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

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The latest:

Germany has recorded nearly 20,000 new coronavirus cases in one day, its highest level yet.

The national disease control centre, the Robert Koch Institute, on Thursday said 19,990 infections had been confirmed in the past 24 hours. That tops the previous record of 19,059 set on Saturday. It brought the total case tally in Germany, a nation of 83 million people, since the pandemic began to 597,583. Another 118 deaths raised the total to 10,930.

Like other countries in Europe, Germany has seen a sharp rise in infections in recent weeks. A four-week partial shutdown took effect on Monday, with bars, restaurants, leisure and sports facilities being closed and new contact restrictions imposed. Shops and schools remain open.

Although Germany’s situation is alarming officials, many other European countries are in worse shape. The European Center for Disease Prevention and Control said Wednesday that Germany has 237 new cases per 100,000 residents over 14 days — some seven times lower than in Belgium.

Four regions in Italy are being put under severe lockdown, forbidding people to leave their homes except for essential reasons, in an effort to slow surging COVID-19 infections and prevent hospitals from being overwhelmed.

Premier Giuseppe Conte on Wednesday night announced what he described as “very stringent” restrictions on the so-called “red zone” regions of high risk: Lombardy, Piedmont, Valle d’Aosta in the north and Calabria, the region forming the “toe” in the south of the Italian peninsula.

Except for few circumstances, no one will be allowed to enter or leave “red zone” regions or even travel between their towns, although people can exercise by themselves and while wearing masks near home. Non-essential stores will be closed, although barber shops and hair salons can stay open, and only nursery, elementary and the first year of middle school will have in-class instruction.

Conte said the lockdown will begin Friday to allow time to organize. Designations will be reviewed every two weeks.

A member of the medical staff transports a stretcher past a medical tent used for COVID-19 testing near a hospital in Warsaw on Wednesday. Poland hit a daily high of nearly 24,700 coronavirus cases as the government introduced new restrictions in shops, schools and culture institutions through November. (Czarek Sokolowski/The Associated Press)

Poland reported a record 27,143 new coronavirus infections on Thursday, approaching a threshold at which the government has said it could be forced to impose a nationwide lockdown. On Wednesday, the government announced new restrictions to curb the COVID-19 pandemic and said it would impose a full lockdown if cases continue to surge.

Meanwhile, in England, a four-week lockdown began Thursday that will shut all shops selling items deemed non-essential, such as books and clothes. The other nations of the U.K. — Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland — have also announced wide-ranging restrictions on economic activity.


What’s happening in Canada

As of 7:30 a.m. ET on Wednesday, provinces and territories in Canada had reported a cumulative total of 248,218 confirmed or presumptive coronavirus cases. Provinces and territories listed 206,037 as recovered or resolved. A CBC News tally of deaths based on provincial reports, regional health information and CBC’s reporting stood at 10,336.

In Manitoba, the province’s top doctor is urging people to help “turn the tide on the transmission of this virus” as case numbers rise. Hospitals in the province were working to make space as health officials on Wednesday reported 374 new cases of COVID-19, its second highest daily tally. The province had 140 people in hospital, with 21 in intensive care.

“We announced 21 deaths in the last week alone. We had 21 deaths related to the flu last year in total,” Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Brent Roussin said  Wednesday. 

“We’ve learned a lot over time from this virus, but what we always knew is that this is not simply the flu.”

WATCH | COVID-19 more dangerous than the flu, warns Manitoba’s top doctor:

Manitoba has had 87 COVID-19-related deaths so far, with 21 announced in the last week alone, Dr. Brent Roussin said at a news conference Wednesday. That compares to a total of 21 deaths related to the flu in all of last year, he said. 0:50

In Ontario, Premier Doug Ford’s government is set to unveil its first pandemic-era budget, which is expected to lay out the details of the next stage of its COVID-19 response.

On Thursday, the province reported 998 new cases. Updated hospitalization data was not yet available, but as of Wednesday, the province had reported 367 hospitalizations, with 75 in ICU.

In Quebec, Premier François Legault is slated to give a COVID-19 update Thursday afternoon. The province reported 1,029 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday and 33 more deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus, including eight in the past 24 hours.

Hospitalizations increased by 13 compared with the prior day, to 539, and 81 people were in intensive care, a decrease of four.

In Atlantic Canada, Nova Scotia reported four new COVID-19 cases on Thursday, New Brunswick reported three new cases and Newfoundland and Labrador reported one new case, bringing an end to an eight-day run with no new cases in that province. Prince Edward Island has no active cases of the novel coronavirus.

Across the North, there were no new cases in Yukon, the Northwest Territories or Nunavut. But N.W.T.’s chief public health officer cautioned Wednesday that “more cases are inevitable” as cases mount across much of Canada. 

British Columbia reported 335 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday  and one additional death on Wednesday, bringing the death toll to 273. An update from provincial health officials said there were 92 people in hospital with 25 in intensive care. 

WATCH | 3-layer masks now recommended for COVID-19:

Canada’s top public health doctor now recommends three-layer non-medical masks with a filter layer to prevent the spread of COVID-19, something the World Health Organization has been recommending for months. 1:55

In Alberta another Calgary hospital is dealing with a COVID-19 outbreak. The province reported 515 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday and five additional deaths. The province reported 164 COVID-19 hospitalizations, with 30 in ICU.

In Saskatchewan, which reported 37 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, the provincial health authority is stepping up its staffing to allow for more contact tracing.


What’s happening around the world

An election worker takes ballots from a sorting machine at the King County Elections office in Renton, Wash., on Wednesday. Results of the U.S. presidential election were still being counted in some states on Thursday. (Jason Redmond/AFP/Getty Images)

As of Thursday morning, more than 48 million COVID-19 cases had been recorded worldwide, with nearly 32 million of those considered recovered, according to a case-tracking tool maintained by Johns Hopkins University. The U.S-based institution put the global death toll at more than 1.2 million. 

In the Americas, the U.S. set another record for daily confirmed coronavirus cases as several states posted all-time highs Wednesday, underscoring the vexing issue confronting the winner of the presidential race.

The total U.S. death toll is already more than 232,000, and total confirmed U.S. cases have surpassed nine million. Those are the highest totals in the world, and new infections are increasing in nearly every state.

In Minnesota, hospitals are under pressure and ICU beds are nearing full capacity as coronavirus cases reach a new high and hospitalizations continue to surge. 

Hospitals in hard-hit El Paso, Texas, are also under serious pressure, with 1,041 hospitalizations reported on Wednesday.

“Our hospitals are near breaking point, we need everyone to do their part to stop this virus,” said Dr. Hector Ocaranza, the health authority for the city and county.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is sending additional medical personnel and equipment to the city and local officials ordered a two-week shutdown of nonessential activities.

In Chile, President Sebastian Pinera said the country’s health regulator had given the go-ahead for clinical trials of AstraZeneca PLC’s COVID-19 vaccine.

In the Asia-Pacific region, mainland China has barred entry to some travelers from Britain and Belgium and set strict testing requirements on visitors from the United States, France and Germany, as it reimposed border restrictions in response to rising global cases.

Australia has agreed to purchase another 50 million doses of two more COVID-19 vaccines, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said, as Canberra aims to complete a mass inoculation program within months.

Registered Nurse Reem Jabbar conducts COVID-19 tests at the Bondi Beach testing clinic on Wednesday in Sydney, Australia. The testing clinic was expanded ahead of summer to increase testing capacity as health authorities encourage residents to remain vigilant for coronavirus symptoms as restrictions ease. (Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images)

India is reporting 50,209 new coronavirus cases for the previous 24 hours amid a surge in the capital of New Delhi, which officials now say is in its third wave of infections.

The Health Ministry on Thursday also reported 704 deaths from COVID-19 across the country, raising its toll for the pandemic to 124,315.

In South Africa, the hardest-hit country in Africa, health officials and cabinet are urging people to keep following guidelines aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19. With COVID-19 cases on the rise, President Cyril Ramaphosa is set to address the nation next week, according to local media. The country has more than 730,000 reported cases of COVID-19 and more than 19,500 reported deaths. 

In the Middle East, Bahrain has granted emergency approval for the use of a Chinese vaccine candidate currently in Phase 3 trials on frontline workers, state news agency BNA said.

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3 million Canadians could be vaccinated in early 2021, but feds warn of ‘logistical challenges’

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Federal officials sought to reassure Canadians today that Ottawa has a plan to procure and distribute millions of COVID-19 vaccines in early 2021, as the government’s critics argue that Canada seems to be falling behind other developed countries in planning for a mass vaccination campaign.

Health Canada regulators are reviewing clinical trial data, the government has signed purchase agreements for promising vaccine candidates and public health officials have procured needles and syringes for a future deployment, officials said. But top civil servants still don’t know how and when Canadians will be vaccinated due to a number of uncertainties.

Dr. Howard Njoo, Canada’s deputy chief public health officer, said the country will grapple with “some logistical challenges” in the months to come as it prepares to inoculate Canadians. He said the federal government will leverage the Canadian Armed Forces and an existing influenza vaccine distribution network to help with deployment.

Njoo warned that vaccine supply will be quite limited at first and will be reserved for “high priority groups” only — seniors in long-term care homes, people at risk of severe illness and death, first responders and health care workers and some Indigenous communities, among others.

A larger rollout, he said, will happen once supply chains stabilize and regulators approve more vaccine candidates for use in Canada.

If all goes well, and if U.S. pharmaceutical giants are able to meet delivery timelines, Njoo said as many as six million doses could be deployed in the first three months of 2021. Each patient will need two doses of Pfizer’s vaccine.

He cautioned, however, that it’s an “optimistic projection” and the details are far from certain right now.

Njoo said the federally run National Emergency Strategic Stockpile (NESS), which has storage sites across the country, already has procured the needles and syringes needed for vaccinations, which will be shared with the provinces and territories.

The federal government also has purchased cold storage for the promising Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, should they be approved for use here in Canada. Those two drugs are based on groundbreaking messenger RNA technology, or mRNA, which essentially directs cells in the body to make proteins to prevent or fight disease.

 

Dr. Supriya Sharma is the chief medical advisor for Health Canada 2:21

The government has been criticized by the opposition, provincial leaders and some public health experts for providing few details about its plans to roll out a vaccine once Health Canada gives one the green light.

While the U.S. has publicly released a robust distribution plan — 20 million Americans are expected to be vaccinated in December alone — Canadian officials have been largely quiet about how the deployment here will be structured. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is scheduled to speak with the premiers tonight to offer more specifics.

Njoo said there’s been a “great deal of preparation behind the scenes” and the government will provide more information about logistics, distribution and allocation at a later date.

 

There’s still no clear timeline for COVID-19 vaccinations in the new year. (Tony Talbot/AP)

 

Njoo did not offer a precise timeline, beyond a commitment to getting some Canadians vaccinated “early” next year.

Arianne Reza, an assistant deputy minister at Public Services and Procurement Canada, said she expects vaccines will be available in the “first quarter of 2021.”

She said Canada has so far finalized purchasing agreements with five different pharmaceutical companies — AstraZeneca, GlaxoSmithKline, Medicago, Pfizer and Moderna — while agreements with Johnson & Johnson and Novavax are being finalized now.

Canada is expected to receive at least 194 million vaccine doses, with contractual options for 220 million more. “Canada does have firm agreements,” Reza said. “We work every day with the vaccine manufacturers to firm up the delivery schedule.”

Dr. Supriya Sharma, the chief medical adviser at Health Canada, said her department has been reviewing clinical trial data on a rolling basis since October 9.

The rolling review process — a policy shift implemented because of the urgency of this pandemic — allows drug makers to bypass the lengthy timelines they normally face when launching a new vaccine.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is set to make its final decision on the Pfizer product on Dec. 10 — the company has reported a 95 per cent effectiveness rate — and Sharma said Health Canada is expecting to give approval for that product “around the same time. We’re on track to make decisions on similar timelines.”

“We don’t want to set up expectations that we might not be able meet. We’re working flat out,” Sharma said.

Reza said she doesn’t know when that product might hit our shores, but she’s hopeful for a fast turnaround.

“The minute regulatory approval comes through, they will be ready to go quite quickly with supply and initial shipments,” she said.

Sharma said drug companies could send vaccines to Canada for “pre-positioning” — stockpiling in advance of regulatory approval — but no vaccines have yet been shipped to our country.

Health minister should apologize to families of dead Canadians: Tory

Conservative MP Michelle Rempel Garner, the party’s health critic, said delays in vaccine deployment will lead to more COVID-19-related deaths. She said Health Minister Patty Hajdu should be prepared to apologize to Canadian families who lose loved ones to the virus.

“I know that sounds stark,” Rempel told a press conference. “But Canada’s inability to be clear on the details, to have a clear plan — when countries around the world have treated this with military efficiency and the severity that’s needed — will result in death.”

“Countries around the world will have the ability to vaccinate against COVID-19 but, in Canada, we will likely face 2,000 deaths per month because we don’t have the same ability,” she said, citing federal public health projections about the number of Canadians that could die each month if the virus continues to spread.

 

Conservative member of Parliament Michelle Rempel Garner speaks during a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Thursday, Nov. 26, 2020. (Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)

 

She said the government is perpetuating “mass chaos” and “mass confusion” by failing to release a clear distribution plan only weeks before an expected rollout.

She pointed to comments from Ontario’s health minister, Christine Elliott, who said Thursday she still wasn’t sure just how much her province will receive as part of the government’s coordinated vaccine bulk-buying program.

“I don’t even have words for how concerning this is … the provinces haven’t been brought to the table in a meaningful way. There’s a disconnect,” Rempel Garner said. “At the 11th hour, provincial governments shouldn’t be asking these questions.”

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Canada As a Prosperous Economic Nation For Immigration

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Canada has long enjoyed popularity as a great tourist destination. Immensely beautiful countryside and a vast array of outdoor activities, has always attracted tourists from different parts of the world. Cities such as Quebec and Montreal rich in tradition and also Toronto, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver with exemplary architecture are all worth the journey.

Canada has a large domestic and foreign tourism industry. This second-largest country in the world everything to lure globe trotters, from nature lovers, shopping buffs to adventure seekers. Canada belongs to the world’s leading economic nations. The country is rich in minerals and vegetable resources, has very fertile land for agriculture and forestry along with the immense potential for hydroelectric power have all contributed to its economic growth.

Canada is often referred to as a cultural mosaic, with one-fifth of its population comprising of foreign nationals, which is the highest ever proportion in the last 75 years. For the last decade, the Canadian economy has been growing rapidly by the aid of Immigration, low unemployment and significant trade surpluses with the United States.

Canada is preferred for Immigration all over the world due to its prosperous socio-economic structure, high education standards, lucrative career options and most importantly, not so stringent immigration laws. It is also a popular study destination, with over 1,300,000 international students studying at its various universities and institutes. International students experience a secure, peaceful and multicultural environment in Canada, getting the maximum exposure to work on a global platform.

The immigration policy of Canada can be divided into the temporary entry and Permanent Immigration. Under the Temporary entry, applicants can apply for Tourist Visa, Student Visa and Work permit. Tourist Visa to Canada allows visiting Canada for a period of two to five years. It is of three types, which are Single entry visa, multiple entry visa and transit visas.

Tourist visa to Canada does not entitle the visa holder to work in Canada. Canada Immigration and Citizenship department have developed a very systematic immigration procedure for economic class immigrants like skilled workers and business class immigrants. The Investor Immigration Program seeks experienced businessman to Canada who can support the economic development of the country. The categories under this program are investors, entrepreneurs and self-employed persons.

Many Immigration consulting firms provide useful guidance regarding the entire visa application process by asking the applicant to fill up free online assessment forms. To apply for permanent Immigration, the applicant needs to fill an application form that is reviewed by Canada Immigration authorities, who decide upon the eligibility of the candidate.

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As Crime Rises in Toronto, Criminal Lawyers Ensure the Accused Get a Fair Trial

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violent crime

Over the past two years, Toronto has soon a noteworthy uptick in the incidence of violent crime. While much of this has been the result of turf wars between mafia and other criminal organizations, it has also involved more random, unpredictable attacks that have claimed the lives of a tragic number of young Torontonians.

As is to be expected whenever there is a rise in violent crime, the police are aggressively working to prosecute suspects and renew public confidence. Unfortunately, this zeal to tamp down the problem of gun violence can sometimes cause innocent people to get caught up in police investigations — and as a 2018 Ontario Human Rights Commission report found, the system problem of racial profiling in the Toronto Police Service means that these innocent people are far more likely to be Black.

Criminal Law and the Presumption of Innocence

The vast majority of Torontonians want to live in a safe, peaceful city where violent crime is as rare as it is shocking. But if real progress is to be made toward identifying and addressing the rise in gun and knife violence, it cannot come at the expense of the civil rights of Torontonians.

The presumption of innocence is a bedrock principle of our legal system, and all people accused of violent crimes, no matter the evidence, must be given a chance to defend themselves and clear their names in court.

This cannot happen without criminal lawyers, who ensure that anyone accused of a violent crime will have access to the kind of expert legal advice that is the precondition of a fair trial.

 

What to Do if You’ve Been Charged with a Violent Crime

If you have been charged with a violent crime, it can be hard to know how to respond. Unlike in other countries, the police are under no legal obligation to inform you of your rights, so it is essential that you understand what you are owed:

  • The Right to Silence: If the police have taken you into custody and charged you with a criminal offense, you are not under any obligation to provide them with information. The police are not judges, and they cannot compel testimony from you. What they can do is take what you’ve said to build a case against you, so it is always better to say nothing until you’ve spoken with a lawyer.
  • The Right to Counsel: Ontario law guarantees you the right to legal counsel and representation. Talking to a criminal defence lawyer in Toronto as soon as you’ve been charged will help you understand how best to proceed. They will also be able to advise you about whether to make a statement to the police.

Violent crimes are some of the most serious offenses in Canadian law, and those convicted often face harsh penalties. But this is also why the bar for conviction is high: in order to send a person to prison for years or decades, it is essential that their guilt be established beyond reasonable doubt.

As violent crime rates remain high despite the COVID-19 lockdowns, it is more essential than ever that Ontarian’s faith in their justice system be maintained. But the only way to do this is by ensuring that all people are treated equally under the law, and that those accused of a serious crime are given the resources necessary to defend themselves.

 

 

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