Health officials are reminding people to make the Halloween weekend safe for everyone by maintaining safe physical distances from one another.
Shark squalene is being considered for use in coronavirus vaccines, warn conservationists. Squalene is a natural organic compound, found in shark liver oil.
Between 2,500 – 3,000 sharks are needed to extract one tonne of squalene. Conservation group Shark Allies predicts that if the world’s population all received one dose of the vaccine, around 250,000 sharks would have to be slaughtered, depending on the amount of squalene used. Two doses for every person in the globe would amount to half a million sharks.
Currently, British pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKine (GSK) uses squalene in flu vaccines. The oil is used as an adjuvant in medicine, an ingredient that increases the effectiveness of a vaccine by creating a stronger immune response. GSK has announced that it would manufacture a billion doses of the adjuvant for potential use in coronavirus vaccines.
Shark Allies is concerned that killing so many sharks will do irreversible damage to our oceans’ ecosystems.
It says we should be using plant-based and synthetic alternatives for squalene, which don’t derive from sharks.
“We are in no way trying to hinder or slow down the development of a COVID-19 vaccine or any other critical treatment that is needed to protect humanity from illness,” states Stefanie Brendl, founder of California-based Shark Allies.
However, she adds, “we are asking that sustainably sourced squalene is used in all non-critical applications and where the alternative is just as effective as shark squalene, and that all future testing of adjuvanted vaccines is giving plant-derived sources equal consideration.”
Maintaining ocean health is critical
Sharks are critical to ocean health and function. They are a key element in life systems that affect ocean health, food security, and livelihoods for generations to come. We need the ocean and the ocean needs sharks. But populations have been severely depleted in recent decades.
Using squalene in universally deployed Covid vaccines could be detrimental for many shark species.
“It would be unconscionable if more harm was done by something that was avoidable,” says Brendl.
“Moving society away from harmful practices requires awareness and a willingness to tackle a transition period. Profit margins may not look as favorable if taking wild animals is seen as cheaper and easier than other processes. Sourcing an ingredient from a wild animal is not a long-term solution.”
BC regional health officers can now issue COVID-19 restrictions in their own jurisdictions | News – Daily Hive
After hinting on Thursday that region-specific public health orders could become a reality, BC Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry released an amendment to her public health order around public and private gatherings on Friday.
The amendment gives regional medical health officers the power to issue COVID-19 restrictions for their own jurisdictions instead of being bound to province-wide rules.
Henry states the order was made in recognition of the fact that “the risk differs in different regions of the province and that medical health officers are in the best position to assess local circumstances and to determine whether or not additional or more restrictive steps need to be taken.”
Henry states such orders by health officers could mean further prohibitions or the imposing of more restrictive limitations or conditions, “with respect to gatherings and events in the geographic area of the province, or a part of the geographic area of the province, for which the medical health officer is designated.”
Henry issued the original public health order around household gatherings this past Monday, which stated household gatherings must be limited “in private homes to no more than your immediate household, plus “your safe six.”
This, she said at the time, “is a province-wide order that applies to all homes for all occasions.”
Henry said she issued the order because “similar to what occurred in the summer with vacation homes and rentals, we have seen a notable increase in new cases and transmission of COVID-19 as a direct result of social gatherings in private homes.”
Until this week, provincial orders on gatherings and events allowed events of up to 50 people, as long as a number of guidelines could be met, including a sufficient amount of space for patrons to maintain a two-metre distance from one another and a limit of six patrons at each table, even if they were part of the same party.
However, “we know the vast majority of homes cannot safely accommodate large numbers of people,” said Henry on Monday.
For those trying to flout the new rules, “enforcement will be stepped up to ensure people are following this new order, with the immediate focus on the Fraser Health region, where the increase in new cases is most notable,” said Henry.
Then, on Thursday, Henry again singled out the Fraser Health region as an area of the province that is seeing a surge of infections and reporting high test positivity. She characterized the rise of cases in the region – which encompasses the eastern Lower Mainland from Burnaby to Boston Bar – as “quite dramatic.”
Fraser Health officials also asked residents in the region not to invite friends or family into their homes ahead of Halloween weekend because private gatherings have been driving new infections in recent weeks.
Other provinces such as Ontario and Quebec have already implemented tighter restrictions in their biggest cities that were seeing high coronavirus transmission.
COVID-19 update for Oct. 30: Now is not the time for parties or large gatherings, say health officials – Standard Freeholder
Here’s your daily update with everything you need to know on the novel coronavirus situation in B.C. for Oct. 30, 2020.
We’ll provide summaries of what’s going on in B.C. right here so you can get the latest news at a glance. This page will be updated regularly throughout the day, with developments added as they happen.
Check back here for more updates throughout the day.
B.C.’S COVID-19 CASE NUMBERS
As of the latest figures given on Oct. 30:
• Total number of confirmed cases: 14,381 (2,390 active)
• New cases since Oct. 29: 272
• Hospitalized cases: 78
• Intensive care: 25
• COVID-19 related deaths: 263 (1 new)
• Cases under public health monitoring: 6,003
• Recovered: 11,670
• Long-term care and assisted-living homes, and acute care facilities currently affected: 26
B.C. GUIDES AND LINKS
LATEST NEWS on COVID-19 in B.C.
The province reported another 272 cases of COVID-19 on Friday and one additional death, bringing the total number of people who have died to 263.
There are 2,390 active cases of COVID-19 in the province, and 6,003 people are under public health monitoring after being exposed to a known case.
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced this week that gatherings are now limited to people in an immediate household, plus their so-called “safe six”’ guests.
The B.C. government says it will increase surveillance this weekend as the new order came into effect.
In a joint statement, Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix are reminding people to make the Halloween weekend safe for everyone by maintaining safe physical distances from one another.
They say this is also not the time for large gatherings in homes as the number of cases of COVID-19 spikes.
— The Canadian Press
Transport Canada has extended a ban on cruise ships to the end of February as the country continues to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic.
It’s the third time the federal agency has imposed a ban on visiting cruise ships, after the federal government extended the ban at the end of May, sinking Vancouver’s lucrative summer cruise ship season.
Port of Vancouver spokesperson Arpen Rana said Friday that Vancouver’s cruise season begins in April and concludes in October, so they can’t speculate on the revenue impact for 2021 but said the port supports the decision.
“As a Canada Port Authority, we support and follow the direction of Transport Canada regarding the recently announced extension of measures pertaining to cruise ships,” said Rana.
“We are actively engaged in discussions with the cruise industry and tourism partners to support the industry under these challenging conditions.”
Rana did not say when the port expected the ban to lift, or whether it might be extended into the spring, but said the agency is working with the Association of Canadian Port Authorities Cruise Committee to resume safe cruises sometime next year.
The committee is made up of all port authorities with cruise terminals in Canada.
Given that the extension ends before the season kicks into gear in May, it does not change much in terms of anticipated revenue lost, said Sabrina Tey, a spokesperson for Tourism Vancouver.
The ban has taken a heavy toll this year on Vancouver’s tourism industry, however, as an estimated 1.3 million cruise ship passengers on 310 ships were scheduled to make port in Vancouver in 2020 before the pandemic hit.
Each ship translates into $3 million in tourism spending.
11:30 a.m. – To report Halloween parties in Vancouver call 311
Vancouver residents are being reminded ahead of Halloween that reports of large gatherings or parties, which are not allowed under a new COVID-19 rules, should be reported to 311 and not 911.
This follows an order this week from provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry limiting gatherings in private residences to the household members plus six others within the household’s bubble. B.C.’s cases have been going up, with more than 200 cases reported a day for more than a week.
Health officials have said most of the new cases are in the Fraser Health Authority, and are linked to social gatherings such as weddings, celebrations of life, and holidays.
Vancouver police said they are asking residents to keep 911 lines free for emergencies and to call 311 if there is a large gathering. The VPD has issued two tickets on the order, one to a host of a party and the other to an individual for failure to comply.
Meantime, in the last month the city of Vancouver has received hundreds of complaints on 311 about the pandemic, including 130 complaints of too many people being inside a business, 120 calls about house parties, 61 complaints about gatherings exceeding 50 people.
Thirty-three callers complained about people promoting parties or gatherings, three were upset about banquet halls being open, and 16 called to complain about people not adhering to social distancing measures.
There were also 160 other pandemic-related calls. Of those 49 had to do with too many people gathering together.
For more on this, read How do I have a Safe Halloween?
Health officials shared a sobering story during Thursday’s COVID-19 update, meant to drive home the tragedy that could be prevented when people adhere health orders and guidelines.
“It is something that reminds us of how important the measures that we need to take right now can be in protective lives,” said Dr. Bonnie Henry, who said Thursday that B.C. is “in a danger zone.”
Henry said the latest death recorded was of a woman in her 80s who attended a small birthday party of less than 10 people in a private home.
Henry, B.C.’s provincial health officer, Minister of Health Adrian Dix and Dr. Victoria Lee, president and CEO of Fraser Health hosted Thursday’s COVID-19 briefing in Surrey on Thursday.
B.C. saw 234 new cases and one death reported between Wednesday and Thursday, bringing the province’s total number of reported cases up to 14,109 since the start of the pandemic. There are are now 2,344 active cases of COVID-19.
Of those, 86 remain in hospital, of which 24 are in the intensive care unit.
There are 4,588 cases in Vancouver Coastal Health, 8,036 in Fraser Health, 256 in Vancouver Island, 734 in Interior Health, 464 in Northern Health and 89 who are non-B.C. residents.
LOCAL RESOURCES for COVID-19 information
Here are a number of information and landing pages for COVID-19 from various health and government agencies.
–with files from The Canadian Press
7 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health as warning issued for Halloween – Lake Country Calendar
There are seven new cases of COVID-19 being reported in the Interior Health region overnight, bringing the total in the health authority since the start of the pandemic to 741.
There are currently 87 active cases that are in isolation.
No one is in hospital.
Interior Health is reporting no additional exposures in schools.
Across the province there are an additional 272 cases of COVID-19, with one death and three new outbreaks in the health care system.
There has been a community outbreak declared at Suncor’s Firebag oil sands project, 120 km northeast of Fort McMurray, Alberta, the second time an Alberta oil industry facility has dealt with coronavirus as workers travel in and out to B.C. and other locations.
Dr. Albert De Villiers, chief medical health officer for Interior Health said the health authority has seen an increase in cases as the province moves through the second wave of COVID-19.
“This rise in cases is reflected across B.C. and it is important we all do our part to reduce the risk of further exposures in our communities,” he stated. “The Provincial Health Officer has issued a new order on household visitors, which means households cannot have more than six people of any age visit at one time. The order applies to all gatherings – indoor and outdoor – hosted at households, such as a Halloween or large dinner party, celebration of life, wedding or baby shower.”
De Villiers went on to say while the restrictions pose challenges, everyone is being asked to celebrate Halloween in an alternative way.
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