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



The latest:

Quebec seems to have reached a peak in COVID-19 hospitalizations, but the province “can’t afford” to lift any more measures aimed at slowing the spread of infections, Premier François Legault said Thursday.

“Today, finally, we had a net decrease of hospitalizations, so 14 fewer people in hospital … [and] for the time being, things seem to be stabilizing at around 3,400 hospitalizations,” he told reporters.

However, Legault noted that Quebec is still missing about 12,000 employees in its health-care network, who are absent due to COVID-19, so people in the province should “stand in solidarity,” continue to follow measures, “stay prudent” and “think about hospital staff.”

“I understand we are all tired, but lives are at stake,” Legault said. “I’m currently under a lot of pressure to remove measures, but my duty is to be responsible, to protect the lives of Quebecers.”

Quebec on Thursday reported 3,411 hospitalizations, with 285 people in intensive care. The province’s COVID-19 situation report, which is updated daily, showed 98 additional deaths. The province also reported 6,528 new lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19.

Ontario to gradually lift restrictions

In neighbouring Ontario, Premier Doug Ford on Thursday announced a phased approach to lifting restrictions.

Among the changes, restaurant dining rooms, gyms, cinemas, museums and zoos — which have been closed since early this month — will be allowed to reopen at 50 per cent capacity on Jan. 31.

Ford said there will be 21 days between each reopening step, noting that pauses are a possibility if health indicators aren’t trending the right way.

“If trends remain stable or improve, Ontario will move to the next step on Feb. 21, and then March 14,” he said.

The provincial COVID-19 dashboard on Thursday showed hospitalizations at 4,061, with 594 people in intensive care. The province also reported an additional 75 deaths, though health officials noted the number reflected a data catch-up.

Ontario also reported 7,757 lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19.

In Alberta, Premier Jason Kenney on Thursday said the province would only consider relaxing COVID-19 restrictions further if there is a “sustained decline” in pressure on hospitals, which “would follow a sustained decline in new cases, of course.”

“I think we can reasonably expect to see 1,500 or more COVID patients in non-ICU beds when we reach the hospitalization peak a little later in January,” Kenney said at a news briefing.

COVID-19 hospitalizations in the province increased to 1,131 on Thursday, up by 30 from the previous day. Of those patients, 108 were in ICUs, a number unchanged from Wednesday. The province also reported eight additional deaths and 3,527 lab-confirmed cases.

-From CBC News last updated at 7 p.m. ET

What’s happening across Canada

WATCH | The life-saving decisions inside an Ontario ICU: 

The life-saving decisions inside an Ontario ICU

1 day ago

Duration 3:52

CBC News goes inside the intensive care unit of a Scarborough, Ont., hospital to witness the life-saving decisions staff have to make, where staff describe the common factors among patients. 3:52

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 Atlantic Canada, students in Newfoundland and Labrador will be back in the classroom as of next Tuesday, Premier Andrew Furey announced on Thursday. 

Dr. Janice Fitzgerald, the province’s chief medical officer of health, said at the same briefing that the number of people in hospital with COVID-19 had risen to 20 — the highest level of hospitalizations the province has seen in the pandemic. That figure includes four people in critical care, a statement from the province said.

The province also reported two additional deaths due to COVID-19 and 360 additional lab-confirmed cases.

Fitzgerald said school is important to children not just for their academic well-being — but also for their physical and emotional well-being. 

“COVID is circulating in our communities, and we will see that reflected in schools,” she said, noting that the province’s system can withstand a rise in cases among a “very low-risk age group.”

“At this time, the benefits of being in school for children outweigh the risks of COVID-19.”

The province will stay in Alert Level 4 as kids head back to class, which means officials will continue to urge people to stay home as much as possible.

New Brunswick on Thursday reported a total of 112 people in hospital with COVID-19, down from a record high of 123 on Wednesday. Of those, 12 were in intensive care, up from 11 the previous day.

The province also reported 488 new lab-confirmed cases and three additional deaths.

“The rate of people hospitalized and in ICU continues to most greatly impact people who are unvaccinated and those who are over six months from their second dose,” the New Brunswick health department said in a statement.

In Nova Scotia, health officials on Thursday reported three additional deaths. The number of hospitalizations related to COVID-19 rose by two to 85 patients. Twelve remained in ICU, a number unchanged from Wednesday.

The province also reported an additional 696 lab-confirmed cases.

Prince Edward Island on Thursday reported the number of people in hospital for treatment of COVID-19 remained at 10, with three patients in ICU, no change from the previous day.

There were also 294 additional cases of COVID-19, island officials said.

In the Prairie provinces, Manitoba on Thursday reported a total of 665 people in hospital with COVID-19, with 50 in ICU. Health officials also reported seven additional COVID-19-related deaths and 851 lab-confirmed cases.

In Saskatchewan, the province said the total number of people in hospital with COVID-19 stood at 215, with 23 people in intensive care. The province, which had no additional deaths to report on Thursday, also saw an additional 1,158 lab-confirmed cases.

Across the North, Nunavut’s Health Minister John Main on Thursday extended the territory’s public health emergency until Feb. 3 as 35 new lab-confirmed cases were reported.

Health officials in the Northwest Territories on Wednesday reported the first intensive care admission of the current Omicron-driven wave.

In Yukon, a spokesperson for the Yukon Workers’ Compensation Health and Safety Board said that people who believe they contracted COVID-19 at work will need a PCR test to make a workplace claim.

In British Columbia, health officials on Thursday said hospitalizations decreased by four patients to 891, with 119 people in ICU, an increase of four from Wednesday. The daily COVID-19 brief from the province outlined an additional 15 deaths and 2,150 lab-confirmed cases.

-From CBC News and The Canadian Press, last updated at 7 p.m. ET

What’s happening around the world

As of Thursday evening, more than 340.2 million cases of COVID-19 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, Austria’s parliament voted on Thursday to introduce a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for residents 18 and older, beginning Feb. 1, the first measure of its kind in Europe.

A person protests on the street in Vienna on Thursday before Austria’s parliament approved the introduction of mandatory COVID-19 vaccination for adults starting in February. (Lisa Leutner/The Associated Press)

Enforcement will only begin in mid-March as police routinely check people’s vaccination status. Exempted from the mandate are pregnant women, individuals who for medical reasons can’t be vaccinated, and people who have recovered from a coronavirus infection in the past six months.

Meanwhile, France will ease work-from-home rules from early February and allow nightclubs to reopen two weeks later, Prime Minister Jean Castex said on Thursday.

Caps on the number of people allowed into sports and entertainment venues will also be lifted on Feb. 2, and masks will no longer be required outdoors from that date.

Infections continue to accelerate in the Americas, reaching new peaks, with 7.2 million new cases and more than 15,000 deaths in the last week, the Pan American Health Organization said.

WATCH | N95 masks are increasingly in demand — but often hard to find: 

N95 masks often recommended, hard to find

1 day ago

Duration 2:02

Doctors have been recommending N95 masks to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, but for many people, they remain hard to find. 2:02

Mexico registered a record daily increase of more than 60,000 new cases, as the country steps up testing for the virus.

Meanwhile, in the U.S., the Biden administration is giving colleges and universities another $198 million to help them curb COVID-19 and address student needs, such as housing and food, amid the ongoing pandemic, the U.S. Department of Education said.

In the Asia-Pacific region, Hong Kong will suspend face-to-face teaching in secondary schools from Monday until after the approaching Lunar New Year, authorities said, because of a rising number of coronavirus infections in several schools.

In Africa, top public health bodies called for donated vaccines to come with a shelf life of three to six months so countries could plan their rollouts and avoid a situation where doses expire.

Health officials in South Africa on Wednesday reported an additional 4,322 cases and 156 deaths, though officials noted there was a backlog of deaths.

Meanwhile, in Algeria, officials announced that elementary and secondary schools would be closed for a period of 10 days in the face of a wave of Omicron cases.

In the Middle East, Saudi Arabia reported two additional deaths and 5,591 additional cases of COVID-19. The country recently announced that as of Feb. 1, people will need to show proof of having a booster dose to get into certain public spaces, like malls and restaurants.

-From Reuters, The Associated Press and CBC News, last updated at 6:50 p.m. ET

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The Gender War amongst Us



The United Nations define gender-based violence as any act of gender-based violence that results in or is likely to result in physical, sexual or mental harm or suffering to women and other persons, including threats of acts of violence, coercion and arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or private life.

Gender-Based Violence is a global public health problem that challenges and affects the morbidity and mortality of women and the LGBTQ Community. It is estimated that 30% of women and 85% of The LGBTQ have experienced at least one form of GBV in their lifetime since the age of 15. The United Nations study among Women of reproductive age revealed that Intimate Partner Violence(IVP) ranged from 15% in Urban Regions(ie Japan) to 71% in Rural Regions (ie Ethiopia)Evidence reveals that this problem is most prominent in developing nations where socioeconomic status is low and education limited, especially in sub-Saharan Africa countries.
Gender Prejudice and Violence directed towards Women and The LGBTQ Community is globally widespread, even within the well-educated populations of the developed world.

Gender-Based Violence is a common practice in Africa, Asia and developing nations in Latin America. Most African Cultural beliefs and traditions promote men’s hierarchical roles in sexual relationships and especially in marriage. Almost two-thirds (63%) of the African population live in rural settings which increases the difficulty to access basic amenities and communities are isolated from the influence of central governments or the laws that prohibit GBV. Despite legislative advances, GBV remains pervasive and a daily reality for Women, Girls and THE LGBTQ Communities. Within Rwanda, many Women and Girls experience multiple and intersecting forms of violence and oppression including intimate partner violence, sexual violence, early and forced marriages, genital mutilation and human trafficking.

Gender Biased Violence directed towards The LGBTQ Community is high within African society, where their lifestyle may appear as a challenge to other males’ masculinity or gender understanding. Within the Latin Community, such violence exists but is far less felt than in areas within Africa. The Latin Worlds’ understanding of masculinity seems to vary, appearing to be more accepting of “the different”. Many Latin Males have multiple gender partners even within marriage. African attitudes are far more conservative and unyielding.

Gender Politics have shaped our world, moving from ancient acceptance of the power and influence of Womanhood to a place where religion became the excuse to oppress Women and other elements of society like the LGBTQ Community. Humanities’ move toward freedom and self-expression has been squashed by the manipulative, powerful masculinity of Mankind. Impressions of a controlling, protective society show us what we are to believe and how we are to live our lives.

Equality, self-determination and self-expression for Women and the LGBTQ Community still remain important aspects of the developed world’s policymaking and implementation. Within the continents of Africa, Central and Latin America, and some Asian nations government policymakers attempt to legally establish the necessary laws to protect their populations, but cultural, political and societal traditions and prejudices have entangled themselves within these nations’ evolutionary movement towards equal rights and gender democracy. A Gender War remains among us, within us, allowing prejudice, fear and hate to shape our society. Like all wars, there are many casualties, but with education, determination and the hand of justice applied, this war can be won.

Steven Kaszab
Bradford, Ontario

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Journalists in Canada face 'alarming' levels of stress, trauma and harassment, report suggests –



Members of Canada’s news industry are suffering “alarming” levels of work-related stress and trauma, a new report suggests, and researchers are calling for better supports to help journalists cope with covering COVID-19 and other crises.

The findings, based on 1,251 voluntary responses to an online survey conducted between Nov. 1 and Dec. 18, 2021, showed that media workers have dealt with high rates of mental health conditions over the past four years.

Sixty-nine per cent of respondents reported anxiety, 46 per cent said they had depression, and 15 per cent said they experienced post-traumatic stress injury.

The lead researchers on the project said the report underscores how the upheaval of a pandemic-accelerated news cycle has exacerbated the pressures of working in a profession steeped in competition and tragedy.

“Our findings confirm our worst fears and suspicions about the industry,” Carleton University journalism professor Matthew Pearson said at a news conference on Parliament Hill on Wednesday.

“The onus is now on all of us — from the front lines, to newsroom leaders, executives and journalism educators — to grasp the gravity of this situation and meaningfully address it to reduce the harms Canadian media workers are suffering on the job.”

Co-author Dave Seglins, a CBC News journalist and mental health advocate, said the information age has ramped up stress for journalists facing more demanding workloads and perilous job security, while also opening the floodgates for online misinformation and harassment.

More than half of participants surveyed said they had experienced online harassment and threats, and 35 per cent said they had encountered harassment in the field.

The harms of harassment were particularly pronounced among women, transgender and non-binary journalists, the report said. Black, Arab, South Asian and Filipino journalists reported higher rates of online harassment. Workers who were more identifiable as members of the media, such as video journalists and photographers, were more likely to be targeted in the field.

The survey also indicated that exposure to trauma is taking a toll on media workers, with 80 per cent of participants saying they’ve experienced burnout as a result of reporting on stories about death, injury and suffering. Some participants also reported experiencing other emotional and psychological side effects, such as suicidal thoughts or “numbing out” by using alcohol or other substances.

More than half of participants said they had sought medical help to deal with work stress and mental health, while 85 per cent of those surveyed said they had never received training on mental health and trauma at work.

The “suck it up” culture of many newsrooms deters journalists from seeking help to manage their struggles due to fears about how speaking up could impact their careers, Seglins said, and many employers lack the expertise, resources and benefits needed to support journalists’ well-being.

He urged news organizations to collaborate with workers to identify and redress these gaps to ensure the proper functioning of the Fourth Estate.

“All of this is having a profound impact on the health of people who work in the news industry — the watchdogs of our democracy,” Seglins said.

The Canadian Press provided images for the report, and the survey was distributed to Canadian Press employees.

The polling industry’s professional body, the Canadian Research Insights Council, says online surveys cannot be assigned a margin of error.

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Canada donates $1 million to probe sexual violence by Russian troops in Ukraine



OTTAWA — Canada is committing an extra $1 million to help the international community investigate sex crimes by Russian troops in Ukraine.

Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly said Canada would give the extra funds to the International Criminal Court to help it investigate sexual violence toward women, and also crimes against children.

Ten RCMP officers, and Canadian civilian law enforcement experts, are helping to investigate war crimes in Ukraine, including sexual violence by Russian troops.

Global Affairs Canada said the extra money could be used to help fund specialist sexual violence investigations and to protect victims who may be witnesses in war-crimes cases.

The funds may also be used to provide psychological support for victims.

Joly said it was important that Russian troops who have used sexual violence against Ukrainians be brought to justice.

“Canada condemns in the strongest terms the use of conflict-related sexual violence and we will continue to work with partners such as the ICC to end impunity for these heinous crimes,” she said in a statement.

“Those who commit sexual violence in conflict situations must be held to account.”

At a meeting in Ottawa earlier this month with Ann Linde, Sweden’s foreign minister, Joly discussed the need to treat Russian troops using sexual violence as a weapon as war criminals.

Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Joly said 10 RCMP officers would help gather evidence of rape and sexual violence by the Russian military.

Linde said Sweden has also sent “experts on investigating sexual and gender-based crime” to help the ICC with its war crimes investigation. They are interviewing refugees — “mainly women and girls and children,” she said — as witnesses.

Ukraine’s ambassador designate to Canada told members of Parliament earlier this month that Russia is using sexual violence against women and children as a weapon of war.

Yulia Kovaliv told the House of Commons foreign affairs committee on May 2 that Ukraine is compiling “horrific documented evidence” of war crimes.

“The horror is that children are victims of these sexual crimes, which are done (before) the eyes of their parents,” Kovaliv said. “Sexual crimes is part of the Russian weapon (against) Ukraine.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published 26, May, 2022.


Marie Woolf, The Canadian Press

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