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Reopening in Red Deer may not ease if COVID cases remain high, Veer cautions – rdnewsnow.com

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“If Red Deer’s numbers remain high, we may not be included in the next phase of reopening outlined by the Province of Alberta and remain under tighter restrictions than the rest of the Alberta. It is up to all of us to ensure this doesn’t happen,” said Veer.

City officials say the outbreak at Olymel, which has 190 active cases as of Tuesday, is a major contributor, but not the only contributor to Red Deer’s high case count. Community spread and other local outbreaks – including at Red Deer Remand Centre, several acute care and continuing care centres, multiple units within Red Deer Regional Hospital as well as several school-related cases – are also factors, they note.

“The City is assisting Olymel, Alberta Health, AHS and our community agency partners to co-ordinate supports for the over 1,800 workers, and their families. This includes helping them arrange safe housing if they can’t isolate at home, connecting them to community support groups and offering information in a variety of languages,” said Emergency Operations Centre Director, Karen Mann. “This outbreak does not represent all our case numbers, and the numbers related to this outbreak have begun to flatten. This is a reminder that COVID-19 is still a real risk to our community and something we can’t take lightly.”

Veer notes that The City of Red Deer is not involved in decisions concerning business closures, instead relying on AHS to help make those calls.

“We understand COVID-19 restrictions can be difficult and this is a stressful time for many. Many Albertans and Red Deerians are experiencing COVID fatigue. We’ve been in the pandemic for nearly a year now, but we all need to work together to follow public health guidelines to protect capacity at our local hospital and to ensure we are on track for safe re-start of our local economy,” said Veer.

City officials say the province has not requested additional measures for Red Deer at this time. The City of Red Deer will continue to provide updates on its ongoing discussions with Alberta Health.

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Germany’s confirmed coronavirus cases rise by 12,656

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Germany

BERLIN (Reuters) – The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 12,656 to 3,520,329, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed on Sunday.

The reported death toll rose by 127 to 84,775, the tally showed.

 

(Reporting by Berlin Newsroom; Editing by Himani Sarkar)

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Canada ready to discuss COVID-19 vaccine IP waiver, ‘not interfering or blocking’ -Trudeau

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By David Ljunggren and Steve Scherer

OTTAWA (Reuters) – Canada is ready to discuss an intellectual property rights (IP) waiver for COVID-19 vaccines and will not block one even though it stresses the importance of protecting patents, officials said on Friday.

U.S. President Joe Biden on Wednesday threw his support behind waiving IP rights for COVID-19 vaccines. Any such waiver would have to be negotiated through the World Trade Organization (WTO).

“We’ve been working with partners at the WTO to find a consensus-based solution and are ready to discuss proposals, in particular for COVID-19 vaccines,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told reporters.

Biden’s proposal angered pharmaceutical companies. Firms working on vaccines have reported sharp revenue and profit gains during the crisis.

Canadian International Trade Minister Mary Ng earlier said that Ottawa firmly believed in the importance of protecting IP.

“I can assure you Canada is not interfering or blocking. Canada is very much working to find a solution,” said Trudeau, who did not give details of the Canadian negotiating stance.

Ng said Ottawa recognized how much the pharmaceutical industry had done to innovate COVID-19 vaccines, adding that many barriers to access were unrelated to IP, such as supply-chain constraints.

Canada is trying to quell a third wave of the coronavirus pandemic that is pushing some healthcare systems to breaking points, particularly in the western provinces of Alberta and Manitoba.

Manitoba officials said they were postponing some non-urgent surgeries to open space for COVID-19 patients and planned to announce tougher public health restrictions as daily cases soared to a near-record high.

The U.S. state of Montana will offer vaccines to around 2,000 Alberta truckers who regularly cross the border, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said.

Truckers will get vaccinated at a post being set up just south of the border, using Montana’s surplus Johnson & Johnson vaccines.

The scheme mirrors an agreement that Saskatchewan and Manitoba reached with North Dakota.

 

(Additional reporting by Nia Williams in Calgary and Rod Nickel in Winnipeg; Editing by David Goodman/Mark Heinrich, Grant McCool and Marguerita Choy)

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Moderna says waiving IP rights won’t help increase vaccine supply

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Moderna Inc said on Thursday that waiving intellectual property rights on COVID-19 vaccines will not help boost supply in 2021 or 2022, a day after U.S. President Joe Biden backed a proposed waiver that is aimed at giving poorer companies access.

 

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