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

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The latest:

The number of COVID-19 cases continues to climb in parts of Canada, with Ontario reaching a new daily high of 1,328 on Sunday and setting a single-day record for a second consecutive day.

Toronto saw 434 of the new cases, followed by 385 in Peel Region, 105 in York Region, and 71 in Ottawa. Ontario’s daily case count of 1,132 new cases of COVID-19 reported on Saturday surpassed the previous provincial daily high of 1,050 cases reported on Tuesday.

A new colour-coded assessment system went into effect in Ontario on Saturday. Only Peel Region was deemed a red zone, while other hot spots such as York Region and Ottawa were labelled orange.

WATCH | Peel Region deemed red zone under Ontario’s new pandemic plan:

Earlier this week, the province rolled out its new tiered, colour-coded COVID-19 restriction framework. The red zone is less restrictive than the current modified Stage 2: restaurants and bars can serve indoors but only 10 customers are allowed inside, and gyms can open with restrictions. 0:56

Regions in the red category have, among other things, indoor restaurant dining limited to 10 people and gyms limited to 10 people indoors.

The orange level limits bars and restaurants to 50 people indoors, with no more than four seated together.

Alberta also saw a single-day high on Saturday, recording 919 new cases of COVID-19. The government’s website noted that due to technical issues, the numbers were preliminary and subject to reconciliation.

In Manitoba, a news briefing will be held Sunday to address a COVID-19 outbreak that has claimed the lives of 22 people at a long-term care home in Winnipeg.

Manitoba Health, Seniors and Active Living Minister Cameron Friesen will talk about the situation unfolding at Maples Personal Care Home, where eight residents died over the course of just two days.

City police officers wearing protective suits were seen entering the home Saturday evening. They headed to a forensic identification truck after leaving the facility.

The Winnipeg police duty office wouldn’t provide any information on Saturday night, but said the public information office is expected to provide more information on Sunday.

Manitoba, meanwhile, recorded 271 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday. 

British Columbia recorded 567 cases on Saturday. That figure, along with the 589 diagnoses documented on Friday, represent the highest case counts seen in the province to date.

WATCH | B.C.’s top doctor talks about hard-hit Fraser Health region:

Dr. Bonnie Henry says there are a number of factors, including a large number of essential workers and multigenerational families. 1:50

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said linear case growth turned exponential in the past two weeks in the Lower Mainland. She strongly recommended that travel in and out of Fraser Health region and Vancouver Coastal Health region be limited to essential travel only as part of new rules covering a two-week period.

The restrictions prohibit residents in the regions from making social visits to other homes and halts indoor group fitness activities like yoga and spin classes.


What’s happening across Canada

As of 10:30 a.m. ET on Sunday, provinces and territories in Canada had reported a cumulative total of 261,383 confirmed or presumptive coronavirus cases. Provinces and territories listed 213,971 cases as recovered or resolved. A CBC News tally of deaths based on provincial reports, regional health information and CBC’s reporting stood at 10,493.

Canada’s chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam noted Saturday that several regions are “experiencing accelerated growth” and urged Canadians to step up containment efforts.

She pointed to a growing number of people suffering severe COVID-19 illness as a worrisome trend that could further burden hospitals in the coming weeks, and warned that could be especially problematic as flu season intensifies.

“We need to retake the lead on COVID-19, by each reducing our close contacts to the best of our ability and employing key public health practices consistently and with precision,” Tam said in a statement.

In Quebec, 1,234 new cases and 29 more deaths were linked to the virus, with the province’s health department saying 11 of those deaths came in the past 24 hours.

Premier François Legault urged residents on Saturday to maintain efforts to keep COVID-19 at bay this winter. In an open letter, Legault thanked Quebecers for showing solidarity and expressed hope that grandparents will be able to see their grandchildren at Christmas.

Quebec officials have said they are especially concerned about Saguenay, north of Quebec City, and Lanaudière, north of Montreal — regions Legault has dubbed “the worst” in the province on a per-capita basis.

Saskatchewan is gearing up for municipal elections on Monday. Masks were ordered to be worn in indoor public spaces in Regina, Saskatoon and Prince Albert, starting Friday, so polling stations in those cities will be included.

Saskatchewan reported 116 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday — the second-highest reported number of COVID-19 cases for one day in the province — and two additional deaths.

A COVID-19 test site is pictured last month in Portage la Prairie, which is part of the Southern Health region that is moving to the red, or critical, level of Manitoba’s pandemic response system on Monday. (Lyzaville Sale/CBC)

Nova Scotia reported four new cases on Saturday, bringing the number of active cases in the province to 20, the highest number since May 23.

New Brunswick reported three new cases, all in the Fredericton region, and one new recovery on Saturday.

Newfoundland reported two new cases and one new recovery on Saturday. Health officials there are asking people who are returning from work at Manitoba Hydro’s Keeyask Generating Station to self-isolate after news of an outbreak at the site earlier this week.

Until recently, P.E.I. was the only province in Canada with no active cases of COVID-19. That changed Friday when it announced two new cases, men in their 20s and 50s who had travelled outside Atlantic Canada.

In the North, Nunavut confirmed its first COVID-19 case on Friday, in Sanikiluaq. 

Residents in the community of about 900 people are being asked to remain at home and to avoid mingling with those who are not part of their households, and all travel to and from Sanikiluaq is now restricted to cargo and emergencies.


What’s happening around the world

As of Sunday morning, more than 49.9 million of COVID-19 cases have been reported worldwide, with more than 32.8 million of those listed as recovered, according to a coronavirus tracking tool maintained by Johns Hopkins University. The global death toll stood at more than 1.2 million, the U.S.-based university reported.

According to a Reuters tally, global coronavirus infections exceeded 50 million on Sunday, while the latest seven-day average shows daily infections across the globe are rising by more than 540,000.

The number of cases in the Americas made up nearly half of the global total to reach 21,326,640, according to the World Health Organization coronavirus disease dashboard.

The United States recorded 9,810,609 confirmed cases and 236,642 deaths, according to data released by the John Hopkins University on Saturday afternoon. The seven-day rolling average of new daily cases in the U.S. is approaching 100,000 for the first time, according to the data.

The country has registered over 100,000 single-day cases in four consecutive days, including 131,420 new infections on Saturday.

Texas became the first state to surpass a million coronavirus cases in the United States on Saturday. The surge in new cases in the past week came mainly from Harris, Dallas and El Paso counties, based on a Reuters tally. The surge is straining medical facilities, with the city of El Paso converting a convention centre into a field hospital.

Fans watch the action on the 18th hole during the first round of the Vivint Houston Open at Memorial Park Golf Course last Thursday in Houston, Tex. It’s the first PGA Tour event to allow general admission spectators since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

In Europe, Portugal will impose localized night-time curfews from Monday to contain the spread of the coronavirus as the number of cases reached a record high, Prime Minister Antonio Costa announced in the early hours of Sunday.

“We cannot have the slightest doubt that everything must be done to contain the pandemic,” Costa told a news conference. “If we fail to do so, we must increasingly adopt more restrictive measures and compromise the month of December.”

In the Middle East, Iran reported 9,236 more cases of the coronavirus infection on Sunday, after reporting a new daily  high of 9,460 cases on Saturday. The country’s health minister also recorded 459 additional deaths.

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Ottawa extends international travel restrictions citing COVID-19 risk – CBC.ca

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The federal government has extended existing international travel restrictions to prevent the spread of COVID-19, barring entry to most travellers who are not Canadian citizens, permanent residents or people entering from the U.S. for “essential” reasons.

In a news release issued Sunday, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Bill Blair and Health Minister Patty Hajdu announced that travel restrictions on U.S. citizens and foreign nationals seeking to enter Canada from the U.S. will be extended until Dec. 21.

Similarly, restrictions on travellers arriving from other countries will be extended until Jan. 21, as will the mandatory requirement for anyone who is granted entry to self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival.

Emergency orders brought forward on Mar. 16 banned most foreign nationals from entering Canada for non-essential travel. There are a number of exceptions for immediate family members of citizens, essential workers, seasonal workers, caregivers and international students, to name a few.

By extending the expiration dates to the 21st of the month, today’s change brings the timing of the international travel restrictions in alignment with those governing the Canada-U.S. land border. Previously, international restrictions expired on the last day of each month while the Canada-U.S. border restrictions expired on the 21st.

Both have been regularly extended since March.

“The government continues to evaluate the travel restrictions and prohibitions as well as the requirement to quarantine or isolate on an ongoing basis to ensure Canadians remain healthy and safe,” the release said.

“The ability to align U.S. and international travel extension dates, as well as the mandatory isolation order, beginning on Jan. 21, 2021 will enable the government to communicate any travel extensions or changes as quickly as possible and provide certainty for Canadians, U.S. and international travelers.”

International travel restrictions on U.S. citizens and foreign nationals seeking to enter Canada from the U.S. will be extended until Dec. 21. (Rob Gurdebeke/The Canadian Press)

Exemption for amateur sports events

The release also said the government will begin accepting applications from “high-performance amateur sport organizations” seeking to hold single sport events in Canada. Applicants will need to show they have a plan to protect public health that is approved by provincial or territorial officials and the relevant local health authorities in order to be considered.

Sport Canada, which is part of the Department of Canadian Heritage, will be responsible for authorizing such events, in consultation with the Public Health Agency of Canada, the release said.

More than 1,300 professional athletes have been issued national interest exemptions, which allow those who don’t qualify under current COVID-19-related restrictions to travel to Canada, or to skip the mandatory 14-day quarantine when they arrive.

Last month, the federal government expanded the eligibility for people coming from the U.S. on compassionate grounds. Those changes governing family reunification have been broadened to include exceptions for certain extended family members of Canadian citizens and permanent residents including couples who have been dating for at least a year, including their children, grandchildren, siblings and grandparents. 

Despite travel restrictions, more than five million arrivals into Canada have been allowed to skip the 14-day quarantine requirement, according to data from the Canada Border Services Agency, mainly because they’re essential workers.

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Ottawa extends international travel restrictions citing COVID-19 risk – CBC.ca

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The federal government has extended existing international travel restrictions to prevent the spread of COVID-19, barring entry to most travellers who are not Canadian citizens, permanent residents or people entering from the U.S. for “essential” reasons.

In a news release issued Sunday, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Bill Blair and Health Minister Patty Hajdu announced that travel restrictions on U.S. citizens and foreign nationals seeking to enter Canada from the U.S. will be extended until Dec. 21.

Similarly, restrictions on travellers arriving from other countries will be extended until Jan. 21, as will the mandatory requirement for anyone who is granted entry to self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival.

Emergency orders brought forward on Mar. 16 banned most foreign nationals from entering Canada for non-essential travel. There are a number of exceptions for immediate family members of citizens, essential workers, seasonal workers, caregivers and international students, to name a few.

By extending the expiration dates to the 21st of the month, today’s change brings the timing of the international travel restrictions in alignment with those governing the Canada-U.S. land border. Previously, international restrictions expired on the last day of each month while the Canada-U.S. border restrictions expired on the 21st.

Both have been regularly extended since March.

“The government continues to evaluate the travel restrictions and prohibitions as well as the requirement to quarantine or isolate on an ongoing basis to ensure Canadians remain healthy and safe,” the release said.

“The ability to align U.S. and international travel extension dates, as well as the mandatory isolation order, beginning on Jan. 21, 2021 will enable the government to communicate any travel extensions or changes as quickly as possible and provide certainty for Canadians, U.S. and international travelers.”

International travel restrictions on U.S. citizens and foreign nationals seeking to enter Canada from the U.S. will be extended until Dec. 21. (Rob Gurdebeke/The Canadian Press)

Exemption for amateur sports events

The release also said the government will begin accepting applications from “high-performance amateur sport organizations” seeking to hold single sport events in Canada. Applicants will need to show they have a plan to protect public health that is approved by provincial or territorial officials and the relevant local health authorities in order to be considered.

Sport Canada, which is part of the Department of Canadian Heritage, will be responsible for authorizing such events, in consultation with the Public Health Agency of Canada, the release said.

More than 1,300 professional athletes have been issued national interest exemptions, which allow those who don’t qualify under current COVID-19-related restrictions to travel to Canada, or to skip the mandatory 14-day quarantine when they arrive.

Last month, the federal government expanded the eligibility for people coming from the U.S. on compassionate grounds. Those changes governing family reunification have been broadened to include exceptions for certain extended family members of Canadian citizens and permanent residents including couples who have been dating for at least a year, including their children, grandchildren, siblings and grandparents. 

Despite travel restrictions, more than five million arrivals into Canada have been allowed to skip the 14-day quarantine requirement, according to data from the Canada Border Services Agency, mainly because they’re essential workers.

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Which provinces are pushing Canada's COVID-19 active case count higher than ever? – CTV News

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TORONTO —
The number of active COVID-19 cases in Canada has more than doubled this month, as the total number of Canadians infected by the novel coronavirus since the start of the pandemic nears one per cent of the country’s population.

There were 364,810 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Canada as of end-of-day Saturday, according to a CTV News tracker, including 61,421 cases that were classified as active – an increase of 113 per cent over the 28,875 cases that were active as of Nov. 1. The current number of active cases is greater than the population of Fredericton, N.B.

Every part of the country has helped contribute to that surge. The Atlantic “bubble” has popped, with New Brunswick being the first Atlantic province to show COVID-19 activity at similar rates to the spring. There have also been significant ramp-ups in virus detections in the North, with Yukon reporting record numbers and Nunavut just starting to fall back from a worrying period that left it with the highest per capita infection rate in Canada.

It’s Central Canada and the West that are carrying the lion’s share of this phase of the pandemic, with the four most populous provinces all reporting record single-day infection totals since Friday.

Ontario and British Columbia set their records on Friday, logging 1,855 and 911 cases of the virus respectively. Alberta and Quebec took their turns on Saturday, with 1,731 new infections recorded in Alberta and 1,480 in Quebec.

All of this activity helped push Canada to a record single-day total of 5,967 new cases on Friday. That number fell to 5,743 on Saturday, albeit without any data from B.C.

Modelling data released by Canada’s chief public health officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, has projected that there could be 10,000 new cases of COVID-19 a day diagnosed in Canada by mid-December if Canadians do not do more to curb their interactions with others.

Dr. Ronald St. John, a former director-general of the Public Health Agency of Canada’s Centre for Emergency Preparedness, told CTV News Channel on Sunday that Canada is on track for that scenario, at which point large-scale lockdowns may be necessary in order to preserve capacity in the health-care system.

“That’s been repeated over and over in country after country after country, and Canada will be no exception,” he said.

THE WESTERN FRONT

While Ontario, Quebec and Alberta are all jockeying for first place in the race for the most infections, adjusting the data for population leaves us with a much different leaderboard.

The recent record-setting numbers in Ontario leave the heavily populated province with a seven-day average of 10.52 new cases per 100,000 residents – lower than any province outside Atlantic Canada.

By this measure, the Prairies are by far Canada’s current COVID-19 hotspot.

Alberta’s seven-day average increased Saturday to 30.91 cases per 100,000 residents, a new high-water mark for that province. Manitoba had been above the 30-per-100,000 line earlier in the week but fell to 29.19 per 100,000 as of Saturday.

Those two provinces are followed by Saskatchewan, which set a record Friday at 22.88 cases per 100,000 and fell back slightly on Saturday. Fourth place on the list is Nunavut – which, at 20.21 cases per 100,000, has cut its rate in half over the past week – and Quebec at 14.65 per 100,000.

To put the worries in Atlantic Canada in perspective, Nova Scotia has the highest rate in that region, at 1.64 cases per 100,000 population. Nonetheless, its government introduced a host of new public health restrictions this week in hard-hit parts of Halifax, closing restaurants for in-person dining, halting recreational and religious gatherings, and restricting retailers to 25 per cent capacity.

Alberta, which has a per capita infection rate nearly 19 times that of Nova Scotia, introduced its own province-wide restrictions one day later. Measures taken there include bans on social gatherings except with those in one’s household and indoor recreational gatherings, as well as capacity limits for religious services.

“When you look at the measures that the government of Alberta has put into place, they are similar to what Ontario and Quebec had in place before that didn’t work,” Dr. Anna Banerji, an infectious disease specialist at the University of Toronto, told CTV News Channel on Sunday.

“There might have to be a reality check coming up in the next little while.”

Meanwhile, in the United States, 42 out of 50 states have higher seven-day average infection rates, per capita, than Alberta, with 22 reporting new COVID-19 cases at double Alberta’s rate.

FEARS IN ONTARIO

Although Ontario is fairing relatively well compared to both other provinces and states – Hawaii is the only state that currently has a lower per capita infection rate – there are still concerns that COVID-19 activity might be enough to overwhelm the province’s health-care system.

The number of COVID-19 patients in Ontario intensive care units is already high enough to jeopardize some scheduled surgeries, and the province’s latest modelling data suggests the situation will only get worse before the end of the year.

The province has been gradually increasing restrictions in various regions based on local virus activity. Dr. Dale Kalina, medical director of infection at the Joseph Brant Hospital in Burlington, Ont., told CTV News Channel on Saturday that it will be “another week, at least” before those changes show up in daily case counts – and that some hospitals are already offloading patients to neighbouring facilities.

“We’re not going to be able to continue to do that if people don’t help us [by following public health measures],” he said.

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