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Feds say COVID-19 border controls are sufficient despite complaints from Ontario – CTV News

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MONTREAL —
The federal government defended its approach to securing Canada’s border against COVID-19 as Ontario Premier Doug Ford once again called for more testing at points of entry.

Canada’s border controls — and the 14-day quarantine requirement for returning travellers — are among the strictest in the world, Public Safety Minister Bill Blair told reporters Tuesday.

“Over the past few days, we’ve heard a number of comments which, frankly, are an unfortunate misrepresentation of what is actually happening at our borders,” Blair said.

“COVID-19 cases related to international travel currently account for only 1.8 per cent of all cases. That means 98.2 per cent of COVID transmissions are a result of community transmissions, not international travel.”

Canada’s deputy chief public health officer, Dr. Howard Njoo, said that while Ottawa is always evaluating it’s approach at the border, its main concern is transmission within Canada. “What we’re seeing now is that the biggest problem in Canada is community transmission inside Canada, it’s not really the importation of cases,” Njoo told reporters.

Blair and Njoo’s comments followed criticism from Premier Ford, who said Monday that Ottawa needed to do more to prevent travellers from bringing the novel coronavirus into the country.

Ford hit the federal government again on the issue Tuesday, telling reporters that Canada must require that travellers obtain a negative COVID-19 test before they arrive on Canadian soil — “something that countless other countries have required for months.”

“We’re letting tens of thousands of people into our country every week without the basic screening requirements,” Ford said, adding that screening on arrival is “the bare minimum.”

“Despite our repeated calls, we hear every week about dozens of flights coming in, unchecked, and bringing in COVID with them.”

Ford said that if the federal government doesn’t begin testing travellers on arrival, Ontario will — though he wouldn’t say when he planned to start. “I’ve directed our officials to begin preparing infrastructure necessary for testing at our airports and I hope we won’t have to go it alone, but we’re prepared to do that if we must,” he said.

On Tuesday afternoon, Ford’s Progressive Conservative Party sent an email to supporters asking them to sign an online petition calling on Ottawa to take stronger action on the border.

Federal Health Minister Patty Hajdu says that even if everyone was tested at the border, some cases could still get through. “If you don’t test people at the right time in their illness, in fact, the test can be negative,” she told reporters Tuesday. “That’s why we’ve maintained the 14-day quarantine with such a degree of rigour.”

However, 81 per cent of the 6.5 million travellers who arrived in Canada between March 31, 2020 and Nov. 12, 2020 were exempt from quarantine, the Canada Border Services Agency said Tuesday.

“The Canadian border remains closed to discretionary or optional travel, therefore the majority of individuals who have crossed the border are exempt travellers,” Rebecca Purdy, a senior spokesperson at the CBSA wrote in an email.

The majority of those exempt travellers were truckers, Blair said.

Quebec Premier Francois Legault told reporters Tuesday he wanted more information from the federal government about how it planned to enforce 14-day isolation rules for Canadians who return from holiday vacations outside the country.

Legault said he too hasn’t ruled out the possibility of deploying provincial authorities to test travellers on arrival.

Ford said he’s worried in part because of a new variant of COVID-19 discovered in the U.K. Canada suspended flights from that country for 72 hours at midnight on Dec. 21.

Canada is currently reviewing additional measures, Blair said, adding that “enhanced screening has been put in place at all Canadian airports and at all points of entry” to identify travellers who may be arriving from the U.K. indirectly.

Chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam said Tuesday the new variant has not yet been detected in Canada. She said, however, that “Canada remains on a trajectory for an even stronger resurgence (of COVID-19) over the next two months and this is a perilous time.”

Hajdu said that a second COVID-19 vaccine, from U.S. biotech firm Moderna, could be coming soon to Canada, if it is approved by federal regulators.

“Health Canada now has all the data required to make a decision; my understanding is that decision will be very soon,” Hajdu said. “I can’t speak for the regulators because obviously they are independent but they will have information for Canadians in the very near future.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 22, 2020.

——

This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship.

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More than 7 in 10 Canadians support barring unvaccinated people from businesses: Nanos survey – CTV News

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TORONTO —
More than seven in 10 Canadians support or somewhat support barring those who don’t have proof of vaccination from businesses where people are in close contact, according to a new Nanos survey.

The survey, conducted by Nanos Research in December 2020 and commissioned by CTV News, asked more than 1,000 Canadians 18 years of age and older if they would support, somewhat support, somewhat oppose, or oppose businesses (like airlines or movie theatres, where people are in close contact) having the right to bar a customer who does not have proof of vaccination.

In the results, 45 per cent of Canadians surveyed said they support the idea, 27 per cent said they somewhat support it, eight per cent said they somewhat oppose the idea, 16 per cent said they oppose it, and four per cent said they were unsure.

Support for the idea of barring individuals from businesses who don’t have proof of vaccination was most popular in Ontario, at 49 per cent and least popular in the Prairies, which had the highest percentage of those opposed to the idea at 21 per cent.

Canadians over the age of 55 were most likely to support the idea of barring people from businesses who don’t have proof of vaccination, with 57 per cent supportive, compared to those aged 18 to 34 who were 34 per cent supportive.

The survey also asked Canadians if they agree, somewhat agree, somewhat disagree, or disagree that with vaccines now being distributed in Canada, their lives will get back to normal by the end of 2021.

In the results, 22 per cent of Canadians survey agreed their lives would be back to normal by the end of 2021 due to the vaccines being distributed, 50 per cent somewhat agreed, 14 per cent somewhat disagreed, eight per cent disagreed and five per cent were unsure.

Quebec had the highest rate of people surveyed that agree, with 28 per cent, and the Prairies had the highest percentage of people who disagreed, at 11 per cent.

“Around 45 per cent of Canadians cite [the pandemic] as the top national issue of concern – unprompted,” Nik Nanos said on CTV News Channel Saturday, adding that sentiments can change on a dime as it’s “almost day-to-day, week-to-week” for provinces in the fight against the virus.

Aligning with those concerns, Nanos conducted another survey, commissioned by CTV News to assess whether or not Canadians supported the continued closure of the border between Canada and the United States.

The survey found more than nine in 10 Canadians support or somewhat support keeping the land border closed to non-essential travel until the number of cases in the U.S. significantly drops – even if that takes several months or longer.

In the breakdown of results, 80 per cent of Canadians surveyed supported the idea of keeping the Canada-U.S. border closed, 11 per cent somewhat support the idea, four per cent somewhat opposed it, four per cent opposed it and less than one per cent were unsure.

Support for keeping the Canada- U.S. border closed was highest in the Atlantic provinces, with 88 per cent in support of the idea – with the Prairies least in support of the idea with 71 per cent. The Prairies also had the largest percentage – seven per cent – of people who opposed the idea.

Canadians 55 plus represented the age group most supportive of keeping the border closed, with 85 per cent, compared to those 18 to 34 years of age with 74 per cent.

Currently, the Canada-U.S. land border closure has been extended to at least Feb. 21, 2021.

Methodology

For both surveys cited above, Nanos conducted an RDD dual frame (land- and cell-lines) hybrid telephone and online random survey of 1,048 Canadians, 18 years of age or older, between December 27 and 30, 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 dialling 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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Coronavirus: What's happening in Canada and around the world on Saturday – CBC.ca

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The latest:

  • India begins ambitious COVID-19 vaccination drive.
  • Trudeau says delayed Pfizer vaccine deliveries will ramp up again in February.
  • New modelling shows roughly 2,000 more Canadians could die from COVID-19 over next 10 days.
  • Alberta’s Phase 1 vaccination rollout slowed over Pfizer supply issues.
  • Why playing arena hockey can be risky during the pandemic.
  • Do you have a tip or question about the pandemic? Email us at COVID@cbc.ca.

India began its mass vaccination campaign against COVID-19 on Saturday, with plans to inoculate about 300,000 people on the first day of the drive.

The first recipients are to include doctors, nurses and other front-line workers. They are to be followed by people who are either over 50 years old or have illnesses that make them vulnerable to the respiratory illness.

The first dose was administered to a sanitation worker at the All Indian Institute of Medical Sciences in the capital of New Delhi, after Prime Minister Narendra Modi kicked off the campaign with a nationally televised speech.

“We are launching the world’s biggest vaccination drive and it shows the world our capability,” Modi said. He implored citizens to keep their guard up and not to believe any “rumours about the safety of the vaccines.”

People will not be able to choose between the Oxford University-AstraZeneca vaccine and a government-backed vaccine developed by India’s Bharat Biotech whose efficacy is not entirely known because it’s still undergoing Phase 3 trials. Both vaccines are being produced locally.

Canada’s vaccine supply, meanwhile, has hit a stumbling block. Pfizer is upgrading and expanding its European production line, so its vaccine deliveries to Canada and other countries will be temporarily disrupted, Minister of Public Services and Procurement Anita Anand said on Friday.

Canada’s allotment of the vaccine will be reduced by half for four weeks, said Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, the military commander leading vaccine logistics.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the development will not thwart plans to have enough vaccine doses by September for every Canadian who wants to be inoculated and that deliveries will ramp up again in February.

The news came as the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) released federal projections that suggested the pandemic’s impact may soon exceed levels seen in the first wave, rising to 19,630 cumulative deaths and 10,000 daily infections over the next 10 days.

WATCH | Pfizer delays will slow vaccine program, says Ontario’s task force leader:

Retired general Rick Hillier says Pfizer’s shipment delay means there will be adjustments to the vaccine program in Ontario. 2:23

PHAC said the modelling data showed that roughly 2,000 more people are expected to die from COVID-19 by Jan. 24, while as many as 100,000 more people could contract the novel coronavirus.

What’s happening across Canada

As of 9 a.m. ET on Saturday, Canada had reported 698,763 cases of COVID-19, with 75,860 cases considered active. A CBC News tally of deaths stood at 17,780.

In British Columbia, where all available vaccine doses are being deployed as they arrive, Health Minister Adrian Dix said Pfizer’s delay in deliveries will have “some significant effect” on when priority groups get their shot.

The delay could also affect the wait time between each shot of the two-dose regime, he said.

Although Pfizer-BioNTech suggests a second dose 21 days after the first, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has said that could be extended to 35 days.

A spokesperson for Quebec Health Minister Christian Dubé said the temporary slowdown in deliveries reinforced the province’s decision to wait up to 90 days to administer the vaccine’s second dose.

WATCH | Businesses plan when remote employees return to the office:

Businesses are beginning to prepare for what happens when employees return to the office after working from home since the start of the pandemic. 2:03

“The strategy remains the same: We must give a boost now and vaccinate as many vulnerable people and health workers as possible, as quickly as possible,” Marjaurie Côté-Boileau said.

Alberta decided earlier this week to push back its second shots to 42 days. The province’s health minister, Tyler Shandro, said Friday that he had hoped to soon announce all seniors over 75 and Indigenous people over 65 would be eligible for the vaccine, but the delay makes that out of the question.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford said the province was evaluating the impact of the delay and “will adjust as necessary.”

On Saturday, Ford’s government announced that it’s extending for another 30 days legislation that gives it broad authority over emergency orders. The Reopening Ontario Act 2020 came into effect last July.

In Atlantic Canada, New Brunswick recorded 25 new cases on Friday, continuing a recent surge in cases that has seen provincial officials warning of new restrictions.

Nova Scotia reported two new cases and two new recoveries on Friday, leaving its number of active cases at 32. In Truro, a mobile health unit has been set up in response to an increase in the number of potential exposures in the area during the last week.

Newfoundland and Labrador added one new case on Friday. Prince Edward Island saw one new case on Thursday.

WATCH | Ontario schools for special-needs students stay open despite lockdown:  

Schools for special needs students aren’t closing despite Ontario’s new lockdown measures — and that’s a worry for teachers and staff who work in them. 2:06

Quebec announced 1,918 new cases and 62 deaths on Friday. There are 1,496 people hospitalized due to COVID-19, including 231 in intensive care.

Ontario reported 3,056 new cases and 51 more deaths from the illness on Saturday. The province saw 2,998 new cases and a record 100 deaths on Friday and reported 1,647 COVID-19 patients in hospitals, including 387 in intensive care.

WATCH | COVID-19 treatment Bamlanivimab goes unused:

COVID-19 vaccines have come fast but treatments for the disease are still limited. When a Canadian company developed Bamlanivimab, a new monoclonal antibody drug, Ottawa spent millions on doses. But after the rush to buy them they’ve sat on shelves for months, unused. 2:04

Manitoba reported 191 new COVID-19 cases and five more deaths on Friday. The update comes a week before provincewide restrictions that ban most gatherings and the sale of non-essential goods expire. The provincial government is now considering reducing some of those restrictions and is asking for input from the public in an online survey.

Saskatchewan reported 382 new cases of COVID-19 and four deaths on Friday. Intensive care units in the province are at 95 per cent capacity, stretched by emergencies, including COVID-19 cases, the head of the Saskatchewan Health Authority, Scott Livingstone, said on Thursday.

Alberta reported 785 new cases of COVID-19 and 13 additional deaths on Friday, while British Columbia health officials reported 509 new cases and nine more deaths.

In Yukon, a COVID-19 vaccination clinic for physicians and high-risk hospital staff has inoculated about 300 people.

Northwest Territories chief public health officer Dr. Kami Kandola announced that one person in Yellowknife had tested positive for COVID-19. Kandola said the person has not travelled, and there is no known source of infection at this time.

In Nunavut, more than 600 people are estimated to have received a first dose of the Moderna vaccine so far, Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Michael Patterson said.


What’s happening around the world

As of Saturday morning, more than 93.9 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported worldwide, with more than 51.8 million of those considered recovered or resolved, according to Johns Hopkins University’s COVID-19 case tracking tool. The global death toll stood at just over two million.

AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine has been granted approval for emergency use in Pakistan, Faisal Sultan, the country’s health minister said on Saturday.

Pakistan is in the process of speaking to a number of vaccine makers, but this is the first COVID-19 vaccine to be given the green light in the South Asian country.

In Europe, Spain on Saturday ruled out a new national lockdown despite the record number of COVID-19 cases recorded on Friday. The country registered 40,197 new cases on Friday, while the incidence of the disease measured over the past 14 days hit a new high of 575 cases per 100,000 people.

Unlike other European countries such as Britain and the Netherlands, which have extended national lockdowns, Spanish officials have repeatedly said a return to home confinement should not be necessary.

A man receives a COVID-19 vaccine inside Lichfield Cathedral, which has been turned into an emergency vaccination centre, in Lichfield, north of Birmingham, England, on Friday. (Carl Recine/Reuters)

Prince William is encouraging everyone in Britain to follow the example of Queen Elizabeth, his grandmother, in being inoculated against COVID-19 as authorities battle unsubstantiated fears about vaccine safety.

The second in line to the throne spoke about the Queen and her spouse, Prince Philip, during a video call with National Health Service staff and volunteers that was released late Saturday. The medics told William some members of the public are reluctant to get any of the coronavirus vaccines authorized by regulators.

“My grandparents have had the vaccine and I am very proud of them for doing that,” William said. “It is really important that everyone gets the vaccine when they are told to.”

The Queen, 94, last week disclosed that she and Philip, 99, had received the first dose of vaccine. The disclosure was meant to boost confidence in the shots as the NHS seeks to give the first dose of vaccine to everyone over 70 by the middle of February.

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

Published

 on


The latest:

  • India begins ambitious COVID-19 vaccination drive.
  • Trudeau says delayed Pfizer vaccine deliveries will ramp up again in February.
  • New modelling shows roughly 2,000 more Canadians could die from COVID-19 over next 10 days.
  • Alberta’s Phase 1 vaccination rollout slowed over Pfizer supply issues.
  • Why playing arena hockey can be risky during the pandemic.
  • Do you have a tip or question about the pandemic? Email us at COVID@cbc.ca.

India began its mass vaccination campaign against COVID-19 on Saturday, with plans to inoculate about 300,000 people on the first day of the drive.

The first recipients are to include doctors, nurses and other front-line workers. They are to be followed by people who are either over 50 years old or have illnesses that make them vulnerable to the respiratory illness.

The first dose was administered to a sanitation worker at the All Indian Institute of Medical Sciences in the capital of New Delhi, after Prime Minister Narendra Modi kicked off the campaign with a nationally televised speech.

“We are launching the world’s biggest vaccination drive and it shows the world our capability,” Modi said. He implored citizens to keep their guard up and not to believe any “rumours about the safety of the vaccines.”

People will not be able to choose between the Oxford University-AstraZeneca vaccine and a government-backed vaccine developed by India’s Bharat Biotech whose efficacy is not entirely known because it’s still undergoing Phase 3 trials. Both vaccines are being produced locally.

Canada’s vaccine supply, meanwhile, has hit a stumbling block. Pfizer is upgrading and expanding its European production line, so its vaccine deliveries to Canada and other countries will be temporarily disrupted, Minister of Public Services and Procurement Anita Anand said on Friday.

Canada’s allotment of the vaccine will be reduced by half for four weeks, said Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, the military commander leading vaccine logistics.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the development will not thwart plans to have enough vaccine doses by September for every Canadian who wants to be inoculated and that deliveries will ramp up again in February.

The news came as the Public Health Agency of Canada released federal projections that suggested the pandemic’s impact may soon exceed levels seen in the first wave, rising to 19,630 cumulative deaths and 10,000 daily infections over the next 10 days.

WATCH | Pfizer delays will slow vaccine program, says Ontario’s task force leader:

Retired general Rick Hillier says Pfizer’s shipment delay means there will be adjustments to the vaccine program in Ontario. 2:23

PHAC said the modelling data showed that roughly 2,000 more people are expected to die from COVID-19 by Jan. 24, while as many as 100,000 more people could contract the novel coronavirus.

What’s happening across Canada

As of 7 a.m. ET on Saturday, Canada had reported 695,707 cases of COVID-19, with 76,067 cases considered active. A CBC News tally of deaths stood at 17,729.

In British Columbia, where all available vaccine doses are being deployed as they arrive, Health Minister Adrian Dix said Pfizer’s delay in deliveries will have “some significant effect” on when priority groups get their shot.

The delay could also affect the wait time between each shot of the two-dose regime, he said.

Although Pfizer-BioNTech suggests a second dose 21 days after the first, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has said that could be extended to 35 days.

A spokesperson for Quebec Health Minister Christian Dube said the temporary slowdown in deliveries reinforced the province’s decision to wait up to 90 days to administer the vaccine’s second dose.

WATCH | Businesses plan when remote employees return to the office:

Businesses are beginning to prepare for what happens when employees return to the office after working from home since the start of the pandemic. 2:03

“The strategy remains the same: we must give a boost now and vaccinate as many vulnerable people and health workers as possible, as quickly as possible,” said Marjaurie Cote-Boileau.

Alberta decided earlier this week to push back its second shots to 42 days. The province’s health minister, Tyler Shandro, said Friday that he had hoped to soon announce all seniors over 75 and Indigenous people over 65 would be eligible for the vaccine, but the delay makes that out of the question.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford said the province was evaluating the impact of the delay and “will adjust as necessary.”

In Atlantic Canada, New Brunswick recorded 25 new cases on Friday, continuing a recent surge in cases that has seen provincial officials warning of new restrictions.

Nova Scotia reported two new cases and two new recoveries on Friday, leaving its number of active cases at 32. In Truro, a mobile health unit has been set up in response to an increase in the number of potential exposures in the area during the last week.

Newfoundland and Labrador added one new case on Friday. Prince Edward Island saw one new case on Thursday.

WATCH | Ontario schools for special needs students stay open despite lockdown:  

Schools for special needs students aren’t closing despite Ontario’s new lockdown measures — and that’s a worry for teachers and staff who work in them. 2:06

Quebec announced 1,918 new cases and 62 deaths on Friday. There are 1,496 people hospitalized due to COVID-19, including 231 in intensive care.

Ontario reported 2,998 new cases and a record 100 deaths on Friday, though 46 deaths reported by Middlesex-London Health Unit occurred earlier in the pandemic. There are 1,647 COVID-19 patients in hospitals, including 387 in intensive care.

WATCH | COVID-19 treatment Bamlanivimab goes unused:

COVID-19 vaccines have come fast but treatments for the disease are still limited. When a Canadian company developed Bamlanivimab, a new monoclonal antibody drug, Ottawa spent millions on doses. But after the rush to buy them they’ve sat on shelves for months, unused. 2:04

Manitoba reported 191 new COVID-19 cases and five more deaths on Friday. The update comes a week before provincewide restrictions that ban most gatherings and the sale of non-essential goods expire. The provincial government is now considering reducing some of those restrictions, and is asking for input from the public in an online survey.

Saskatchewan reported 382 new cases of COVID-19 and four deaths on Friday. Dr. Saqib Shahab, the province’s chief medical health officer, said Thursday he will recommend new restrictions next week if COVID-19 case numbers don’t decline.

Alberta reported 785 new cases of COVID-19 and 13 additional deaths on Friday, while British Columbia health officials reported 509 new cases and nine more deaths.

In Yukon, a COVID-19 vaccination clinic for physicians and high-risk hospital staff has inoculated about 300 people.

Northwest Territories chief public health officer Dr. Kami Kandola announced that one person in Yellowknife had tested positive for COVID-19. Kandola said the person has not travelled, and there is no known source of infection at this time.

In Nunavut, more than 600 people are estimated to have received a first dose of the Moderna vaccine so far, Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Michael Patterson said.


What’s happening around the world

As of Saturday morning, more than 93.9 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported worldwide, with more than 51.7 million of those considered recovered or resolved, according to Johns Hopkins University’s COVID-19 case tracking tool. The global death toll stood at just over two million.

AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine has been granted approval for emergency use in Pakistan, Faisal Sultan, the country’s health minister said on Saturday.

Pakistan is in the process of speaking to a number of vaccine makers, but this is the first COVID-19 vaccine to be given the green light in the South Asian country.

In Europe, Spain on Saturday ruled out a new national lockdown despite the record of COVID-19 cases recorded on Friday. The country registered 40,197 new cases on Friday, while the incidence of the disease measured over the past 14 days hit a new high of 575 cases per 100,000 people.

Unlike other European countries such as Britain and the Netherlands, which have extended national lockdowns, Spanish officials have repeatedly said a return to home confinement should not be necessary.

A man receives a COVID-19 vaccine inside Lichfield Cathedral, which has been turned into an emergency vaccination centre, in Lichfield, north of Birmingham, England on Friday. (Carl Recine/Reuters)

Prince William is encouraging everyone in Britain to follow the example of Queen Elizabeth, his grandmother, in being inoculated against COVID-19 as authorities battle unsubstantiated fears about vaccine safety.

The second in line to the throne spoke about the Queen and her spouse, Prince Philip, during a video call with National Health Service staff and volunteers that was released late Saturday. The medics told William some members of the public are reluctant to get any of the coronavirus vaccines authorized by regulators.

“My grandparents have had the vaccine and I am very proud of them for doing that,” William said. “It is really important that everyone gets the vaccine when they are told to.”

The Queen, 94, last week disclosed that she and Philip, 99, had received the first dose of vaccine. The disclosure was meant to boost confidence in the shots as the NHS seeks to give the first dose of vaccine to everyone over 70 by the middle of February.

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