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New COVID-19 variant not yet identified in Canada: Tam – CBC.ca

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Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam says the new variant of COVID-19, which has prompted many countries to implement travel restrictions against the United Kingdom, has not yet been identified in Canada.

Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) has said it is analyzing known cases to determine whether the new strain, which research suggests is significantly more transmissible than the variant currently dominant in Canada, is already in the country.

“Obviously it’s an evolving situation,” Tam said. “We’ve been very active in the last couple of days and activated all the scientific networks in Canada.”

Tam made the remarks during an update on Canada’s fight against COVID-19 Tuesday.

WATCH | Canada’s public health agency says they haven’t detected the new COVID-19 strain found in the UK

Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer spoke to reporters in Ottawa on Tuesday. 1:39

She said PHAC had to date looked at over 25,000 sequences of the virus already collected in Canada, saying these were the highest quality samples, and was working to determine the quality of other samples.

PHAC had also linked with several provincial authorities who were also sequencing existing samples, noting they had not detected the variant.

The ongoing analysis would target high-probability samples, Tam said, such as from people who had recently travelled.

Health Minister Patty Hajdu, Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic LeBlanc, Public Safety Minister Bill Blair, Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam and Deputy Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Howard Njoo were present at the briefing.

Moderna decision coming ‘very soon’: Hajdu

At the briefing, Hajdu told reporters that Health Canada now has all the data it needs in order to complete its review of the Moderna vaccine. The government previously said the country could receive 168,000 doses of the vaccine by year’s end.

“My understanding is that decision will be very soon,” Hajdu said, noting she couldn’t speak for the independent regulators.

The appearance of the new variant of COVID-19 has sparked concern that it may reduce the efficacy of existing vaccines.

But Tam said the current expert research suggests it is unlikely to have a significant effect on the current or soon-to-be-approved vaccines.

“Right now, we remain optimistic on that front,” she said. Tam said it was important to work with the vaccine manufacturers and international partners — particularly the United Kingdom, which is also rolling out the Pfizer vaccine — in order to determine the potential effect of the new variant.

Countries across the world have halted air travel to the U.K., and France banned British trucks from entering for a period of 48 hours, while a new strain of the coronavirus is assessed. 4:25

‘Perilous time’

Tam also warned that Canada was currently on track for a strong resurgence of the virus over the next several months. She pointed to disturbing trends in cases, hospitalizations and mortality, and urged Canadians to continue to follow public health guidelines.

“This is a perilous time,” she said.

Tam noted that there are again outbreaks in long-term care homes, and that unlike the first wave of the pandemic in the spring, the virus was also reaching remote communities.

“With the widespread resurgence right now, there’s a much more broad impact across all areas of Canada, and you can see the impact in Nunavut,” Tam said. Nunavut reported its first two deaths related to COVID-19 on Sunday.

“And we’re only getting into the winter,” she said.

She said the exhaustion of health-care workers, and ordinary Canadians, was one reason the next few months would be so difficult.

As of 2 p.m. ET on Tuesday, Canada had recorded a total of 519,709 cases of COVID-19, and a CBC News tally of deaths stood at 14,381. Ontario and Quebec each recorded more than 2,000 new cases today.

Blair pushes back on border concerns

Ministers also sought to counter criticism on their handling of border restrictions, brought on by the announcement of the three day ban on flights from the United Kingdom.

“Unfortunately 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,” Public Safety Minister Bill Blair said.

He described the screening and quarantine measures in place since the spring and argued Canada has been among the most aggressive countries in controlling entry during the pandemic.

“We have not been slow and not been unresponsive to the concerns that Canadians have,” Blair said.

A passenger sits in a quiet Pearson airport, in Toronto, on Dec. 21, 2020 as Premier Doug Ford announces that all of Ontario will move into a lockdown starting on Boxing Day and travel restrictions aimed at the United Kingdom go into effect. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

The remarks follow harsh criticism from Ontario Premier Doug Ford on both Monday and Tuesday. Ford described the border as a “sieve” and argued for a more effective testing system at airports across the country.

Ford on Tuesday said he was asking the federal government to implement a requirement for pre-departure tests for people trying to come to Canada.

Blair said international travel was the source of just 1.8 per cent of COVID-19 cases in Canada throughout the pandemic.

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

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The latest:

With hospital intensive care units in parts of Ontario reaching capacity due to COVID-19, a new hospital will open in Vaughan, Ont., next month to help relieve pressure on other facilities in the Greater Toronto Area, the province announced Monday.

The Cortellucci Vaughan Hospital, due to open Feb. 7, will be a “dedicated resource to support the province’s COVID-19 response,” taking in critical patients from other hospitals, Premier Doug Ford said.

“It’s like reinforcements coming over the hill,” Ford said, adding that the province is also adding 500 additional surge capacity hospital beds in Toronto, Durham Region, Kingston, Ont., and Ottawa.

Canada’s vaccination efforts against COVID-19 took a notable step forward on Monday with the opening of mass immunization centres in Toronto and Brandon, Man. This follows the opening of a similar immunization supersite in Winnipeg two weeks ago.

Toronto’s supersite is being described as a “proof-of-concept” clinic that will help the city fine-tune the operation of its future clinics, “ensuring safety and increasing efficiency in advance of wider immunization,” according to a city news release.

Retired general Rick Hillier, who heads the province’s vaccine distribution plan, told CBC News on Sunday that Ontario wants to have everyone vaccinated by late July or early August.

The Toronto site is not open to members of the public and will instead operate with a sample group of health-care workers, including those involved in harm reduction and Streets to Homes staff who support the city’s vulnerable populations. 

Ontario Premier Doug Ford, right, is given a tour of an ICU room at Cortellucci Vaughan Hospital by Altaf Stationwala, CEO of Mackenzie Health in Vaughan, Ont., on Monday. The new hospital, which is set to open Feb. 7, will take patients from other hospitals that are strained by COVID-19. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press)

The clinic aims to vaccinate 250 people per day. However, due to the delay in obtaining the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine from Europe, the clinic inside the Metro Toronto Convention Centre is set to close until further notice after the work day on Friday, said Matthew Pegg, head of the city’s immunization task force.

He said anyone who got a first dose of the vaccine at the clinic will be able to receive a second dose within the recommended time frame.

Ontario reported 2,578 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, which is the fewest logged on a single day in about two and a half weeks. However, the province’s labs processed just 40,301 test samples for the novel coronavirus, nearly 20,000 fewer than the day before.

The province also reported 24 new deaths and a total of 1,571 patients with COVID-19 in hospital. Of those, 394 were being treated in intensive care units and 303 were on ventilators — the first time the latter has climbed above 300 since the pandemic began.

Meanwhile, vaccinations got underway at the mass vaccination site in Brandon on Monday morning, following an initial hiccup in which hundreds of health-care workers with immunization appointments were given the wrong address.

Joanna Robb, a cytotechnologist who works at Shared Health’s Westman Lab, which deals with COVID-19 specimens, was the first to receive a dose of the vaccine. 

“You hear the death tolls every day and the numbers, and it’s heartbreaking,” Robb said. “And we can do something.”

The Brandon site was slated to give out more than 550 shots on Monday alone, provincial officials said. The centre will be open 12 hour a day, seven days a week, for eligible health-care workers.

Manitoba registered 118 new COVID-19 cases and four more deaths on Monday. Forty-six of the new cases are in the province’s North Health Region.

WATCH | Manitoba opens 2nd COVID-19 vaccination supersite:

The Keystone Centre in Brandon, Man., is now a supersite for COVID-19 vaccinations. It opened on time Monday despite incorrect information about its location originally being given out. 1:51

What’s happening across Canada

As of 6:40 p.m. ET on Monday, Canada had reported 715,073 cases of COVID-19, with 75,461 cases considered active. A CBC News tally of deaths stood at 18,120.

Over the weekend, federal Procurement Minister Anita Anand sought to allay Canadians’ concerns about Pfizer’s decision to delay international vaccine deliveries while it upgrades its manufacturing facility.

Anand said on Twitter she has been in touch with the drugmaker and was assured that it is “deploying all efforts” to return to its regular delivery schedule “as soon as possible.” The minister said shipments for this coming week will be largely unaffected.

New Brunswick has rolled back the Edmundston and Grand Falls region to a more restrictive red phase, and other regions face the same prospect as the province continues to see a surge in COVID-19 cases.

The province reported 26 new cases on Monday. That follows a tally of 36 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday — 24 of them in the Edmundston and Grand Falls region, about 380 kilometres northwest of Saint John — marking its highest single-day total since the start of the pandemic.

The move to red-phase restrictions, which took effect in the region at midnight, mean som businesses — including movie theatres, barbershops and hair salons — must close, while restaurants can only operate with takeout and delivery. However, schools will remain open with additional health measures in place.

The rest of Atlantic Canada has not seen the recent spread of COVID-19 infections to the extent that New Brunswick has. 

Nova Scotia reported no new cases on Monday, after reporting four additional cases on Sunday, all of which are related to travel outside Atlantic Canada.

Newfoundland and Labrador added one new case on Sunday, in a person who returned home from work in Alberta.

P.E.I. reported four new cases on Monday, three of them linked to travel outside of Atlantic Canada and one involving someone who was in contact with a previously reported case, the province said in a news release.

In Quebec, high schoolers headed back to classrooms on Monday after a month at home, joining elementary students who returned to in-person instruction a week before the older kids. Among other health precautions, students must wear medical-grade masks and will be tested immediately if they show any COVID-19 symptoms.

The province reported 1,634 new cases on Monday, though it noted that a delay in the transmission of laboratory data caused a delay in the reporting of cases to public health departments on Sunday, as well as a drop in the number of new cases reported.

It also reported 32 deaths, nine of which occurred in the last 24 hours and 23 that occurred between Jan. 11 and 16.

Saskatchewan added 290 new COVID-19 cases and four more deaths on Monday.

The province administered 2,449 doses of COVID-19 vaccine on Sunday. The total number of vaccines administered in the province has now reached 22,618.

Alberta will have no more COVID-19 doses available to administer by the end of Monday or early Tuesday due to the Pfizer supply disruption, Premier Jason Kenney has announced.

The premier told a news conference on Monday that the province is putting a temporary hold on the first dose of COVID-19 vaccinations to ensure it has enough vaccine to provide a second dose to people who have already received their first shot.

Alberta reported 474 new COVID-19 cases and 11 new deaths on Monday. Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, said 739 people are in hospital with the respiratory illness, 120 of whom are in intensive care.

British Columbia on Monday reported 1,330 new cases of COVID-19 and 31 more deaths over the last three days. As of Monday, 87,346 people in B.C. had received at least one dose of vaccine.

WATCH | Risks of hockey arenas amid pandemic:

Air quality research and a growing understanding of how COVID-19 spreads are helping to explain why facing off in hockey arenas can be risky during the pandemic. 8:27

In the North, Northwest Territories health officials placed the hamlet of Fort Liard under a two-week containment order after three cases were discovered in the community.

A dozen employees of Agnico Eagle’s Meliadine gold mine in Nunavut are now in self-isolation after a worker at the mine tested positive for COVID-19, the company said in a news release on Friday. There have been nine confirmed cases of COVID-19 at the mine since the start of the pandemic, an Agnico Eagle spokesperson told CBC News on Saturday via email.

Meanwhile, members of Yukon‘s two mobile COVID-19 vaccination teams held one last dry-run at a Whitehorse high school on Friday before hitting the road.


What’s happening around the world

As of Monday, more than 95.4 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported worldwide, with more than 52.5 million of those considered recovered or resolved, according to Johns Hopkins University’s COVID-19 case tracking tool. The global death toll stood at more than two million.

The head of the World Health Organization says it’s “not right” that younger, healthier adults in rich countries get vaccinated against COVID-19 before older people in poorer countries.

Director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus kicked off WHO’s week-long executive board meeting — virtually from its headquarters in Geneva — on Monday by lamenting that only 25 vaccine doses have been provided in a single poor country, while more than 39 million doses have been administered in nearly 50 richer nations.

“Just 25 doses have been given in one lowest-income country — not 25 million, not 25,000 — just 25. I need to be blunt,” Tedros said. He did not specify the country.

Tedros again criticized “bilateral deals” between drug companies and countries that hurt the ability of the WHO-backed COVAX program, which aims to get vaccines to all countries based on need.

“Most manufacturers have prioritized regulatory approval in rich countries, where the profits are highest, rather than submitting” data to WHO, he said, so it can approve vaccines for wider use.

In Europe, France on Monday began a campaign to inoculate people over 75 against the coronavirus, as its death toll rose past 70,000 over the weekend.

Robert Farquar of Westman Lab gets vaccinated by public health nurse Jennifer Cochrane in Brandon, Man., on Monday morning. (Tim Smith/The Brandon Sun/Pool)

The new variant of COVID-19 first detected in Britain is now starting to gain a foothold in Belgium, officials say, with cases reported in several northern schools on top of an outbreak in a nursing home.

Officials in the Swiss mountain resort of St. Moritz quarantined employees and guests of two luxury hotels, closed ski schools and kept schoolchildren home from class on Monday after a dozen positive tests for a highly infectious coronavirus variant.

In Asia, a Chinese province grappling with a spike in coronavirus cases is reinstating tight restrictions on weddings, funerals and other family gatherings, threatening violators with criminal charges.

The notice from the high court in Hebei province did not give specifics but said all types of social gatherings were now being regulated to prevent further spread of the virus.

New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs said the Moncton, Saint John and Fredericton regions are ‘on the cusp’ of a return to red as the province moved the Edmundston and Grand Falls region back to the more restrictive phase. (Submitted by the Government of New Brunswick)

In the Americas, California became the first U.S. state on Monday to record more than 3 million known COVID-19 infections, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. California only reached 2 million reported cases on Dec. 24 and has the highest count of any state. Nearly 34,000 deaths in the state have been attributed to the novel coronavirus.

Incoming White House chief of staff Ron Klain says the coronavirus pandemic will get worse in the U.S. before it gets better, projecting another 100,000 deaths from COVID-19 in the first five weeks of president-elect Joe Biden’s administration.

Speaking on CNN’s State of the Union, Klain said Biden was inheriting a dire situation, saying even with vaccines, “it’s going to take a while to turn this around.” Biden has set a goal of injecting 100 million doses of coronavirus vaccine in his first 100 days in office, a goal Klain said they were on pace to meet.

Brazil’s health regulator on Sunday approved the urgent use of coronavirus vaccines made by Sinovac and AstraZeneca, enabling Latin America’s largest nation to begin an immunization program that’s been subject to months of delay and political disputes.

Brazil currently has six million doses of Sinovac’s CoronaVac vaccine ready to distribute in the next few days and is awaiting the arrival of another two million doses of the vaccine made by AstraZeneca and partner Oxford University.

French singer and actress Line Renaud receives an injection of a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre in Rueil-Malmaison, west of Paris, on Monday. (Christophe Archambault/AFP/Getty Images)

In Africa, South Africa, which has yet to receive its first coronavirus vaccine, has been promised nine million doses by Johnson & Johnson, the Business Day newspaper reported.

South Africa has delayed reopening schools as it faces a rapid resurgence of COVID-19 overwhelming the country’s hospitals and driven by a more infectious variant of the virus.

Ghana’s president said Sunday that infection rates are skyrocketing and include variants of the virus not before seen in the country, filling treatment centres and threatening to overwhelm the health system.

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Canada adds over 6K new coronavirus cases as Tam warns of ‘continuing resurgence’ – Global News

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Another 6,453 new cases of the novel coronavirus have been reported across Canada on Monday, bringing the total number of infections in the country to 715,072.

Health officials also confirmed another 92 people have died after testing positive for COVID-19, bringing the total death toll to 18,120.

However, since the pandemic began, 623,033 people have recovered from the respiratory illness, while 20,594,862 tests for the virus have been administered.

Read more:
Alberta set to run out of COVID-19 vaccine supply, first dose appointments no longer offered

In a series of tweets on Monday, Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam said with high levels of “disease activity in many areas,” Canada remains “on the path of continuing resurgence.”

“Together we can change this,” she wrote. “YOU + #PublicHealth measures/restriction controls CAN #crushCOVID.”

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Tam urged the public to continue to comply with public health measures, including washing their hands, practicing physical distancing and wearing a mask.

So far, Health Canada has approved two vaccines to protect against the virus, one from Pfizer-BioNTech, the other made by Moderna.

According to the agency’s website, as of Thursday, 765,100 doses of those vaccines had been distributed for use across the country.

The federal government has said all Canadians who want a vaccine will have access to one by the end of September.


Click to play video 'Coronavirus: Toronto COVID-19 vaccination clinic pausing after 5 days due to supply issues'



3:19
Coronavirus: Toronto COVID-19 vaccination clinic pausing after 5 days due to supply issues


Coronavirus: Toronto COVID-19 vaccination clinic pausing after 5 days due to supply issues

New cases in the provinces

In Ontario, 2,578 new cases were reported, and 24 more fatalities, bringing the total number of cases and deaths to 240,364 and 5,433, respectively.

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Meanwhile, in Quebec, 1,634 new cases bring the total number of infections to 244,348. Thirty-two new deaths mean 9,087 people have died in the province since the pandemic began.

In Atlantic Canada, 30 new cases of COVID-19 were detected.

New Brunswick added 26 new cases and health officials said 12 more people have died.

Meanwhile, Prince Edward Island reported four new infections for a total of 108 cases. However, 98 are considered to be recovered.

Neither Nova Scotia or Newfoundland added a new case or fatality on Monday.

In Saskatchewan, 290 new cases bring the total case load in the province to 20,562.

Four new deaths mean 219 people have now died in Saskatchewan since the pandemic began.

Read more:
What’s in Pfizer’s vaccine? A look at the ingredients

Health officials in Manitoba also said four more people had died, pushing the death toll to 773.

Another 118 new cases were also reported in the province, bringing the total number of cases to 27,629.

Further west in Alberta, 474 new cases and 11 more fatalities were reported.

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So far, the province has seen 117,311 confirmed COVID-19 infections and 1,447 deaths.

In British Columbia, 301 new cases pushed the total number of infections to 61,447.

Health authorities in the province also said five more people have died after testing positive for the virus.

To date, 1,078 people have died in B.C. after contracting the coronavirus.

No new cases in Canada’s territories

The Northwest Territories has reported 40 cases of the virus since the pandemic began. Health officials say 28 of the cases are from residents of the territory, while 12 are from elsewhere.

No new cases or deaths were reported in Nunavut, meaning the total counts of infections and fatalities remained at 266 and one, respectively.


Click to play video 'Coronavirus: More students signing up for homeschooling as Quebec high schools reopen'



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Coronavirus: More students signing up for homeschooling as Quebec high schools reopen


Coronavirus: More students signing up for homeschooling as Quebec high schools reopen

Health officials in the Yukon did not report any new COVID-19 infections or deaths, either.

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To date, the territory has seen 70 cases of the respiratory illness and one fatality.

Global cases top 95 million

Since the virus was first detected in Wuhan, China, in late 2019, it has infected 95,435,122 people around the world, according to a tally from Johns Hopkins University.

Read more:
Coronavirus tracker: how many news cases of COVID-19 in Canada today?

By Monday at 6:30 p.m. ET, the virus had claimed 2,037,076 lives globally.

The United States remained the viral epicentre on Monday, with 24,041,339 infections and 398,588 fatalities to date.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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

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The latest:

With hospital intensive care units in parts of Ontario reaching capacity due to COVID-19, a new hospital will open in Vaughan, Ont., next month to help relieve pressure on other facilities in the Greater Toronto Area, the province announced Monday.

The Cortellucci Vaughan Hospital, due to open Feb. 7, will be a “dedicated resource to support the province’s COVID-19 response,” taking in critical patients from other hospitals, Premier Doug Ford said.

“It’s like reinforcements coming over the hill,” Ford said, adding that the province is also adding 500 additional surge capacity hospital beds in Toronto, Durham Region, Kingston, Ont., and Ottawa.

Canada’s vaccination efforts against COVID-19 took a notable step forward on Monday with the opening of mass immunization centres in Toronto and Brandon, Man. This follows the opening of a similar immunization supersite in Winnipeg two weeks ago.

Toronto’s supersite is being described as a “proof-of-concept” clinic that will help the city fine-tune the operation of its future clinics, “ensuring safety and increasing efficiency in advance of wider immunization,” according to a city news release.

Retired general Rick Hillier, who heads the province’s vaccine distribution plan, told CBC News on Sunday that Ontario wants to have everyone vaccinated by late July or early August.

The Toronto site is not open to members of the public and will instead operate with a sample group of health-care workers, including those involved in harm reduction and Streets to Homes staff who support the city’s vulnerable populations. 

Ontario Premier Doug Ford, right, is given a tour of an ICU room at Cortellucci Vaughan Hospital by Altaf Stationwala, CEO of Mackenzie Health in Vaughan, Ont., on Monday. The new hospital, which is set to open Feb. 7, will take patients from other hospitals that are strained by COVID-19. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press)

The clinic aims to vaccinate 250 people per day. However, due to the delay in obtaining the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine from Europe, the clinic inside the Metro Toronto Convention Centre is set to close until further notice after the work day on Friday, said Matthew Pegg, head of the city’s immunization task force.

He said anyone who got a first dose of the vaccine at the clinic will be able to receive a second dose within the recommended time frame.

Ontario reported 2,578 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, which is the fewest logged on a single day in about two and a half weeks. However, the province’s labs processed just 40,301 test samples for the novel coronavirus, nearly 20,000 fewer than the day before.

The province also reported 24 new deaths and a total of 1,571 patients with COVID-19 in hospital. Of those, 394 were being treated in intensive care units and 303 were on ventilators — the first time the latter has climbed above 300 since the pandemic began.

Meanwhile, vaccinations got underway at the mass vaccination site in Brandon on Monday morning, following an initial hiccup in which hundreds of health-care workers with immunization appointments were given the wrong address.

Joanna Robb, a cytotechnologist who works at Shared Health’s Westman Lab, which deals with COVID-19 specimens, was the first to receive a dose of the vaccine. 

“You hear the death tolls every day and the numbers, and it’s heartbreaking,” Robb said. “And we can do something.”

The Brandon site was slated to give out more than 550 shots on Monday alone, provincial officials said. The centre will be open 12 hour a day, seven days a week, for eligible health-care workers.

Manitoba registered 118 new COVID-19 cases and four more deaths on Monday. Forty-six of the new cases are in the province’s North Health Region.

WATCH | Manitoba opens 2nd COVID-19 vaccination supersite:

The Keystone Centre in Brandon, Man., is now a supersite for COVID-19 vaccinations. It opened on time Monday despite incorrect information about its location originally being given out. 1:51

What’s happening across Canada

As of 6:40 p.m. ET on Monday, Canada had reported 715,073 cases of COVID-19, with 75,461 cases considered active. A CBC News tally of deaths stood at 18,120.

Over the weekend, federal Procurement Minister Anita Anand sought to allay Canadians’ concerns about Pfizer’s decision to delay international vaccine deliveries while it upgrades its manufacturing facility.

Anand said on Twitter she has been in touch with the drugmaker and was assured that it is “deploying all efforts” to return to its regular delivery schedule “as soon as possible.” The minister said shipments for this coming week will be largely unaffected.

New Brunswick has rolled back the Edmundston and Grand Falls region to a more restrictive red phase, and other regions face the same prospect as the province continues to see a surge in COVID-19 cases.

The province reported 26 new cases on Monday. That follows a tally of 36 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday — 24 of them in the Edmundston and Grand Falls region, about 380 kilometres northwest of Saint John — marking its highest single-day total since the start of the pandemic.

The move to red-phase restrictions, which took effect in the region at midnight, mean som businesses — including movie theatres, barbershops and hair salons — must close, while restaurants can only operate with takeout and delivery. However, schools will remain open with additional health measures in place.

The rest of Atlantic Canada has not seen the recent spread of COVID-19 infections to the extent that New Brunswick has. 

Nova Scotia reported no new cases on Monday, after reporting four additional cases on Sunday, all of which are related to travel outside Atlantic Canada.

Newfoundland and Labrador added one new case on Sunday, in a person who returned home from work in Alberta.

P.E.I. reported four new cases on Monday, three of them linked to travel outside of Atlantic Canada and one involving someone who was in contact with a previously reported case, the province said in a news release.

In Quebec, high schoolers headed back to classrooms on Monday after a month at home, joining elementary students who returned to in-person instruction a week before the older kids. Among other health precautions, students must wear medical-grade masks and will be tested immediately if they show any COVID-19 symptoms.

The province reported 1,634 new cases on Monday, though it noted that a delay in the transmission of laboratory data caused a delay in the reporting of cases to public health departments on Sunday, as well as a drop in the number of new cases reported.

It also reported 32 deaths, nine of which occurred in the last 24 hours and 23 that occurred between Jan. 11 and 16.

Saskatchewan added 290 new COVID-19 cases and four more deaths on Monday.

The province administered 2,449 doses of COVID-19 vaccine on Sunday. The total number of vaccines administered in the province has now reached 22,618.

Alberta will have no more COVID-19 doses available to administer by the end of Monday or early Tuesday due to the Pfizer supply disruption, Premier Jason Kenney has announced.

The premier told a news conference on Monday that the province is putting a temporary hold on the first dose of COVID-19 vaccinations to ensure it has enough vaccine to provide a second dose to people who have already received their first shot.

Alberta reported 474 new COVID-19 cases and 11 new deaths on Monday. Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, said 739 people are in hospital with the respiratory illness, 120 of whom are in intensive care.

British Columbia on Monday reported 1,330 new cases of COVID-19 and 31 more deaths over the last three days. As of Monday, 87,346 people in B.C. had received at least one dose of vaccine.

WATCH | Risks of hockey arenas amid pandemic:

Air quality research and a growing understanding of how COVID-19 spreads are helping to explain why facing off in hockey arenas can be risky during the pandemic. 8:27

In the North, Northwest Territories health officials placed the hamlet of Fort Liard under a two-week containment order after three cases were discovered in the community.

A dozen employees of Agnico Eagle’s Meliadine gold mine in Nunavut are now in self-isolation after a worker at the mine tested positive for COVID-19, the company said in a news release on Friday. There have been nine confirmed cases of COVID-19 at the mine since the start of the pandemic, an Agnico Eagle spokesperson told CBC News on Saturday via email.

Meanwhile, members of Yukon‘s two mobile COVID-19 vaccination teams held one last dry-run at a Whitehorse high school on Friday before hitting the road.


What’s happening around the world

As of Monday, more than 95.4 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported worldwide, with more than 52.5 million of those considered recovered or resolved, according to Johns Hopkins University’s COVID-19 case tracking tool. The global death toll stood at more than two million.

The head of the World Health Organization says it’s “not right” that younger, healthier adults in rich countries get vaccinated against COVID-19 before older people in poorer countries.

Director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus kicked off WHO’s week-long executive board meeting — virtually from its headquarters in Geneva — on Monday by lamenting that only 25 vaccine doses have been provided in a single poor country, while more than 39 million doses have been administered in nearly 50 richer nations.

“Just 25 doses have been given in one lowest-income country — not 25 million, not 25,000 — just 25. I need to be blunt,” Tedros said. He did not specify the country.

Tedros again criticized “bilateral deals” between drug companies and countries that hurt the ability of the WHO-backed COVAX program, which aims to get vaccines to all countries based on need.

“Most manufacturers have prioritized regulatory approval in rich countries, where the profits are highest, rather than submitting” data to WHO, he said, so it can approve vaccines for wider use.

In Europe, France on Monday began a campaign to inoculate people over 75 against the coronavirus, as its death toll rose past 70,000 over the weekend.

Robert Farquar of Westman Lab gets vaccinated by public health nurse Jennifer Cochrane in Brandon, Man., on Monday morning. (Tim Smith/The Brandon Sun/Pool)

The new variant of COVID-19 first detected in Britain is now starting to gain a foothold in Belgium, officials say, with cases reported in several northern schools on top of an outbreak in a nursing home.

Officials in the Swiss mountain resort of St. Moritz quarantined employees and guests of two luxury hotels, closed ski schools and kept schoolchildren home from class on Monday after a dozen positive tests for a highly infectious coronavirus variant.

In Asia, a Chinese province grappling with a spike in coronavirus cases is reinstating tight restrictions on weddings, funerals and other family gatherings, threatening violators with criminal charges.

The notice from the high court in Hebei province did not give specifics but said all types of social gatherings were now being regulated to prevent further spread of the virus.

New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs said the Moncton, Saint John and Fredericton regions are ‘on the cusp’ of a return to red as the province moved the Edmundston and Grand Falls region back to the more restrictive phase. (Submitted by the Government of New Brunswick)

In the Americas, California became the first U.S. state on Monday to record more than 3 million known COVID-19 infections, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. California only reached 2 million reported cases on Dec. 24 and has the highest count of any state. Nearly 34,000 deaths in the state have been attributed to the novel coronavirus.

Incoming White House chief of staff Ron Klain says the coronavirus pandemic will get worse in the U.S. before it gets better, projecting another 100,000 deaths from COVID-19 in the first five weeks of president-elect Joe Biden’s administration.

Speaking on CNN’s State of the Union, Klain said Biden was inheriting a dire situation, saying even with vaccines, “it’s going to take a while to turn this around.” Biden has set a goal of injecting 100 million doses of coronavirus vaccine in his first 100 days in office, a goal Klain said they were on pace to meet.

Brazil’s health regulator on Sunday approved the urgent use of coronavirus vaccines made by Sinovac and AstraZeneca, enabling Latin America’s largest nation to begin an immunization program that’s been subject to months of delay and political disputes.

Brazil currently has six million doses of Sinovac’s CoronaVac vaccine ready to distribute in the next few days and is awaiting the arrival of another two million doses of the vaccine made by AstraZeneca and partner Oxford University.

French singer and actress Line Renaud receives an injection of a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre in Rueil-Malmaison, west of Paris, on Monday. (Christophe Archambault/AFP/Getty Images)

In Africa, South Africa, which has yet to receive its first coronavirus vaccine, has been promised nine million doses by Johnson & Johnson, the Business Day newspaper reported.

South Africa has delayed reopening schools as it faces a rapid resurgence of COVID-19 overwhelming the country’s hospitals and driven by a more infectious variant of the virus.

Ghana’s president said Sunday that infection rates are skyrocketing and include variants of the virus not before seen in the country, filling treatment centres and threatening to overwhelm the health system.

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