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Quibi app to shut down

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Movie mogul Jeffrey Katzenberg’s mobile streaming service, Quibi, is shutting down, six months after it launched with original series and films featuring Anna Kendrick and Sophie Turner.

Katzenberg and his partner Meg Whitman are expected to confirm their decision to wind down the short-form video service this week after speaking with investors, according to Deadline.

The service launched in April just after COVID-19 shut down Hollywood.

Initial pay-to-view items on the service included projects directed by heavyweights Steven Spielberg, Guillermo del Toro, and Antoine Fuqua, while Kendrick’s series Dummy and Kiefer Sutherland’s remake of The Fugitive became quick hits. The service also produced the Emmy-winning series #FreeRayshawn.

Source:- Castanet.net

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Covid vaccinations to begin this month; gov't buys 34mn doses from Pfizer – Mexico News Daily

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The federal government has struck a deal with the United States pharmaceutical company Pfizer to buy more than 34 million doses of its Covid-19 vaccine, the first 250,000 of which are expected to arrive in Mexico this month.

The Health Ministry announced on Twitter that Health Minister Jorge Alcocer signed an agreement with Pfizer on Wednesday for the manufacture and supply of 34.4 million doses of the vaccine it developed with Germany’s BioNTech. The vaccine was 95% effective in phase 3 trials and caused no serious safety concerns, Pfizer said in November.

“The expectation is to receive 250,000 doses this month to protect Mexicans,” the Health Ministry said, adding that the inoculation of health workers will be a priority.

President López Obrador said earlier on Wednesday that the government had allocated 20 billion pesos (just under US $1 billion) for an initial purchase of Covid-19 vaccines, adding that Mexico has purchase agreements with companies other than Pfizer.

“The authorization process at [health regulator] Cofepris is being simplified,” he said.

Health Minister Jorge Alcocer signs agreement to purchase the coronavirus vaccine.
Health Minister Jorge Alcocer signs agreement to purchase the coronavirus vaccine.

Mexico’s agreement with Pfizer comes the same day as regulators in the United Kingdom granted emergency authorization for the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine. The rollout in the U.K, the first western nation to approve a Covid-19 vaccine, is scheduled to begin next week, with priority given to the elderly and their caregivers.

Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard acknowledged the U.K. approval in a Twitter post and said that Cofepris has already received an application for authorization here.

“The United Kingdom has authorized the vaccine developed by Pfizer. In Mexico the regulatory authority (Health Ministry-Cofepris) already has the corresponding application. What many people imagined was impossible is now a reality: vaccination is about to begin in December 2020,” he wrote.

Ebrard said last week that Pfizer would be responsible for transporting the vaccines – which have to be kept at -70 C – to the point at which they will be administered while the Health Ministry will be responsible for inoculation.

Deputy Health Minister Hugo López-Gatell, the government’s coronavirus point man, said Tuesday that the military will assist in the vaccination process.

The vaccines ordered will be enough to inoculate 17.2 million people as each person must be given two shots 21 days apart. With only 250,000 doses expected to arrive this month, just 125,000 Mexicans – about 0.1% of the population – will be able to be vaccinated by the end of the year.

Nevertheless, the news that a vaccine is on the way is undoubtedly good news for Mexico, which has been hit harder by the pandemic than most other countries around the world.

The accumulated case tally rose to 1,122,362 on Tuesday with 8,819 new cases reported by the Health Ministry. The total is the 11th highest in the world, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

An additional 825 Covid-19 fatalities registered by health authorities lifted Mexico’s official pandemic death toll to 106,765, the fourth highest in the world after the United States, Brazil and India.

The case tally and death toll are widely believed to be much higher because Mexico has not tested widely for Covid-19.

Source: El Economista (sp), CNN (en) 

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Canada posts deadliest day of coronavirus pandemic since June as vaccine hopes rise – Global News

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Newly-identified cases of the novel coronavirus surged past the 6,000 mark in Canada again on Wednesday as the country identified its highest increase in COVID-19 deaths since early June.

The new cases, which totaled 6,302, brought Canada’s caseload to 389,436. Health authorities also reported an increase of 114 deaths, though only 80 of those fatalities occurred in the past 24 hours.

The last time cases surpassed 110 was on June 4, which saw 139 deaths reported to have been caused by the virus.

Read more:
Liberals introduce coronavirus spending bill days after unveiling economic update

Canada’s death toll from COVID-19 now stands at 12,325, while over 309,000 patients have since recovered and another 14.8 million tests have been administered so far.

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As Canadian communities continue to grapple with surges in COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths, Canada’s chief public health officer said the priority list of people to get the coronavirus vaccine would have to be refined further, due to the initial six million doses not being enough to inoculate them all.


Click to play video 'Coronavirus: Tam says priority list for first COVID-19 vaccinations being refined'



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Coronavirus: Tam says priority list for first COVID-19 vaccinations being refined


Coronavirus: Tam says priority list for first COVID-19 vaccinations being refined

As of now, Canada is set to receive four million doses from Pfizer and two million from Moderna within the first quarter of 2021. The amount would only be enough to vaccinate three million people, however, as a person would need two doses of the vaccine in order for it to be effective.

Tam hinted that the variety and supply of doses was expected to increase soon due to Canada having contracts for three more vaccines that are in late-state clinical trials, having said that “means we will have more flexibility as time goes on, and more and more vaccines come on board.”

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“We’re expecting that in the second quarter. Depending on the approvals of the vaccines, we will have different amounts, but that is when the supply will become more and more plentiful,” said Tam Wednesday during a virtual speech at the 2020 Canadian Immunization Conference.

Canada’s health minister also said on Wednesday that the country’s review of Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine was “expected to be completed soon” — comments that come shortly after news of the U.K. officially approving the vaccine.

“The news that the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine has been approved in the U.K. is encouraging. Health Canada’s review of this candidate is ongoing, and is expected to be completed soon,” said Patty Hadju.

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“Making sure a COVID-19 vaccine is safe before approving it is Health Canada’s priority, and when a vaccine is ready, Canada will be ready.”


Click to play video 'Coronavirus: U.K.’s Johnson stresses global co-operation following approval of Pfizer vaccine'



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Coronavirus: U.K.’s Johnson stresses global co-operation following approval of Pfizer vaccine


Coronavirus: U.K.’s Johnson stresses global co-operation following approval of Pfizer vaccine

During the conference, Tam also revealed plans from the Public Health Agency of Canada to combat the increase in misinformation surrounding the COVID-19 vaccine using online webinars. According to her, the webinars would include several topics like the different types of vaccines available, how to run immunization clinics and guidance on how to use vaccines.

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“Because of the social media and its internet age, we’ve got even more of a challenge on our hands than anyone else in tackling pandemics of the past,” said Tam, who also noted the importance of Canadians knowing how vaccines are developed

The federal government also introduced a new COVID-19 spending bill Wednesday, just days after revealing the country’s economic update.

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The bill, which would effectively determine how billions of dollars in new pandemic-related aid would be spent, would follow the measures proposed in Monday’s fall economic statement.


Click to play video '‘Take this seriously’: 23-year-old suffers stroke due to COVID-19'



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‘Take this seriously’: 23-year-old suffers stroke due to COVID-19


‘Take this seriously’: 23-year-old suffers stroke due to COVID-19

Several provinces across Canada also reported surges in new coronavirus cases Wednesday, with Ontario, Alberta and Quebec all reporting over 1,500 newly reported infections.

Ontario added the highest increase of 1,723 cases, pushing its total caseload to 119,922. Another 35 deaths were also reported by the province, which now has 656 people in hospital due to COVID-19.

Alberta added 1,685 more infections on Wednesday as well as 10 additional deaths. The new data also comes amid an announcement from Premier Jason Kenney that the province expects its first doses of the coronavirus vaccine to arrive by Jan 4.

“While we can’t control when these vaccines arrive in Alberta, we can make sure that when we get them, we’re ready to roll them out as quickly as we can,” said Kenny during a press conference Wednesday afternoon. To date, Alberta has seen a total of 61,169 virus cases and 561 deaths.

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Quebec added another 43 deaths on Wednesday, of which only nine occurred within the past 24 hours. The fatalities bring the province’s death toll to 7,125, while health authorities reported an additional 1,514 cases Wednesday.

British Columbia added 830 cases as well, pushing the province’s caseload to 34,728. A total of 338 cases are considered “epi-linked,’ which are cases that show symptoms and were close contacts of confirmed infections, but were never tested.

Read more:
Canada’s review of Pfizer coronavirus vaccine will be completed ‘soon,’ health minister says

Saskatchewan announced 237 cases and Manitoba another 277, bringing their total case figures to 8,982 and 17,384, respectively.

In Atlantic Canada, New Brunswick added another six cases while Newfoundland and Labrador reported just one. Nova Scotia reported an increase of 17 cases Wednesday, pushing its total infections to 1,332.

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The Yukon added one more cases on Wednesday, while Nunavut added another 11. The Northwest Territories did not report any additional cases.


Click to play video 'Looking at widely praised coronavirus messages  from around the world'



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Looking at widely praised coronavirus messages from around the world


Looking at widely praised coronavirus messages from around the world

Nunavut’s government also lifted its two-week lockdown on Wednesday everywhere except for the coastal town of Arviat, of which saw all 11 new cases reported by the province. To date, Nunavut has seen 193 cases of the novel coronavirus — the highest among Canada’s territories.

Cases of the coronavirus have since surpassed 64.4 million according to a tally kept by Johns Hopkins University. A total of 1,491,000 people have also succumbed to the virus, with the United States, Brazil and India leading in both cases and deaths.

With files from Global News’ Emerald Bensadoun and The Canadian Press

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

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Ontario long-term care home logs zero cases of COVID-19 in first and second wave of pandemic – CTV Toronto

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TORONTO —
One Ontario long-term care home continues to weather the pandemic without a single COVID-19 case.

As long-term care homes continue to grapple with the second wave of COVID-19, the Mariann Home in Richmond Hill, Ont. has so far weathered the pandemic without a single case of COVID-19, which families and staff attribute to a number of safety measures taken earlier this year.

“I attest that to communication and due diligence by our staff,” said Mariann Home CEO and Administrator Bernanrd Boreland. “Policies and procedures that the government rolls out I’ve looked at and in all honesty I wasn’t satisfied and I made enhancements to it.”

Since Ontario allowed essential visitors back inside long-term care homes, Boreland initiated stricter measures, requiring all visitors to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test within seven days of their visit.

“The way it’s set up in the government, families just have to attest – we know that people don’t always tell the truth and my job is to protect our seniors, so I put that policy in place that they must show us evidence of a COVID test.”

The home has taken it a step further, giving families the option of a drive-in test outside the nursing home, which is performed by Director of Care.

“Because I put certain procedures in place I wanted to make things easier for the families, so that’s why I offered a drive-in testing centre, which is available to all families who come on to our COVID testing program,” he said. “By requesting those tests puts our families and residents minds at ease.”

Visits must be booked in advanced and are only limited to an hour. When inside, families are educated on safety protocols, are not allowed to roam the facility and must wear personal protective equipment at all times.

Boreland has spent tens of thousands of dollars on personal protective equipment (PPE), which he began stock piling in mid-January before Ontario recorded its first positive case. Extra funds were used to purchase the PPE, which the home now has enough to supply staff until Februrary.

Early on in the pandemic employees had to commit to only working at the 64 bed nursing home and they were being screened symptoms every two weeks. The screening is now done weekly.

Staff are also divided into cohorts, so they are caring for the same residents in the same unit at all times.

Residents are checked for symptoms three times a day at the start of every shift. This includes a temperature check, which Boreland says is more than ministry standards.

“If there is one or two symptoms from the resident they right away get swabbed and we put them into isolation until there is a negative result,” said Erly Valera, the home’s Director of Care.

Boreland has regular teleconferences with family members to keep them updated on policies and enhanced safety measures.

“All of our staff and families are grateful,” he said.

Michael Gregory’s mother-in-law has been a resident at the home for four years and praises the staff for how they’ve handled the pandemic thus far.

“At her age she is the most vulnerable,” Gregory said. “We have all the confidence she is in good hands and we longer worry.”

Worried about potential exposure to employees outside the home, additional PPE is provided to staff who is transit and a grocery order program continues to be offered to prevent staff from having to travel to busy public places.

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