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

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The latest:

A new variant of the coronavirus that may be more contagious has been found in a Colorado man who had not been travelling, triggering a host of questions about how the first U.S. case of the new version showed up in the Rocky Mountain state.

The new variant was first identified in England, and infections are soaring now in Britain, where the number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients has surpassed the first peak of the outbreak in the spring. The new variant has also been found in several other countries, including Canada.

Colorado officials were expected to provide more details at a news conference Wednesday about how the man in his 20s from a mostly rural area of rolling plains at the edge of the Denver metro area came down with the variant. The man is in isolation southeast of Denver in Elbert County, state health officials said.

For the moment, the variant is likely still rare in the United States, but the lack of travel history in the first case means it is spreading, probably seeded by travellers from Britain in November or December, said scientist Trevor Bedford, who studies the spread of COVID-19 at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle.

“Now, I’m worried there will be another spring wave due to the variant,” Bedford said. “It’s a race with the vaccine, but now the virus has just gotten a little bit faster.”

Public health officials are investigating other potential cases of the variant, which was confirmed by the Colorado State Laboratory, and performing contact tracing to determine its spread.

Scientists in the United Kingdom believe the variant is more contagious than previously identified ones — though they have found no evidence that it is more lethal or causes more severe illness. Experts also believe the vaccines being given now will be effective against the variant.

The U.S. has seen more than 19.5 million cases of COVID-19 and recorded more than 338,000 COVID-19 related deaths since the pandemic began, according to Johns Hopkins University’s tracking tool.

In hard-hit California, the state’s top health official said hospitals in Los Angeles County are turning to “crisis care” and bracing for the coronavirus surge to worsen in the new year.

Dr. Mark Ghaly’s comment came Tuesday as he extended strict stay-home orders in areas where intensive care units have few beds.

A health-care worker checks on patients inside an oxygen tent outside the emergency room at the Community Hospital of Huntington Park during a surge in positive coronavirus cases in California. (Bing Guan/Reuters)

Ghaly said Southern California and the agricultural San Joaquin Valley have virtually no ICU capacity to treat COVID-19 patients. He says some overwhelmed hospitals don’t have space to unload ambulances or get oxygen to patients who can’t breathe.

The state’s “crisis care” guidelines allow for rationing treatment when staff, medicine and supplies are in short supply.

California reported more than 31,000 new coronavirus infections Tuesday and 242 deaths. Nearly 25,000 people in the state have died from COVID-19 during the pandemic.


What’s happening across Canada

People protest outside the Tendercare Living Centre long-term care facility during the pandemic in Scarborough, Ont., on Tuesday. The care home has been hit hard by the coronavirus during the second wave. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press)

Ontario reported 2,923 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, another single-day high in the province. 

Health officials in Ontario also reported 19 additional deaths, bringing the provincial death toll to 4,474. Hospitalizations increased to 1,177, with 323 COVID-19 patients in intensive care units.

In Windsor, a hospital is postponing all non-urgent elective surgeries starting next month as COVID-19 hospitalizations rise “at an alarming rate.” Windsor Regional Hospital said the decision is difficult but necessary as rising COVID-19 admissions could mean a “critical shortage” of available acute care beds.

The record-high figure reported Wednesday comes after Ontario’s finance minister came under fire for travelling to the Caribbean for a vacation. Rod Phillips said in a statement Tuesday night that he left for a trip to St. Barts on Dec. 13 after the end of the legislative session.

Ontario, which went into lockdown on Dec. 26, is advising against non-essential travel. 

Premier Doug Ford said in a statement that he told Phillips his decision to travel was “completely unacceptable and that it will not be tolerated again — by him or any member of our cabinet and caucus.”

“I have also told the minister I need him back in the country immediately.”

WATCH | Minister’s travel outside Canada ‘completely unacceptable,’ says Ford:

Ontario Premier Doug Ford says travel outside the country by Finance Minister Rod Phillips was ‘completely unacceptable.’ Phillips left Canada on Dec. 13 on what he called a ‘previously planned’ trip. 2:22

Phillips said in his statement that he deeply regrets travelling over the holidays.

“It was a mistake, and I apologize,” his statement said. “I am making arrangements to return to Ontario immediately and will begin a 14-day quarantine as soon as I arrive.”

Ontario’s finance minister isn’t the only politician facing criticism over holiday travel — Quebec Liberal MNA Pierre Arcand is apologizing after travelling to Barbados.

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

As of 10:45 a.m. ET on Wednesday, Canada’s COVID-19 case count stood at 568,249, with 72,938 of those cases considered active. A CBC News tally of deaths stood at 15,397.

Quebec, the hardest-hit province in the country, reported 2,381 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, a new single day high.

– From CBC News and The Canadian Press, last updated at 10:45 a.m. ET


What’s happening around the world 

An employee cordons off an outdoor gym as part of a measure to avoid the spread of COVID-19 in Seoul on Wednesday. (Kim Hong-Ji/Reuters)

As of early Wednesday morning, more than 82 million cases of COVID-19 had been recorded worldwide with more than 46.4 million cases considered recovered or resolved, according to Johns Hopkins. The global death toll was approaching 1.8 million. 

In Europe, Britain on Wednesday became the first country in the world to approve a coronavirus vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University as it battles a winter surge driven by a new, highly contagious variant of the virus.

The British government said it had accepted a recommendation from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) to grant emergency authorization. In the European Union, meanwhile, the European Medicines Authority (EMA) said it requires additional data before it can approve the vaccine.

Meanwhile, lockdown measures in England will be extended to counter the rapidly growing number of cases of the new variant of COVID-19, Health Secretary Matt Hancock told BBC television.

German authorities have reported more than 1,000 coronavirus-related deaths in one day for the first time since the
pandemic began. 

The national disease control centre, the Robert Koch Institute, said Wednesday that 1,129 deaths were reported over the past 24 hours. That exceeds the previous record set a week ago of 962 and brings Germany’s total death toll to 32,107.

Physical distancing guidelines are seen near a ski slope in Winterberg, Germany, on Tuesday. (Leon Kuegeler/Reuters)

While delayed reporting of statistics over holidays and weekends is often an issue in Germany, the latest figure fits a recent pattern of high numbers of deaths.

Switzerland has documented five cases of a coronavirus variant from Britain and two cases of a South African variant, a Swiss Health Ministry official said on Tuesday.

In the Middle East, the United Arab Emirates has shattered its single-day record of new coronavirus infections, with 1,723 cases recorded on Wednesday.

In the Asia-Pacific region, the coronavirus situation in Tokyo is quite severe, and the Japanese capital could potentially face an “explosion” of COVID-19 cases, Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike said ahead of the New Year’s holiday.

Thailand has reported 250 new coronavirus cases, including 241 local transmissions, as the country grapples with an intensifying outbreak.

Devotees pray as they stay inside marked areas for physical distancing at a shrine for Hindu god Ganesh outside a shopping mall in Bangkok on Tuesday. (Gemunu Amarasinghe/The Associated Press)

Thailand has seen two major clusters developing since mid-December. One has mainly infected hundreds of migrant workers from Myanmar at a seafood market near Bangkok. And in recent days, a cluster has grown connected to a gambling den in an eastern province.

Australian authorities restricted movement and tightened curbs on gatherings in Sydney, hoping to avoid a coronavirus “super-spreader” event during the city’s New Year’s Eve celebrations.

In Africa, Nigeria faces oxygen supply challenges to treat coronavirus patients in parts of the country and unacceptable laboratory delays as case numbers rose to the highest recorded in a single week, health authorities said on Tuesday.

The new warnings from Nigerian officials come as the resurgent virus strikes across much of the world, bringing greater case loads and hospitalizations.

“There is an on-going review of the chain for the supply of medical oxygen for our medical facilities across the nation,” said Boss Mustapha, chairman of Nigeria’s coronavirus task force, naming the capital of Abuja as an area of concern.

In the Americas, Panama has signed agreements with four producers of COVID-19 vaccines to acquire a total of 5.5 million doses, enough for 80 per cent of the population.

– From The Associated Press and Reuters, last updated at 7:25 a.m. ET

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Canada adds 4,630 new coronavirus cases as global infections near 100M – Global News

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Canada added 4,630 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, bringing the total number of infections in the country to 753,011.

To date, the novel coronavirus has claimed 19,238 lives in Canada, with the majority of fatalities occurring in Ontario and Quebec.

Read more:
Coronavirus tracker: how many new cases of COVID-19 in Canada today?

However, over 671,000 Canadians have recovered after falling ill, and more than 21.3 million tests for COVID-19 have been administered.

In a series of tweets Monday, Canada’s Chief Public Health Minister Dr. Theresa Tam said while daily case counts are “trending down nationally, continuing concerns including the emergence of more transmissible virus variants, warn us that trends can change all too quickly.”

Story continues below advertisement

Tam warned that the risk of re-acceleration of the COVID-19 virus is “ever present.”

She urged the public to continue abiding by measures in place to stem the spread of the virus, including limiting their number of contacts, wearing masks and practicing physical distancing and good hand hygiene.


Click to play video 'Experts answer your COVID-19 questions, part 16'



2:25
Experts answer your COVID-19 questions, part 16


Experts answer your COVID-19 questions, part 16

Tam’s comments come as the vaccine rollout continues across the country.

Story continues below advertisement

According to Health Canada, as of Thursday, a total of 1,119,225 doses of the two vaccines approved to protect against COVID-19 had been distributed across the country.

[ Sign up for our Health IQ newsletter for the latest coronavirus updates ]

Of those, 839,949 doses have been administered, representing approximately 1.1 per cent of Canada’s total population.

New cases in the provinces

Ontario added 1,958 new cases and 43 more deaths on Monday. To date, the province has seen 256,960 infections and 5,846 fatalities.

In Quebec, 1,203 more cases were detected and health officials said 43 more people have died after testing positive for the virus.

The new cases bring Quebec’s total case load to 254,836 while the new fatalities push the death toll to 9,521.

Meanwhile, 240 new cases were detected in Saskatchewan, while 113 new COVID-19 infections were reported in Manitoba.

Five more people have died in Manitoba after testing positive for the virus, health officials said, while Saskatchewan said one more resident has died.

Read more:
Moderna vaccine approved: What we know about side effects, ingredients and doses

In Atlantic Canada, 27 more cases were reported, all in New Brunswick.

Story continues below advertisement

The new infections push the province’s total case load to 1,151, however, health officials said no one else has died.

Neither Nova Scotia nor Newfoundland and Labrador saw a new case or death on Monday.

Prince Edward Island did not release any new COVID-19 data, however, the latest data released on Tuesday said 103 of the province’s 110 cases are considered to be recovered.

In Western Canada, 1,088 more cases were reported.

Alberta added 742 new infections, for a total of 121,535.

Twenty-five new deaths mean that, so far, 1,574 people have died in Alberta after testing positive for COVID-19.


Click to play video 'Do new variants makes this a race between the coronavirus and the vaccine?'



3:43
Do new variants makes this a race between the coronavirus and the vaccine?


Do new variants makes this a race between the coronavirus and the vaccine?

Meanwhile, health authorities in British Columbia said 346 more people have contracted the virus, pushing the total number of infections to 64,828.

Story continues below advertisement

Officials also confirmed 26 additional fatalities have occurred since Friday, meaning the province has now seen a total of 1,154 deaths associated with COVID-19.

Read more:
Coronavirus vaccine tracker: How many Canadians are vaccinated against COVID-19?

Two new cases in Nunavut bring the total number of infections in the territory to 282, however health authorities say 264 of those cases are recovered.

No new cases or fatalities were reported in the Yukon or Northwest Territories.

Global cases near 100 million

The total number of cases around the world neared 100 million on Monday.

By 8:30 p.m. ET, there were a total of 99,655,985 cases globally, according to a tally from Johns Hopkins University.

Since the virus was first detected in Wuhan, China, in late 2019, it has claimed 2,138,251 lives.

The United States remained the viral epicentre on Monday with 25,261,902 COVID-19 infections and more than 420,000 fatalities to date.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Canada adds 4,630 new coronavirus cases as global infections near 100M – Global News

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 on


Canada added 4,630 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, bringing the total number of infections in the country to 753,011.

To date, the novel coronavirus has claimed 19,238 lives in Canada, with the majority of fatalities occurring in Ontario and Quebec.

Read more:
Coronavirus tracker: how many new cases of COVID-19 in Canada today?

However, over 671,000 Canadians have recovered after falling ill, and more than 21.3 million tests for COVID-19 have been administered.

In a series of tweets Monday, Canada’s Chief Public Health Minister Dr. Theresa Tam said while daily case counts are “trending down nationally, continuing concerns including the emergence of more transmissible virus variants, warn us that trends can change all too quickly.”

Story continues below advertisement

Tam warned that the risk of re-acceleration of the COVID-19 virus is “ever present.”

She urged the public to continue abiding by measures in place to stem the spread of the virus, including limiting their number of contacts, wearing masks and practicing physical distancing and good hand hygiene.


Click to play video 'Experts answer your COVID-19 questions, part 16'



2:25
Experts answer your COVID-19 questions, part 16


Experts answer your COVID-19 questions, part 16

Tam’s comments come as the vaccine rollout continues across the country.

Story continues below advertisement

According to Health Canada, as of Thursday, a total of 1,119,225 doses of the two vaccines approved to protect against COVID-19 had been distributed across the country.

[ Sign up for our Health IQ newsletter for the latest coronavirus updates ]

Of those, 839,949 doses have been administered, representing approximately 1.1 per cent of Canada’s total population.

New cases in the provinces

Ontario added 1,958 new cases and 43 more deaths on Monday. To date, the province has seen 256,960 infections and 5,846 fatalities.

In Quebec, 1,203 more cases were detected and health officials said 43 more people have died after testing positive for the virus.

The new cases bring Quebec’s total case load to 254,836 while the new fatalities push the death toll to 9,521.

Meanwhile, 240 new cases were detected in Saskatchewan, while 113 new COVID-19 infections were reported in Manitoba.

Five more people have died in Manitoba after testing positive for the virus, health officials said, while Saskatchewan said one more resident has died.

Read more:
Moderna vaccine approved: What we know about side effects, ingredients and doses

In Atlantic Canada, 27 more cases were reported, all in New Brunswick.

Story continues below advertisement

The new infections push the province’s total case load to 1,151, however, health officials said no one else has died.

Neither Nova Scotia nor Newfoundland and Labrador saw a new case or death on Monday.

Prince Edward Island did not release any new COVID-19 data, however, the latest data released on Tuesday said 103 of the province’s 110 cases are considered to be recovered.

In Western Canada, 1,088 more cases were reported.

Alberta added 742 new infections, for a total of 121,535.

Twenty-five new deaths mean that, so far, 1,574 people have died in Alberta after testing positive for COVID-19.


Click to play video 'Do new variants makes this a race between the coronavirus and the vaccine?'



3:43
Do new variants makes this a race between the coronavirus and the vaccine?


Do new variants makes this a race between the coronavirus and the vaccine?

Meanwhile, health authorities in British Columbia said 346 more people have contracted the virus, pushing the total number of infections to 64,828.

Story continues below advertisement

Officials also confirmed 26 additional fatalities have occurred since Friday, meaning the province has now seen a total of 1,154 deaths associated with COVID-19.

Read more:
Coronavirus vaccine tracker: How many Canadians are vaccinated against COVID-19?

Two new cases in Nunavut bring the total number of infections in the territory to 282, however health authorities say 264 of those cases are recovered.

No new cases or fatalities were reported in the Yukon or Northwest Territories.

Global cases near 100 million

The total number of cases around the world neared 100 million on Monday.

By 8:30 p.m. ET, there were a total of 99,655,985 cases globally, according to a tally from Johns Hopkins University.

Since the virus was first detected in Wuhan, China, in late 2019, it has claimed 2,138,251 lives.

The United States remained the viral epicentre on Monday with 25,261,902 COVID-19 infections and more than 420,000 fatalities to date.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Canada braces for Biden’s expected executive order enacting ‘Buy American’ plan – Global News

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Less than a week after the economic gut punch of Keystone XL, Canada is bracing for more bad news today from the White House.

President Joe Biden is enacting a new Buy American regime to ensure U.S. workers and companies reap the benefits of government spending.

The plan promises to increase the amount of U.S. content a project would require to qualify as being “made in America.”

Read more:
Biden’s ‘Buy American’ plan could impact Canadian business — here’s how

It also includes a “crackdown” on waivers like the hard-won exceptions Canada secured during the Obama administration in 2010.

Today’s executive order comes less than a week after Biden rescinded a presidential permit for the Keystone XL pipeline expansion.

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It also establishes a new Made-in-America office in the White House to oversee the new rules and ensure they are properly enforced.

In a statement Monday, Canada’s Trade Minister Mary Ng said Prime Minister Trudeau emphasized that workers in both countries “benefit from our integrated, secure and resilient supply chains,” during his call with Biden on Friday.

“The Prime Minister and President agreed to consult closely, and discussions between our two countries are already underway,” the statement read.

Ng said Canada is the “largest export market for the U.S., buying more goods from the U.S., than China, Japan and the U.K. combined.”

“Canada is the number one customer for 32 U.S. states,” she said.

Ng said the Canadian government will “continue to work closely together to support sustainable economic recovery, create jobs, and grow the middle class in Canada and the United States.”

-With files from Global News

© 2021 The Canadian Press

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