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The latest news on COVID-19 developments in Canada – The Record (New Westminster)

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

4:25 p.m.

Saskatchewan is reporting 254 new COVID-19 cases today, along with one new death.

Today’s pandemic update from the province says the person who died was in the Saskatoon zone and was between 60 and 69 years old.

The update notes there are 193 people with COVID-19 in Saskatchewan hospitals, with 37 patients receiving critical care.

It also says an additional 8,109 vaccine doses have been administered, raising the provincial total to 208,742.

1:10 p.m.

Johnson & Johnson is starting to test its COVID-19 vaccine on teenagers, and eventually will include Canadian kids in the trial. 

The company says in a statement today it is expanding its clinical trial to kids between 12 and 17 years old. 

It will begin with 16 and 17 year olds in the United Kingdom and Spain, and soon add teenagers in that age group in Canada, the United States and the Netherlands. 

Once initial data on that group is reviewed, it will expand the trial down to 12-year-olds in what they are calling a “stepwise approach.”

J&J’s is the fourth of the vaccines Canada has purchased to begin tests on kids.

— 

1 p.m.

Health authorities in New Brunswick are reporting nine new cases of COVID-19.

Officials say all nine of the new infections are in the Edmundston region, most of which remains in lockdown.

Public health says eight of the new cases are connected to a previously confirmed case, and the source of the remaining infection is under investigation.

There are now 147 active COVID-19 infections across New Brunswick.

12:40 p.m.

Health authorities in Nova Scotia are reporting nine new cases of COVID-19.

Officials say five of the nine new infections are a group of international travellers.

The remaining cases are all linked to domestic travel outside of Atlantic Canada.

Officials say there are 31 active cases of COVID-19 in the province.

11:15 a.m.

Quebec is reporting 1,314 new cases of COVID-19 today and five additional deaths, including one within the past 24 hours.

The Health Department says the number of hospitalizations rose by 16 to 503. 

The number of people in intensive care was 121, up two from the day before.

Public health authorities say 48,507 doses of vaccine were administered on Thursday, for a total of 1,440,680 since the start of the provincial vaccination effort.

Quebec has reported 313,676 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 10,681 deaths linked to the disease.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 2, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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Trudeau nominates first judge of colour to sit on Supreme Court

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Thursday made history by nominating the first judge of color to sit on the country’s Supreme Court, which has only ever had white justices in its 146-year existence.

Mahmud Jamal, who has been a judge on Ontario‘s court of appeal since 2019, trained as a lawyer and appeared before the Supreme Court in 35 appeals addressing a range of civil, constitutional, criminal and regulatory issues.

“He’ll be a valuable asset to the Supreme Court – and that’s why, today, I’m announcing his historic nomination to our country’s highest court,” Trudeau said on Twitter.

Trudeau has frequently said there is a need to address systemic racism in Canada.

Jamal, born in Nairobi in 1967, emigrated with his family to Britain in 1969 where he said he was “taunted and harassed because of my name, religion, or the color of my skin.”

In 1981 the family moved to Canada, where his “experiences exposed me to some of the challenges and aspirations of immigrants, religious minorities, and racialized persons,” he said in a document submitted to support his candidacy.

Canada is a multicultural country, with more than 22% of the population comprised of minorities and another 5% aboriginal, according to the latest census.

“We know people are facing systemic discrimination, unconscious bias and anti-black racism every single day,” Trudeau said last year.

Jamal will replace Justice Rosalie Abella, who is due to retire from the nine-person court on July 1.

 

(Reporting by David Ljunggren in Ottawa; Editing by Matthew Lewis)

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Donors pledge $1.5 billion for Venezuelan migrants, humanitarian crisis

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More than 30 countries and two development banks on Thursday pledged more than $1.5 billion in grants and loans to aid Venezuelan migrants fleeing a humanitarian crisis, as well as their host countries and vulnerable people still in the country.

The $954 million in grants announced at a donors’ conference hosted by Canada – which included pledges of $407 million from the United States and C$115 million Canadian dollars ($93.12 million) from Canada – exceeded the $653 million announced at a similar event last year.

But that fell short of the needs of countries hosting the more than 5.6 million Venezuelans who have left their country since 2015, as the once-prosperous nation’s economy collapsed into a years-long hyperinflationary recession under socialist President Nicolas Maduro.

Most have resettled in developing countries in Latin America and the Caribbean who have themselves seen their budgets stretched thin due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“Does this cover all needs? Of course not,” Filippo Grandi, the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, told reporters. “We will have to continue to encourage donors to support the response.”

At the conference, Ecuadorean President Guillermo Lasso announced that the country – which hosts some 430,000 Venezuelans – would begin a new process to regularize migrants’ status. That came after Colombia in February gave 10-year protected status to the 1.8 million Venezuelans it hosts.

Karina Gould, Canada‘s minister for international development, said the amount pledged showed donors were eager to support such efforts.

“There is that recognition on behalf of the global community that there needs to be support to ensure that that generosity can continue, and can actually deepen, in host countries,” Gould said.

In addition, the World Bank and Inter-American Developmemt Bank pledged $600 million in loans to address the crisis, Gould said.

($1 = 1.2349 Canadian dollars)

(Reporting by Luc Cohen, Michelle Nichols and David Ljunggren; Editing by Cynthia Osterman and Aurora Ellis)

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Ecuador to start new ‘normalization process’ for Venezuelan migrants

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Ecuador will implement a new “normalization process” for the 430,000 Venezuelan migrants living in the South American country, President Guillermo Lasso said on Thursday, without providing further details of the plan.

Lasso’s announcement, at a conference hosted by Canada intended to raise money to support the more than 5.6 million Venezuelans who have fled an economic crisis in the South American country, came after Colombia in February gave 10-year protected status to the nearly 2 million Venezuelans it hosts.

“I am pleased to announce the beginning of a new regularization process, which in order to be an effective, lasting and permanent policy should be complemented by strategies for economic integration and labor market access,” Lasso said.

Ecuador in late 2019 launched a regularization process for Venezuelans who arrived before July of that year. That included two-year humanitarian visas meant to facilitate access to social services.

Lasso said Ecuador needed outside funding to continue caring for Venezuelan migrants, estimating that more than 100,000 additional migrants were expected to arrive before the end of the year.

“I call on our partners in the international community to be co-responsible and have solidarity with Venezuelan migrants and refugees, and with the countries that receive them,” he said.

 

(Reporting by Luc Cohen; editing by Barbara Lewis)

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