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COVID-19: Ottawa sees 18 new cases; Ontario still missing vaccination targets to exit Step 3 – Ottawa Citizen

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Ottawa Public Health reported 18 new confirmed cases and no new deaths on Friday, an increase of seven from the 11 new cases reported Thursday.

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There are 65 active cases in the city, OPH said.

Three people are currently Ottawa hospitals and one in ICU.

In total, there have been 27,850 confirmed cases and 593 deaths.

There remains one outbreak in a day centre involving two children.

So far, 9,174 cases in Ottawa were infected with a variant of concern, leading to 101 deaths.

In the past 30 days, 43 per cent of all reported cases were a variant of concern, and 59 cases, about one per cent of all cases, were identified as the Delta variant.

As of Friday, Ottawa Public Health has administered 802,972 first doses of vaccine, and 662,918 second doses for a total of 1,465,890, according to the agency’s vaccination dashboard.

The means 74 per cent of adults are fully vaccinated. The rate for recipients over the age of 12 is 73 per cent. The rate of full vaccinations for the entire population, including children under 12 who are not yet eligible, is 64 per cent.

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About 83 per cent of residents have received at least one dose.

Latest COVID-19 news in Ontario

Ontario marked three weeks on Friday since entering the third step of its pandemic reopening plan but it has yet to hit the vaccination targets set for restrictions to roll back further.

The province previously progressed through earlier phases of its reopening within 21 days, but the government has established three firm thresholds that must be met before nearly all public health measures drop away.

Eighty per cent of all Ontarians aged 12 and older must have at least one shot, 75 per cent need to be fully immunized and all public health units must have fully vaccinated 70 per cent of eligible residents before the province can move on from Step 3.

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The first condition is the only one that has been met so far.

As of Friday, 72 per cent of adults had been fully immunized, and only about half of Ontario’s 34 health units had met the third condition.

Leeds, Grenville and Lanark reported the highest inoculation rate, with 79 per cent of residents 12 and older fully vaccinated,

The top doctor for the area, Dr. Paula Stewart, said the local vaccination program has been “a broad community effort,” with four fixed clinics, mobile teams in smaller towns, paramedic outreach to homebound residents and involvement across health-care providers.

Ontario has reported 340 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 18 new deaths on Friday, an increase from the 213 cases reported on Thursday.

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Sixteen of the 18 deaths were related to cases from more than six weeks ago, which were reported based on data cleaning, Public Health Ontario said on Friday morning.

The new deaths included one person under the age of 19.

Of the new confirmed cases reported in Ontario on Friday, 92 were people under the age of 19 and 156 were people between the ages of 20 and 39.

In the under-19 age group, 23 new confirmed cases were reported among children four to eight years of age; 20 cases were reported among those nine to 13 years old and 15 cases in the 14 to 17 age group. All of these numbers have increased since Thursday.

Two new deaths were also reported among long-term care residents on Friday, bringing the total number of resident deaths to 3,985.

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Across the province, there are 113 people currently in hospital due to COVID-19. There are 110 people in ICU, an increase of two. There are 77 people on ventilators.

In all, there have been 9,392 deaths in Ontario so far in the pandemic, with 551,678 confirmed cases.

According to Public Health Ontario, from the end of June to the end of July, unvaccinated people were eight times more likely to become infected with COVID-19 than fully vaccinated people.

As of 8 p.m. on Thursday, 19,764,199 doses of vaccine had been administered across Ontario, including 53,975 doses administered Thursday, Health Minister Christine Elliot tweeted on Friday.

Latest COVID-19 news from Quebec

Quebec is reporting 218 new cases of COVID-19 today and one more death attributed to the novel coronavirus, which occurred on Aug. 3. It’s the first death linked to the virus since July 22.

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Quebec’s public health institute says 84.4 per cent of residents 12 and older have received at least one dose of vaccine and 70.3 per cent are considered adequately vaccinated. It says 89.9 per cent of health-care workers had received one dose as of Aug. 4 and 80.4 per cent were adequately vaccinated.

The Health Department says the number of COVID-19-related hospitalizations dropped by three from Thursday, to 57, and 15 people were in intensive care, a drop of one.

-With files from The Canadian Press

  1. Alberta chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw gives a COVID-19 pandemic update from the media room at the Alberta Legislature in Edmonton, on Wednesday, July 28, 2021.

    Alberta’s top doctor defends plan to lift COVID restrictions after federal health minister expresses concerns

  2. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks during a news conference at the daycare inside Carrefour de l'Isle-Saint-Jean school in Charlottetown, P.E.I., July 27, 2021.

    Trudeau considers making vaccination mandatory for public servants, federally regulated industries

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US stocks rally as Fed minutes meet expectations – Al Jazeera English

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Investors fear that overly aggressive interest rate hikes by the Fed could tip the economy into recession.

Wall Street closed higher Wednesday, boosted after minutes from the Federal Reserve’s latest monetary policy meeting showed policymakers unanimously felt the United States economy was very strong as they grappled with reining in inflation without triggering a recession.

The minutes from the Federal Open Market Committee’s May meeting, which culminated in a 50-basis-point rise in the Fed funds target rate – the biggest jump in 22 years – showed most of the committee’s members judged that further such rate hikes would “likely be appropriate” at its upcoming June and July meetings.

“The uniformity of opinion is a good thing,” said Ross Mayfield, investment strategy analyst at Baird in Louisville, Kentucky. “There’s a lack of uncertainty of what needs to be done in the near term.”

“By the time [the Fed] gets to September, they will have plenty of economic data to make their move from there, so they continue to maintain optionality,” Mayfield added.

All three major US stock indexes gyrated earlier in the day amid increasing jitters stemming from business and consumer surveys, economic data and corporate earnings reports suggesting a cooling American economy – even as the Fed prepares to toss a bucket of cold water on it to tackle decades-high inflation.

Fears that overly aggressive interest rate hikes by the Fed could tip the economy into recession despite evidence that inflation peaked in March has driven those concerns.

“There’s some credence to the idea that inflation is doing [the Fed’s] job for them,” Mayfield said. “There’s already a cooling occurring, and financial conditions have tightened over the last month because of dollar strength and equity market weakness.”

On Thursday, the Department of Commerce is due to release its second take on first-quarter GDP, which analysts are expected to show a slightly shallower contraction than the 1.4 percent quarterly annualised drop originally reported.

The Personal Consumption Expenditures report will follow on Friday, which will provide further clues regarding consumer spending and whether inflation peaked in March, as other indicators have suggested.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 191.66 points, or 0.6 percent, to 32,120.28, the S&P 500 gained 37.25 points, or 0.95 percent, to 3,978.73 and the Nasdaq Composite added 170.29 points, or 1.51 percent, to 11,434.74.

Nine of the 11 major sectors in the S&P 500 rose, with consumer discretionary stocks leading the pack with a gain of 2.8 percent.

Amazon.com Inc and Tesla Inc provided the strongest lift to the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq, rising 2.6 percent and 4.9 percent, respectively.

Department store operator Nordstrom Inc surged 14.0 percent on the heels of its upbeat annual profit and revenue forecasts.

Fast-food chain Wendy’s Co jumped 9.8 percent after a regulatory filing revealed that shareholder Nelson Peltz was considering a potential takeover bid for the company.

Shares of Nvidia Corp fell more than 8 percent in after-hours trading after the company’s second-quarter revenue forecast missed expectations.

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Gas Up Nearly 4 Cents; Price Freeze Lifts in Labrador – VOCM

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Despite predictions to the contrary, the regulated price of gas is up in most parts of the province.

Gasoline is up by 3.9 cents a litre, except along the coast of Labrador. Diesel on the island is up by 1.3 cents while diesel in Labrador has dropped by 11.6 cents a litre. Furnace oil costs over a cent a litre more on the island while stove oil on the island up by the same amount. Stove oil in Labrador is down by 23.70 cents a litre.

Propane meanwhile is down by just under 2 cents.

The suspension of maximum price adjustments on the coast of Labrador lifts as of today as fuel deliveries resume for the season—that means significant increases, in some cases by about a dollar a litre, for some fuels.

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Cheese not on the table in Canada-U.K. trade talks as Britain seeks market access

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OTTAWA — The British foreign secretary has often been mocked for her preoccupation with cheese. It started eight years ago when Liz Truss expressed outrage in a speech to her party’s annual conference.

“We import two thirds of our cheese,” she raged. “That is a disgrace.”

Now Truss is facing another battle over cheese, this time with Canada.

Britain wants greater access to Canadian markets for more than 700 varieties of cheese including Stilton, Cheshire, and Wensleydale, a crumbly variety originating from Yorkshire.

But Ottawa has made it clear it does not want to see more British cheddar, let alone artisan varieties such as stinking bishop, renegade monk and Hereford hop, on Canadian fridge shelves.

During the first round of negotiations of the U.K.-Canada trade deal, Canada told Britain that a larger quota for British cheese is not on the negotiating table.

When it was a European Union member, Britain was part of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement with Canada, giving it some access to Canada’s cheese market.

After the U.K. left the EU, a “continuity agreement” with Canada was swiftly put in place to maintain the CETA arrangement until a bilateral trade deal could be struck.

Ralph Goodale, Canada’s high commissioner to the U.K., said if Britain wants more access to Canadian markets for its cheese as part of a bilateral free-trade agreement, it will have to knock on Brussels’ door and get its part of the dairy quota back.

“The point is we have already provided that volume in the EU deal and the British left it there without taking it with them,” he said in an interview. “That’s an issue they need to resolve with the Europeans because the Europeans have their quota.”

Goodale said the U.K.’s request for extra access for British cheese — on top of the access given to the EU — is “what the Canadian negotiators consider to be pretty much a dead end.”

“You are talking about a double concession — one we have already made to the EU and the request is being made by the U.K. for yet another one on top of that,” he said.

The high commissioner said Canada values its trading relationship with the U.K., adding that he is confident that a mutually-beneficial trade deal will be reached.

But if Canada allows the British to export more of their cheese it would involve “a major commitment of compensation to dairy producers” in Canada to make up for lost incomes.

In 2018, after the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement gave the U.S. fresh access to the Canadian dairy market, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he would compensate Canadian dairy farmers.

Canada’s dairy industry was worth over $7 billion in 2020, according to the Canadian Dairy Commission’s annual report.

There are over 10,000 dairy farms in Canada — most of them in Quebec and Ontario — with an average of 92 cows per farm, it said.

Until at least the end of next year, Britain will be able to keep exporting its cheese to Canada under the trade continuity agreement, the U.K.’s trade department said.

This allows U.K. cheese exporters to access the Canadian market tariff-free under the EU portion of Canada’s World Trade Organization cheese tariff rate quota.

As part of the 1995 WTO agreement on agriculture, Canada established tariff rate quotas for cheese and other dairy products. The quotas set out quantities of dairy that could enter Canada with little or no duty.

For Britain, a fully fledged free trade deal with Canada is crucial after Brexit left it looking for fresh tariff-free markets.

“We want to negotiate an ambitious and comprehensive new agreement with Canada that will strengthen our close and historic bilateral trade relationship,” said a U.K. government trade spokesman in a statement, adding the relationship was worth about $34.5 billion in 2021.

In March, U.K. Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan flew to Canada to announce with Canada’s Trade Minister Mary Ng that bilateral negotiations had officially begun.

In a speech in the House of Lords in London earlier this month, Goodale reported on progress in the talks, saying that “both sides are optimistic that, as good as CETA and the continuity agreement were, we can do better still when Canada and the U.K. negotiate a deal face-to-face, directly with each other.”

Like Goodale, Ng said Canada is confident a free-trade deal with Britain will be reached, enhancing co-operation in a number of areas, including on renewables, sustainability and the digital economy.

“Canada values the relationship with the United Kingdom. They are … an important trading partner and a trade agreement with the U.K. will be very good for Canadian businesses,” she said in a phone interview from Thailand last weekend.

But she was also firm about the need to protect Canada’s dairy producers, and that means keeping more British cheese out.

“I have been very clear, our government has been very clear, that we will not provide access to our supply-managed sector,” she said. “We have been clear about that from the get-go.”

The Canadian dairy sector now produces 1,450 varieties of cheese, including ewe, goat and buffalo varieties, as well as the cheese curds used in the Québécois dish poutine.

At least half of Canada’s cheese is made in Quebec, which is home to a number of artisan varieties including bleu l’ermite, or blue hermit, and Oka, a popular semi-soft rind cheese.

Pierre Lampron, president of the Dairy Farmers of Canada, has made it clear he will fiercely protect Canadian cheese from British interlopers.

Lampron said he had “validated that the issue of access to the Canadian dairy market was not on the agenda of these trade talks.”

Canada’s protectionist stance toward its dairy industry may have pleased farmers. But it has caused some tension with close allies.

Earlier this month, New Zealand launched a formal trade dispute against Canada, accusing the federal government of breaking promises to give access for dairy imports under the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement.

The Biden administration also recently said it was asking for a second dispute settlement panel under the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement to review a trade dispute with Canada over dairy import quotas.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 26, 2022.

 

Marie Woolf, The Canadian Press

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