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Sudbury moving into yellow zone of Ontario's COVID-19 response – Toronto Star

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Public Health Sudbury & Districts will move into the yellow zone of the Ontario government’s new COVID-19 response framework on Monday.

The news came hot on the heels of the Sudbury health unit’s Friday announcement of eight new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total number of active cases in Public Health’s service area to 66.

Moving into the Yellow-Protect zone will mean changes for local businesses and organizations, additional enforcement enforcements and fines, and enhanced education in high-risk settings.

Bars, restaurants, and other food and drink establishments will have to limit operating hours, and sports and recreational facilities will begin operating at reduced capacity.

All changes will take effect on Monday at 12:01 a.m.

“Our number one priority right now is getting the numbers down and keeping people safe,“ Premier Doug Ford said in a release. ”That’s why, on the recommendation of the Chief Medical Officer of Health, we’re updating the framework with new thresholds so we can slow the spread of this virus.

“These adjustments are necessary to respond to the latest evidence we’re seeing, and we are prepared to make further adjustments as the health experts continue to review the current public health restrictions. We must do whatever it takes to stop our hospitals from being overwhelmed and protect our most vulnerable.”

The Ontario government announced it would lower the thresholds for each level on the Keeping Ontario Safe and Open Framework in response to the rapid increase in COVID-19 cases throughout the province on Friday.

The latest modelling shows that if the number of new cases continues to grow at its current rate, the province could register up to 6,500 new cases per day by mid-December.

Within the next two weeks, the province will likely exceed its intensive care threshold of 150 beds, under any potential scenario, experts warn.

Public Health Sudbury & Districts will join Huron Perth Public Health, the Middlesex-London Health Unit, Southwestern Public Health, and the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit in the Yellow-Protect zone.

Under the new guidelines, all food and drink establishments must close at midnight. Liquor can only be sold or served from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m.

A limit of six people seated together will come into effect and establishments must collect contact information for all seated patrons.

Sports and recreational fitness facilities will have the following capacity limits: 10 people indoors, 25 people outdoors, and 50 people indoors in an area with weights or exercise equipment.

Patrons must maintain a distance of three metres apart, and facilities must collect contact information for all patrons and attendance for team sports. Reservations will be required for entry.

“Our case counts are at al all-time high with 40 of our 204 total cases reported in the last week alone. We are averaging about 12 high-risk contacts for each case so far. These numbers combined with how stretches our public health and health care systems are mean that stronger protection measures are needed,” said Sudbury’s Medical Officer of Health Dr. Penny Sutcliffe.

“The Yellow-Protect restrictions must be accompanied by a recommitment of everyone to the basic public health prevention measures. How this surge in cases evolves and the measures and restrictions that will be necessary to control it are in our hands.

“Make no mistake, our everyday actions either allow the virus to spread or allow us to contain it. We can choose wisely and dig deep.”

Of Public Health’s newly reported cases, five of them are outbreak-related and three of them are under investigation. The individuals are self-isolating and following directions from Public Health.

The health unit has reported 204 cases of COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic.

There are currently eight patients admitted to Health Sciences North who have been tested for COVID-19 and are awaiting their results. There are currently no admitted patients who have tested positive for the virus.

As the number of positive cases of the virus continue to climb in the Sudbury region, more businesses are reporting confirmed cases in their employees.

The Real Canadian Superstore located at 1485 Lasalle Blvd. recently confirmed that “three team members tested positive on a presumptive test for COVID-19.”

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The grocery store’s parent company Loblaw Companies Limited posted on its website that the employees were tested on Nov. 7, and the last time they worked was on Nov. 2 and 3.

“For transparency, we regularly update the sections below with all positive COVID-19 cases in our stores, by province, in the last 15 days,” said Loblaw on their website.

“Given the important role we play in our communities, we are prepared for all possible situations, including a positive test for COVID-19 in our stores. In these cases, we work closely with Public Health and follow their guidance to ensure proper notification of close contacts and required cleaning and sanitization in our stores.”

Walmart in Sudbury is reporting eight cases at its two locations, according to reports.

The Rainbow District School Board also confirmed on Friday that a positive case of COVID-19 had been reported at Northeastern Elementary School in Garson.

Through contact tracing, Public Health will notify all close contacts of local cases directly. If you are not contacted by Public Health, you are not considered a close contact.

A close contact of a confirmed cases is someone who has been within six feet or two metres of an infected person for longer than 15 minutes.

As of October 3, the Province of Ontario paused social circles and is advising that all Ontarians allow close contact only with people living in their own household and maintain two metres physical distancing from everyone else. Individuals who live alone may consider having close contact with another household.

Although it is still permissible for 10 people to gather indoors and 25 people to gather outdoors under Yellow-Protect zone restrictions, in-person gatherings of any size should be limited and should always include distance and masking when distancing is not possible.

Limiting our contacts and in-person interactions as much as possible is critical in reducing the spread of COVID-19.

Unless people are from the same household, keep 2 metres or 6 feet apart and wear a face covering if distancing is not possible. Face coverings must be worn in all indoor public spaces and workplaces, and they must also be worn in other indoor spaces where distancing is not possible.

It’s also important to remember to stay home if you are ill. A mild illness could be COVID-19 and may be much more severe for someone else who might catch it.

For more information on the province’s new COVID-19 response framework visit https://www.ontario.ca/page/covid-19-response-framework-keeping-ontario-safe-and-open.

For more information on local cases visit www.phsd.ca/COVID-19 or call Public Health Sudbury & Districts at 705-522-9200.

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Biden’s vaccine pledge ups pressure on rich countries to give more

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The United States on Thursday raised the pressure on other Group of Seven leaders to share their vaccine hoards to bring an end to the pandemic by pledging to donate 500 million doses of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine to the world’s poorest countries.

The largest ever vaccine donation by a single country will cost the United States $3.5 billion but Washington expects no quid pro quo or favours for the gift, a senior Biden administration official told reporters.

U.S. President Joe Biden‘s move, on the eve of a summit of the world’s richest democracies, is likely to prompt other leaders to stump up more vaccines, though even vast numbers of vaccines would still not be enough to inoculate all of the world’s poor.

G7 leaders want to vaccinate the world by the end of 2022 to try to halt the COVID-19 pandemic that has killed more than 3.9 million people and devastated the global economy.

A senior Biden administration official described the gesture as a “major step forward that will supercharge the global effort” with the aim of “bringing hope to every corner of the world.” “We really want to underscore that this is fundamentally about a singular objective of saving lives,” the official said, adding that Washington was not seeking favours in exchange for the doses.

Vaccination efforts so far are heavily correlated with wealth: the United States, Europe, Israel and Bahrain are far ahead of other countries. A total of 2.2 billion people have been vaccinated so far out of a world population of nearly 8 billion, based on Johns Hopkins University data.

U.S. drugmaker Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech have agreed to supply the U.S. with the vaccines, delivering 200 million doses in 2021 and 300 million doses in the first half of 2022.

The shots, which will be produced at Pfizer’s U.S. sites, will be supplied at a not-for-profit price.

“Our partnership with the U.S. government will help bring hundreds of millions of doses of our vaccine to the poorest countries around the world as quickly as possible,” said Pfizer Chief Executive Albert Bourla.

‘DROP IN THE BUCKET’

Anti-poverty campaign group Oxfam called for more to be done to increase global production of vaccines.

“Surely, these 500 million vaccine doses are welcome as they will help more than 250 million people, but that’s still a drop in the bucket compared to the need across the world,” said Niko Lusiani, Oxfam America’s vaccine lead.

“We need a transformation toward more distributed vaccine manufacturing so that qualified producers worldwide can produce billions more low-cost doses on their own terms, without intellectual property constraints,” he said in a statement.

Another issue, especially in some poor countries, is the infrastructure for transporting the vaccines which often have to be stored at very cold temperatures.

Biden has also backed calls for a waiver of some vaccine intellectual property rights but there is no international consensus yet on how to proceed.

The new vaccine donations come on top of 80 million doses Washington has already pledged to donate by the end of June. There is also $2 billion in funding earmarked for the COVAX programme led by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI), the White House said.

GAVI and the WHO welcomed the initiative.

Washington is also taking steps to support local production of COVID-19 vaccines in other countries, including through its Quad initiative with Japan, India and Australia.

(Reporting by Steve Holland in St. Ives, England, Andrea Shalal in Washington and Caroline Copley in Berlin; Writing by Guy Faulconbridge and Keith Weir;Editing by Leslie Adler, David Evans, Emelia Sithole-Matarise, Giles Elgood and Jane Merriman)

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Vaccines donated by the United States and China

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Both the United States and China have pledged large donations of COVID-19 vaccines to countries around the world. Washington has promised 80 million doses, three-quarters of which will be delivered via the international vaccine initiative COVAX, in what has been seen as an effort to counter China’s widening vaccine diplomacy. It began deliveries last week.

China had shipped vaccines to 66 countries in the form of aid, according to state news agency Xinhua. Beijing has not disclosed an overall figure for its donations but Reuters calculations based on publicly available data show at least 16.57 million doses have been delivered. China has also pledged to supply 10 million doses to COVAX.

VACCINES DONATED BY U.S. (plan for the first 25 mln):

Regional partners and priority recipients

COUNTRY/TERRITORY PLEDGED DELIVERED

Including Canada, Mexico, 1 mln to S.Korea in June

South Korea, West Bank and

Gaza, Ukraine, Kosovo,

Haiti, Georgia, Egypt,

Jordan, India, Iraq, Yemen,

United Nations

TOTAL 6 mln 1 mln

Allocations through COVAX

South and Central America

COUNTRY/TERRITORY PLEDGED DELIVERED

Brazil, Argentina, Colombia,

Costa Rica, Peru, Ecuador,

Paraguay, Bolivia,

Guatemala, El Salvador,

Honduras, Panama, Haiti,

Dominican Republic and other

Caribbean Community

(CARICOM) countries

TOTAL 6 mln

Asia

COUNTRY/TERRITORY PLEDGED DELIVERED

India, Nepal, Bangladesh,

Pakistan, Sri Lanka,

Afghanistan, Maldives,

Malaysia, Philippines,

Vietnam, Indonesia,

Thailand, Laos, Papua New

Guinea, Taiwan, and the

Pacific Islands

TOTAL 7 mln

Africa

COUNTRY/TERRITORY PLEDGED DELIVERED

To be selected in

coordination with the

African Union

TOTAL 5 mln

VACCINES DONATED BY CHINA (source – Reuters calculations and official data):

Asia Pacific

COUNTRY/TERRITORY PLEDGED DELIVERED

Afghanistan 400,000

Bangladesh Second batch of First batch of 500,000 delivered

600,000 on May 12

Brunei 52,000 in Feb

Cambodia 1.7 mln as of April 28

Kyrgyzstan 150,000 in March

Laos 300,000 in Feb

800,000 in late March

300,000 in late April

Maldives 200,000 in early March

Mongolia 300,000 in late February

Myanmar 500,000 in early May

Nepal 800,000 in late March

1 mln in early June

Pakistan 500,000 in early Feb

250,000 in Feb

500,000 in March

Philippines 600,000 in late Feb

400,000 in late March

Sri Lanka 600,000 at end March

500,000 in late May

Thailand 500,000 in May

500,000 in June

Timor-Leste 100,000 100,000 in early June

TOTAL 11.052 million

Africa

COUNTRY/TERRITORY PLEDGED DELIVERED

Angola 200,000 in late March

Algeria 200,000 200,000 in Feb

Botswana 200,000 in April

Cameroon 200,000 in April

Congo 100,000 100,000 in March

Egypt 600,000 in March

Ethiopia 300,000 in late March

Equatorial Guinea 100,000 in Feb

Guinea 200,000 in early March

Mozambique 200,000 in late Feb

Namibia 100,000 by early April

Niger 400,000 in late March

Sierra Leone 240,000 by late May

Togo 200,000 in April

Uganda 300,000

Zimbabwe 200,000 in Feb

200,000 in March

100,000 in May

TOTAL 3.74 million

South America

COUNTRY/TERRITORY PLEDGED DELIVERED

Bolivia 100,000 in late Feb

100,000 in late March

Venezuela 500,000 in early March

TOTAL 700,000

Europe & Middle East

COUNTRY/TERRITORY PLEDGED DELIVERED

Belarus 100,000 in Feb

300,000 in May

Georgia 100,000 at end April

Iran 250,000 at end February

Iraq 50,000 in early March

Montenegro 30,000 in early March

North Macedonia 100,000 in May

Syria 150,000 in late April

TOTAL 1.08 million

 

(Reporting by Roxanne Liu and Ryan Woo in Beijing and Cooper Inveen in Dakar; Additional reporting by MacDonald Dzirutwe in Harare, Asif Shahzad in Islamabad, Gopal Sharma in Kathmandu; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)

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Coronavirus Worldwide right now

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Here’s what you need to know about the coronavirus now:

Australia’s Melbourne to exit lockdown

Australia’s second largest city Melbourne will exit a hard lockdown as planned on Thursday night, Victoria state authorities said, although some restrictions on travel and gatherings would likely remain for another week.

After two weeks in a strict lockdown that forced people to remain at home except for essential business, Melbourne’s five million residents will get more freedom to step outside from 11:59 p.m. local time (1359 GMT) on Thursday.

However, people must stay within 25 km (15 miles) of their homes, officials said, in an effort to stop transmission during an upcoming long weekend. There will also be a total ban on house gatherings and masks will be mandatory indoors.

Deliveries of Thai-made AstraZeneca vaccines delayed

Malaysia and Taiwan are expecting deliveries of AstraZeneca vaccines manufactured in Thailand to be delayed, officials said, the latest countries to report a holdup with orders from the Thai plant.

The delay comes amid concerns over AstraZeneca’s distribution plans in Southeast Asia, which depends on 200 million doses made by Siam Bioscience, a company owned by Thailand’s king that is making vaccines for the first time.

Any questions about Siam Bioscience meeting production targets are sensitive because King Maha Vajiralongkorn is its sole owner. Insulting Thailand’s monarchy is a crime punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

Indonesia aims to speed up vaccinations

President Joko Widodo said on Wednesday he hoped Indonesia’s vaccination rollout will hit one million shots a day by July, as authorities opened up inoculations to anyone aged over 18 in Jakarta to contain increased transmission in the capital.

Health officials in the world’s fourth most populous country, which aims to vaccinate 181.5 million people by next year, are trying to speed up the rollout after facing some supply issues.

The president said he wanted vaccinations to hit a targeted 700,000 doses a day this month and then rise again.

Singapore finds Delta most prevalent among variants

Singapore has found the Delta variant of the coronavirus to be the most prevalent among local cases of variants of concern (VOCs), according to health ministry data, highlighting its level of infectiousness.

There were 449 local cases with VOCs as of May 31, of which 428 were the Delta variant first detected in India and nine of the Beta variant first identified in South Africa.

Singapore reported its 34th death due to COVID-19, taking its toll from the pandemic beyond the 33 casualties recorded during the 2003 Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome outbreak.

U.S. forming expert groups on lifting travel restrictions

The Biden administration is forming expert working groups with Canada, Mexico, the European Union and the United Kingdom to determine how best to safely restart travel after 15 months of pandemic restrictions, a White House official said on Tuesday.

Another U.S. official said the administration will not move quickly to lift orders that bar people from much of the world from entering the United States because of the time it will take for the groups to do their work.

The groups will be led by the White House COVID Response Team and the National Security Council and include the Centers for Disease Control and other U.S. agencies.

 

(Compiled by Linda Noakes; Editing by Giles Elgood)

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