full vaccination rate, officials said on Sunday.
In the Americas, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top U.S. infectious disease expert, says vaccines for kids between the ages of five and 11 will likely be available in the first half of November
U.N. seeks record $41 billion for aid to hotspots led by Afghanistan, Ethiopia
The United Nations appealed on Thursday for a record $41 billion to provide life-saving assistance next year to 183 million people worldwide caught up in conflict and poverty, led by a tripling of its programme in Afghanistan.
Famine remains a “terrifying prospect” for 45 million people living in 43 countries, as extreme weather caused by climate change shrinks food supplies, the U.N. said in the annual appeal, which reflected a 17% rise in annual funding needs.
“The drivers of needs are ones which are familiar to all of us. Tragically, it includes protracted conflicts, political instability, failing economies … the climate crisis, not a new crisis, but one which urges more attention and of course the COVID-19 pandemic,” U.N. aid chief Martin Griffiths told reporters.
In a report to donors, the world body said: “Without sustained and immediate action, 2022 could be catastrophic.”
Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen, Ethiopia and Sudan are the five major crises requiring the most funding, topped by $4.5 billion sought for Taliban-ruled Afghanistan where “needs are skyrocketing”, it said.
In Afghanistan, more than 24 million people require life-saving assistance, a dramatic increase driven by political tumult, repeated economic shocks, and severe food insecurity caused by the worst drought in 27 years.
“We are in the business in the U.N. of trying to urgently establish with support from the World Bank as well as the U.N. system, a currency swap initiative which will allow liquidity to go into the economy,” Griffiths said.
“The absence of cash in Afghanistan is a major impediment to any delivery of services,” he said. “I am hoping that we get it up and running before the end of this month.”
In Ethiopia, where a year-old conflict between government and Tigrayan forces has spread into the Amhara and Afar regions, thousands have been displaced, while fighting, drought and locusts push more to the brink, the U.N. said.
Nearly 26 million Ethiopians require aid, including more than 9 million who depend on food rations, including 5 million in Tigray, amid rising malnutrition rates, it said.
“Ethiopia is the most alarming probably almost certainly in terms of immediate emergency need,” Griffiths said, adding that 400,000 people had been deemed at risk of famine already in May.
Noting that heavy fighting continued, with government forces battling Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front forces who have moved closer to the capital Addis Ababa, he added: “But capacity to respond to an imploded Ethiopia is almost impossible to imagine.”
(Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay; editing by Richard Pullin)
Doug Ford applauds new COVID-19 travel restrictions, says more discussions with feds to be held – Globalnews.ca
Ontario Premier Doug Ford thanked the federal government for implementing new travel restrictions in a bid to stop the spread of the Omicron COVID-19 variant and said more discussions will be held about possibly expanding new testing rules to travellers from the United States.
Ford made the remarks at an unrelated press conference in Mississauga Wednesday morning.
Several Omicron variant cases have already been confirmed in Ontario, and Ford said while it is a “cause for concern” it is “not cause for panic.”
“Every day we hold off more cases entering our country, the more time we have to learn and prepare,” Ford said.
“So the best thing we can do right now is fortify our borders. Our best defence is keeping the variant out of our country. We welcome the actions from the federal government and I want to thank the feds for taking action to date.
“We implored them last week to act quickly and be decisive on the borders and they did.”
In a statement last Friday, Ford called on the federal government to enact travel bans on “countries of concern” and the feds followed through just hours later.
On Tuesday, they expanded that ban to three additional countries.
Federal Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos said foreign nationals from Nigeria, Malawi and Egypt who have been to those countries over the past two weeks will not be able to enter Canada. This added to the seven other African countries barred by Canada on Friday: South Africa, Mozambique, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Lesotho and Eswatini.
Egypt, Malawi and Nigeria added to Canada‘s travel ban amid more restrictions
Canadians and permanent residents, as well as all those who have the right to return to Canada, who have transited through these countries over the past two weeks, will have to quarantine, be tested at the airport, and await their test results before exiting quarantine, Duclos said.
It was also announced that all air travellers entering Canada — excluding those coming from the United States — would have to get tested when they arrive and isolate until they receive a negative result. That measure applies to all travellers, regardless of vaccination status.
Duclos said Wednesday that it will take time to implement the new measure.
In his statement last week, Ford also called for point-of-arrival testing to be put in place.
He also said he advised the province’s chief medical officer and Public Health Ontario to “immediately implement expanded surveillance” and update planning to “ensure we are ready for any outcome.”
The Omicron variant has now been detected in many countries around the world, including, as of Wednesday, the United States.
Ford was asked if he would support expanding the new testing rules to those arriving from the States.
“I would always support anything that can be cautious to prevent this variant coming into our country. So, again we’ll have a discussion with the federal government. That’s their jurisdiction, it’s not ours,” Ford said.
“They work collaboratively with all the provinces and territories and I’m always for going the cautious route as I think people have seen over the last 20 months.”
The premier added that “it doesn’t take much to get a test at the airport.”
Federal Transport Minister Omar Alghabra said Wednesday that it’s too early to say whether Canada’s latest requirement to test arriving air travellers will be extended to include those coming from the United States.
“We need to be prepared and ready if we need to adjust that decision to include travellers from the U.S. We haven’t made that decision yet,” he said.
When asked what provincial measures are being considered in response to the Omicron variant, Ford said they will make sure there is expanded testing capacity and contact tracing.
Health Minister Christine Elliott said there is still much that isn’t known about the variant, including how effective vaccines are against it.
She said the province is “continuing with all of our precautions” and said it’s important to keep border restrictions in place until more is known about the variant.
Elliott also said more information will be released in the coming days “with respect to age categories” on booster shots.
— With files from Saba Aziz and The Canadian Press
© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
Omicron ‘blaming’ shows persistence of racism in healthcare -advocate
The persistence of racism is evident once again with the “blaming and shaming” of African nations for the Omicron variant of the coronavirus, health advocate Dr. Joia Crear-Perry said on Wednesday.
Speaking at a Reuters Next panel on racial disparities in Black maternal healthcare, Crear-Perry said the medical profession in the United States needed to stop resorting to racist tropes and start truth-telling.
“Even if you look at the latest blaming and shaming that’s happening around the latest Omicron variant you see the same history, the same racist trope of blaming certain places, assuming white nations and nations that have majority-white populations are going to need to be protected from places who are not,” she said.
“That’s the same legacy and history that shows up in health and same legacy and history that we have to have truth-telling around in order for us to stop that behavior of blaming and shaming and harming people.”
More than 50 countries have reportedly implemented travel measures to guard against Omicron, many of them banning travelers from southern African countries.
In guidance issued this week as reports of the Omicron variant spread, the World Health Organization (WHO) said: “Blanket travel bans will not prevent the international spread, and they place a heavy burden on lives and livelihoods.”
To watch the Reuters Next conference please register here https://reutersevents.com/events/next/
(Reporting by Donna Bryson in Denver; Editing by Matthew Lewis)
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