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The latest news on COVID-19 developments in Canada for Tuesday, March 30 – The Record (New Westminster)

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

1 p.m.

Newfoundland and Labrador is reporting two new confirmed cases of COVID-19.

Officials say both cases involve men in their 40s and are related to domestic travel.

There are now four active cases of COVID-19 in the province, and no one is in hospital due to the disease

Since the beginning of the pandemic, Newfoundland and Labrador has had 1,018 confirmed cases and six deaths.

12:40 p.m.

Federal Procurement Minister Anita Anand says delivery of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine will begin at the end of April.

The New Jersey-based company has been plagued with production issues that have slowed all deliveries, including in the United States.

Canada has bought 10 million doses of Johnson & Johnson, with the option of securing up to 28 million more.

Anand says the government is still finalizing the delivery schedule, but she confirmed in correspondence with the company last night that shipments will start to arrive in Canada within a month.

12:25 p.m.

New Brunswick is reporting 14 new cases of COVID-19 today.

Health officials say eight of the new cases are in the Edmundston region and involve contacts of previously reported infections.

Officials say the six other cases are travel-related: four are located in the Moncton region while the Fredericton and Saint John areas each have one new case.

New Brunswick has 126 active reported COVID-19 infections and five people in hospital with the disease, including two in intensive care.

11:55 a.m.

Canada’s chief public health officer says COVID-19 variants are driving a weeks-long spike in new cases and hospitalizations as the third wave of the pandemic continues to surge.

Dr. Theresa Tam says an average of more than 2,200 COVID-19 patients were in hospital last week, with more than 660 in intensive care, representing week-over-week increases of six per cent and 14 per cent respectively.

She says a 64 per cent increase in the number of COVID-19 variant cases over the past week marks the “most concerning” development.

Tam says the country has logged more than 9,000 cases of variants in the past week, with the B.1.1.7 mutation accounting for more than 90 per cent.

11:40 a.m.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Pfizer-BioNTech has confirmed it will move up delivery of five million vaccine doses to June from later in the summer.

The earlier shipment period will boost the number of Pfizer doses received by the end of that month to 18 million doses.

Procurement Minister Anita Anand says the accelerated schedule means Canada will receive about 44 million vaccine doses in total by the end of June, more than enough for every Canadian to receive at least one shot.

By the end of this week, Canada will have received about 9.5 million vaccine doses from three manufacturers, with 3.2 million doses arriving this week alone.

11:05 a.m.

Quebec is reporting 864 new cases of COVID-19 today and seven additional deaths linked to the novel coronavirus, including one within the past 24 hours.

The Health Department says the number of hospitalizations rose by 10 to 487, while the number of people in intensive care rose by six to reach 126.

Health authorities say 38,801 doses of vaccine were administered yesterday for a total of 1,261,855.

Quebec has reported 310,066 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 10,658 deaths linked to the disease.

10:45 a.m.

Ontario reports 2,336 new cases of COVID-19 today and 14 more deaths linked to the virus.

Health Minister Christine Elliott says that there are 727 new cases in Toronto, 434 in Peel Region and 229 in York Region.

She also says there are 194 new cases in Durham Region, 144 in Ottawa and 123 in Hamilton.

Ontario says that 1,090 people are currently hospitalized with the virus, 387 are in intensive care, and 249 people are on a ventilator.

10:45 a.m.

Health officials in Prince Edward Island are reporting three new cases of COVID-19 today.

They involve two people under 19 and one person in their 40s who are all close contacts of previous cases.

There are now 14 active cases in P.E.I. and 94 close contacts are in isolation.

There have been 159 positive cases of COVID-19 in the province since the onset of the pandemic.

10:50 a.m.

Nova Scotia health officials are reporting three new cases of COVID-19.

They say one case is in the health zone including Halifax and is a close contact of a previously reported case.

The second case is in the northern part of the province and is under investigation, while the third was identified in the eastern region and is related to travel outside Atlantic Canada.

Officials say Nova Scotia now has 24 active infections.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 30, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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Factbox-Latest on the worldwide spread of the coronavirus

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(Reuters) -A recent surge in COVID-19 cases could see major parts of Japan slide back into states of emergency with authorities in Tokyo and Osaka looking at renewed curbs, while quarantine-free travel started between Australia and New Zealand for the first time in more than a year.

DEATHS AND INFECTIONS * Eikon users, see COVID-19: MacroVitals https://apac1.apps.cp.thomsonreuters.com/cms/?navid=1592404098 for a case tracker and summary of news.

EUROPE

* The number of coronavirus patients in intensive care units in France edged up on Sunday, amid a nationwide lockdown to try to stem a third wave of infections.

* British scientists launched a trial which will deliberately expose participants who have already had COVID-19 to the coronavirus again to examine immune responses and see if people get reinfected.

* Italy will ease curbs in many areas from April 26, warning caution was still needed to avoid any reversals in the reopening of many long-shuttered activities.

AMERICAS

* Just more than half of U.S. adults have now received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose, data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed on Sunday, with nearly 130 million people aged 18 years or more having received their first shot.

* Dr. Anthony Fauci on Sunday predicted that U.S. health regulators will end the temporary pause on distributing Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine, adding he expects a decision could come as soon as Friday.

* Canada will present a budget with billions of dollars for pandemic recovery measures as COVID-19 infections skyrocket, C$2 billion ($1.6 billion) toward national childcare, and new taxes on luxury goods.

* The Canadian province of Ontario will begin offering AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine on Tuesday to people turning 40 or older this year.

* Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said on Sunday the government has made a second payment to the World Health Organization’s COVAX initiative to access around 11 million COVID-19 vaccines.

ASIA-PACIFIC

* India’s capital New Delhi recorded 25,500 coronavirus cases in a 24-hour period, with about one in three people tested returning a positive result, its chief minister said, urging the federal government to provide more hospital beds to tackle the crisis.

* Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla has agreed to Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga’s request to supply additional doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, the vaccine minister of Japan said on Sunday.

MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA

* The coronavirus variant discovered in South Africa can break through the protection provided by Pfizer and BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine to some extent, a real-world data study in Israel found.

* Vaccination against COVID-19 is a requirement to perform the Umra pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi state TV said on Sunday, citing a government official.

* Tunisia on Saturday announced the closure of all schools until April 30, as well as restrictions on movement, to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.

MEDICAL DEVELOPMENTS

* China’s Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine was 67% effective in preventing symptomatic infection, data from a huge real-world study in Chile has shown, a potential boost for the jab which has come under scrutiny over its level of protection against the virus.

ECONOMIC IMPACT

* Asian shares hovered near 1-1/2 week highs on Monday, helped by expectations monetary policy will remain accommodative the world over, while COVID-19 vaccine rollouts help ease fears of another dangerous wave of coronavirus infections. [MKTS/GLOB]

(Compiled by Krishna Chandra Eluri, Devika Syamnath and Milla Nissi; Edited by William Maclean, Anil D’Silva and Subhranshu Sahu)

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New Zealand says ‘uncomfortable’ with expanding Five Eyes

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SYDNEY (Reuters) – New Zealand said it is “uncomfortable” with expanding the role of the Five Eyes, a post-war intelligence grouping which also includes the United States, Britain, Australia and Canada, recently criticised by China.

China is New Zealand’s largest trading partner, and Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta said in a speech that New Zealand sought a predictable diplomatic relationship.

New Zealand will find it necessary to speak out on issues where it does not agree with China, including developments in Hong Kong and the treatment of Uyghurs in Xinjiang, she said in a speech on Monday to the government-funded New Zealand China Council.

In later comments to media reported by New Zealand’s Newshub, Mahuta said New Zealand didn’t favour invoking the Five Eyes for “messaging out on a range of issues that really exist out of the remit of the Five Eyes”.

“We are uncomfortable with expanding the remit of the Five Eyes,” she said.

China’s foreign ministry has repeatedly criticised the Five Eyes, after all members issued a joint statement about the treatment of Hong Kong pro-democracy legislators in November.

Last month, Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said “the Five Eyes have taken coordinated steps to gang up on China”, after Australia and New Zealand issued a joint statement on Xinjiang.

Last year, the Five Eyes discussed cooperation beyond intelligence sharing, including on critical technology, Hong Kong, supply chains and the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a statement by Australia’s Foreign Minister Marise Payne in 2020.

Mahuta’s office told Reuters it couldn’t provide a copy of her comments on the Five Eyes.

Payne will travel to New Zealand on Wednesday for meetings with Mahuta and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, the first diplomatic visit between the neighbouring countries since borders reopened both ways.

Canberra has recently endured a rockier relationship with Beijing than Wellington, with Australia’s trade minister unable to secure a call with his Chinese counterpart as exporters were hit with multiple trade sanctions from China.

A diplomatic dispute between China and Australia worsened in 2020 after Canberra lobbied for an international inquiry into the source of the coronavirus pandemic.

China and New Zealand upgraded a free trade agreement in January, when, Mahuta said, trade ministers had held a “constructive” call.

 

(Reporting by Kirsty Needham; Editing by Michael Perry)

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Australia to hold inquiry to examine military suicides

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By Colin Packham

CANBERRA (Reuters) – Australia will hold a Royal Commission to examine suicides among serving and former military personnel, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Monday, bowing to public pressure to find ways to stem a mounting toll.

More than 500 have died from suicide since 2001, government data shows, a statistic that has fuelled public anger, including among the prime minister’s own Liberal party.

“I think and I hope it will be a healing process,” Morrison told reporters in Canberra, as he announced his call for a commission to be set up.

“I hope it will be a process by which veterans and families can find some comfort, but it obviously can’t replace the loss.”

The issue became prominent in Australia following a high-profile campaign by Julie-Ann Finney, whose son David, a former naval petty officer, committed suicide in 2019 after he had earlier been deployed to Iraq, East Timor and Bougainville.

Australian troops have been involved in conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, and deployed for humanitarian missions in the Pacific.

The United States, Britain and Canada are also exploring ways to reduce suicide rates among serving and former military personnel.

Morrison said he hopes the Royal Commission will begin hearings later this year. Final recommendations are expected in 2023, he said. A permanent national commissioner will be tasked with ensuring the recommendations are enforced.

 

(Reporting by Colin Packham; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)

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