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

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The latest:

  • U.S. to reopen land border to fully vaccinated Canadians next month.

  • Some unvaccinated people are going public after getting COVID-19. Will it convince others to get the shot?

  • Alberta’s vaccine passport will be in place into next year, Kenney says.

  • Still worried about getting a vaccine for COVID-19? Here’s how to understand the rare, but real, risks.

  • Have a coronavirus question or news tip for CBC News? Email: COVID@cbc.ca.

WATCH | Will Canadians with mixed dose vaccines be able to travel to the United States?

Will the U.S. recognize your mixed COVID-19 vaccine doses?

2 hours ago

Former U.S. assistant surgeon general Dr. Ali Khan talks about why he believes mixed doses of COVID-19 vaccines, which have been widely used in Canada, will soon be accepted as meeting the definition of “fully vaccinated” by the United States. 3:25

The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) said on Wednesday that COVID-19 cases are dropping overall in North America but remain high in the American Midwest, Alaska and Canada’s Northwest Territories, where infection rates are 10 times the national average.

Infections are also dropping across South America, though cases are up in the greater Caracas area of Venezuela, and in parts of Chile’s southernmost regions.

In the Caribbean, Barbados is reporting the highest number of COVID cases and deaths since the pandemic started, with a five-fold increase in infections over the last month, PAHO said.

The regional branch of the World Health Organization called for concerted action in the Americas to help every country reach WHO’s vaccination coverage target of 40 per cent of their population by the end of this year.

People line up to receive their vaccine in Managua, Nicaragua. The country has only vaccinated 20 per cent of its eligible population against COVID-19. (Maynor Valenzuela/Reuters)

So far, only nine countries in the region have vaccinated 50 per cent of their people, while six — Jamaica, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Haiti, Guatemala and Nicaragua — have yet to reach 20 per cent vaccination coverage, according to PAHO.

Without concerted action to increase the vaccination rate and public health measures, it is possible that COVID-19 could become endemic in the region, PAHO Director Carissa Etienne warned in a weekly briefing.


What’s happening across Canada

Quebec suddenly postpones vaccine mandate for health-care workers

5 hours ago

Quebec Health Minister Christian Dubé says the province will extend the Oct. 15 deadline for mandatory health worker vaccination to Nov. 15 to allow workers more time to get their shots. (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press) 0:58

WATCH | Getting a flu shot this year may be even more important than usual: 

Flu shot very important as pandemic lingers, says specialist

It’s hard to predict what kind of influenza season Canada might see this year, so people should get both their COVID-19 vaccines and a flu shot, even at the same time, says Dr. Susy Hota, Medical director for infection prevention and control at Toronto’s University Health Network. 5:12

What’s happening around the world

As of Wednesday afternoon, about 238.9 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University’s coronavirus-tracking tool. The reported global death toll stood at more than 4.8 million.

In Europe, Hungary has agreed to provide care to several dozen COVID-19 patients from neighbouring Romania in the coming days. Romania has struggled with record coronavirus cases, hospitalizations and deaths. The country has received 5,200 doses of monoclonal antibodies from Italy to assist with a rapid surge of infections amid low vaccination rates.

In the Asia-Pacific region, airlines are ramping up flights and ticket offers as some of the world’s strictest pandemic-related travel rules begin to ease.

In Africa, one of the largest religious denominations in Zimbabwe is also one of the most skeptical about the COVID-19 vaccine. Some followers of the secluded Apostolic Church believe vaccines are linked to Satanism. To combat that, authorities have formed teams of campaigners who are also churchgoers to dispel misconceptions about the vaccines in their own churches.

In the Americas, vaccination rates against COVID-19 in the United States have risen by more than 20 percentage points after multiple institutions adopted vaccine requirements, while case numbers and deaths from the virus are down, Biden administration officials said Wednesday. White House COVID-19 response co-ordinator Jeff Zients said mandates put into place by private businesses, health-care systems, social institutions and state and local governments have all contributed to the increase.

WATCH | Texas governor outlaws vaccine mandates:

Texas governor outlaws vaccine mandates

21 hours ago

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has banned any COVID-19 vaccine mandates, including for private businesses, while U.S. President Joe Biden is encouraging all employers to require vaccinations. 1:35

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N.Korea says U.S. overreacting over submarine missile test

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North Korea said on Thursday the United States was overreacting to its recent missile test and questioned the sincerity of Washington’s offers of talks, warning of consequences.

This week’s test of a new ballistic missile from a submarine was part of North Korea’s mid- and long-term plan to bolster self defense and was and not aimed at the United States or any other country, an unnamed spokesperson at Pyongyang’s foreign ministry said, according to the official KCNA news agency.

Washington had taken “overly provocative moves” by calling the test a violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions and a threat to regional peace and stability, the spokesperson said.

The Security Council met on Wednesday over the launch at the request of the United States and Britain, and the U.S. envoy urged Pyongyang to accept offers of talks, reiterating that Washington has no hostile intent toward it.

The foreign ministry spokesperson said the United States’ “double standards” over missile development cast doubt over its overtures.

“It is a clear double standard that the United States denounces us for developing and testing the same weapons system it already has or was developing, and that only adds suspicions to their sincerity after saying they have no hostility towards us,” the spokesperson said in a statement carried by KCNA.

The United States and the council could face “more grave and serious consequences” if they opted for wrong behaviour, the spokesperson said, warning against “fiddling with a time bomb.”

 

(Reporting by Hyonhee Shin; editing by Richard Pullin)

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Britain in talks to sell missiles in arms deal with Ukraine -The Times

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The UK government is in talks with Ukraine to sell it missiles for the first time in an arms deal, the Times reported on Wednesday.

Under the plans, the Ministry of Defence would provide surface-to surface and air-to-surface missiles to Ukraine, the newspaper added.

 

(Reporting by Nishit Jogi in Bengaluru; Editing by Leslie Adler)

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Biden says he’s concerned about Chinese hypersonic missiles

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U.S. President Joe Biden said on Wednesday he is concerned about Chinese hypersonic  missiles, days after a media report that Beijing had tested a nuclear-capable hypersonic glide weapon.

Asked by reporters as he was boarding Air Force One for a trip to Pennsylvania whether he was concerned about Chinese hypersonic missiles, Biden said, “Yes.”

The Financial Times said at the weekend that China had tested a weapon in August that flew through space and circled the globe before cruising down toward a target that it missed. China’s foreign ministry denied the report.

 

(Reporting by Nandita Bose; Writing by Mohammad Zargham; Editing by Leslie Adler)

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