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Ottawa rejects plan to let Blue Jays play in Toronto during COVID-19 pandemic

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The federal government has said it’s not OK for the Blue Jays to play ball in Toronto during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ottawa informed the team of the decision on Saturday, citing concerns over the public health risks associated with Major League Baseball’s plan for a 60-game season.

Marco Mendicino, minister of immigration, refugees and citizenship, told CBC News Network that the circumstances did not warrant a border-crossing exemption, particularly in light of the amount of cross-border travel needed and the risks that remained. The plan called for the Blue Jays and visiting teams to cross the Canada-U.S. border regularly

“Look, I’m a baseball fan,” Mendicino said. “But we’re not taking decisions as fans. We’re taking decisions on the evidence of science that we receive and protecting the health and safety of Canadians.”

For weeks, senior federal officials have privately expressed concerns about the Blue Jays playing games in COVID-19 hot spots before returning to Toronto while also hosting teams from states U.S. where positive cases are growing fast.

Mendicino said the government is willing to restart plans if the Blue Jays make the playoffs and the risk of the virus spreading has diminished.

 

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, discusses the federal government’s decision to deny the Blue Jays approval to play in Toronto. 6:33

The Blue Jays are set to open their season on July 24 at Tampa Bay as Florida continues to set new daily records for COVID-19 cases.

In a statement issued Saturday afternoon, the team thanked municipal, provincial and federal leaders and public health officials “for their detailed consideration and partnership throughout this process.”

“From the onset of discussions with league and government officials, the safety of the broader community — our fans —  and the team remained the priority of everyone involved, and with that, the club completely respects the federal government’s decision,” Mark Shapiro, the Blue Jays’ president and CEO, said in the statement.

“Though our team will not be playing home games at Rogers Centre this summer, our players will take the field for the 2020 season with the same pride and passion representative of an entire nation. We cannot wait until the day comes that we can play in front of our fans again on Canadian soil.”

 

CBC News’ David Cochrane discusses the reasons why the federal government rejected the Toronto Blue Jays’ request to play regular season baseball games in Toronto. 7:04

The club is in the process of finalizing the best home location for the remainder of the 2020 season and will share an update as soon as it is available, the statement said.

Toronto Mayor John Tory issued a statement Saturday afternoon saying he respected the decision.

“This is Toronto’s team and Canada’s team and wherever they play, we are 100 per cent behind them and look forward to an exciting, successful 2020 season,” Tory said.

Canada’s deputy chief public health officer, Dr. Howard Njoo, may have foreshadowed the decision on Friday when he voiced concerns about the frequent travel at a public health briefing.

“The teams — and the Blue Jays included — would be, during the regular season, travelling back and forth across the international border. And that, I think, is an issue,” Njoo said.

The rejection means the Blue Jays will have to find an alternative stadium for home games. The team’s home opener is scheduled for July 29 against the Washington Nationals.

One option is to play in Sahlen Field in Buffalo, N.Y., which would eliminate the need for cross-border travel. The Blue Jays were already planning to have one of their minor league teams play there.

But the team’s preference was clearly to play in Toronto. The team revised its plan for home games from an initial proposal that didn’t call for a modified quarantine for players and team officials during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Njoo said the team initially wanted players to be able to live in their condos or in-season residences and be part of the community. The revised proposal mandated the Blue Jays and visiting teams stay in a hotel connected to Rogers Centre, as the Toronto club is currently doing during training camp.

Provincial approval was in place

The Ontario government gave its approval for the Blue Jays to play in Toronto under those conditions, with the province warning that the agreement would be rescinded if the protocols put in place are broken.

But because the plan would involve multiple crossings of the Canada-U.S. border, the final decision always rested with the federal government. Canada currently requires individuals to quarantine for 14 days after crossing the international border.

Ottawa has given permission for the NHL to restart its season, with 24 teams set to arrive in Toronto and Edmonton later this month. Njoo said Friday the federal government was more comfortable with the setup the NHL is using because all players and staff will be isolated from the general public, and the teams won’t leave Canada until they finish play.

Source: – CBC.ca

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Canada surpasses 400000 total COVID-19 cases – CTV News

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OTTAWA —
Canada has now recorded more than 400,000 cases of COVID-19 since the beginning of the global pandemic.

Today’s bleak marker came after Saskatchewan reported 283 new cases of the virus today, bringing the national tally to 400,030.

The speed at which Canada reached the 400,000 mark is the latest sign of the accelerating pace of the pandemic across the country.

Canada recorded its 300,000th case of COVID-19 18 days ago on Nov. 16.

It took six months for Canada to record its first 100,000 cases of COVID-19, four months to reach the 200,000 threshold and less than a month to arrive at 300,000.

Canada’s national death toll from the virus currently stands at 12,470.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 4, 2020.

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The latest news on COVID-19 developments in Canada – Richmond News

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The latest news on COVID-19 developments in Canada (all times Eastern):

2:43 p.m.

Saskatchewan is reporting 283 new cases of COVID-19 and one more death.

Health officials say the person who died was in their 80s and the province’s death toll from the pandemic sits at 55.

There are more than 4,000 active cases of the virus in the province, many of the infections concentrated in and around Regina and Saskatoon.

Hospitals are treating 126 COVID-19 patients, with 25 of them in intensive care.

The province’s seven-day average of daily cases is 262.

Premier Scott Moe hopes to see a dip in transmission of the virus so more visitation can be allowed in long-term care homes over the holidays.

1:40 p.m.

Manitoba is announcing nine more deaths from COVID-19 and 320 new infections Friday as health officials released new modelling showing the impact of the pandemic on the province.

It shows that three people end up in hospital and one person dies for every 48 cases of COVID-19.

Dr. Brent Roussin, chief public health officer, says if no public health measures had been put in place, there would have been up to 1,055 new infections a day by this Sunday.

Daily cases have been tracking between 300 and 500 recently.

1:29 p.m.

Nunavut will look to get the Moderna vaccine once it is available in Canada.

Chief public health officer Dr. Michael Patterson says Moderna is preferred because the cold storage and shipping of the Pfizer vaccine is too difficult in Nunavut. 

Patterson also announced today fewer than five Nunavut residents with COVID-19 were flown to a Winnipeg hospital this week and are in stable condition.

Patterson would not comment on exactly how many people were in hospital or what communities they come from.

1:22 p.m.

Ottawa is increasing its order of prospective COVID-19 vaccines.

Procurement Minister Anita Anand says Canada is exercising its option to obtain another 20 million doses of Moderna’s two-dose candidate, bringing its total order to 40 million in 2021.

That’s expected to be enough to vaccinate almost 20 million people.

Moderna is one of several manufacturers Ottawa has struck deals with for prospective COVID-19 vaccines, which will be delivered in batches.

In early 2021, Canada expects a combined total of six million doses of the Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines, if authorized for distribution.

1:07 p.m.

The group instructing provinces and territories about who should be first in line for COVID-19 vaccines has updated its advice.

The National Advisory Committee on Immunization says the first doses of authorized vaccines should go to residents and staff of congregate living settings for seniors.

They should also go to older adults starting with people aged 80 and older, then decreasing the age limit to 70 as supply becomes available.

Health-care workers and adults in Indigenous communities where infection can have disproportionate consequences are also on the list.

12:45

Public Health officials in Newfoundland and Labrador are reporting three new cases of COVID-19. 

There are now 27 active cases in the province, for a total of 343 cases since the pandemic began. 

Premier Andrew Fury says he will announce the province’s position on the Atlantic travel bubble Monday.

Newfoundland and Labrador withdrew from the arrangement on looser travel restrictions within the region last month.

12:30 p.m.

Nova Scotia is reporting 15 new cases of COVID-19.

Health officials say 11 cases are in the Halifax area, including a case at Citadel High School in Halifax reported late Thursday.

Three cases in the northern health zone are close contacts of other cases, and one case in the western zone is related to travel. 

A case has also been identified at Park West School, a primary to Grade 9 school in the health zone that includes Halifax.

11:38 a.m.

Nunavut is reporting eight new cases of COVID-19.

The territory says all the new infections are in Arviat.

The community on the western edge of Hudson Bay now has 44 active cases.

Nunavut mostly lifted a two-week lockdown earlier this week but restrictions remain in Arviat where numbers are highest.

11:18 a.m.

Public Health officials in New Brunswick are reporting eight new cases of COVID-19.

There is one new case in the Moncton region, two in the Saint John region, one in the Fredericton area and four in the Edmunston region.

All the individuals are self-isolating and their cases are under investigation.

The total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in New Brunswick is 528 with 111 currently active. 

11:10 a.m.

There are 1,780 new cases of COVID-19 in Ontario today and 25 more deaths linked to the virus.

Health Minister Christine Elliott says there are 633 new cases in Toronto, 433 in Peel and 152 in York Region. 

She says that the spread of COVID-19 has “hit a critical point.”

The minister is asking Ontarians to wear masks and remain physically distant from each other.

11:08 a.m.

The Quebec government is reporting 1,345 new COVID-19 cases and 28 additional deaths linked to the novel coronavirus.

The Health Department says of the five of the deaths occurred in the past 24 hours.

The number of hospitalizations has increased by 24 for a total of 761 with 97 people in intensive care.

The province has reported a total of 147,877 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 7,183 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 4, 2020.

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

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The latest:

  • First COVID-19 vaccine doses expected to be given in January, federal officials say.
  • Alberta announces record high number of daily cases and positive-test rate.
  • Quebec cancels plans to allow holiday gatherings.
  • U.S. sets single-day records for new infections, deaths; new stay-at-home orders coming to California.
  • Have a coronavirus question or news tip for CBC News? Email us at COVID@cbc.ca

As Canada approaches 400,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19, federal officials are making preparations for the first vaccine doses to be administered in January.

Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, a former NATO commander in Iraq who is leading vaccination logistics at a new national operations centre in the Public Health Agency of Canada, laid out the rollout plan at a press conference Thursday.

The initial supply of the doses will be limited — just three million Canadians are expected to get shots in the first three months of 2021. Millions more doses are expected to arrive as the supply chain stabilizes.

WATCH | How Canada is preparing for vaccine distribution:

Federal officials provided a clearer picture of how the COVID-19 vaccine will be distributed across Canada, saying the first doses are expected to be administered In January. 2:12

One of the principal challenges facing the immunization effort is the distribution of vaccines that must be kept at very low temperatures. Vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna, which are expected to be the first approved for use in the country, need to be kept at approximately -80 C and -20 C, respectively, to remain stable.

Eventually, there will be 205 “points of issue” locations across the country where health-care professionals can administer the vaccine, Fortin said. It will be up to the provinces and territories to specify where and when individual Canadians will be inoculated.

In British Columbia, the province’s top doctor said the first shots should be available in B.C. early in the new year, with the first priority likely being to immunize the most vulnerable populations, including residents of long-term care homes, as well as health-care workers.

“We’re going to make sure we are absolutely ready by then,” Dr. Bonnie Henry said. “We are planning to be able to put vaccine into arms in the first week of January.”

If everything goes according to plan, everyone in the province who wants the COVID-19 vaccine will be immunized by next September, Henry said. She said a more detailed plan for vaccine rollout will be available early next week.

WATCH | An inside look at the scramble to mass-produce a COVID-19 vaccine:

A major vaccine manufacturer in India scrambling to mass produce the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine so it can get into the arms of billions opened its doors to CBC News. 3:01

Ontario Premier Doug Ford echoed Henry’s assertion that the province will be ready when the first supply of vaccines is approved and available in early 2021, but said he still has many questions — specifically which vaccines will be coming to Ontario, how many, and when they will land.

Provincial Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Williams was also asked Thursday if the province would make vaccination mandatory.

“We can’t force someone to take a vaccine. That’s clear,” Williams said. But what the province can do, he noted, is make proof of a vaccine mandatory to access certain settings, such as long-term care facilities.

In Newfoundland and Labrador, Premier Andrew Furey told reporters he had spoken with federal Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic LeBlanc about distribution.

Furey said N.L.’s challenges differ from those seen in other jurisdictions, and the province has accepted military advice and expertise on distribution.


What’s happening across Canada

As of 9 a.m. ET on Friday, Canada’s COVID-19 case count stood at 396,271, with 69,246 of those cases considered active. A CBC News tally of deaths based on provincial reports, regional health information and CBC’s reporting stood at 12,407.

In Atlantic Canada, New Brunswick officials expressed hope that the Moncton and Frederiction regions could soon return to the yellow phase of recovery from the more restrictive orange phase, as the province reported six new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday.

“We are seeing some progress, people are following public health advice and measures,” said Dr. Jennifer Russell, the chief medical officer of health. However, the Saint John region, which is currently also in the orange phase, is a bit further behind, Russell said.

WATCH | N.B. officials on how residents can have a yellow Christmas:

Premier Blaine Higgs and Dr. Jennifer Russell explain what New Brunswickers can do to get a yellow Christmas. 3:30

Nova Scotia reported 11 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday. Two of the cases had been confirmed in Sipekne’katik First Nation the previous evening by Chief Mike Sack and marked the first time the virus has been detected on a First Nation in Atlantic Canada.

Prince Edward Island announced one new case of COVID-19 on Thursday, as Premier Dennis King said P.E.I. will not rejoin the Atlantic bubble until at least Dec. 21.

Newfoundland and Labrador reported no new cases on Thursday. It was the first day the province had gone without a new case in more than two weeks.

In Quebec, starting Friday, inspectors and police will be more visible in malls and shops to make sure businesses are complying with public health measures including a maximum capacity of customers and signs about distancing rules.

The province has cancelled plans to allow gatherings over the December holidays in light of a rise in COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths.

WATCH | Quebec premier says no gatherings allowed over holiday season:

Saying there is not enough time before Christmas to reduce the number of COVID-19 cases in Quebec, Premier François Legault backtracked on a previous commitment. He now says gatherings in the province’s red zones will not be allowed over the holiday season. 2:10

Premier François Legault made the announcement Thursday as the province reported 1,470 new cases of COVID-19 and 30 more deaths. Hospitalizations related to COVID-19 have climbed above 700.

“When we look at the situation, we are forced to realize that it is not realistic to think that we are going to succeed in reducing the progression of the virus in a satisfactory way by Christmas,” Legault said.

Ontario has reached a key threshold when it comes to the number of patients in intensive care earlier than modelling had predicted. As of Thursday, 203 patients with the illness were being treated in intensive care, according to a report by Critical Care Services Ontario.

“It is concerning that we are ahead of schedule,” said Dr. Michael Warner, medical director of critical care at Michael Garron Hospital in Toronto.

The province reported 1,824 new cases of COVID-19 and 14 new deaths on Thursday. However, the number of new cases was slightly inflated due to a processing error, the provincial health ministry said.

In Manitoba, the number of people in hospital with COVID-19 climbed to a record 357, with 52 of those people in intensive care, matching a previous single-day record for patients in critical care.

“We know that [this] is putting too much strain on our capacity in the health-care system. The numbers are too high,” said Dr. Brent Roussin, Manitoba’s chief public health officer.

The province also reported 368 new COVID-19 cases and 12 more deaths on Thursday.

In Saskatchewan, an updated surge plan projected as many as 560 new cases of COVID-19 a day in the province — a doubling of current levels — by Dec. 15.

The province reported 259 new cases and one additional death on Thursday.

Alberta again broke records on Thursday with 1,854 new cases and a positive-test rate of 9.5 per cent. The province also reported 14 new deaths.

Dr. Deena Hinshaw, the province’s chief medical officer of health, said she is particularly concerned about the spread of COVID-19 into rural areas. Among the 15 geographic areas with the highest active case rates in the province, one-third of them are outside Calgary and Edmonton.

British Columbia reported 694 new COVID-19 cases and 12 new deaths on Thursday.

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said adult sports and fitness activities have become a major source of infection in recent weeks, accounting for something between 10 and 15 per cent of new cases.

All indoor and outdoor adult team sports are now prohibited in the province, and children’s programs have returned to earlier, more restrictive guidelines.

People wear protective face masks to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 at a hair salon in Vancouver on Thursday. (Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press)

In the North, Nunavut has seen its total number of active cases go down over the past week, leading up to the lifting of a two-week territory-wide lockdown on Wednesday. 

On Thursday, it reported five new COVID-19 cases, all in Arviat, which remains under restrictions. The community now has 68 of the territory’s 75 active cases.

Yukon confirmed one new case of COVID-19 on Thursday, while the Northwest Territories did not report any new cases.


What’s happening around the world

From The Associated Press and Reuters, last updated at 9:45 a.m. ET

As of early Friday morning, there were more than 65.2 million reported cases of COVID-19 worldwide, with more than 41.9 million of those listed as recovered or resolved, according to a tracking tool maintained by U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University. The global death toll stood at more than 1.5 million.

In the Americas, U.S. president-elect Joe Biden said on Thursday he would publicly take a vaccine to demonstrate its safety to the public and pledged to retain the nation’s top adviser on the pandemic, Dr. Anthony Fauci, when he takes office next month.

“People have lost faith in the ability of the vaccine to work,” Biden told CNN in an interview that aired on Thursday.

Three former presidents — Barack Obama, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush — have also indicated they’d publicly take a coronavirus vaccine, once one becomes available, to encourage all Americans to get inoculated.

A pedestrian wearing a mask walks past a sign advising that COVID-19 vaccines are not available yet at a Walgreen’s pharmacy store in San Francisco on Wednesday. (Jeff Chiu/The Associated Press)

Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a member of President Donald Trump’s coronavirus task force, met with Biden’s advisers on the pandemic earlier in the day.

The United States set single-day records for new infections and deaths on Thursday as California’s governor said he would impose some of the nation’s strictest stay-at-home orders in the coming days, when intensive care units are expected to reach capacity.

In Europe, Norway’s Health Minister Bent Hoeie said some 1.2 million people, chiefly those in high-risk groups and health workers, will get the vaccine when it becomes available. The remainder of Norway’s population of 5.4 million are expected to get the vaccine in the spring.

In Spain, Health Minister Salvador Illa said the government hopes to vaccinate between 15 and 20 million people by next May or June, with more to follow. It hopes to begin vaccinating next month and receive more than 140 million vaccine doses in all.

Croatia has ordered 5.6 million dozes of coronavirus vaccines and will start giving shots to people as soon as the vaccines are authorized for use in the European Union, health officials said.

Meanwhile, the Czech Republic has launched a coronavirus testing program for the country’s teachers as students gradually return to school. The program that started Friday and continues to Dec. 18 is designed to test up to 170,000 teachers. The free program is voluntary and uses rapid antigen tests.

The Czech government also plans to make COVID-19 tests available to all citizens, possibly starting Dec 18. In November, the country started testing residents of all nursing and retirement homes.

A woman chooses a Christmas gift in a shop in Prague on Thursday. Shops, restaurants, museums and galleries across the country were allowed to reopen again following several weeks of decreasing new COVID-19 daily cases. (Michal Cizek/AFP/Getty Images)

In the Asia-Pacific region, South Korea has recorded 629 new coronavirus cases over the past 24 hours, the highest daily tally in about nine months.

After successfully suppressing two previous outbreaks this year, South Korea has been grappling with a fresh spike in infections since it relaxed stringent physical distancing rules in October. Last week, it toughened distancing restrictions in the greater Seoul area and other places.

In Africa, South Africa on Thursday tightened some COVID-19 rules in the Eastern Cape province where infections are rising the most, curbing movement and gatherings, but decided against reinstating a nationwide lockdown.

Volunteer Thabisle Khlatshwayo receives her second shot at a COVID-19 vaccine trial facility at Soweto’s Chris Sani Baragwanath Hospital outside Johannesburg on Monday. Over 2,000 South African volunteers are part of AstraZeneca’s experimental coronavirus vaccine trial. (Jerome Delay/The Associated Press)

South Africa has recorded the highest number of coronavirus infections on the African continent, with more than 760,000 confirmed cases and more than 20,000 deaths.

In the Middle East, a partial lockdown will begin this weekend in the Gaza Strip after infections spiked in the densely populated territory.

In Turkey, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he would get vaccinated against the coronavirus to set an example for his country’s citizens and that the government plans to buy multiple vaccines.

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