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

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The latest:

  • Reopening anxiety: experts say shaking lockdown habits will be hard for some.
  • Calgary city council votes to rescind mask bylaw.
  • 36% of eligible British Columbians now fully vaccinated, as COVID-19 numbers keep falling.
  • Quebecers can now book a 2nd dose of vaccine just 4 weeks after 1st.
  • Indonesia facing surge in COVID-19 cases, preparing for more hospitalizations.
  • Have a coronavirus question or news tip for CBC News? Email: COVID@cbc.ca or join us live in the comments now.

Britain’s government says it is scrapping rules for self-isolation for those who are fully vaccinated starting mid-August, as the country prepares to lift most remaining coronavirus restrictions.

Currently, people who are notified they’ve come into close contact with someone who tested positive must enter self-isolation for 10 days. Health Secretary Sajid Javid says this rule no longer applies starting Aug. 16 to anyone who has received both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Young people under 18 years old will no longer need to isolate unless they test positive — a change that will come as a big relief for families with schoolchildren who have had to repeatedly isolate and miss school because of reported cases in their classes.

Javid said those who have come into close contact with an infected person will instead be advised to take a test as soon as possible. Officials are looking into removing the need for isolation after travelling abroad for fully vaccinated people, he said.

“Step by step, jab by jab, we’re replacing the temporary protection of restrictions with the long-term protection of vaccines,” he said.

Britain on Monday announced plans to scrap laws requiring face masks and physical distancing on July 19.

Javid, appointed late last month after Matt Hancock quit as health minister, has underlined the importance of other health issues, economic problems and education challenges that have built up during the pandemic.

“We can’t live in a world where the only thing that we are thinking about is COVID — and not about all the other health problems, our economic problems, our education challenges,” Javid told Sky News. “We have to make use of a vaccine that is thankfully working.”

Critics say Johnson and Javid have abandoned a pledge to take a cautious approach to lifting restrictions.

Javid said that by the time restrictions are lifted on July 19, there could be 50,000 COVID-19 cases a day — double current rates — and that cases “could go as high as 100,000.”

-From Reuters and The Associated Press, last updated at 9:40 a.m. ET


What’s happening across Canada 

WATCH | Travel quarantine lifted for fully vaccinated citizens, permanent residents: 

Canadian citizens and permanent residents returning from international travel no longer have to quarantine for 14 days if it’s been over two weeks since their second dose and their vaccines are approved by Health Canada. 1:58

As of 12:55 p.m. ET on Tuesday, Canada had reported 1,417,992 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 5,694 considered active. A CBC News tally of deaths stood at 26,377. More than 39.9 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered so far across the country.

In Quebec, health officials reported no additional deaths on Tuesday and 67 new cases of COVID-19.

Ontario, meanwhile, reported nine additional deaths on Tuesday and 244 cases of COVID-19, though Health Minister Christine Elliott noted 164 of the cases were new.

In Atlantic Canada on Tuesday, Nova Scotia reported seven new cases of COVID-19, while there were no new cases reported in New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island or Newfoundland and Labrador.

Across the North on Tuesday, there were no new cases reported in Nunavut. Health officials in the Northwest Territories and Yukon, which is dealing with an increase in COVID-19 numbers, had not yet reported updates for the day.

In the Prairies on Monday, Manitoba reported one additional death and 65 new cases of COVID-19. Saskatchewan, meanwhile, reported no additional deaths and 20 new cases of COVID-19.

In Alberta, health officials on Monday reported two additional deaths and 139 new cases since Friday. 

British Columbia saw three deaths since Friday and 87 new cases of COVID-19.

-From CBC News and The Canadian Press, last updated at 12:55 p.m. ET


What’s happening around the world

WATCH | ‘Premature’ for countries to drop COVID-19 restrictions, says WHO official: 

It’s ‘premature’ of countries to drop COVID-19 health restrictions and try to rush back to normal, said Dr. Michael Ryan, head of the emergencies program for the World Health Organization. (The Associated Press) 0:38

As of early Tuesday morning, more than 184.1 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported around the world, according to a tracker from Johns Hopkins University. The reported global death toll stood at more than 3.9 million.

In the Middle East, Israel will deliver about 700,000 expiring doses of Pfizer-BioNTech’s vaccine to South Korea this month, and South Korea will give Israel back the same number, already on order from Pfizer, in September and October.

In the Americas, Pfizer will reduce deliveries of its COVID-19 vaccine to Mexico for two weeks due to renovations at a Pfizer plant in the United States, Mexican deputy health minister Hugo Lopez-Gatell said on Tuesday.

Brazil’s government extended its emergency cash transfer program to poor families during the pandemic for another three months from August.

Doctors prepare syringes with the Sinovac coronavirus vaccine at a makeshift mass vaccination clinic on a football field in Surabaya, East Java, on Tuesday as the nation battles an unprecedented wave of new infections. (Juni Kriswanto/AFP/Getty Images)

In the Asia-Pacific region, Indonesia has prepared backup medical facilities for a worst-case scenario where daily infections reach 40,000 to 50,000, a senior official said, as the country battles its fastest-spreading outbreak.

Struggling to contain an outbreak of the highly transmissible delta variant, Fiji reported a record 636 infections and six deaths on Tuesday, with the mortuary at the Pacific island’s main hospital filled to capacity.

The premier of Australia’s New South Wales state said she aims to decide within the next 24 hours whether to extend a COVID-19 lockdown in Sydney.

In Europe, Luxembourg’s Prime Minister Xavier Bettel is in serious but stable condition after contracting COVID-19 and will remain in hospital for the time being, the government said.

A health-care worker prepares a dose of Russia’s Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre in Moscow late last week. (Natalia Kolesnikova/AFP/Getty Images)

Coronavirus deaths in Russia have hit another daily record, with authorities reporting 737 more fatalities amid a rapid rise in infections. Russia’s coronavirus task force on Tuesday reported 23,378 new coronavirus cases. The daily tally of confirmed infections has more than doubled in the past month, soaring from around 9,000 in early June to over 23,000 this week.

Despite the surge, the Kremlin has said there are no plans to impose another lockdown. Russia had one nationwide lockdown in the spring of 2020 that lasted six weeks, and the government has since resisted shutting down businesses.

The coronavirus task force has reported over 5.6 million confirmed coronavirus cases and a total of 139,316 deaths in the pandemic. The actual mortality rate is believed to be higher.

In Africa, South Africa reported 12,513 new cases of COVID-19 and 331 additional deaths. The country is currently in a lockdown as it tries to slow transmission of the virus.

-From The Associated Press, Reuters and CBC News, last updated at 9:35 a.m. ET


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


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Clean fuel standards allow companies to get both tax credits and sell carbon credits

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OTTAWA — Canada’s new emissions standards for gasoline and diesel will allow oil companies that get a federal tax break for installing carbon capture and storage systems to also generate credits based on those systems, which they can then sell to refineries and fuel importers.

Cabinet approved the final regulations for the Clean Fuel Standard last week and The Canadian Press obtained them Monday ahead of their intended publication July 6.

The regulations require Canadian companies that produce or import gasoline or diesel to register as “primary suppliers” and then show how they are ratcheting down the life cycle emissions for the fuels by a fixed amount every year until 2030.

Life cycle emissions include every greenhouse gas produced from initial extraction, through refining, upgrading and transporting, to their final use such as to power a vehicle.

To comply with the new standards, companies need to show that they have reduced the life cycle emissions the required amount through a variety of activities, including buying credits from other companies along the life cycle chain that have reduced their own emissions.

Those credits can come from things such as building electric vehicle charging stations, replacing coal or natural gas power plants with renewable electricity sources, producing and distributing biofuels, or investments in clean technology including carbon capture and storage.

Carbon capture projects that benefit from the new federal tax credit — worth 50 to 60 per cent of the project’s cost — can also generate Clean Fuel Standard credits for sale.

“So they’re double counting,” said NDP environment critic Laurel Collins.

Collins said the Clean Fuel Standard is an “essential” tool to drive investments and conversions to renewable energy, but as it currently stands, it’s not appearing to be doing much of that.

Keith Stewart, the senior energy strategist at Greenpeace Canada, said double counting projects isn’t going to generate additional emissions cuts, and instead just takes the financial weight off companies that are now rolling in cash.

“There is no rational way anyone should get a credit for the Clean Fuel Standard, and a 50 per cent tax credit, along with being able to write it off on the royalties, at a time when oil companies are making more money than God,” he said.

The federal government watered down the Clean Fuel Standard plan in 2020 at a time when fossil fuel companies were struggling because of a pandemic-related oil price plunge. But in 2022, oil prices have surged, largely because of the Russian invasion in Ukraine, and most Canadian companies reported record profits or near-record profits in the first quarter.

Collins is also dismayed that the implementation timeline for the new standards is being pushed back another six months. The draft regulations published in December said they would take effect in December 2022, but the final regulations push that back to the second half of 2023.

An Environment and Climate Change Canada official speaking on background because he was not authorized to speak publicly about the regulations yet said the date was moved to allow a longer time to create the emissions reductions credits gasoline and diesel producers need to comply with the emissions standards.

The Canadian Fuels Association wouldn’t comment on the final version of the regulations until the government officially releases them but said it has long supported the plan.

“The CFA and its members are obligated parties and have consistently been on the public record in support of the Clean Fuel (Standard) because it promotes a ‘technology neutral’ approach to decarbonizing fuels and provides policy certainty that is necessary for companies to plan and invest in low carbon fuels projects,” a statement from the association said Tuesday.

“In preparation for this regulation our members have already committed to billions of dollars of investments in low-carbon fuel technologies.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 28, 2022.

 

Mia Rabson, The Canadian Press

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Support dogs to comfort victims at Quebec’s specialized sexual violent courts

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QUEBEC — Some Quebec domestic assault and sexual violence victims will be able to be accompanied by a support dog during court appearances.

Justice Minister Simon Jolin-Barrette says a pilot project is being launched in collaboration with a guide dog training foundation and the province’s crime victims assistance group.

Support dogs will be offered in the province’s specialized courts that were recently created to handle cases of sexual violence and domestic assault.

Jolin-Barrette says the animals’ presence will provide comfort to victims and help them feel more confident and safe as they navigate the legal process.

The courts are located in Quebec City, Beauharnois and Bedford, in the Montérégie region; Drummond, in the Centre-du-Québec region; and St-Maurice, in the Mauricie area.

The Quebec legislature adopted a bill last year to create the specialized tribunals, which are designed to offer a supportive environment to victims who come forward to denounce their alleged abusers.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 28, 2022.

 

The Canadian Press

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Trudeau expected to face tough questions on Canadian military spending at NATO summit

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MADRID — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is expected to face tough questions at a major NATO summit this week as a new report released by the alliance ahead of the meeting shows Canada heading in the wrong direction when it comes to military spending.

Members of the 30-member military alliance agreed in 2014 to increase their defence spending to two per cent of their national gross domestic product, and the target is expected to be front and centre when the summit begins on Wednesday.

Trudeau met with NATO leaders Tuesday evening at a dinner hosted at the royal palace in Madrid by King Felipe VI, and will begin formal talks in the morning.

The new report released by NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg estimates Canadian defence spending will instead decline as a share of GDP to 1.27 per cent this year, down from 1.32 per cent last year and 1.42 per cent in 2020.

The report did not specify the reason for the expected decline, or whether it includes $8 billion in new military spending that was promised in April’s federal budget and whose purpose has not been clearly defined.

Asked about the report during a news conference at the end of this year’s G7 meeting in Germany, as he prepared to head to Madrid for the NATO leaders’ summit, Trudeau said the government has announced several “significant” new investments.

Those include $4.9 billion to upgrade Norad, the shared U.S.-Canadian system used to detect incoming airborne and maritime threats to North America, as well as plans to buy new fighter jets to replace Canada’s aging CF-18s.

The prime minister also said Canada has repeatedly proven its commitment to the NATO alliance by deploying troops and equipment on a variety of missions, including by leading a multinational NATO force in Latvia.

“Canada is always part of NATO missions and continues to step up significantly,” Trudeau said.

“We know how important it is to step up and we will continue to do so to make sure that the world knows that it can count on Canada to be part of advancing the cause of democracy, the rule of law and opportunities for everyone,” he added.

Successive Canadian governments have shown little appetite for meeting the two per cent spending target, which the parliamentary budget officer has estimated would require an extra $75 billion over the next five years.

They have instead emphasized Canada’s numerous other commitments to the alliance, including the provision of 700 Canadian troops to Latvia along with several naval warships to assist with NATO patrols in the North Atlantic and Mediterranean.

That is despite Canada having agreed to the target, as well as repeated exhortations from Stoltenberg and criticism from American officials in Washington calling on Ottawa to invest more in its military and collective defence.

The continuing decline in Canadian defence spending as a share of GDP will almost certainly lead to even more pointed questions for Trudeau in Madrid than was already expected, said defence analyst David Perry of the Canadian Global Affairs Institute.

This is particularly true given confusion surrounding the government’s announcement last week that it plans to invest in Norad modernization, with uncertainty around where the money is actually coming from, when it will be spent and on what.

“I would assume that they were hoping to send a message with the continental defence piece that irrespective of what’s happening in Europe, Canada’s got other defence commitments and that contributes to overall alliance security,” Perry said.

“But the mechanics of how the continental defence piece rolled out would take away from some of that.”

That defence spending is on a downward track when Canada is facing pressure to contribute more overseas and struggling with significant military personnel and equipment shortfalls is also a concern, said Robert Baines of the NATO Association of Canada.

“I’ve always been amazed that Prime Minister Trudeau has facility for dancing over the very serious situation Canada is facing when it comes to defence,” Baines said. “Trying to do so much, and then having so many resource issues and challenges.”

To that end, Trudeau sidestepped a question over whether Canada is prepared to send more troops to Latvia, as NATO seeks to double the size of its forces throughout eastern Europe in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Latvia’s ambassador to Canada told The Canadian Press earlier this week that Canada is talking with allies about reinforcing the Canadian-led battlegroup in his country.

The battlegroup in Latvia is one of four established by NATO in 2017, with Germany leading another such unit in Lithuania and Britain and the United States responsible for forces in Estonia and Poland, respectively.

Germany and Britain have both said in recent weeks that they are ready to lead larger combat units in Lithuania and Estonia, but Canada has so far remained silent about its plans in Latvia.

Trudeau also wouldn’t say whether Canada is prepared to put more of the military on high readiness, as Stoltenberg announced on Monday that the alliance plans to increase the number of troops on standby from 40,000 to 300,000.

“We have been working closely with NATO partners, with the secretary-general of NATO, and especially with the Latvians, where Canada leads the (battlegroup) and is committed to making sure we continue to stand up against Russian,” Trudeau said.

“We, like others, are developing plans to be able to scale up rapidly,” he added. “And those are conversations that I very much look forward to having over the next couple of days in NATO.”

Baines predicted whatever additional troops and equipment are added to the Canadian-led battlegroup in Latvia will predominantly come from other NATO members as Canada only recently deployed more troops to the region.

The government announced in February that it was sending an artillery unit and 100 additional soldiers to bolster the 600 Canadian troops already in the Baltic state. It also recently deployed two additional warships to the region.

Perry said it remains unclear how much more the Canadian military, which is short about 10,000 service members, has to spare.

“Maybe there’s an ability to find some more at the back of the cupboard,” he said.

“But if the alliance is going to collectively be stepping up with some additional … troop and equipment commitments, then I’m sure there’d be lots of pressure on us to be part of that as well.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 28, 2022.

— With files from Lee Berthiaume in Ottawa

 

Laura Osman, The Canadian Press

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