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

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The latest:

Drug maker Johnson & Johnson says it will be able to provide 20 million doses of its single-shot COVID-19 vaccine to the U.S. government by the end of March, assuming it gets the green light from federal regulators.

J&J disclosed the figure ahead of a Congressional hearing on Tuesday looking at the country’s vaccine supply. White House officials cautioned last week that initial supplies of J&J’s vaccine would be limited.

The company reiterated that it will have capacity to provide 100 million vaccine doses to the U.S. by the end of June. That supply will help government officials reach the goal of having enough injections to vaccinate most adult Americans later this year. On a global scale, the company aims to produce one billion doses this year.

U.S. health regulators are still reviewing the safety and effectiveness of the shot and a decision to allow its emergency use is expected later this week. J&J’s vaccine would be the first in the U.S. that requires only a single shot.

Canada has an agreement with J&J for up to 38 million doses of its vaccine, pending approval from Health Canada. 

Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two doses spaced weeks apart. Executives from both companies and two other vaccine makers will also testify at Tuesday’s hearing.

WATCH | Biden talks about lives lost as U.S. COVID-19 death toll surpasses 500,000:

U.S. President Joe Biden said the coronavirus doesn’t discriminate between Democrats and Republicans during a televised address ahead of a candle-lighting ceremony honouring the 500,000 people who have died as a result of COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus. 1:42

The U.S. has seen more recorded cases of COVID-19 than any other country in the world, with more than 28.1 million recorded cases. President Joe Biden on Monday described the death toll, which surpassed 500,000, as a “truly grim, heartbreaking milestone.”

Biden urged Americans to resist becoming “numb to the sorrow” and “viewing each life as a statistic.” The people lost were “extraordinary,” the president said, noting that “to heal, we must remember.”

-From The Associated Press and CBC News, last updated at 7 a.m. ET


What’s happening across Canada

WATCH LIVE | Ministers and public health officials address Canadians:

Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam, Deputy Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Howard Njoo are joined by cabinet ministers to give an update on COVID-19 in Canada. 0:00

As of 11:25 a.m. ET on Tuesday, Canada had reported 851,236 cases of COVID-19, with 30,895 cases considered active. A CBC News tally of deaths stood at 21,747.

Health officials in Ontario reported 975 new cases of COVID-19 and 12 additional deaths on Tuesday. Hospitalizations stood at 718, with 283 COVID-19 patients in intensive care units across the province.

Quebec reported 739 new cases of COVID-19 and 13 additional deaths on Tuesday. Hospitalizations in the province stood at 680, with 120 COVID-19 patients in ICUs.

The growing threat from COVID-19 variants has prompted the Manitoba government to tighten some of its pandemic-control guidelines. Instead of 15 minutes, people will be considered contacts of a case — and be required to undergo testing and self-isolation — if they have been in close range of an infection for 10 minutes.

The province, which has to date identified four travel-related cases of the B117 variant, is also ending an exemption that allowed some household members of a positive case to avoid self-isolation. Going forward, everyone in the same home as a positive case will have to self-isolate and get tested.

“We need to ensure we’re aggressively managing cases and contacts,” Chief Provincial Public Health Officer Dr. Brent Roussin said Monday as the province reported 97 new COVID-19 cases and two additional deaths.

In Atlantic Canada, there were no new cases of COVID-19 reported in Prince Edward Island on Tuesday.

Newfoundland and Labrador reported 14 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, including one in the Labrador-Grenfell Health Region. As of Monday, the province had 407 active cases and five COVID-19 patients in hospital.

“I am cautiously optimistic that we are making progress but we are by no means out of the woods,” said Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Janice Fitzgerald.

Health officials in both Nova Scotia and New Brunswick reported one new case of COVID-19 on Monday.

Saskatchewan reported 177 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday. In neighouring Alberta, health officials reported 273 new cases of COVID-19 and 16 additional deaths.

In British Columbia, health officials reported 1,428 new COVID-19 cases over the past three days, for a total of 77,263 since the pandemic began. There have also been eight more deaths, bringing the number of fatalities linked to the novel coronavirus to 1,335 in B.C.

Across the North, there were 12 new cases of COVID-19 reported in the Nunavut community of Arviat on Monday. There were no new cases reported in the Northwest Territories or Yukon.

WATCH | Manitoba tightens health rules to curb growth of coronavirus variants:

Manitoba’s new definition of a close contact and revised isolation rules around COVID-19 are a good way to help get a very contagious infectious disease under control, says Dr. Isaac Bogoch, an infectious disease specialist and member of Ontario’s Vaccine Distribution Task Force. 2:47

Here’s a look at what else is happening across Canada:

-From The Canadian Press and CBC News, last updated at 11:30 a.m. ET


What’s happening around the world

Senegal’s Health Minister Abdoulaye Diouf Sarr gets vaccinated during the official launch of the vaccination campaign in Dakar on Thursday. (Seyllou/AFP/Getty Images)

As of early Tuesday morning, more than 111.7 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported worldwide, with more than 63 million of those cases listed as resolved on a tracking site maintained by Johns Hopkins University. The global death toll stood at more than 2.4 million — with more than 500,000 of those deaths in the U.S. alone.

In Europe, new COVID-19 regulations took effect Tuesday in Poland that lift quarantine requirements for people entering the country who have certificates of having been inoculated against the virus with a European Union-approved vaccine.

Also, kindergarten children, elementary pupils and persons taking care of them, as well as researchers studying in Poland or in a neighbouring country, are exempt from the 10-day quarantine. The government regulations published Monday night also allow people to visit health spas if they test negative no more than six days before arrival.

The U.K. unemployment rate rose for a sixth straight month in December as renewed coronavirus restrictions shut down most businesses across the country. The Office for National Statistics said Tuesday that unemployment rose to 5.1 per cent in December, up 0.1 per cent from the previous month and 1.3 per cent from a year earlier. The number of people on company payrolls has dropped by 726,000 since the pandemic began last February, with 58.5 per cent of the decline coming among people under 25.

Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson, wearing a face covering, sits in front of a laptop computer as he takes part in an online lesson during his visit to Sedgehill School in southeast London on Tuesday. (Jack Hill/AFP/Getty Images)

The figures don’t show the full impact of COVID-19 restrictions on employment because some 1.9 million workers remain on furlough. A government program covers 80 per cent of their wages.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday announced plans to slowly end a national lockdown in England in hopes of safely reopening the economy and social life as infection rates drop and widespread vaccinations reduce the threat from COVID-19.

In the Asia-Pacific region, the Philippine president will reject recommendations to further ease coronavirus quarantine restrictions until a delayed vaccination campaign kicks off, his spokesperson said.

President Rodrigo Duterte also rejected a plan to resume face-to-face school classes in some pilot areas until vaccinations, which have been set back by delays in the arrival of initial batches of COVID-19 vaccine, have been launched, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said.

The scheduled delivery on Tuesday of 600,000 doses from Sinovac Biotech Ltd. was postponed anew after the China-based company failed to immediately secure an emergency-use permit from Manila’s Food and Drug Administration. Sinovac got the authorization Monday.

Top economic officials have asked Duterte to consider further easing quarantine restrictions starting in March to bolster the economy, which has suffered one of the worst recessions in the region, and stave off hunger. But Duterte rejected the recommendations.

A health worker checks inside a box containing mock COVID-19 vaccines during a mock vaccination drill at the Philippine General Hospital last week in Manila. (Ezra Acayan/Getty Images)

“The chief executive recognizes the importance of re-opening the economy and its impact on people’s livelihoods,” Roque said, but noted that the president “gives higher premium to public health and safety.”

The Philippines has reported more than 563,000 confirmed cases and more than 12,000 deaths, the second-highest in Southeast Asia.

In the Americas, Mexico has received its first shipment of Russia’s Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine.

Some 200,000 doses arrived to Mexico City’s international airport late Monday night aboard a British Airways flight from Moscow. Officials plan to use the doses to begin vaccinating seniors in the capital’s most marginalized boroughs on Wednesday.

Mexico received its first shipment of vaccines from Pfizer in mid-December, but turned to Sputnik V in January when other expected vaccine shipments were delayed. Sputnik too arrives later than initially expected. Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin in late January. In early February, Mexican regulators gave Sputnik V emergency approval and the government signed a contract to bring 400,000 doses to Mexico.

A health-care worker applies a Sinovac’s CoronaVac vaccine on an elderly citizen in Sao Goncalo near Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, last week. (Ricardo Moraes/Reuters)

Brazil has fully approved the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE, its health regulator said on Tuesday, although a dispute over a supply deal means it has none to start an immunization program with.

It is the first coronavirus shot to receive full approval in Brazil, regulator Anvisa said. Vaccines developed by AstraZeneca and China’s Sinovac Biotech Ltd., have only been approved for emergency use.

The approval is good news for a country where the immunization campaign has been plagued by delays and political squabbling. However, it is unclear whether this will pave the way for a supply deal of a highly effective shot that is being rolled out globally.

“We hope to be able to move forward in our negotiations with the Brazilian government to support the immunization of the country’s population,” Pfizer’s Brazil boss Marta Diez said in a statement, without giving further details.

Brazil’s Health Ministry did not respond to a request for comment. President Jair Bolsonaro has criticized the terms of a deal proposed by Pfizer, saying it is overly onerous as it exempts the U.S. firm from potential liability for unforeseen problems. Pfizer has said other countries, including Brazil’s neighbors in Latin America, have agreed to those terms.

In the Middle East, Oman will not allow people from 10 countries to enter the country for 15 days to curb the spread of the coronavirus, in particular certain mutated strains.

In Africa, two of South Africa’s prime commercial property owners said this week they will extend rental relief to struggling tenants this year. South Africa is the hardest-hit country on the continent, with more than 1.5 million reported cases of COVID-19 and more than 49,000 deaths.

From The Associated Press and Reuters, last update at 9:45 a.m. ET

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

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The latest:

  • 2 travellers arriving in Toronto from U.S. fined $20K each for fake vaccination documents.
  • Have a coronavirus question or news tip for CBC News? Email: COVID@cbc.ca

In Europe, thousands of people protested France’s special virus pass by marching through Paris and other cities on Saturday. Most demonstrations were peaceful, but some protesters in Paris clashed with riot police, who fired tear gas.

Some 3,000 security forces deployed around the French capital for a third weekend of protests against the pass, which will be needed soon to enter restaurants and other places. Police took up posts along the city’s Champs-Élysées to guard against an invasion of the famed avenue.

With virus infections spiking and hospitalizations rising, French lawmakers have passed a bill requiring the pass in most places as of Aug. 9. Polls show a majority of French support the pass, but some are adamantly opposed. The pass requires a vaccination or a quick negative test or proof of a recent recovery from COVID-19 and mandates vaccine shots for all health-care workers by mid-September.

Tensions flared in front of the famed Moulin Rouge nightclub in northern Paris during what appeared to be the largest demonstration. Lines of police faced down protesters in up-close confrontations during the march. Police used their fists on several occasions.

Protesters face off with riot police in front of Paris landmark Moulin Rouge nightclub on Saturday. (Geoffroy Van der Hasselt/AFP/Getty Images)

As marchers headed eastward and some pelted officers with objects, police fired tear gas into the crowds, plumes of smoke filling the sky. A male protester was seen with a bleeding head, and a police officer was carried away by colleagues. Three officers were injured, the French media quoted police as saying. Police, again responding to rowdy crowds, also turned a water cannon on protesters as the march ended at the Bastille.

A calmer march was led by the former top lieutenant of far-right leader Marine Le Pen who left to form his own small anti-European Union party. But Florian Philippot’s new cause, against the virus pass, seems far more popular. His contingent of hundreds marched on Saturday to the Health Ministry.

Among those not present this week was François Asselineau, leader of another tiny anti-EU party, the Popular Republican Union, and an ardent campaigner against the health pass, who came down with COVID-19. In a video on his party’s website, Asselineau, who was not hospitalized, called on people to denounce the “absurd, unjust and totally liberty-killing” health pass.

A protester uses a face covering to protect against tear gas as police move their line during a demonstration in Paris on Saturday. (Adrienne Surprenant/The Associated Press)

French authorities are implementing the health pass because the highly contagious delta variant is making strong inroads. More than 24,000 new daily cases were confirmed Friday night — compared with just a few thousand cases a day at the start of the month.

The government announcement that the health pass would take effect on Aug. 9 has driven many unvaccinated French to sign up for inoculations so their social lives won’t get shut down during the summer holiday season. Vaccinations are now available at a wide variety of places, including some beaches. More than 52 per cent of the French population has been vaccinated.

About 112,000 people have died of the virus in France since the start of the pandemic.


What’s happening in Canada

Workers prepare COVID-19 vaccine shots at a mobile clinic in Montreal on Saturday. (Jean-Claude Taliana/Radio-Canada)

  • COVID-19 modelling group sounds alarm over Alberta’s case trajectory.
  • The end of an order: A timeline from N.B.’s first COVID case to life in green.

What’s happening around the world

As of Saturday, more than 197.6 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University. More than 4.2 million deaths had been reported.

People wearing face masks board a train in Tokyo on Saturday. (Kantaro Komiya/The Associated Press)

In Asia, the number of COVID-19 cases reported in Tokyo reached a daily record 4,058 at the mid-point of the Olympics, according to city hall on Saturday.

In Africa, health officials say cases have risen sharply in Senegal, Ghana, Nigeria and elsewhere in the continent’s West amid low vaccination rates and delta variant spread.

In the Americas, the U.S. state of Florida reported 21,683 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday, the state’s highest one-day total since the start of the pandemic, according to federal health data.

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Window narrowing for Canada to hit COVID-19 vaccination targets needed to avoid worst of fourth wave – The Globe and Mail

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Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam provides an update on the COVID-19 pandemic during a press conference in Ottawa, November 2020.

Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press

Canada is in a race against the clock to vaccinate enough people to avoid the worst-case scenarios of a fourth wave of the coronavirus pandemic, driven by the highly contagious Delta variant.

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam and her deputy Howard Njoo presented the monthly modelling update at a news conference on Friday, showing an uptick in COVID-19 cases. They outlined the potential for numbers to surge in the next month past those seen in the last wave of the pandemic, even if vaccinations increase. However, they said the increase may not lead to a comparable surge in hospitalizations and deaths.

“I think we are in a slightly precarious period at the moment in between these people trying to get the vaccines in and reopening,” Dr. Tam said.

The five-week countdown to Labour Day is the key focus for the government’s vaccination push, she said. The modelling from the Public Health Agency of Canada says more than 80 per cent of eligible people need to be fully vaccinated to avoid overwhelming hospitals in the case of a fourth wave. According to COVID-19 Tracker Canada, 81 per cent of eligible Canadians have received their first shot and 66 per cent are fully vaccinated. Health Canada has approved vaccines for people 12 and over.

Experts warn of a resurgence in COVID-19 cases as New Brunswick prepares to lift nearly all restrictions

The unofficial end of summer in Canada is also when colder weather and a return to classrooms will start driving more people inside. “This time is crucial for building up protection before we gather in schools, colleges, university and workplaces,” she said.

Some infectious disease specialists have said Canada should aim for at least a 90 per cent vaccination rate for eligible people in order to limit the impact of the fourth wave. Dr. Tam said her agency put the focus on protecting hospitals, but added vaccination shouldn’t stop at 80 per cent coverage.

“If we can get to 90, I’ll be popping open the champagne,” Dr. Tam said.

Getting to that level is no easy task and will require much more targeted outreach, said Noni MacDonald, a professor of pediatric infectious diseases at Dalhousie University and Halifax’s IWK Health Centre. Dr. MacDonald, who researches vaccine safety and hesitancy, said Canada has come close to but never fully hit the targets for other vaccines, but noted the context for COVID-19 is different because of how front-and-centre the disease is in daily life.

About 5 per cent of adults are hardliners who won’t get the vaccine, Dr. MacDonald said, but there is a “movable middle” group of people – including those looking for more information and others who face barriers owing to a disability, lack of trust in the the system, geographic challenges, irregular work schedules and even needle phobias. All those issues can be addressed, she said, pointing to B.C.’s effort to send mobile vaccination clinics to where people already are – namely beaches and summer camps.

“Barriers of access is a big deal … you’ve got to actively think about those barriers, and how as a health care program you can overcome them,” Dr. MacDonald said.

To reach higher vaccination levels, peer groups and neighbours can also play an important role in normalizing vaccinations and helping others access the shot, she added.

The Friday modelling also showed that even with 85 per cent full vaccination coverage, cases could surge to about 7,500 a day by the start of September if individual contacts increase by 25 per cent. If the number of people we come in contact with stays unchanged, the modelling predicts about 1,300 daily new cases by September. The trajectory will depend on how high Canada can push its vaccination coverage and “the timing, pace and extent of reopening,” Dr. Tam said.

Of the provinces, Alberta is taking the most aggressive approach to reopening, already ending the majority of its COVID-19 health measures and no longer requiring masks indoors. It will soon lift the self-isolation mandate and stop widespread testing and contact tracing. On Friday, Ontario said once it has met its remaining vaccination targets, it will end the vast majority of public-health measures, including capacity limits at events. However, it will still require masks indoors.

When asked about Alberta’s decision, Dr. Tam said she firmly believes in isolating cases and that the province’s decision puts more onus on individuals.

In June, the public-health agency’s modelling said Canada needed to hit 83 per cent full vaccination coverage to avoid overwhelming hospitals. On Friday, Dr. Tam didn’t explain why that figure was removed from the latest update. She said it was a “very granular number,” but added she does expect that Canada’s vaccination coverage will pass 83 per cent.

Younger people have had less time to book vaccine appointments than older populations who are more vulnerable to COVID-19 and were prioritized earlier in provincial and territorial vaccination campaigns. The Friday modelling underscored the need for many more 18-to-39-year-olds to get their jabs to protect hospitals in the next wave of the pandemic.

If only 72 per cent of that age group are fully vaccinated, then hospitals could again be overwhelmed. According to the models, that risk is greatly reduced if full vaccination coverage in that age group hits 80 per cent.

Know what is happening in the halls of power with the day’s top political headlines and commentary as selected by Globe editors (subscribers only). Sign up today.

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COVID-19 vaccines and travel: What Canadian-approved vaccines are accepted abroad – CTV News

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EDMONTON —
As Canadians begin to embrace a return to normalcy, many are considering the exciting prospect of travelling once again. But those who choose to go abroad may soon realize that picking a destination isn’t as straight forward as it was before the COVID-19 pandemic.

While a negative PCR test before departure is still required by most destinations, many countries also require foreign visitors to provide proof of vaccination against COVID-19 when entering.

Others may require travellers who aren’t fully vaccinated to quarantine before they’re allowed to travel freely within the country.

The problem is some countries do not currently recognize travellers with mixed vaccine doses as being fully vaccinated – which could create serious hiccups for millions of Canadians whose doses don’t match.

Why is this the case?

Well, despite being recommended by Canada’s National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI), not all countries recommend the mixing-and-matching of COVID-19 vaccine doses.

Similarly, vaccines that have been approved for use in this country by Health Canada – like the AstraZeneca vaccine – have not been approved in other countries, like the U.S., further complicating matters.

TRAVELLING TO THE U.S.

While the U.S. land border remains closed to Canadians, you can fly to the U.S. pending proof of a negative molecular or antigen COVID-19 test taken no more than three days before your flight.

There are currently no vaccination requirements in place for Canadian visitors to the U.S. But those with mixed doses could eventually find themselves in a pickle thanks to the country’s stance on mixing and matching.

“Only people who have received all recommended doses of an FDA-authorized or WHO-listed COVID-19 vaccine are considered fully vaccinated for the purpose of public health guidance,” a U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) spokesperson told CTVNews.ca in an email.

“COVID-19 vaccines are not interchangeable; the safety and effectiveness of receiving two different COVID-19 vaccines has not been studied.”

Some cruise lines that dock in the U.S. – like Norwegian Cruise Line – have said they will not recognize international passengers who’ve mixed and matched vaccinations.

Princess Cruise Lines guests who have received a vector vaccine, including AstraZeneca, as their first dose, followed by an mRNA vaccine “will not be considered fully vaccinated.” However, the company will allow for passengers who received mixed mRNA vaccine doses, such as Pfizer and Moderna.

Holland America Line and Carnival Cruise Line also currently have similar policies in place.

Keep in mind that proof of vaccination may be required for certain activities within the U.S., including concert venues and sporting events. All 41 Broadway theatres in New York City will require proof of vaccination for all performances through the month of October.

CARIBBEAN DESTINATIONS

Mixed vaccinations won’t be a problem for Canadian travellers heading to popular destinations like Jamaica – which considers anyone with two doses of a World Health Organization (WHO) recognized vaccine to be fully vaccinated – or Cuba and the Dominican Republic, which are not making any distinction between vaccinated or unvaccinated travellers.

But the issue has already caused confusion for those headed to Barbados, which reversed its policy to recognize travellers with mixed doses on July 15.

Trinidad and Tobago’s policy is also limiting for those with mixed vaccines.

“For 2-dose series COVID-19 vaccines, passengers must have received 2 doses of the same vaccine OR the first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine followed by the second dose of the Pfizer vaccine,” reads the country’s travel requirements.

“Passengers with any other combination of vaccines would NOT be considered fully vaccinated, at this time.”

EUROPEAN DESTINATIONS

Canadians who have been vaccinated with one or more doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine may run into another issue when travelling to Europe.

While the European Union has approved Vaxzevria, the European-manufactured version of AstraZeneca, it has not authorized COVISHIELD, the Indian-made version of the same vaccine that some 80,000 Canadians have received at least one dose of.

Because of this, countries like Italy, Portugal, Poland and Germany do not recognize COVISHIELD, preventing Canadians who received the vaccine from taking advantage of privileges offered to fully vaccinated travellers, such as being exempt from quarantine.

Luckily, a growing number of European countries have recently accepted the COVIDSHIELD vaccine, including Austria, Spain and France.

The United Kingdom also recognizes COVISHIELD. However, fully vaccinated Canadians travelling to the region still must quarantine no matter what type of vaccine they have, unlike American visitors.

No matter where you plan on travelling, be sure to read the fine print of the travel requirements for the country you plan on visiting, as each country differs in terms of vaccination and testing requirements. Most countries list this information on a government website under coronavirus information and entry requirements.

What vaccines are and aren’t recognized is also likely to change regularly as countries approve new vaccines and more data is collected on the efficacy of mixing and matching vaccines.

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