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Potential COVID-19 vaccine still not in Canada, three months after approval for trials – Global News

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Shipments of a Chinese and Canadian-developed COVID-19 candidate vaccine remain delayed from getting to Canada, more than three months after Health Canada approved them for Phase 1 trials here.

The Ad5-nCoV potential vaccine is being produced at CanSino Biologics in Tianjin, China, and uses cell lines developed at the National Research Council of Canada (NRC).

Researchers at Dalhousie University’s Canadian Center for Vaccinology were set to test the CanSino product in Phase 1 trials in Halifax as early as late May.

Ad5-nCoV has already completed relatively promising Phase 2 trials within China. In June, it was approved for use in the People’s Liberation Army – China’s armed forces.

A Chinese patent was granted for Ad5-nCoV this month, and Phase 3, large-scale trials — which include people who have been exposed to COVID-19 — are set to begin soon in Russia, Saudi Arabia, Brazil and Mexico.

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Read more:
Coronavirus: Mexico to conduct phase 3 trials for China, U.S. vaccine candidates

Yet Canada — the home of the cells used to develop the candidate vaccine — is still waiting to even see the product.

In an email to Global News, the NRC said the “vaccine candidate for Phase 1 clinical trials has not yet been approved by Chinese customs for shipment to Canada. Once the Canadian Center for Vaccinology receives the vaccine candidate it will start the clinical trial for CanSino, under the regulatory supervision of Health Canada.”

When asked specifically how much the Government of Canada has invested specifically in the CanSino Ad5-nCoV vaccine project, including the planned clinical trials in our country, the communications advisor for the NRC cited confidentiality reasons for not revealing details. “For reasons of commercial confidentiality the terms of the agreement between the NRC and CanSino cannot be shared. The overall aim of the NRC’s collaboration with CanSino is to enable production of the candidate vaccine in Montreal, for the purposes of later stage clinical trials, as well as for emergency pandemic use should the vaccine be approved by Health Canada,” said Nic Defalco via email.

CanSino did not respond to a Global News request for information about the delay.

The NRC and CanSino previously teamed-up to develop a successful Ebola vaccine approved for use in 2017.

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The ongoing delay comes at a time of high diplomatic tension between Ottawa and Beijing: over the detention of Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor in China, and the U.S. extradition hearing of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou in Canada.

“Of all the vaccine candidates that are out there … which one did Canada choose to partner with? One that is owned by a company closely allied to China’s military, at a moment when Canada’s relationship with China is the worst it’s ever been,” said Amir Attaran, professor of law and medicine at the University of Ottawa.

Read more:
‘The chill is real’: Canada’s new ambassador to China says of current relationship

“And as a result, the Chinese are blocking us receiving vaccines, to do clinical trials in this country. It’s farcical.”

Other vaccines


Medical syringe is seen with AstraZeneca company logo displayed on a screen in the background in this illustration photo taken in Poland on June 16, 2020. (Photo Illustration by Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images).

Attaran says Canada should have looked to its allies when making vaccine deals, and not just for political reasons.

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“It’s certainly not the best vaccine of its kind in development,” said Attaran.

“It shares technological features of the vaccine that is being developed at Oxford University and manufactured by AstraZeneca. And that one, the latter one, is clearly superior in its Phase 2 outcomes to the CanSino version.”

Phase 2 trial results in July showed the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine to be safe — with only minor side effects — and it appeared to produce both types of immune responses, as hoped for by researchers.

AstraZeneca has inked deals with the U.K., the U.S., Australia, Europe’s Inclusive Vaccines Alliance, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations and Gavi the Vaccine Alliance for more than one billion doses.

The CanSino Phase 2 trial showed similar results, but with more adverse side-effects when the vaccine was delivered at the levels required to induce an immune response, and it showed a reduced immune response for older people.






2:36
Should the COVID-19 vaccine be patent-free?


Should the COVID-19 vaccine be patent-free?

Earlier this month, the Canadian government signed new deals with pharmaceutical firms Pfizer and Moderna to secure millions of doses in 2021 of the coronavirus vaccine candidates each company is currently developing.

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Pfizer is currently working on four experimental coronavirus vaccines and Moderna is also working on what’s been described as among the leading candidates for a vaccine.

Procurement Minister Anita Anand did not specify how many doses have been secured as part of the deals, only that it would be “millions of doses.”

Read more:
There’s a task force reviewing COVID-19 vaccines but the feds won’t say much about it

The federal government has invested $600 million to support COVID-19–related vaccine and therapy clinical trials, but for reasons of “commercial confidentiality,” it will not reveal the terms of the CanSino deal.

However, we do know more about the two other vaccine projects involving the NRC.

One is a $56 million investment to support VBI Vaccines, a company based in Massachusetts, with operations in Ottawa.

The other is $23 million of funding for The University of Saskatchewan’s Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization-International Vaccine Centre.

When asked by Global News if the Canadian government is in negotiations with AstraZeneca, a spokesperson for minister Anand said “given the steep global competition, and in order to protect Canada’s negotiating position, it would be imprudent to provide details regarding specific suppliers with whom we are currently negotiating … We owe it to Canadians to explore every option for vaccines, and that is exactly what we will continue to do.”

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2:05
Canada inks deals to secure millions of coronavirus vaccine doses


Canada inks deals to secure millions of coronavirus vaccine doses

Professor Matthew Herder, Director of the Health Law Institute at Dalhousie University said the Canadian government should be more open about the deals it is making.

“I think one of the things the government should be doing is making public the deals that they’re entering into. So we can have that hard conversation about whether our interests and the interests of other populations are potentially going to benefit from these vaccines,” said Herder.

“We really don’t know how good of a deal it is; the terms of the deal between Canada and CanSino, the terms of the newer deals between the federal government and Moderna, as well as Pfizer for their vaccines. We don’t know the terms of those deals either.”

In response to questions raised by Conservative MP Scott Reid, parliamentary documents signed by Innovation, Science and Industry Minister Navdeep Bains, say “The NRC retains the intellectual property related to the cell line, while CanSino, in turn, owns all intellectual property rights for the vaccines it develops.”

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It also says the agreements between the NRC and CanSino “permit the NRC to manufacture a set limit of the vaccine for emergency pandemic use in Canada for ten years. The agreements do not address large-scale manufacturing of the vaccine in Canada or distribution to other countries — these will be the subject of a subsequent agreement with the Government of Canada as required.”

Temporary patent amendment

Prime Minister Scott Morrison addresses the media during a visit to AstraZeneca on Aug. 19, 2020 in Sydney, Australia. The Australian government has announced an agreement with the British pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca to secure at least 25 million doses of a COVID-19 vaccine if it passes clinical trials.  (Photo by Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images)


Prime Minister Scott Morrison addresses the media during a visit to AstraZeneca on Aug. 19, 2020 in Sydney, Australia. The Australian government has announced an agreement with the British pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca to secure at least 25 million doses of a COVID-19 vaccine if it passes clinical trials.  (Photo by Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images).

The issuing of a Chinese patent for the CanSino vaccine candidate this month will not affect how it can be used in Canada.

The Canadian Intellectual Property Office patent database does not currently show whether CanSino has a patent pending in Canada for Ad5-nCoV, as patent applications are generally only made public 18 months after an application. It would be standard practice for CanSino to have applied in Canada and elsewhere already.

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Even if a patent were granted already, the Canadian government would currently be able to bypass it, because of an amendment to the Patent Act under Bill-13 measures, passed in March, in response to COVID-19.

It allows the government “to make, construct, use and sell a patented invention to the extent necessary to respond to the public health emergency.”

Herder thinks that could be a small factor in why the candidate vaccines have been prevented from getting to Canada.

However, the legal amendment is time-limited, preventing the Patent Commissioner from making any such authorization after Sept. 30, 2020.

“I cannot understand why that deadline was added to this measure,” said Herder.

“Forecasts at the time this legislation was passed would have put the vaccine being ready in early 2021, I think, at the earliest, and so that deadline needs to be changed. And I think that’s one of the concrete steps the federal government can and should take to extend it into the foreseeable future.”

Vaccine Nationalism

World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus attend a news conference organized by Geneva Association of United Nations Correspondents (ACANU) amid the COVID-19 outbreak, caused by the novel coronavirus, at the WHO headquarters in Geneva Switzerland July 3, 2020. Fabrice Coffrini/Pool via REUTERS


World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus attend a news conference organized by Geneva Association of United Nations Correspondents (ACANU) amid the COVID-19 outbreak, caused by the novel coronavirus, at the WHO headquarters in Geneva Switzerland July 3, 2020. Fabrice Coffrini/Pool via REUTERS.

This week, the World Health Organization (WHO) called for international cooperation when it comes to developing and distributing vaccines.

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“Nationalism exacerbated the pandemic and contributed to the total failure of the global supply chain. For a period of time, some countries were without key supplies, such as key items for health workers who were dealing with surging cases of COVID-19,” said WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, insisting that if the virus isn’t eliminated everywhere, it will inevitably come back.

“It’s critical that countries don’t repeat the same mistakes. We need to prevent vaccine nationalism.”

Even Pope Francis asked for richer nations to think of others when racing to procure vaccines.

“It would be sad if the rich are given priority for the COVID-19 vaccine. It would be sad if this vaccine became the property of this or that nation, if it is not universal and for everyone,” said the pontiff.

As of August 2020, 39 countries form part of a Solidarity Call to Action on COVID-19, an initiative of the WHO and Costa Rica, to pool global resources.

Canada is not a member, and neither is China.

Most of the members are poorer developing countries. Only six are also part of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), i.e. fully-developed countries, but none would be regarded as world powers.

“In the absence of that kind of commitment to collaborate and share, what we’re seeing is exactly what you’d expect. It’s a bit of ‘every nation first and for itself first’,” said Herder.

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“The richer nations are, of course, better positioned to take care of people within their borders.”

So even if Canada is falling behind in the vaccine race, it’s still far ahead of most nations.

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Manitoba sees 51 new COVID-19 cases on eve of tightened restrictions – Globalnews.ca

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Public health officials in Manitoba are reporting 51 new cases of COVID-19 in the province Sunday, 36 of which are in the Winnipeg health region.

Eight cases have been identified in the Interlake-Eastern health region, four in the Southern Health region, two in the Northern health region and a lone case in the Prairie Mountain Health region.

Read more:
Metro Winnipeg area moving to level Orange restrictions Monday; masks to be mandatory

The current five-day COVID-19 test positivity rate is 2.2 per cent, down from 2.3 per cent on Saturday.

Thirteen people are currently in hospital with six in intensive care.

There are now 589 active COVID-19 cases in the province, 490 of which are in the Winnipeg region, according to provincial data. 

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The province is also warning of a possible school exposure at École Précieux-Sang on Sept. 18.

Public health officials say the virus was not contracted at school and the risk of transmission is low.

Another warning has been issued at Sisler High School after a possible exposure on Sept. 18.

Contact tracing at the high school is underway, with anyone identified as a close contact expected to be contacted and provided instructions for self-isolation by public health officials.

Read more:
65 COVID-19 cases in Manitoba Saturday, 56 in Winnipeg

Starting Monday, people in Winnipeg and 17 surrounding metropolitan communities are required to wear masks while in indoor public places as part of ratcheted-up public health restrictions.

Gathering sizes will be pared down to 10 people both indoors and outdoors.

The new rules come after the province announced Winnipeg, along with the municipalities surrounding the city, will move to a level orange restriction Monday, under Manitoba’s colour-coded pandemic response rating system.

<div class="l-article__part" data-shortcode=" Sign up for our Health IQ newsletter for the latest coronavirus updates ]

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The new restrictions will be in place for at least four weeks, including Thanksgiving on Oct. 12, chief public health officer Dr. Brent Roussin said Friday.

Preliminary laboratory testing numbers show 2,234 tests were completed Friday, bringing the total number of lab tests completed since early February to 175,867, the province said in a news release.

As of Sunday morning, the total number of cases in Manitoba is 1,880.

-With files from Erik Pindera and Elisha Dacey


Click to play video 'Coronavirus: Increased number of COVID-19 cases in Manitoba linked to Winnipeg bars and restaurants, health official says'



2:35
Coronavirus: Increased number of COVID-19 cases in Manitoba linked to Winnipeg bars and restaurants, health official says


Coronavirus: Increased number of COVID-19 cases in Manitoba linked to Winnipeg bars and restaurants, health official says

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© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Today's coronavirus news: Toronto public school closed due to outbreak; Staff test positive at two King Street restaurants; Quebec reports 896 new cases – Toronto Star

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The latest coronavirus news from Canada and around the world Sunday. This file is no longer updating. Click here to read the latest. Web links to longer stories if available.

9:30 p.m.: The Toronto District School Board said Sunday that public health officials have declared an outbreak at Mason Road Junior Public School, in Scarborough, and ordered that it be closed until Friday, Oct. 2, while they investigate. It is the first school to be closed in Toronto due to a COVID-19 outbreak.

Toronto’s first school outbreak was declared at Friday at Glen Park Public School, where two students tested positive. As of Sunday evening, a total of 37 public schools across Toronto were reporting infections among students or staff, or both.

7:00 p.m.: As authorities sought to contain COVID-19 outbreaks at British universities Sunday, some students complained they were being “imprisoned” in their dormitories and politicians debated whether young people should be allowed to go home for Christmas.

Students at universities in Glasgow, Manchester and Edinburgh — who have returned to campus in the past few weeks — are being asked to self-isolate in their residence halls, with security guards at some schools preventing young people from leaving their buildings.

While students at Glasgow University greeted the lockdown with humour, posting signs asking passersby to “send beer,” those in Manchester had a darker message, taping “HMP MMU” in their windows, suggesting the dormitory had become “Her Majesty’s Prison Manchester Metropolitan University.”

The lockdowns come as more students headed back to campuses across the country, and some observers criticized the government’s decision to reopen universities despite forecasts that this would lead to virus outbreaks. The government defended the decision, saying it had put clear guidelines in place to protect students and staff.

5:13 p.m.: The latest numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Canada as of 5:09 p.m. EDT on Sept. 27, 2020:

There are 153,124 confirmed cases in Canada.

  • Quebec: 71,901 confirmed (including 5,825 deaths, 61,129 resolved)
  • Ontario: 49,831 confirmed (including 2,839 deaths, 42,796 resolved)
  • Alberta: 17,343 confirmed (including 261 deaths, 15,585 resolved)
  • British Columbia: 8,641 confirmed (including 230 deaths, 7,036 resolved)
  • Manitoba: 1,880 confirmed (including 19 deaths, 1,272 resolved)
  • Saskatchewan: 1,878 confirmed (including 24 deaths, 1,710 resolved)
  • Nova Scotia: 1,087 confirmed (including 65 deaths, 1,021 resolved)
  • Newfoundland and Labrador: 272 confirmed (including 3 deaths, 267 resolved)
  • New Brunswick: 200 confirmed (including 2 deaths, 191 resolved)
  • Prince Edward Island: 58 confirmed (including 57 resolved)
  • Yukon: 15 confirmed (including 15 resolved)

  • Repatriated Canadians: 13 confirmed (including 13 resolved)
  • Northwest Territories: 5 confirmed (including 5 resolved)
  • Nunavut: No confirmed cases
  • Total: 153,124 (0 presumptive, 153,124 confirmed including 9,268 deaths, 131,097 resolved)

2:46 p.m.: Public Health officials in Newfoundland and Labrador are reporting one new confirmed case of COVID-19 and are urging anyone who shared his flight out of Toronto last week to get tested.

The new case, announced Sunday, involves a man between 20 and 39 years of age who had recently returning home to the province from Manitoba, which announced 51 new cases on Sunday for an active total of 589. Newfoundland now has two active cases.

Officials say the man has been self-isolating since arrival and following Public Health guidelines.

However, the Department of Health and Community Services is asking people who travelled on WestJet Flights 306 and 328 departing Winnipeg and Toronto for St. John’s on Monday, Sept. 21, to call the 811 non-urgent health line to arrange for COVID-19 testing.

They say the request is out of an abundance of caution.

1:34 p.m.: A King Street East restaurant, Reyna, revealed Sunday on Instagram that it has temporarily closed after one of its staff tested positive for COVID-19.

“We are saddened to announce that one of our Reyna on King team members has tested positive for COVID-19. This person last worked at Reyna on King on Wednesday, Sept. 24th, 2020 and is currently self-isolating … we decided to immediately close Reyna on King and neighbouring Reyna Bazaar until further notice. While closed, these actions will be take: 1) Reyna on King and Reyna Bazaar “will be professionally sanitized and deep cleaned to ensure all surfaces are clear of any contamination. 2) The entire Reyna on King and Reyna Bazaar team, as well as anyone from Bar Reyna who came in contact with the infected employee, has self-isolated and is required to get tested for COVID-19 in the next 24 hrs. Nobody will be permitted to return to work without proof of negative COVID-19 test results.”

Reyna, on King Street East, is some distance from the three King Street West restaurants shuttered by Toronto Public Health over the weekend for COVID-19 rule violations. Further down King Street West, an outbreak at Regulars Bar was revealed on Sunday.

1:15 p.m.: Provincial police remain on the scene Sunday in Wasaga Beach where hundreds of modified cars descended this weekend for stunt driving, racing and more.

The town saw a large influx of car enthusiasts starting Friday for what police called an unsanctioned car rally. Late on Saturday, OPP officers set up at the entrances to town and began turning away motorists who were not Wasaga Beach residents.

“There was an overall disregard of any kind of rules at all, so they made the decision in the interest of public safety to shut down the town, for lack of a better word,” said OPP Sgt. Jason Folz.

Folz said there was a lack of physical distancing and complete disregard for the limits on outdoor social gatherings (25 people), which were implemented to help slow the spread of COVID-19. Folz said some vehicles were seized and tickets were issued under the Highway Traffic Act and the Reopening Ontario Act.

Folz said the car “take-over” continued on Sunday and that police maintained an active presence throughout the duration.

OPP were assisted by a helicopter, which Folz said was used to track people fleeing from police, monitor gatherings, and collect evidence. Police from York Region and Peel Region also assisted.

Folz said information on the number of tickets and charges handed out over the weekend was not available yet.

12:05 p.m.: Toronto Public Health stated on Sunday that it’s notifying staff and patrons who visited the Regulars Bar on King St. W. between Sept. 13 and 22 about a potential exposure to COVID-19 after three bar employees have tested positive.

TPH says it has followed up with all known close contacts, who have been asked to self-isolate for 14 days and to go for testing. If you were at Regulars, 668 King St. W., at Bathurst, during this time but haven’t been contacted by TPH, you are not identified as a close contact and are viewed as low risk, but as a precaution, TPH asks you to monitor for COVID-19 symptoms for 14 days after their visit.

TPH estimates approximately 600 people may have been at the venue during this time.

11:27 a.m.: Quebec is reporting 896 new cases of COVID-19 today, the highest single-day tally since May.

Health officials say four additional deaths were also reported: two in the past 24 hours, and two that took place between Sept. 20 and 25.

Authorities say hospitalizations went down by one in the past 24 hours for a total of 216.

Of those, 41 people are in intensive care — a drop of four from the previous day.

The province has now recorded a total of 71,901 COVID-19 cases and 5,825 total deaths attributed to the coronavirus.

Health Minister Christian Dube says the increase in cases is primarily due to community transmission of the virus, and the province is asking Quebecers to limit their contact with others over the next few weeks.

11:21 a.m.: The Correctional Service of Canada says it is suspending visits to federal prisons in Quebec to prevent the potential spread of COVID-19.

The agency says temporary absences and work releases from institutions and community correctional centres in the province are also suspended. Quebec has seen an increase in COVID-19 cases in recent weeks, reporting 896 new cases on Sunday.

CSC says health services in its Quebec facilities will continue and temporary absences will be allowed on medical and compassionate grounds. For now the restrictions do not apply to facilities in other provinces.

The agency says there are no active cases of COVID-19 among inmates in its 43 institutions across Canada.

10:21 a.m.: Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott stated on Twitter on Sunday that the province is reporting 491 new cases of COVID-19 after more than 42,500 tests were completed. Locally, there are 137 new cases in Toronto with 131 in Peel, 58 in Ottawa and 58 in York Region.

Two more deaths were recorded on the province’s tracking site, and 289 more recoveries. The net result is that Ontario’s active case total climbed by 200 to 4,196. The most recent numbers from the City of Toronto put the local active-case count at 1,421.

The number of Ontarians hospitalized increased by 12 to 112.

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The provincial new-case number — the highest since May 2, during the first wave — compares to 435 new cases reported on Saturday and 409 on Friday. Ontario’s death toll stands at 2,839.

10:13 a.m.: Canadian ski resort operators planning for a season that begins in about two months are being forced to balance profits with protecting the health of their guests in view of the pandemic. Although medical experts agree there’s little chance of infection while flying through the powder on a steep double-black-diamond ski run, they say the risk increases dramatically when riding a packed gondola to the top of the hill or enjoying an apres-ski cocktail in a jammed resort bar.

Resorts say skiers and snowboarders will have to wear masks on lifts and gondolas and when indoors and social distancing will be encouraged by removing tables and chairs in bars and restaurants. They are vowing more frequent cleaning and sanitizing.

But few are actually restricting the total number of skiers they allow on the hill, a prospect that worries Dr. Stephen Freedman, a researcher and professor at the Cumming School of Medicine at the University of Calgary. “The ski hills have a responsibility to control the number of people that are on the hill and that number cannot be as high as it was pre-COVID,” he warned.

Gondola loading is particularly tricky for Sunshine Village ski resort in Banff National Park, where the only way for guests to get from the parking lot to the main ski area is by taking a 17-minute ride in an eight-person gondola car.

“As the gondola is our main lifeline, when it is busy we will be loading it to capacity,” said spokeswoman Kendra Scurfield in an interview. “We tried limiting capacity in the spring prior to being closed for COVID and we found the lineup was more of a hazard. People weren’t social distancing in line, it backed onto to the road, it just became more dangerous than loading people up.”

Meanwhile, at destination resort Whistler Blackcomb, 120 kilometres north of Vancouver, no formal limits have been placed on the number of guests allowed on the hill but the expectation is that numbers — which can reach 35,000 people on busy days — will be 10 to 20 per cent lower, said spokesman Marc Riddell.

8:02 a.m.: CERB payments will begin to wind down starting this weekend. In its place is employment insurance, which the government says the majority of people will go on, and a new suite of benefits that won’t exist unless approved by Parliament.

As of a week ago, the CERB had paid out $79.3 billion to 8.8 million people, or roughly two in every five members of the nearly 20.2 million-strong labour force in August.

Benefits were paid up front, which won’t be the case for those in the first wave of being transferred to the new system: The government says the first payment will come the week of Oct. 11. About 80 per cent are expected to receive payments by Oct. 14; a further 10 per cent within the first two weeks.

The $500-a-week floor on benefits in EI, or $300 per week floor for new parents using the extended-leave option, will be taxable. Jobless benefits through this EI program will be available for at least 26 weeks, and claimants will be allowed to earn more than they did under the CERB, up to $38,000 annually, before being completely cut off.

Employers will also be allowed to use “supplemental unemployment benefits” to top up EI payments.

The threshold to qualify for EI has been reduced to 120 hours of insurable work for those coming back into the system that has been nearly dormant since March.

The government says 2.8 million people will qualify for EI as of Monday. But many may not do so automatically.

7:37 a.m.: A former Lebanese foreign minister and son-in-law of President Michel Aoun has tested positive for the coronavirus, his office said Sunday.

The statement from his office said Gebran Bassil, who also heads the Christian Free Patriotic Movement party, will isolate until he recovers, adding that the infection level is still “low and acceptable.”

The announcement comes amid an alarming surge in coronavirus cases in Lebanon, with record numbers registered almost every day for the past week.

The Health Ministry confirmed Saturday 1,280 new coronavirus cases, bringing the overall number of infections in Lebanon to 33,162. The government has recorded 317 deaths from COVID-19 since the first case was reported in late February.

Sunday 7:34 a.m.: There are 151,671 confirmed cases in Canada.

Quebec: 71,005 confirmed (including 5,821 deaths, 60,660 resolved)

Ontario: 49,340 confirmed (including 2,837 deaths, 42,507 resolved)

Alberta: 17,343 confirmed (including 261 deaths, 15,585 resolved)

British Columbia: 8,641 confirmed (including 230 deaths, 7,036 resolved)

Saskatchewan: 1,863 confirmed (including 24 deaths, 1,705 resolved)

Manitoba: 1,829 confirmed (including 19 deaths, 1,265 resolved)

Nova Scotia: 1,087 confirmed (including 65 deaths, 1,021 resolved)

Newfoundland and Labrador: 272 confirmed (including 3 deaths, 267 resolved)

New Brunswick: 200 confirmed (including 2 deaths, 191 resolved)

Prince Edward Island: 58 confirmed (including 57 resolved)

Yukon: 15 confirmed (including 15 resolved)

Repatriated Canadians: 13 confirmed (including 13 resolved)

Northwest Territories: 5 confirmed (including 5 resolved)

Nunavut: No confirmed cases

Total: 151,671 (0 presumptive, 151,671 confirmed including 9,262 deaths, 130,327 resolved)

See Saturday’s coronavirus coverage.

Correction (Sept. 27): This article has been corrected from a previous version. The 1:34 p.m. news item mistakenly said that Bar Reyna in Yorkville was temporarily closed. In fact, only Reyna on King Street East and the neighbouring Reyna Bazaar are temporarily closed for cleaning after a staff member tested positive for COVID-19. Bar Reyna in Yorkville is not affected.

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Musicians barred from regular shows get creative during COVID-19 – CTV News

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TORONTO —
COVID-19 measures have made the world a little quieter, as public health measures limit large-scale performances for bands, choirs and musicians, but some Manitoba musicians are finding ways to keep the music going.

At Oak Park High School in Winnipeg, students can’t sing ‘O’ Canada’ in the classroom, but band practice is still going on. It’s just being held outside.

“The goal is to try and have as many extracurriculars go forward as possible,” Principal Troy Scott told CTV News. “We’ve had to say no to a lot of things over the last six months and we want to start saying yes.”

The pandemic has changed the way music programs function.

Many schools have cancelled choir and band classes, but even on windy days, teachers and students at Oak Park have found a way to keep playing together, at least for now.

“It’s been strange, but I’m really grateful that we have it,” said Isabelle Buisson, a student at Oak Park.

Others have found more unique ways to play.

Kara Heckford, a 17-year-old high school student and clarinetist, decided to start a virtual ensemble because she missed performing.

After she put out a call for help online, she received responses from around the world, with musicians from countries including Spain, Estonia and Portugal signaling their desire to be a part of the project.

Musicians recorded their own parts of several symphonies, which were then edited together to create videos of the ensemble working together.

“Performing is my life. When I play, I really connect with people I play to,” Heckford told CTV News. “It’s sort of like this bond, but with people you’ve never met before.”

Musical performances are one of those bonding experiences that have been fundamentally altered by the pandemic, and as the months drag on, some are calling for change.

The Manitoba Choral Association (MCA) started a petition requesting the provincial government review its recommendations for instrumentalists and vocalists, calling the existing measures too restrictive for choirs. The Manitoba ChoralFest, one of the MCA’s “flagship programs,” had to be cancelled in August ahead of its upcoming November dates, something the MCA announced with “great sadness.”

“We have thousands of singers here in Manitoba that would love to get back to choir, and of course, we all want to do it safely,” Jenny Steinke-Magnus, executive director of the Manitoba Choral Association, told CTV News.

Right now, the COVID-19 guidelines in Manitoba state singing and playing brass or wind instruments carries a higher risk of transmission, due to performers projecting their voices or breath as part of the performance. Performances are allowed, but the province recommends they occur in smaller groups, at outdoor venues where physical distancing is possible.

But with cool weather setting in, outdoor performances will soon become impossible.

The Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, which had been doing virtual performances, will begin live performances again this fall.

In order to make the experience safer, a significantly smaller audience will be permitted into their concert hall, which seats 2,300 people at capacity.

“We’re able to have a really reduced number of audience members,” Julian Pellicano, WSO associate conductor told CTV News.

For those who love to play, the music will continue. The question going forward into winter is whether or not the audience will be able to participate in the same way. 

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