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Dec. 20 coronavirus pandemic news – CNN

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People wait on the concourse at Paddington Station in London on December 19 ahead of the introduction of tougher new restrictions.
People wait on the concourse at Paddington Station in London on December 19 ahead of the introduction of tougher new restrictions. Stefan Rousseau/PA/AP

Londoners piled on to trains and motorways on Saturday night as they rushed to leave the capital ahead of new restrictions announced by UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Johnson announced that London and large parts of south-eastern England will enter Tier 4 Covid-19 restrictions on Sunday.

Tier 4 is the highest possible level of restrictions in England, effectively renewing the lockdown seen in Spring.

By 7 p.m. on Saturday evening, there were no free seats on trains leaving London from several stations in the capital, PA News Agency reports. Passengers complained about not being able to socially distance themselves within the train carriages.

The scenes were condemned by politicians and public health experts. London Mayor Sadiq Khan called the introduction of the restrictions “devastating” in an interview with the BBC, adding that scenes at London train stations “was a direct consequence of the chaotic way the announcement was made, and the late stage it was made.

I understand why people want to return to see their mums, dads, elderly relations, but I think it’s wrong,” he said.

Speaking directly to Londoners who left London, he said that while they may have not broken the rules, they may have taken the virus out of London and potentially put “your mum, dad, elderly relations” at risk.

Dr. Chaand Nagpaul, British Medical Association (BMA) council chair, said that such scenes would not have been seen “in east Asian countries that have managed pandemics well in the past,” adding that the government should have made sure there were crowd control measures.

“Whilst Christmas is obviously going to be ruined for many, the worst thing we could be doing is infecting our loved ones,” he told Sky News.

UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock defended the government’s actions on Sky, saying they had no choice to act after being presented with new scientific evidence that a new strain of the virus was spreading more quickly than others in the UK.
“It was our duty to act,” he said. “We acted very quickly and decisively with the announcements the Prime Minister set out yesterday.”

New strain: England’s chief medical officer, Professor Chris Whitty, warned Saturday that a newly identified variant of Covid-19 “can spread more quickly” than previous strains of the virus.

“This is now spreading very fast,” Johnson warned. “It is with a very heavy heart that I say we cannot continue with Christmas as planned.”

As with other new variants or strains of Covid-19, this one carries a genetic fingerprint that makes it easy to track, and it happens to be one that is now common. That does not mean the mutation has made it spread more easily, nor does it not necessarily mean this variation is more dangerous.

Read more here.

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Ontario reports 3,422 new cases of COVID-19, 69 additional deaths – 680 News

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Ontario is reporting 3,422 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday with another 69 people having died as a result of the virus.

It’s the third day out of the last four that the provincial case count has surpassed 3,000.

More than half of the new deaths, 36, are attributed to long-term care settings. The total number of people in the province who have died as a result of COVID-19 now sits at 5,409. More than 400 people have passed away since last Sunday from the virus.

Toronto reported 1,035 new cases of the virus – the first time in a week that the number of new cases has topped 1,000. Peel Region reported 585 new infections, while York Region reported 246 additional cases.

Provincial health officials conducted 60,183 tests in the last 24 hours, the first time in three days provincial labs failed to complete more than 70,000 tests. That leaves the backlog of tests to be processed at just over 30,000.

Hospitalizations sit at more than 1,500, however, as is the case on the weekend a number of hospitals have not provided data to provincial officials. There are 395 COVID-19 patients in the ICU with 293 currently on a ventilator.

Ontario administered just over 11,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine on Saturday, bringing the provincial total to over 200,000.

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Potential COVID exposure on two flights – HalifaxToday.ca

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NEWS RELEASE
NOVA SCOTIA HEALTH
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Nova Scotia Health Public Health is advising of potential exposure to COVID-19 on two flights from Toronto to Halifax. In addition to media releases, all potential exposure notifications are listed here: http://www.nshealth.ca/covid-exposures.

Anyone who was on the following flights in the specified rows and seats is asked to continue to self-isolate and immediately visit https://covid-self-assessment.novascotia.ca/en to book a COVID-19 test, regardless of whether or not they have COVID-19 symptoms. You can also call 811 if you don’t have online access or if you have other symptoms that concern you.

  • Air Canada flight 604 travelling on Jan. 5 from Toronto (8:00 a.m.) to Halifax (11:00 a.m.). Passengers in rows 22-28 seats C, D, E and F are asked to continue to self-isolate and immediately visit https://covid-self-assessment.novascotia.ca/en to book a COVID-19 test, regardless of whether or not they have COVID-19 symptoms. All other passengers on this flight should continue to self-isolate as required and monitor for signs and symptoms of COVID-19. It is anticipated that anyone exposed to the virus on this flight on the named date may develop symptoms up to, and including, Jan. 19.
  • Swoop flight 408 travelling on Jan. 8 from Toronto (5:30 p.m.) to Halifax (8:30 p.m.). Passengers in rows 16-22 seats A, B, C and D are asked to continue to self-isolate and immediately visit https://covid-self-assessment.novascotia.ca/en to book a COVID-19 test, regardless of whether or not they have COVID-19 symptoms. All other passengers on this flight should continue to self-isolate as required and monitor for signs and symptoms of COVID-19. It is anticipated that anyone exposed to the virus on this flight on the named date may develop symptoms up to, and including, Jan. 22.

Please remember:

Do not go directly to a COVID-19 assessment centre without being directed to do so. Please book an appointment online and do not go to a pop-up rapid testing location.

Currently, anyone who traveled outside Nova Scotia, PEI or Newfoundland and Labrador is expected to self-isolate alone for 14 days after arriving. If a person returning from non-essential travel outside Nova Scotia, PEI or Newfoundland and Labrador is unable to isolate alone, then everyone in the home where they are self-isolating will have to self-isolate as well.

When Nova Scotia Health Public Health makes a public notification it is not in any way a reflection on the behaviour or activities of those named in the notification.

All Nova Scotians are advised to continue monitoring for COVID-19 symptoms and are urged to follow Public Health guidelines on how to access care. Up to date information about COVID-19 is available at novascotia.ca/coronavirus

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Ontario wants everyone vaccinated by early August, general says – CBC.ca

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Ontario wants to have everyone vaccinated by late July or early August, the head of its vaccine distribution plan told CBC News Sunday.

The updated timeline came as the province saw 3,422 new COVID-19 cases and 69 more deaths, with Toronto alone recording more than 1,000 new infections.

Retired general Rick Hillier said while accomplishing the summer goal hinges on Ontario getting a steady supply of vaccine, there’s a plan to get them in arms.

“When they come, we’re going to be able to use them all,” Hillier told the CBC’s Rosemary Barton.

“I’d love to see the province of Ontario done by the end of July or early August with all those who want to have a vaccine and who are eligible to receive it. But until we get the vaccine allocation, until we know what’s coming, we just can’t do it.”

WATCH | Hillier’s full interview on Rosemary Barton Live:

Retired general told CBC’s Rosemary Barton Live he wants to see everyone who wants a vaccine get one by late July or early August. 7:52

Ontario has distributed the most COVID-19 vaccines of any province, but has administered only 72 per cent of the doses it has received. You can get the latest details by using the CBC News vaccine tracker

For now, a provincewide stay-at-home order remains in place as Ontario tries to limit the spread of the virus.

GTA continues to see bulk of province’s new cases

Toronto reported 1,035 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, marking another day that the province’s biggest city also had the most infections.

In addition to Toronto’s cases, there were 585 new cases in Peel, 254 in Windsor-Essex, 246 in York and 186 in the Niagara area. The new cases drive the seven-day average, a key figure that reduces noise in the data, to 3,143 new cases per day.

A further 69 more people with the illness died, bringing the province’s official death toll to 5,409.

At least 1,570 people are in hospital, and there are now 293 patients on ventilators. Just over 3,078 cases were marked resolved.

There were 60,183 tests completed, and the province’s positivity rate is now 5.2 per cent.

Ford, Tory touring future mass vaccination site

Ontario has now administered 200,097 doses of COVID-19 vaccine, and remains in the first phase of its rollout plan.

Premier Doug Ford and Toronto Mayor John Tory toured the city’s first mass vaccination site, located at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, on Sunday. 

Mass vaccinations haven’t started yet (long-term care and health-care settings are being prioritized) but the Toronto facility is set to serve as a blueprint for what could be coming to other locations in the coming months. The city provided these details about the mass vaccination site, which it’s calling a “proof-of-concept clinic”:

  • Opens Monday, but not to the general public.
  • Will start with 250 vaccinations per day.
  • Will use the Moderna vaccine.

Tory said he hopes the test site will provide some hope during the grey winter months.

“Vaccination is soon to come and we’re just working away at being ready to do that,” Tory said.

Paramedics transport a patient to Mt. Sinai Hospital, in Toronto. There are 1,570 hospitalized COVID-19 patients as of Sunday. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

Ford said the province will be ready when it’s time to ramp up vaccinations in April, May and June. 

“Our goal is to get as many needles in people’s arms as possible,” he said.

The two leaders didn’t take questions from reporters. 

When will you get a COVID-19 vaccine? Here’s a look at how the province is prioritizing its rollout plan

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