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

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The latest:

Health Canada approved the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for children 12 and older on Wednesday, prompting Alberta, Manitoba and the Northwest Territories to announce they would offer the shot to kids in that age bracket as part of their efforts to rein in the COVID-19 virus.

The vaccine announcement comes after a promising trial out of the United States, which Health Canada’s chief medical adviser said shows the shot is both safe and effective for children in that age group.

“It will also support the return to a more normal life for our children, who have had such a hard time over the past year,” said Dr. Supriya Sharma, Health Canada’s chief medical adviser.

The shot had previously only been approved for those aged 16 and up.

The American trial of more than 2,200 youth between the ages of 12 and 15, which used the same size doses and two-dose requirement as the vaccine for adults, recorded no cases of COVID-19 among vaccinated kids.

Sharma said about a fifth of all COVID-19 cases in Canada have occurred in kids and teens.

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney was the first to announce that starting on Monday, his hard-hit province would make vaccines available to everyone aged 12 and up.

Those born in 1991 and earlier can start booking their vaccines on Friday, while those born between 1992 and 2009 can make an appointment starting Monday.

The news comes the day after high rates of COVID-19 transmission in Alberta forced the closure of schools and resulted in tighter caps on outdoor gatherings and customer capacity in retail stores.

Manitoba followed suit on the Pfizer vaccine shortly after Alberta on Wednesday, saying it aims to make those 12 and up eligible to book a vaccine by May 21.

However, the medical lead of the province’s vaccine effort said it hasn’t yet been determined whether teenagers will be prioritized for immunization over older people.

The Northwest Territories also announced that starting Thursday, it will offer the Pfizer vaccine to those aged 12 to 17 in Yellowknife — where there have been recent clusters of COVID-19 cases involving young people.

To date, the territory has been inoculating its residents solely with the Moderna vaccine, which is approved for those 18 years of age and older.

-From The Canadian Press and CBC News, last updated at 5:30 p.m. ET


What’s happening across Canada

WATCH | Pfizer vaccine approval for kids 12-15 ‘very significant,’ says pediatrician:

Health Canada’s approval of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for children 12-15 is a ‘hopeful’ move toward herd immunity, says pediatrician Dr. Anna Banerji. 1:52

As of 3:45 p.m. ET on Wednesday, Canada had reported 1,256,749 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 81,952 considered active. A CBC News tally of deaths stood at 24,453.

Ontario on Wednesday reported 2,941 new cases of COVID-19 and 44 additional deaths. Hospitalizations stood at 2,075, with 882 people in intensive care because of COVID-related illness.

In Quebec, meanwhile, health officials on Wednesday reported 915 new cases of COVID-19 and five additional deaths. COVID-19 hospitalizations stood at 588, with 152 people listed as being in intensive care.

In Atlantic Canada, Nova Scotia reported a new daily high of 175 cases of COVID-19, up from the previous day’s high of 153. The province is currently in a lockdown as it deals with rising cases.

Newfoundland and Labrador reported six new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, as health officials provided more detail on an expanded vaccine rollout. 

In New Brunswick, health officials reported 11 new COVID-19 cases and one new death. They also reported the province’s first death of a person who developed a rare blood clot after receiving the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine.

Prince Edward Island reported no new cases.

WATCH | The reality of working in an ICU during the pandemic:

As Ontario wades through a brutal third wave of COVID-19, three health-care workers share the realities and emotional toll of fighting the pandemic on the front lines. 6:03

Across the North, Nunavut on Wednesday reported five new cases of COVID-19, bringing the number of active cases in the territory to 82.

Health officials in Yukon reported one new case. They also announced that as of May 25, people who are fully vaccinated will no longer need to self-isolate for 14 days upon entering the territory.

The Northwest Territories had not yet provided any additional information for the day.

In the Prairie provinces, Manitoba reported 272 new COVID-19 cases and two more deaths on Wednesday. Saskatchewan reported 196 new cases and two more deaths.

A three-step plan to reopen Saskatchewan’s economy is in the works, and Step 1 could be launched by the end of the month. Officials said three weeks after 70 per cent of residents aged 40 and up get their first shot, Step 1 goes into effect, with rules similar to what were in place last summer. The other two steps are also based on vaccination targets.

Alberta reported 2,271 new cases and three new deaths. Provincial data also showed 666 people were in hospital, with 146 in the ICU.

In British Columbia, health officials on Tuesday recorded 697 new cases of COVID-19, along with one new death.

From CBC News and The Canadian Press, last updated at 5:45 p.m. ET


What’s happening around the world

Separated by empty tables for physical distancing, domino players gather Monday at Maximo Gomez Park, also known as Domino Park, after it reopened following its closure last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, in the Little Havana neighbourhood of Miami. (Wilfredo Lee/The Associated Press)

As of Wednesday afternoon, more than 154.6 million cases of COVID-19 had been recorded around the world, according to a database maintained by Johns Hopkins University. The reported global death toll stood at more than 3.2 million.

In the Americas, the White House said U.S. President Joe Biden is setting a new vaccination goal to deliver at least one dose to 70 per cent of adult Americans by July 4. This comes as the administration pushes to make it easier for people to get shots and to bring the country closer to normalcy. The new goal includes fully vaccinating 160 million adults by Independence Day.

The U.S. is currently administering first doses at a rate of about 965,000 per day — half the rate of three weeks ago but nearly twice as fast as needed to meet Biden’s target. In research released by the government on Wednesday, experts projected that COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths in the U.S. will fall sharply by the end of July.

Rohan Aggarwal, 26, a doctor treating patients suffering from COVID-19, looks at a patient’s X-ray during his 27-hour shift at Holy Family Hospital in New Delhi earlier this month. (Danish Siddiqui/Reuters)

In the Asia-Pacific region, India accounted for nearly half of the COVID-19 cases reported worldwide last week, the World Health Organization said on Wednesday, as the country’s coronavirus deaths rose by a new high of 3,780 during the last 24 hours.

Daily infections also rose by 382,315, Health Ministry data showed, the 14th straight day of more than 300,000 cases.

Meanwhile, in Nepal, authorities extended a lockdown in the capital Kathmandu and surrounding districts by another week on Wednesday as the Himalayan nation recorded its highest daily tolls of COVID-19 infection and death.

A member of Nepal’s army wearing personal protective equipment looks out a vehicle’s window as he waits to transport the body of a person who died from COVID-19 to a crematorium. Nepal is being overwhelmed by a COVID-19 surge. (Navesh Chitrakar/Reuters)

Malaysia imposed movement restrictions in the capital Kuala Lumpur, adding to lockdowns that have been implemented across the country.

In the Middle East, Egypt is imposing new restrictions amid a spike in coronavirus cases, including banning all events, entertainment parties and other gatherings for two weeks, starting Thursday.

Iraq’s health minister has resigned more than a week after a deadly fire ripped through a Baghdad hospital for coronavirus patients and killed dozens.

The United Arab Emirates has extended a ban on entry for travellers coming from India, the Foreign Affairs Ministry said.

In Europe, the medicines regulator said it has started a real-time review of Sinovac’s vaccine, based on preliminary results from animal and human trials.

Poland offered to buy Johnson & Johnson vaccines from Denmark after Copenhagen excluded the shots from its vaccination program.

In Africa, a variant of COVID-19 first diagnosed in India has been detected in Kenya days after the same variant was detected in neighbouring Uganda.

Tanzania has suspended flights to and from India, the country’s Health Ministry said.

-From The Associated Press and Reuters, last updated at 1:15 p.m. ET


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Trudeau says he discussed border with Biden, but no deal

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Sunday he has spoken with U.S. President Joe Biden about how to lift pandemic-related border restrictions between the two countries but made clear no breakthrough has been achieved.

U.S. and Canadian business leaders have voiced increasing concern about the ban on non-essential travel in light of COVID-19 that was first imposed in March 2020 and renewed on a monthly basis since then. The border measures do not affect trade flows.

The border restrictions have choked off tourism between the two countries. Canadian businesses, especially airlines and those that depend on tourism, have been lobbying the Liberal government to relax the restrictions.

Canada last week took a cautious first step, saying it was prepared to relax quarantine protocols for fully vaccinated citizens returning home starting in early July.

Trudeau, speaking after a Group of Seven summit in Britain, said he had talked to Biden “about coordinating measures at our borders as both our countries move ahead with mass vaccination.” Canada is resisting calls for the border measures to be relaxed, citing the need for more people to be vaccinated.

The United States is ahead of Canada in terms of vaccination totals.

“We will continue to work closely together on moving forward in the right way but each of us always will put at the forefront the interests and the safety of our own citizens,” Trudeau told a televised news conference when asked the Biden conversation.

“Many countries, like Canada, continue to say that now is not the time to travel,” Trudeau added, though he said it is important to get back to normalcy as quickly as possible.

 

(Reporting by David Ljunggren in Ottawa; Editing by Will Dunham)

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Man with 39 wive dies in India

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A 76-year-old man who had 39 wives and 94 children and was said to be the head of the world’s largest family has died in north east India, the chief minister of his home state said.

Ziona Chana, the head of a local Christian sect that allows polygamy, died on Sunday, Zoramthanga, the chief minister of Mizoram and who goes by one name, said in a tweet.

With a total of 167 members, the family is the world’s largest, according to local media, although this depends on whether you count the grandchildren, of whom Ziona has 33.

Winston Blackmore, the head of a polygamous Mormon sect in Canada, has around 150 children from 27 wives – 178 people in total.

Ziona lived with his family in a vast, four-story pink structure with around 100 rooms in Baktawng, a remote village in Mizoram that became a tourist attraction as a result, according to Zoramthanga.

The sect, named “Chana”, was founded by Ziona’s father in 1942 and has a membership of hundreds of families. Ziona married his first wife when he was 17, and claimed he once married ten wives in a single year.

They shared a dormitory near his private bedroom, and locals said he liked to have seven or eight of them by his side at all times.

Despite his family’s huge size, Ziona told Reuters in a 2011 interview he wanted to grow it even further.

“I am ready to expand my family and willing to go to any extent to marry,” he said.

“I have so many people to care for and look after, and I consider myself a lucky man.”

 

(Reporting by Alasdair Pal and Adnan Abidi in New Delhi; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)

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Huawei CFO seeks publication ban on HSBC documents in U.S. extradition case

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Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou on Monday will seek to bar publication of documents her legal team received from HSBC, a request opposed by Canadian prosecutors in her U.S. extradition case who say it violates the principles of open court.

Meng’s legal team will present arguments in support of the ban in the British Columbia Supreme Court.

Meng, 49, was arrested at Vancouver International Airport in December 2018 on a warrant from the United States, where she faces charges of bank fraud for allegedly misleading HSBC about Huawei Technologies Co Ltd’s business dealings in Iran and potentially causing the bank to break U.S. sanctions on business in Iran.

She has been under house arrest in Vancouver for more than two years and fighting her extradition to the United States. Meng has said she is innocent.

Lawyers for Huawei and HSBC in Hong Kong agreed to a release of the documents in April to Meng’s legal team on the condition that they “use reasonable effort” to keep confidential information concealed from the public, according to submissions filed by the defense on Friday.

Prosecutors representing the Canadian government argued against the ban, saying in submissions filed the same day that “to be consistent with the open court principle, a ban must be tailored” and details should be selectively redacted from the public, rather than the whole documents.

A consortium of media outlets, including Reuters News, also opposes the ban.

The open court principle requires that court proceedings be open and accessible to the public and to the media.

It is unclear what documents Huawei obtained from HSBC, but defense lawyers argue they are relevant to Meng’s case.

Meng’s hearing was initially set to wrap up in May but Associate Chief Justice Heather Holmes granted an extension to allow the defense to read through the new documents.

Hearings in the extradition case are scheduled to finish in late August.

 

(Reporting by Moira Warburton in Vancouver; Editing by Howard Goller)

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