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



The latest:

Oxygen prices in Indonesia’s capital had more than doubled and some suppliers reported shortages on Tuesday after a surge in COVID-19 cases that prompted the Red Cross to warn of a coronavirus “catastrophe” in Southeast Asia’s biggest country.

Indonesia, which like many other countries is dealing with the more transmissible delta variant, has announced record daily COVID-19 infections of more than 20,000 in recent days.

With hospitals filling up in the capital of Jakarta and patients being turned away, some people sought to secure oxygen for infected family members at home. The price for a tank of oxygen had jumped to $140 US from the usual $50 US, suppliers said.

“I’m queuing here now to refill oxygen for my wife and son who are now positive with COVID-19,” said Taufik Hidayat, 51, at one supplier. “I went around and it all was sold out.”

Sellers in others areas in Jakarta told Reuters their stocks had also dried up.

Health-care workers prepare their personal protective equipment (PPE) before starting their shifts at a COVID-19 ward of a government-run hospital in Jakarta on Tuesday. (Willy Kurniawan/Reuters)

But Sulung Mulia Putra, an official at Jakarta health agency, said a shortage at hospitals was temporary and due to distribution issues that were being resolved.

“Distributors don’t have enough transport, so hospitals will be helped by the police, parks agency and Red Cross to transport oxygen,” he said.

Hospitals in several designated “red zone” areas have reported they are over capacity, including Jakarta, with its isolation beds 93 per cent occupied as of Sunday.

“Hospitals are full because of the case surge caused by mobility and loosening health protocol adherence, worsened also by the delta variant,” said senior health ministry official Siti Nadia Tarmizi.

The spread of the delta variant has prompted concerns of a crisis in the world’s fourth-most populous country on the scale of that seen in recent months in India, where the variant was first detected.

“Every day we are seeing this delta variant driving Indonesia closer to the edge of a COVID-19 catastrophe,” said Jan Gelfand, head of the Indonesian delegation of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).

Indonesia is banking on mass vaccinations to get on top of the virus, but only 13.3 million of the 181.5 million targeted for inoculation have received the required two doses

-From Reuters, last updated at 8:30 a.m. ET

What’s happening across Canada

WATCH | Expert breaks down the latest on vaccine mixing and matching:

A new study led by Oxford University researchers suggests mixing and matching COVID-19 vaccines generates good protection from the coronavirus. Infectious diseases specialist Dr. Isaac Bogoch explains what this might mean for Canadians. 4:08

As of 3:53 p.m. ET on Tuesday, Canada had reported 1,414,646 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 7,589 considered active. A CBC News tally of deaths stood at 26,269. More than 36.6 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered so far across the country, according to CBC’s vaccine tracker.

In the Prairies on Tuesday, Saskatchewan officials said there were 52 new cases of COVID-19 and another two people had died. 

Manitoba reported 61 new cases of COVID-19 and no additional deaths. The provincial government has selected 25 community groups and businesses to receive grants for projects that could help drive up vaccination rates. 

Officials in Alberta have not yet provided an update for Tuesday, but reported 31 cases and two deaths on Monday.

In Atlantic Canada on Tuesday, officials in Newfoundland and Labrador said there were no new cases Tuesday.

Prince Edward Island reported one new case of COVID-19. The new case is the only active reported infection in the province. 

Want to visit P.E.I.? You can soon — if you have at least one vaccine dose: 

Nova Scotia also reported one new case of the disease caused by the novel coronavirus on Tuesday. The province’s Premier, Iain Rankin, and top doctor, Robert Strang, are set to provide an update on COVID-19 in the province later in the day.

New Brunswick, meanwhile, reported three new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday.

In Quebec, where COVID-19 restrictions were further loosened on Monday, health officials on Tuesday reported 71 new cases of COVID-19 and four additional deaths.

Ontario on Tuesday reported 299 new cases of COVID-19 and 25 additional deaths.

In a statement, a provincial spokesperson said that due to a “data review and clean-up,” Tuesday’s numbers include “90 cases from 2020 that have been included in Toronto’s case count.”

“Additionally, 19 deaths from previous months have also been included,” the statement said. 

Across the North, there were no new cases of COVID-19 reported in Nunavut on Tuesday. Health officials in the Northwest Territories and Yukon have not yet provided updates for the day. However, health officials in Yukon reported 24 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, with the majority in Whitehorse.

WATCH | Top Manitoba doctor urges caution about contacts even as cases decline: 

Dr. Brent Roussin says it’s important for Manitobans to reduce their contacts because the province is still at risk. 0:55

In British Columbia, health officials on Monday reported 38 new cases of COVID-19. The update, which covered the weekend, also included five additional deaths.  

-From CBC News and The Canadian Press, last updated at 3:53 p.m. ET

What’s happening around the world

A health-care worker inoculates a woman with the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine outside the Rommel Fernandez soccer stadium, where the parking lot has been converted into a vaccination site, in Panama City on Monday. (Arnulfo Franco/The Associated Press)

As of early Tuesday afternoon, more than 181.5 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported worldwide, according to a coronavirus tracking tool maintained by U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University. The reported global death toll stood at more than 3.9 million.

In the Americas, the United States said it will donate one million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine to Paraguay.

Colombia, meanwhile, said it will receive a U.S. donation of 2.5 million doses of the coronavirus vaccine developed by Janssen, the pharmaceutical unit of Johnson & Johnson.

In the Asia-Pacific region, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte prolonged restrictions on movement and businesses in the capital and nearby provinces until mid-July and retained stricter curbs in central and southern areas, an official said on Tuesday.

In Europe, Russian authorities have reported 652 new coronavirus deaths on Tuesday — the highest daily tally in the pandemic. The new record comes as Russia struggles to cope with a surge in infections and deaths and low vaccine uptake. Although Russia was among the first countries to announce and deploy a coronavirus vaccine, only about 14 per cent of the population has received at least one shot.

A woman receives a dose of Sputnik V vaccine against COVID-19 in a vaccination centre at a shopping mall in Omsk, Russia, on Tuesday. (Alexey Malgavko/Reuters)

France’s government is urging all nursing home staff in the nation to get vaccinated. It’s sending more vaccine doses to a southwestern region where the delta variant of the coronavirus is spreading fast.

COVID-19 infections in Africa will likely exceed previous peaks within days, underscoring an urgent need to accelerate vaccine supplies and financing to the region, International Monetary Fund managing director Kristalina Georgieva said.

Tanzania will spend $470 million US buying vaccines and supporting economic sectors hit hard by the coronavirus, President Samia Suluhu Hassan said.

In the Middle East,  Abu Dhabi, the oil-rich capital of the United Arab Emirates, has announced that a wide range of public places will soon be accessible only to those vaccinated against the coronavirus in a bid to encourage more people to get shots.

The Emirati government on Monday said that starting Aug. 20, authorities will begin restricting access to shopping malls, restaurants, cafes, sporting activities, museums, gyms, schools and universities. The unvaccinated will effectively be barred from entering any business in the city except for supermarkets and pharmacies.

Abu Dhabi has already rolled out a “green pass” system that limits public access to those who have either received the shot or can show a negative virus test.

It comes as the country increasingly bets its economic reopening on its speedy vaccination campaign. The government says at least 93 per cent of Abu Dhabi’s population has received at least one dose of the vaccine.

-From The Associated Press and Reuters, last updated at 12:25 p.m. ET

Have questions about this story? We’re answering as many as we can in the comments.

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Canada’s wildfires could cost billions, kill thousands if nothing is done: report – Global News



Western Canada must urgently address the threats posed by highly destructive wildfires or face deadly and costly consequences, says a group of forest and environmental experts from British Columbia and the United States.

The experts, including Mathieu Bourbonnais, assistant professor of earth and environmental sciences at the University of B.C. Okanagan, predict devastating wildfires like those currently burning in B.C. will be “commonplace” by 2050.

The group has released a paper predicting billions of dollars spent on suppression and indirect costs from the fires _ as well as hundreds or thousands of premature deaths each year due to smoke exposure _ ifaction isn’t taken to address climate change and the “daunting” scale of fuel, such as fallen trees and dead vegetation, that’s built up.

“If you look at record-breaking seasons, we’ve spent hundreds of millions of dollars on fire suppression,” said Bourbonnais, a former wildland firefighter from Alberta.

Click to play video: 'Concerns about the adverse effects of B.C. wildfire smoke pollution'

Concerns about the adverse effects of B.C. wildfire smoke pollution

Concerns about the adverse effects of B.C. wildfire smoke pollution

“You can think about, if you spread that out over a couple of seasons, how may communities we could be engaged with on protecting watersheds, protecting drinking water sources, the communities themselves, high-value infrastructure, the ecosystems,” he said in an interview. “By doing that, we’re investing in a future that hopefully we don’t need to spend those kind of dollars on fire suppression.”

The group’s paper suggests creating patches of space in the forest that contain less flammable material, a strategy that can also boost the efficacy of fire suppression efforts, said Bourbonnais.

“Rather than crews responding to a fire with nothing but fuel in front of them, there are natural fire breaks, there’s old prescribed burns that help slow the fire down.”

Read more:
B.C. wildfire update: A pause in rapid fire growth but forecast remains hot and dry

Asked about the paper, the director of fire centre operations for the BC Wildfire Service said there was recognition of the work that needed to be done with communities as well as reducing fuel in the forests following historic wildfire seasons in 2017 and 2018.

“I’m part of many different planning tables and discussions within this province and within this ministry on how do we do this better,” Rob Schweitzer told a news conference on Thursday.

“Through prescribed fire, through utilization of Indigenous traditional knowledge in use of fire, as well as amending our forest harvesting practices and the woody debris left behind, are all pieces that we continue to discuss and actually start to change policy and implement new strategies to help reduce that amount of fuel.”

Click to play video: 'South Okanagan couple loses home to Nk’Mip Creek wildfire'

South Okanagan couple loses home to Nk’Mip Creek wildfire

South Okanagan couple loses home to Nk’Mip Creek wildfire

About 1,250 wildfires have charred 4,560 square kilometres of bush since the start of B.C.’s fire season in April, compared with the 10-year average of 658 fires and about 1,060 square kilometres burned over the same time period, Schweitzer said.

Three dozen of the 245 wildfires that were burning in B.C on Thursday were considered either extremely threatening or highly visible, including a 655-square-kilometre fire north of Kamloops Lake that prompted an evacuation order for nearly 300 properties.

There were 28 states of local emergency and more than 60 evacuation orders covering 3,443 properties on Thursday. Nearly 90 evacuation alerts covered 17,679 properties, where residents were told to be ready to leave at a moment’s notice, said Pader Brach, executive director of regional operations for Emergency Management BC.

The number of daily new fires has subsided this week, Schweitzer said.

Click to play video: 'Concern over long-term impact of Ontario wildfires'

Concern over long-term impact of Ontario wildfires

Concern over long-term impact of Ontario wildfires

But higher temperatures are expected to contribute to “severe burning conditions” in B.C.’s southern half, he added. The forecast should bring more fresh air to the Interior, he said, fuelling a “short-lived increase in fire growth” but also aiding firefighting efforts by air, which have been hampered by smoky skies.

The service also anticipates some lighting this weekend, Schweitzer said, and crews are standing ready if new fires start.

Environment Canada issued heat warnings stretching across B.C.’s southern Interior, inland sections of the north and central coasts, as well as the south coast and parts of Vancouver Island. The wildfire service warns the combination of high temperatures and low relative humidity will make fires even more intense.

© 2021 The Canadian Press

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Northern Canada may be a popular destination at the end of the world – CTV News



In the event of societal collapse, researchers suggest northern Canada may be “habitable” and could act as a lifeboat, but that other countries are better suited for survival.

The researchers found that Earth is in a “perilous state” due to rapid population growth and an energy consuming society that has altered the Earth’s system and biosphere. They say that societal collapse could happen in various forms, including economic collapse, worsening climate catastrophe, a pandemic worse than COVID-19, or another mass extinction event, which the researchers say is already underway.

The goal of the study, published in the journal Sustainability on July 21, was to create a shortlist of nations that could host survivors in the event of a societal collapse, where civilization could start over. The researchers evaluated the land, how much was available and its quality, how easy or difficult it is to travel to the country, available renewable resources, climate and agriculture, to determine where it would be best to survive the end of the world.

Islands with low population density, particularly those with distinct seasonal changes, fared the best with New Zealand topping the list. Iceland, U.K., Australia (specifically Tasmania) and Ireland made up the rest of the shortlist where it would be best for society to restart after a collapse.

Northern Canada, while not on the shortlist, could act as a “lifeboat” in the event of societal collapse due to climate change and extreme temperatures, but survival would rely on maintaining agriculture and renewable energy sources to keep the population alive.

The researchers showed that the shortlisted countries had strong renewable energy sources, were in temperate climates, and have plenty of agricultural land and space for growth. In the case of Iceland, where suitable land for livestock is not in abundance, this downside is offset by fisheries and the island’s wealth of renewable resources, of which geothermal resources have already been widely developed.

While this may give Canadians living in northern regions a chance to breathe a sigh of relief, there are still zombie fires to contend with as climate change warms the north and shortens winters.

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Coronavirus: What's happening in Canada and around the world –



The latest:

Health authorities in Thailand are racing to set up a large field hospital in a cargo building at one of Bangkok’s airports as the country reports record numbers of coronavirus cases and deaths.

Other field hospitals are already in use in the capital after it ran out of hospital facilities for thousands of infected residents. Workers rushed to finish the 1,800-bed hospital at Don Mueang International Airport, where beds made from cardboard box materials are laid out with mattresses and pillows.

The airport has had little use because almost all domestic flights were cancelled two weeks ago. The field hospital is expected to be ready for patients in two weeks.

The quick spread of the delta variant also led neighbouring Cambodia to seal its border with Thailand on Thursday and order a lockdown and movement restrictions in eight provinces.

-From The Associated Press, last updated at 6:30 a.m. ET

What’s happening in Canada

WATCH | Get the latest on Alberta’s plan to ease restrictions: 

Alberta will be pulling back on requirements for COVID-19 testing, contact tracing and quarantines, despite rising cases in the province. 2:05

What’s happening around the world

Spain’s head coach David Martin Lozano, left, is interviewed under COVID-19 precautions after a win over Serbia in a preliminary round men’s water polo match at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo on Sunday. (Mark Humphrey/The Associated Press)

As of early Thursday morning, more than 196 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University. More than 4.1 million deaths had been reported.

In the Asia-Pacific region, Tokyo reported 3,865 new cases on Thursday, up from 3,177 on Wednesday and double the number it had a week ago. Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Katunobu Kato told reporters the new cases are soaring not only in the Tokyo area but also across the country. He said Japan has never experienced an expansion of infections of this magnitude.

The World Health Organization’s Africa director says the continent of 1.3 billion people is entering an “encouraging phase after a bleak June” as supplies of COVID-19 vaccines increase. But Matshidiso Moeti told reporters on Thursday that just 10 per cent of the doses needed to vaccinate 30 per cent of Africa’s population by the end of 2021 have arrived. Some 82 million doses have arrived in Africa so far, while 820 million are needed.

A health worker administers a dose of the Janssen Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine in Dakar on Wednesday. Senegal is seeing an uptick in cases, sparking worry among health-care workers. (Leo Correa/The Associated Press)

Less than two per cent of Africa’s population has been fully vaccinated, and the more infectious delta variant is driving a deadly resurgence of cases.

“There’s a light at the end of the tunnel on vaccine deliveries to Africa but it must not be snuffed out again,” Moeti said. 

In the Americas, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said on Wednesday that 66.6 per cent of U.S. counties had transmission rates of COVID-19 high enough to warrant indoor masking and should immediately resume the policy.

COVID-19 continues to inflict a devastating toll on the Americas, with Argentina, Colombia, Cuba, Ecuador and Paraguay among the countries with the world’s highest weekly death rates, the Pan American Health Organization said.

In the Middle East, Iran on Wednesday reported 33,817 new cases of COVID-19 and 303 additional deaths. The country, which has been hit hard by COVID-19, is experiencing yet another surge in cases.

In Europe, Spain’s prime minister said existing measures to protect the most vulnerable from the pandemic’s economic fallout will be prolonged until the end of October.

Spain, one of the countries that was hardest hit at the beginning of the health emergency, has extended subsidies for the unemployed and furloughs for companies that have gone out of business to try to cushion an economic drop of 11 per cent of its gross domestic product in 2020.

-From The Associated Press, Reuters and CBC News, last updated at 11:15 a.m. ET

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