The latest coronavirus news from Canada and around the world Friday. This file will be updated throughout the day. Web links to longer stories if available.
10:19 a.m.: Ontario reporting 200 new cases of COVID-19 Friday and 284 cases on Thursday. The province is also reporting nine death Friday and 19 deaths on Thursday.
Locally, there are 41 new cases in the Region of Waterloo, 23 in Toronto, 21 in Peel Region and 18 in Grey Bruce on Friday. Nearly 25,200 tests were completed on July 1 and over 26,900 tests on June 30.
10:11 a.m. (Updated 11:19 a.m.): Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has received his second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine on Friday.
The prime minister’s itinerary shows he’s getting a shot of the Moderna mRNA vaccine at an Ottawa clinic.
His wife, Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, got her second dose on Thursday.
The Trudeaus got their first doses in late April and received the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine.
Trudeau has said vaccinations are a path out of the pandemic and praised Canadians in his Canada Day message for getting their shots to help life return to normal.
The prime minister is also set to make an appearance at a vaccine clinic with Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson on Friday.
10:05 a.m.: All Ontario youth can move up their second COVID-19 vaccine doses next week.
The change takes effect on Monday at 8 a.m.
Youth aged 12 to 17 can move up their appointments through the provincial booking system, pharmacies or local public health units.
Vaccines are initially booked four months apart in the province but people now have the option of re-booking for an earlier date.
The province says it’s aiming to provide more protection against COVID-19 and allow for a safe return to school in the fall.
Youth are only eligible for doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.
8:41 a.m.: Pakistan received 2.5 million doses of the Moderna vaccine from the United States on Friday, easing pressure on Islamabad in overcoming the shortage of COVID-19 vaccines.
According to a U.S. embassy statement, the vaccines were delivered to the Pakistani people in partnership with the COVAX global vaccine initiative, UNICEF, and the government of Pakistan.
It says this donation was part of the 80 million doses the United States was sharing with the world, “delivering on our pledge to facilitate equitable global access to safe and effective vaccines, which are essential to ending the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The latest development comes days after hundreds of Pakistani expatriate workers rallied in Islamabad, demanding they should be quickly vaccinated with the Moderna, Pfizer or AstraZeneca vaccines so they can travel abroad.
Pakistan has mostly relied on Chinese vaccines, but some Middle Eastern countries want travelers to produce a certificate to show they’ve received specific vaccines.
8:40 a.m.: Russian authorities reported a record-breaking 679 new coronavirus deaths on Friday, a fourth day in a row with the highest daily death toll in the pandemic.
No plans for a lockdown are being discussed, however, the Kremlin insisted.
The previous record, of 672 deaths, was registered on Thursday. Russia has struggled to cope with a surge in infections and deaths in recent weeks that comes amid slow vaccination rates.
Daily new infections have more than doubled over the past month, soaring from around 9,000 in early June to over 20,000 this week. On Friday, Russia’s state coronavirus task force reported 23,218 new contagions. Moscow, its outlying region and St. Petersburg account for nearly half of all new cases.
Yet the authorities are not discussing a lockdown, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Friday. “No one wants any lockdowns,” Peskov told reporters during a daily conference call, admitting that the situation with coronavirus in a number of Russian regions is “tense.”
8:40 a.m.: The Vatican’s bioethics academy and the World Medical Association called Friday for an all-out effort to combat vaccine hesitancy and correct the “myths and disinformation” that are slowing the fight against the coronavirus.
In a joint statement, the groups said some vaccine reluctance in poorer countries is rooted in historical inequalities and suspicions of Western pharmaceutical companies. But they said “a more pernicious form” of hesitancy is being driven by fake news, myths and disinformation about vaccine safety, including among religious groups and some in the medical community.
They demanded that “all relevant stakeholders exhaust all efforts to … confront vaccine hesitancy by sending a clear message about the safety and necessity of vaccines and counteracting vaccine myths and disinformation.”
The statement was issued after a daylong webinar on vaccines sponsored by the Pontifical Academy for Life, the France-based World Medical Association, an international organization grouping national physicians associations and individual doctors, and the German Medical Association.
At a news conference Friday, representatives of the groups strongly rejected claims and questions about vaccine safety and ethics from reporters representing conservative and right-wing Catholic media organizations who complained that vaccine skeptics weren’t included among the speakers.
8:39 a.m.: Germany is recommending that all people who get a first shot of the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine switch to a different type of vaccine for their second shot. The aim is to increase the speed and effectiveness of vaccinations as the more contagious delta variant spreads.
Health Minister Jens Spahn conferred with his colleagues from Germany’s 16 states on Friday, the day after the country’s standing committee on vaccination issued a draft recommendation. In a statement, the committee said that “according to current study results,” the immune response from a mixture of AstraZeneca with an mRNA vaccine was “significantly superior” to that from two doses of AstraZeneca.
It recommended that the second dose with an mRNA vaccine — Germany uses those made by BioNTech-Pfizer and Moderna — be administered four weeks or more after the first AstraZeneca shot. That is much shorter than the nine to 12 weeks the committee recommends between two doses of AstraZeneca.
The committee, known by its German acronym STIKO, didn’t detail what studies its conclusion was based on. Germany’s disease control center noted that it was a draft, and that a final recommendation with more detail and sourcing will follow. Researchers have said that mixing vaccines is likely safe and effective, but are still gathering data to be sure.
6:57 a.m.: Banning all fans from the Tokyo Olympics is still an option with the games opening during a pandemic in just three weeks, Seiko Hashimoto, the president of the Tokyo organizing committee, said Friday.
This would be a reversal of a decision spelled out 10 days ago by organizers to allow a limited number of local fans — up to 10,000 — to attend. Fans from abroad were banned months ago as too great a risk.
The possible about-face is being forced by rising new infections in Tokyo, the appearance of the rapidly spreading delta variant, and fears that the Olympics and Paralympics with 15,400 athletes and tens of thousands of others entering Japan could turn into a super-spreader event.
“The situation of infection changes and how it will be — it is still unclear,” Hashimoto said in a Friday briefing. “But from Tokyo 2020s perspective, we also include an option of not having spectators.”
Yet another decision on fans could be announced next week after a meeting of the International Olympic Committee, local organizers, the Japanese government, Tokyo metropolitan government officials, and the International Paralympic Committee.
The government’s top COVID-19 adviser, Dr. Shigeru Omi, has said repeatedly that the safest option is without any fans. And Yuriko Koike, the governor of Tokyo, suggested Friday that has been her preference too.
6:54 a.m.: The latest alarming coronavirus variant is exploiting low global vaccination rates and a rush to ease pandemic restrictions, adding new urgency to the drive to get more shots in arms and slow its supercharged spread.
The vaccines most used in Western countries still appear to offer strong protection against the highly contagious delta variant, first identified in India and now spreading in more than 90 other countries.
But the World Health Organization warned this week that the trifecta of easier-to-spread strains, insufficiently immunized populations and a drop in mask use and other public health measures before the virus is better contained will “delay the end of the pandemic.”
The delta variant is positioned to take full advantage of those weaknesses.
“Any suffering or death from COVID-19 is tragic. With vaccines available across the country, the suffering and loss we are now seeing is nearly entirely avoidable,” Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said Thursday in urging more Americans to roll up their sleeves ahead of the mutant’s spread.
Amid concerns about the variant, parts of Europe have reinstated travel quarantines, several Australian cities are in outbreak-sparked lockdowns — and just as Japan readies for the Olympics, some visiting athletes are infected. The mutation is causing worry even in countries with relatively successful immunization campaigns that nonetheless haven’t reached enough people to snuff out the virus.
6:53 a.m.: As the World Health Organization draws up plans for the next phase of its probe of how the coronavirus pandemic started, an increasing number of scientists say the U.N. agency it isn’t up to the task and shouldn’t be the one to investigate.
Numerous experts, some with strong ties to WHO, say that political tensions between the U.S. and China make it impossible for an investigation by the agency to find credible answers.
They say what’s needed is a broad, independent analysis closer to what happened in the aftermath of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster.
The first part of a joint WHO-China study of how COVID-19 started concluded in March that the virus probably jumped to humans from animals and that a lab leak was “extremely unlikely.” The next phase might try to examine the first human cases in more detail or pinpoint the animals responsible — possibly bats, perhaps by way of some intermediate creature.
But the idea that the pandemic somehow started in a laboratory — and perhaps involved an engineered virus — has gained traction recently, with President Joe Biden ordering a review of U.S. intelligence within 90 days to assess the possibility.
Earlier this month, WHO’s emergencies chief, Dr. Michael Ryan, said that the agency was working out the final details of the next phase of its probe and that because WHO works “by persuasion,” it lacks the power to compel China to co-operate.
6:52 a.m.: Argentine officials say they will study the possibility of combining two different COVID-19 vaccines due to the delayed arrival of Russia’s Sputnik V for many who already received a first dose.
Buenos Aires city Health Minister Fernán Quirós tells Radio Mitre that officials would choose a random sample of potential volunteers to receive a second dose of vaccines made by AstraZeneca or China’s Sinopharm, or wait for a second shot of Sputnik likely starting in mid-August.
Several other countries have tried mixing vaccines due to distribution delays or safety concerns.
Some 70,000 people in Buenos Aires got an initial shot of Sputnik V three months ago and are still waiting a second dose. The number is about 300,000 nationwide.
The country has seen a renewed wave of infections at the start of the Southern Hemisphere winter.
6:51 a.m.: South Korea has reported 826 new cases of the coronavirus, its biggest daily jump in about six months, as fears grow about another huge wave of the virus in the greater capital area.
The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency said Friday that 633 of the cases came from the Seoul metropolitan area, home to half of the country’s 51 million people, where officials pushed back an easing of social distancing measures as infections soared over the past week.
Dozens of infections were each reported in other major cities and regions, including Busan, Daejeon and South Chungcheong Province.
Some health experts say government officials sent the wrong message to the public by announcing plans to allow for larger gatherings and longer indoor dining hours at restaurants starting this month to ease the pandemic’s shock on the economy. The experts say a premature easing of social distancing could have disastrous consequences when the country has administered first doses of vaccines to just 30 per cent of its population and most younger adults remain unvaccinated.
South Korea has reported 158,549 cases, including 2,024 deaths.
6:51 a.m.: India on Thursday crossed the grim milestone of more than 400,000 people lost to the coronavirus, a number that though massive is still thought to be a vast undercount because of a lack of testing and reporting.
More than half of India’s reported coronavirus deaths — the third most of any country — have occurred over the past two months as the the delta variant of the virus tore through the country and overwhelmed the already strained health system.
New cases are on the decline after exceeding 400,000 a day in May, but authorities are preparing for another possible wave and are trying to ramp up vaccination.
The Health Ministry said that 853 people died in the past 24 hours, raising total fatalities to 400,312. It also reported 46,617 new cases, taking the country’s pandemic total past 30.4 million.
India, a country of nearly 1.4 billion people, is the third to cross 400,000 deaths, after the United States and Brazil.
6:30 a.m.: The province resumed in-car driving tests on June 14, but the backlog to book a road test is staggering. The Ministry of Transportation said 421,827 road tests have been cancelled since March 2020 due to pandemic-related lockdowns.
The ministry said it has invested $16 million to deal with the backlog. Last fall it said it would hire 84 temporary driver examiners for its DriveTest centres, and has so far filled 35 of those positions. It recently announced it would hire 167 additional driver examiners, and recruitment is underway with the goal to have everyone on board by September.
The ministry said it will also add six temporary locations and offer road testing seven days a week where demand is highest, namely the Toronto area.
COVID-19 in B.C.: Over 200 new cases and over 1000 active cases; Fraser Health shifts to vaccine hubs; and more – The Georgia Straight
Today’s total and new case numbers are provisional but they are concerning.
Both new and active cases continue to rise and hit new highs in recent weeks, with the bulk of both of them still in Interior Health—which continues to have more new and active cases than both Fraser and Vancovuer Coastal Health combined.
Meanwhile, like the last heat wave, some immunization clinics may be affected by the high temperatures and at least one is already being relocated.
According to the B.C. Health Ministry, the following numbers for total and new cases are provisional due to a delayed data refresh.
For now, the B.C. Health Ministry is reporting 204 new COVID-19 cases today.
Currently, there are 1,055 active cases, which is an increase of 146 cases since yesterday.
The new and active cases include:
- 107 new cases in Interior Health, with 600 total active cases (an increase of 97 cases since yesterday);
- 58 new cases in Fraser Health, with 241 total active cases (33 more cases than yesterday);
- 23 new cases in Vancouver Coastal Health, with 139 total active cases (three more cases than yesterday);
- 14 new cases in Island Health, with 51 total active cases (10 more cases than yesterday);
- two new cases in Northern Health, with 19 total active cases (three more cases than yesterday);
- no new cases of people from outside of Canada, with five total active cases (same number as yesterday).
At the moment, 51 individuals are in hospital (four more people than yesterday), and 20 of those patients are in intensive care units (same number as yesterday).
Thankfully, no new COVID-19-related deaths have been reported, which leaves the overall total at 1,771 people who have died during the pandemic.
With 54 recoveries since yesterday, a cumulative total of 146,810 people have now recovered.
During the pandemic, B.C. has recorded a cumulative total of 149,648 cases.
The forecast heat wave may cause some clinics to be relocated again, as they were during the previous heat wave in June.
In preparation for the expected high temperatures this weekend, Island Health announced today that it will move the Eagle Ridge immunization clinic to the air-conditioned Victoria Conference Centre (720 Douglas Street, Victoria) tomorrow (July 30).
Also tomorrow, Island Health will hold a pop-up clinic from 6 to 8:30 p.m. at Starlight Stadium (1089 Langford Parkway) in Langford, during the game between Victoria’s Pacific FC and Calgary’s Cavalry FC.
Meanwhile, Fraser Health announced today that it has now administered over two million vaccine doses—80 percent of eligible people in the region have received at least one dose, and over 60 percent have received their second dose.
Consequently, as of tomorrow (July 29), Fraser Health is transitioning from a network of immunization clinics to establishing four main hubs at existing clinics at:
- Ag-Rec Centre (32470 Haida Drive) in Abbotsford (for both COVID-19 testing and immunizations);
- Poirier Forum (618 Poirier Street) in Coqutilam;
- Guildford Rec Centre (15105 105th Avenue) in Surrey;
- North Delta Rec Centre (11415 84th Avenue) in Delta.
Immunization will also continue to be available at COVID-19 testing and immunization centres in Hope, Chilliwack, Mission, Langley, South Delta, South Surrey, Surrey 66, Coquitlam, and Burnaby. In addition, Fraser Health will continue to hold pop-up and mobile clinics, outreach clinics, and community initiatives (such as beachside clinics) to ensure easy access to immunizations.
The following clinics, however, will be closed on the dates listed below:
- July 28: South Surrey Rec Centre and Chuck Bailey Rec Centre;
- August 1: Abbotsford test collection centre at the University of the Fraser Valley will close and testing will relocate to Abbotsford Ag Rec;
- August 7: Agassiz Agricultural Hall, Langley Events Centre, Anvil Centre, and Christine Sinclair Community Centre;
- August 14: Chilliwack Mall, Hope Legion, Cloverdale Rec Centre, Surrey North, and Haney Place Mall;
- August 30: Mamele’awt Community Indigenous Centre, Stó:lō Service Agency, Fraser River Indigenous Society, Mission Friendship Centre, Fraser Region Aboriginal Friendship Centre.
As part of its effort to increase vaccinations amid the recently declared outbreak in the Central Okanagan, Interior Health will hold pop-up immunization clinics from 3 to 7 p.m. from Friday (July 30) to Wednesday (August 4) at the Kelowna Yacht Club (1370 Water Street) in Kelowna, and vaccinations are available for eligible drop-in visitors.
In the ongoing provincial immunization program so far, B.C. has administered 6,732,309 doses of Pfizer, Moderna, and AstraZeneca vaccines.
As of today, 81 percent (3,753,057) of eligible people 12 and older in B.C. have received their first dose and 64.1 percent (2,971,793) have received their second dose.
In addition, 81.9 percent (3,543,503) of all eligible adults in B.C. have received their first dose and 66.8 percent (2,890,948) have received their second dose.
None of the five regional health authorities declared any new healthcare or community outbreaks, or listed any new business closures or public exposure events.
Currently, there are two active healthcare outbreaks, both in longterm care facilities: Holyrood Manor (Fraser Health) and Nelson Jubilee Manor (Interior Health).
No changes expected as COVID-19 cases surge in Central Okanagan: Kelowna airport – Revelstoke Review – Revelstoke Review
With new restrictions announced specifically for the Central Okanagan today (July 28), the Kelowna International Airport (YLW) said they are not expecting any changes to their operations.
Senior manager of airport operations Phillip Elchitz said that with the COVID-19 safety plan already in place at YLW, they don’t expect much more to change.
Elchitz also said that they’re not expecting much impact on passenger numbers because of the new restrictions.
“YLW is not anticipating a reduction in commercial scheduled flights as a result of the new provincial health guidelines specific to the Central Okanagan,” he said.
“YLW currently has a mandatory mask policy in place for all areas of the Air Terminal Building and on aircrafts due to Transport Canada requirements.”
Individual passenger temperature is also checked just before they go through security as an added safety measure.
Earlier in the afternoon on July 28, the province announced that masks will be mandatory again in indoor public spaces throughout the Central Okanagan, which includes Kelowna, West Kelowna, Peachland and Lake Country.
The province is also discouraging non-essential travel to and from the Central Okanagan, especially for those who are not vaccinated or who don’t have both doses yet.
Nenshi says lifting Alberta’s remaining COVID-19 health orders is the ‘height of insanity’ – Global News
The mayor of Calgary says it’s the “height of insanity” that Alberta is moving ahead with removing almost all of its remaining COVID-19 public health orders, even as cases climb in the province.
Alberta has ended isolation requirements for close contacts of people who test positive and contact tracers will no longer notify them of their exposure. The province has also ended asymptomatic testing.
Further measures are to be eliminated Aug. 16. People who test positive will no longer be required to isolate. Isolation hotels will close as quarantine supports end.
“It is inconceivable to me. It is the height of insanity to say we don’t even know what’s happening,” Nenshi said Thursday.
“It is putting the health of Albertans at risk. To stop contact tracing, to stop testing people for the coronavirus and to become one of the first _ if not the first — jurisdictions in the world to say that people who have tested positive, who are infectious, can just go about their lives.”
Majority of Canadians worried about lingering COVID-19 threat, according to poll
Naheed Nenshi, who was making an announcement at the Calgary airport, said if he were in another jurisdiction he would be thinking hard whether to put travel restrictions on Albertans starting Aug. 16.
“I’m aware of no science that backs this up. It is clear for the last month or so on this file (that) our government has been grasping and struggling, just trying to get some good news out of something,” he said.
“To say we don’t want to know who has the coronavirus, we don’t want to track outbreaks. Even the most fervent of the anti-maskers wouldn’t say (to) unleash people who are actually infectious into the population.”
Nenshi said he worries that the decision to lift the health orders is politically motivated and has nothing to do with science at all.
“The only possible explanation here is a political one. It might be that they’ve run out of money, but you know what? Don’t spend $1.5 billion on a pipeline you know isn’t going to get built if you’re running out of money.”
© 2021 The Canadian Press
Israel to offer COVID booster shots for over 60s: PM – Al Jazeera English
COVID-19 in B.C.: Over 200 new cases and over 1000 active cases; Fraser Health shifts to vaccine hubs; and more – The Georgia Straight
Israel to offer COVID-19 booster shot to fully vaccinated people 60 and older – The Globe and Mail
Silver investment demand jumped 12% in 2019
Europe kicks off vaccination programs | All media content | DW | 27.12.2020 – Deutsche Welle
Iran anticipates renewed protests amid social media shutdown
Science21 hours ago
890 million-year-old fossils may be oldest sign of animal life on Earth, Canadian geologist says – The Washington Post
Art19 hours ago
QC: Art feeds the soul for Joely BigEagle-Kequahtooway – Regina Leader-Post
Business15 hours ago
N.B. COVID-19 roundup: 4 new cases, 66.1% of eligible population fully vaccinated – CBC.ca
Health15 hours ago
Amid pushback, Alberta health minister defends plan to ease COVID-19 isolation, masking, testing rules – Globalnews.ca
Economy15 hours ago
U.S. Economy Grew 1.6% in Second Quarter – The New York Times
Sports17 hours ago
Filmer, Janssens capture bronze in women’s rowing pair at Tokyo Olympics – CityNews Toronto
Real eState19 hours ago
City incentives, 'red-hot' real estate market fuel action on brownfields – Windsor Star
Health22 hours ago
Do you support the local COVID-19 restrictions in the Central Okanagan? – Castanet.net