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

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The latest:

A B.C. health authority facing an uptick in COVID-19 cases — including a recent dance studio outbreak now linked to 36 cases — will soon have more testing capacity.

Fraser Health announced on Tuesday that another COVID-19 test collection centre is slated to open in North Surrey next week. The health authority, which covers a broad swath east of Vancouver including communities like Burnaby and Surrey, accounts for 9,234 of the 15,800 COVID-19 cases reported in B.C. since the beginning of the pandemic. 

Faced with rising case numbers, B.C.’s health minister and a top public health official on Tuesday reminded people in the province to keep gatherings small, saying “much of the recent transmission” in the province has been connected to get-togethers.

“This is particularly important in the Fraser Health region where public health teams are asking everyone to avoid all social gatherings in your home right now — even those that are within the restrictions of the provincial health officer order,” a statement from Health Minister Adrian Dix and Deputy Provincial Health Officer Dr. Reka Gustafson said.

Alberta is also seeing an uptick of cases, with the top doctor cautioning that the province is “at a critical juncture in this pandemic.”

Dr. Deena Hinshaw urged people not to give up on the fight against COVID-19, saying Tuesday that “we need to reduce the rate of transmission if we want to avoid more difficult choices in the future.”

The province on Tuesday reported more than 6,100 active COVID-19 cases, with more than 2,500 cases each in Edmonton and Calgary. 


What’s happening across Canada

As of noon ET on Wednesday, provinces and territories in Canada had reported a cumulative total of 246,959 confirmed or presumptive coronavirus cases. Provinces and territories listed 205,245 as recovered or resolved. A CBC News tally of deaths based on provincial reports, regional health information and CBC’s reporting stood at 10,328.

Health officials in Saskatchewan are introducing a new measure requiring masks in public indoor spaces in Saskatoon, Regina and Prince Albert. The measure, which will be in place for 28 days before being reviewed, takes effect Friday.

The province, which on Tuesday reported 81 new cases (and has averaged 76 new cases a day over the last week) is also decreasing the number of people allowed at indoor gatherings.

In Manitoba, the Red Cross has been asked to provide staff to help care for residents at some long-term care homes dealing with COVID-19 outbreaks.

Ontario reported 987 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday. The province, which also reported 16 additional deaths, has now seen 79,692 cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began, with 68,189 of those listed as recovered. The provincial death toll stood at 3,182.

In an update posted Wednesday, the province said there were 367 people in hospital with 75 in intensive care.

On Tuesday, Ontario unveiled a colour-coded system to communicate what regions are under what restrictions, saying the new system will be an “early warning system” and allow the province to scale public health measures based on what’s happening in a given region.

“As a province, and as a country, we’re grappling with a new reality. And it’s becoming more and more clear COVID-19 will be with us for a while,” Premier Doug Ford said Tuesday, adding that the province is planning for “the long game.”

But some public health and infectious disease experts had reservations about the plan, which will move a region from “orange” to “red” only if the local test positivity rate surpasses 9.9 per cent. You can get the full details of the newly released framework here, including details around test positivity rate, outbreaks and health-system capacity.

Data from Quebec released on Wednesday reported 1,029 new COVID-19 cases and 33 deaths, eight of which occurred in the last 24 hours. The latest report put the number of people in hospital at 539, with 81 in intensive care.

In Atlantic Canada, Nova Scotia on Wednesday reported four new COVID-19 cases, bringing the cumulative number of cases in the province to 1,118 with 65 deaths since the pandemic began. Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Robert Strang said Tuesday that several cases are being investigated by public health but noted there’s “nothing at this time that points to general community spread here in Nova Scotia.”

New Brunswick reported three new cases on Wednesday and there was one new case reported in Newfoundland and Labrador, which comes after eight days straight with no new cases in the province.

There were no new cases reported on Tuesday in Prince Edward Island, which has no active cases.

Across the North, there were no new cases reported in Yukon, the Northwest Territories or Nunavut.


What’s happening around the world

Curbside voting was held in St. Charles County for voters who have COVID-19 in Missouri on Tuesday. The voting is over, but the results of the U.S. presidential election are not yet clear as counting continues in several states. (Lawrence Bryant/Reuters)

As of early Wednesday morning, more than 47.4 million COVID-19 cases had been reported worldwide, with more than 31.6 million of those considered recovered, according to a tracking tool maintained by Johns Hopkins University. The U.S.-based institution put the cumulative worldwide death toll at more than 1.2 million.

In the Americas, eyes were on the United States, where a contentious election fight between President Donald Trump and former vice-president Joe Biden had not yet resulted in a clear victor. The country, which has seen more reported COVID-19 cases than any nation in the world, is seeing a surge in cases in several states.

The president’s response to the global pandemic was a major issue in the campaign, with measures like lockdowns, mandated business closures and mask requirements proving to be deeply divisive in many parts of the U.S. 

The World Health Organization says there has been a “further acceleration” in the speed of COVID-19’s spread in Europe, which was responsible for about half of the globe’s new cases reported last week.

The Swiss government on Wednesday authorized deploying up to 2,500 military personnel to help the country’s hard-pressed health-care system handle a second wave of coronavirus infections.

This marked the second time this year the army has rolled out to support hospitals as they treat and transport patients. New infections surpassed 10,000 in a day on Wednesday, threatening to overwhelm the health-care system.

The marquee of Kino International Cinema in Berlin reads ‘Take care of each other’ on the first day of a four-week semi-lockdown during the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic earlier this week. (Getty Images)

Poland on Wednesday registered record numbers of new COVID-19 infections and related deaths, despite being covered by “red zone” restrictions limiting people’s movements and activities during the pandemic.

The country’s health ministry said almost 24,700 new cases were registered, up from the previous record of almost 22,000 last week, figures that the ministry had earlier said would mean “worse than the worst scenario.” Over 370 people died in the past 24 hours.

The ministry noted a spike in cases in big cities, including in Warsaw, the capital, where massive anti-government protests have been held daily for almost two weeks against the tightening of the abortion law, already one of Europe’s strictest. The government is expected to announce new restrictions later Wednesday.

Russian officials on Wednesday reported 19,768 new coronavirus infections and 389 new deaths, both the highest since the beginning of the pandemic.

The Baltic nations of Estonia and Latvia say they have both registered a record daily number of COVID-19 infections since the start of the outbreak.

South Africa remained the hardest-hit nation in Africa on Wednesday, with more than 728,000 reported cases of COVID-19 and more than 19,500 deaths.

Algeria’s secretive presidency has confirmed that the mysterious illness that caused President Abdelmadjid Tebboune to be hospitalized in Germany last month was the coronavirus.

Algerian secondary level students wearing masks due to the COVID-19 pandemic attend the first day of school in the Algerian capital Algiers on Wednesday. (AFP/Getty Images)

On Wednesday, the presidency said the state of 74-year-old Tebboune’s health is “gradually improving” and he “continues to receive treatment in a specialized German hospital after contracting COVID-19.” It the first time that officials have explicitly mentioned COVID-19 in connection to the Oct. 28 hospitalization.

However, previous to his hospitalization, several senior officials in the president’s entourage had developed COVID-19 symptoms and Tebboune had been placed in what the government called “voluntary preventive confinement.”

In the Asia-Pacific region, Australia’s coronavirus hot spot of Victoria state reported zero COVID-19 cases for the fifth straight day as states began easing regional border restrictions, raising prospects of a faster return to normal.

As the pandemic has pushed many companies to allow telecommuting, it has also caused a population outflow from Tokyo — the first time that has happened in years, the latest government data showed.

India’s capital reported a record 6,725 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, hit by its worst wave of infections since March.

New Delhi had previously reported a high of 5,891 cases on Oct. 30, averaging more than 5,200 cases a day this past week. It now has 403,096 confirmed cases and 6,604 deaths reported. India’s overall positive caseload rose by 46,253 in the past 24 hours after dipping to 38,310 on Tuesday. 

A Kashmiri health worker takes a nasal swab sample to test for COVID-19 in Srinagar, in India-controlled Kashmir on Wednesday. (Mukhtar Khan/The Associated Press)

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

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Trudeau touts 'historic' $100B stimulus plan, won't commit to boosting health transfers – CBC.ca

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is touting the government’s plan to inject up to $100 billion into Canada’s post-pandemic economy, calling it a “historic and appropriate” spending plan.

On Monday, Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland tabled the fall economic statement, which included the three-year stimulus program.

During a news conference outside his residence at Rideau Cottage Tuesday, Trudeau said that with vaccines on the horizon, the end to the pandemic crisis is in sight.

He called the $100 billion program, which represents three to four per cent of GDP, a “historic and appropriate” stimulus plan.

“This will be a significant investment to get our economy back on track. And it’s an investment that will make sure no one gets left behind,” he said.

Trudeau is set to meet with premiers on Dec. 10 to discuss health care transfers and the vaccine rollout.

Premiers have been calling for a $28 billion top-up to federal health transfers. Trudeau would not commit to any specific increase today.

Asked if the provinces and territories will be in line for a funding boost, Trudeau said he looks forward to talking with the premiers to assess their needs for the short term and post-pandemic.

“We’re going to continue to be there for Canadians and I look forward to that conversation with the premiers, to look at how we can ensure that we are supporting people right now and that our health care systems are sustainable into the future,” he said.

Monday’s economic statement outlined various emergency aid programs for Canadians and businesses, and projected a deficit of at least $381.6 billion for this fiscal year.

Trudeau said today that those supports will continue to flow next year as things gradually return to normal.

“Even as vaccines begin to arrive, we know that we have to reach a significant percentage of the population before we can start releasing and reducing measures across the country, so it’s going to be a long winter,” he said in an interview on CBC Radio’s The Current.

“We’re going to have to continue to do the things that will keep us safe, but that’s why the economic anxiety that people are feeling is something that we’re there to counter.”

Trudeau said the government has worked to ease that anxiety by providing supports such as rent and wage subsidies, which will continue to “make it a little bit easier.” 

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

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The latest:

Alberta’s hospital system is under “significant strain” and is adding intensive care beds as it faces an increase in COVID-19 cases, a medical director for the Edmonton area says.

Health officials reported 1,733 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, a record high that brought the number of active cases in the province to 16,454. The province also saw record-high COVID-19 hospitalizations, with 453 people in hospital, including 96 in ICU.

Dr. David Zygun, of Alberta Health Services, said Monday that the province had planned for the increased demand and was now “executing those plans as the demand increases.”

The province has 173 general adult ICU beds and has plans to expand up to 425 ICU beds, Zygun said at a COVID-19 briefing.

“Over the last week in Edmonton, we’ve added an additional 20 beds,” he said. “Over the weekend in Calgary, we have another 10 beds.”

Hospitals are also cohorting patients and making use of decomissioned and unused spaces as health services works to add beds to help with the COVID-19 response.

“Obviously we hope that they won’t be needed but we are working not only to supply them but also to staff them,” Zygun said.

Alberta’s leaders have faced criticism from some in the medical community who say that public health measures imposed by the province aren’t strong enough to slow the spread of the novel virus.


What’s happening across Canada

As of 10:20 a.m. ET on Tuesday, Canada’s COVID-19 case count stood at 379,846 with 66,364 of those considered active cases. A CBC News tally of deaths based on provincial reports, regional health information and CBC’s reporting stood at 12,137.

Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott said Tuesday that the province reported 1,707 new cases of COVID-19, with 727 in Toronto and 373 in Peel Region.

In British Columbia, the province announced the highest number of COVID-19 deaths for a three-day period as it recorded 46 fatalities over the weekend.

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry addressed those who have lost loved ones in the pandemic, saying “we all feel your loss and mourn with you.”

“These people have faces, have names, have stories. This tragedy is all of our tragedy,” Henry said. “If you are thinking it may be OK to bend the rules, please remember this virus takes lives.”

As of Monday, a statement from Henry and Dix said there were 316 people with COVID-19 in hospital, including 75 in intensive care.

Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe said Monday it’s too early to say whether COVID-19 restrictions will be loosened in time to allow families to gather for the holidays. Moe said residents can expect to see high COVID-19 case numbers for the next few weeks, as officials wait to see if the latest public health measures have been effective.

The province reported 325 new infections on Monday and said there are 123 people in hospital, 23 of whom are receiving intensive care.

In Manitoba, health officials reported 343 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday and 11 additional deaths. The province, which has been dealing with a surge in cases, said 342 people were hospitalized with COVID-19, with 43 in intensive care units.

LISTEN | Prime Minister Justin Trudeau joins host Matt Galloway to talk about COVID-19, vaccines and the cost of fighting the pandemic:

The Current13:17Justin Trudeau on the cost of fighting the pandemic

After yesterday’s fiscal update, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau joins Matt Galloway to discuss the cost of fighting COVID-19, and how his government plans to roll out the vaccines that could finally subdue the pandemic. 13:17

Quebec reported 1,333 new COVID-19 infections and 23 more deaths linked to the novel coronavirus on Monday.

The province’s Health Department said there are 693 patients hospitalized with COVID-19, 28 more than the previous day. Ninety-four people were in intensive care, an increase of two.

In Atlantic Canada, Nova Scotia reported 16 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, New Brunswick reported six new cases and Newfoundland and Labrador reported one new case. There were no new cases reported in Prince Edward Island.

Across the North, there were four new cases of COVID-19 reported in Nunavut on Monday, while one new case was reported in Yukon. A mask mandate for indoor public spaces goes into effect in Yukon on Tuesday. 

There were no new cases reported in the Northwest Territories, which has seen 15 cases to date.


What’s happening around the world

From The Associated Press and Reuters, last updated at 10:15 a.m. ET

As of early Tuesday morning, more than 63.3 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported worldwide, with more than 40.6 million of those cases listed as recovered or resolved in a tracking tool maintained by Johns Hopkins University. The global death toll stood at more than 1.4 million.

In the Asia-Pacific region, Vietnam reported two more coronavirus cases on Tuesday linked to a rare domestic infection in its commercial hub Ho Chi Minh City, while the government urged public vigilance and tighter enforcement of health measures.

The Southeast Asian nation is back on high alert after confirming on Monday the country’s first community infection in 89 days, prompting the closure of several places in the densely populated southern city.

The latest cases have been traced back to a flight attendant, who had been kept inside a quarantine facility for five days before being released to self-isolate at home.

“The flight attendant contracted the virus inside the quarantine area then spread it to others during his home-quarantine time,” Health Minister Nguyen Thanh Long said in a government statement.

“It’s the first ever time such a thing happened. The flight attendant seriously violated quarantine regulations.”

A woman wearing a face mask checks her smartphone while waiting on her scooter along a street in Hanoi on Tuesday, a day after Vietnam reported its first local transmission case of COVID-19 in nearly three months. (Manan Vatsyayana/AFP/Getty Images)

With its usually strict quarantine and tracking measures, Vietnam has managed to quickly contain its coronavirus outbreaks, allowing it to resume its economic activities earlier than much of Asia.

Vietnam crushed its first wave of coronavirus infections in April and went nearly 100 days without local transmission until the virus re-emerged in the central tourist city of Danang in July and spread widely, before being contained in a few weeks.

Late on Tuesday, Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said Vietnam would suspend all inbound commercial flights following the new outbreak. Flights for some foreign experts who do business in Vietnam had been operating throughout the pandemic.

In Europe, nonessential shops in Belgium were reopening Tuesday in the wake of encouraging figures about declining daily coronavirus infection rates and hospital admissions.

The government is fearful, however, that the change might lead to massive gatherings in the nation’s most popular shopping centres and streets. Over the weekend, pre-Christmas light festivals already led to crowded scenes in several cities, prompting warnings from virologists about the dangers of reopening too soon.

Belgium, host to the headquarters of the 27-nation European Union, has been one of the hardest-hit countries in Europe during the pandemic. Belgium has reported more than 16,500 deaths linked to the virus during two surges in the spring and the fall.

A shopkeeper wearing a protective mask adjusts a display before the reopening of the shops qualified as non-essential in a shopping mall in Brussels, Belgium, on Tuesday. (Yves Herman/Reuters)

Under the new rules, shopping has to be done alone or with a minor or a dependant person. Time in a shop is limited to half an hour. Restaurants and bars remain closed.

France, meanwhile, recorded 4,005 new COVID-19 infections on Monday, the smallest rise since August, even as hospitalizations remained high.

In the Americas, the United States entered the final month of the year hoping that promising vaccine candidates will soon be approved to halt the rapidly spreading novel coronavirus after 4.2 million new cases were reported in November.

The new COVID-19 cases were more than double the previous monthly record set in October, as large numbers of Americans still refuse to wear masks and continue to gather in holiday crowds, against the recommendation of experts.

In an aerial view from a drone, cars are lined up at Dodger Stadium for COVID-19 testing on the Monday after Thanksgiving weekend in Los Angeles. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

With outgoing President Donald Trump’s coronavirus strategy relying heavily on a vaccine, a Food and Drug Administration panel of outside advisers will meet on Dec. 10 to discuss whether to recommend the FDA authorize emergency use of a vaccine developed by Pfizer Inc.

A second candidate from Moderna Inc. could follow a week later, officials have said, raising hopes that Americans could start receiving inoculations before the end of the year, although widespread vaccinations could take months.

California’s governor, meanwhile, said he may renew a stay-at-home order in coming days, while families of 15 public school students sued the state, saying it has failed to provide equal education to poor and minority children during the pandemic.

In the Middle East, Lebanon’s economy faces an “arduous and prolonged depression,” with real GPD projected to plunge by nearly 20 per cent because its politicians refuse to implement reforms that would speed up the country’s recovery, the World Bank said Tuesday.

It said Lebanon should quickly form a reform-minded government to urgently carry out changes. The crash of the local currency has already led to triple-digit inflation. The dire projections by the World Bank, including a 19.2 per cent drop in gross domestic product this year alone, come as Lebanon suffers its worst economic and financial crisis in its modern history, posing a threat to the country’s stability.

The crisis began a year ago and worsened with the spread of coronavirus and the massive blast at Beirut’s port, which destroyed the facility, killed more than 200 people and caused widespread destruction.

Iran remained the hardest hit country in the region, with more than 975,000 recorded cases of COVID-19 and more than 48,600 deaths.

In Africa, deaths from malaria due to disruptions during the pandemic to services designed to tackle the mosquito-borne disease will far exceed those from COVID-19 in sub-Saharan Africa, the World Health Organization warned. South Africa remained the hardest-hit country in Africa, with more than 790,000 recorded cases of COVID-19 and more than 21,500 deaths.

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Canadians offer mixed confidence in government's vaccine rollout: Nanos survey – CTV News

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TORONTO —
Just one in six Canadians are confident in the federal government’s rollout of a COVID-19 vaccine once one becomes available, according to the latest data from Nanos Research.

The survey, commissioned by CTV News and released on Monday, asked 1,096 Canadians how confident they are that the government has a “a well organized plan to deliver COVID-19 vaccines to Canadians as quickly as possible” and found that just 16 per cent of respondents said they are “confident,” while another 40 per cent said they are “somewhat confident.”

“It’s very early in this process and I think until we actually see more details and there’s more meat on the bone, I expect (the vaccine rollout is) still going to be a bit of a question mark for many Canadians,” Nik Nanos, the chair of Nanos Research, told CTV’s Power Play.

When broken down regionally, respondents from Quebec offered the most confidence, with 73 per cent of respondents indicating that they are either confident or somewhat confident, while respondents in the Prairies had the least confidence, with 29 per cent indicating they are “not confident” in the vaccine rollout.

On Monday, Moderna Inc. said its testing shows that their COVID-19 vaccine is 94 per cent effective. The company is currently under a “rolling review” process with Health Canada, but has already asked for a emergency use approval in the United States and Europe.

Last week, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau named Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin to lead Canada’s vaccine rollout, with the goal of immunizing half of Canadians by September 2021.

Nanos says that substantial details in the fiscal update about the vaccine rollout will go a long way towards curbing any skepticism from Canadians.

“Anything said relating to the funding of vaccines, the logistics of vaccines, the distribution, the role that the federal government’s going to take working with provinces, is probably going to be very well met, but if they don’t talk about those things, it’s just going to create a greater level uncertainty about the future,” he said.

With files from The Associated Press

METHODOLOGY

Nanos conducted an RDD dual frame (land-and cell-lines) hybrid telephone and online random survey of 1,096 Canadians, 18 years of age or older, between November 26th and 29th, 2020 as part of an omnibus survey. Participants were randomly recruited by telephone using live agents and administered a survey online. The sample included both land-and cell-lines across Canada. The results were statistically checked and weighted by age and gender using the latest Census information and the sample is geographically stratified to be representative of Canada.

Individuals were randomly called using random digit dialing with a maximum of five call backs.

The margin of error for this survey is ±3.0 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

This study was commissioned by CTV News and the research was conducted by Nanos Research.

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