Connect with us

Business

Top doctors warn of COVID-19 variant spread, Trudeau says more vaccines on the way – CP24 Toronto's Breaking News

Published

 on


Cassandra Szklarski, The Canadian Press


Published Friday, February 12, 2021 2:59PM EST

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau joined Canada’s top doctors in warning that more infectious COVID-19 variants threaten to spark a third wave, even as he announced Canada would receive millions more vaccine doses than previously expected.

Late Friday, Newfoundland and Labrador’s chief medical officer of health confirmed the United Kingdom variant is behind the COVID-19 outbreak that hit the province this week.

Dr. Janice Fitzgerald said she is moving the entire province back to its highest alert level.

She said it is presumed that all of the 244 COVID-19 cases identified this week in the St. John’s area are related to the more infectious B. 1.17 variant of the virus.

“I can’t really sugar-coat this for anybody, but what we have to remember is that … we know that these public health measures will work against this variant, just as (they) would work against any variant of COVID-19,” she said at a news conference.

Later, Bruce Chaulk, the province’s chief electoral officer, issued a news release saying all in-person voting in Saturday’s provincial election was cancelled and that voting would proceed with mail-in ballots only.

Earlier Friday, Trudeau urged the public to refrain from unnecessary travel and gatherings as the long weekend approached, noting a fast-tracked shipment of millions of COVID-19 vaccines in coming months will not be enough to combat worrisome variants that have overtaken other countries.

“Nobody wants a third wave to start, particularly not one comprised of new, more communicable variants that can cause real challenges,” Trudeau said while announcing $53 million dedicated to clamping down on these cases.

“You might be worried about these new strains, well we’re putting our best experts on it – researchers, epidemiologists, modelers.”

Canada is getting millions of COVID-19 vaccines early thanks to an accelerated import schedule and additional orders, Trudeau said at a news conference that also set Feb. 22 as the start of strict travel requirements meant to discourage non-essential globetrotters.

Trudeau said he’s been assured four million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine will arrive by end of March as promised, while 10.8 million doses will be delivered between April and June, and all remaining doses – 40 million in total – will arrive by the end of September.

That’s 2.8 million additional Pfizer doses between April and June, and 6.2 million more between July and September than originally planned, said Procurement Minister Anita Anand.

At the same time, Canada has ordered four million additional doses of the Moderna vaccine that will arrive over the summer, bringing the country’s total supply from the two pharmaceutical giants to 84 million doses. Two million Moderna doses are expected by end of March.

“We’ve been continuing to work every single day on getting as many doses as possible as quickly as possible into Canadians arms,” said Trudeau, reiterating his pledge that all Canadians who want a dose will get one by the end of September.

Production delays have been blamed for a lull in Canada’s vaccination efforts since mid-January, when Pfizer slowed production at its plant in Belgium. Moderna deliveries also slowed.

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam said earlier Friday that aggressive vaccinations will play a key part in addressing COVID-19 spread, and was just one suppression tool as modelling data in the nation’s hot spots point to a likely third wave.

Tam said COVID-19 infections appeared to be on a downward trend but that the worrisome variants posed an increasing threat to containing the pandemic.

At least three provinces found evidence of variants in the community, Tam noted.

“We’ve made great progress, and are now almost two -thirds of the way down this curve,” said Tam, adding that ongoing vigilance was vital.

“Look at the European countries – they give us a clue as to what might happen if variants are circulating, and we let our guard down. That massive acceleration into that third resurgence … will happen really fast.”

Tam pointed to Newfoundland’s recent spike as a lesson that even areas with relatively low case counts can quickly turn bad if public health measures are not in place. The Atlantic province reported 50 new cases Friday, 20 of which involved people younger than 20. It followed 100 cases reported Thursday, 74 of which involved people younger than 20.

More than 429 cases of the variant first identified in the U.K. have been found across eight provinces, as well as 28 cases of the variant first identified in South Africa, Tam said.

So far, there has only been one report of the variant first found in Brazil.

Trudeau also announced that strict quarantine and testing measures for plane travellers to Canada will begin Feb. 22. That includes a mandatory COVID-19 test upon landing and a three-day quarantine in a government-approved hotel while awaiting results, at the traveller’s expense.

Land border crossers will now also have to take a test when they arrive.

According to federal data, as of Thursday there have been 817,163 cases of COVID-19 in Canada, with 37,747 of them considered active cases.

Tam urged Canadians to refrain from gathering just as much of the country entered a long weekend that included Family Day in several provinces, and Valentine’s Day.

The Ontario Medical Association suggested phone calls or virtual meals with friends and relatives to as “ways to connect from a distance.”

Ontario reported 1,076 new cases of COVID-19 and 18 more deaths linked to the virus Friday, including 361 new cases in Toronto, 210 in Peel Region, and 122 in York Region.

Premier Doug Ford said Friday rapid testing would be expanded in schools, long-term care homes and essential workplaces, with health officials expecting to distribute one million tests each week.

The plan comes as the province gradually reopens its economy after an emergency order expired earlier this week.

Deputy Chief Public Health Officer Howard Njoo voiced support for Ontario’s recent move to delay the spring break for its schools to April, from March, expecting it would reduce contacts at a delicate time while pushing the holiday into warmer weather that would allow more outdoor activities.

Meanwhile, Quebec reported 984 new COVID-19 cases and 25 more deaths, including four in the previous 24 hours.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 12, 2021.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Business

Key COVID-19 numbers in the Ottawa area today – CBC.ca

Published

 on


  • Ottawa is reporting 55 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday.
  • Another 25 cases recorded in western Quebec.

Today’s Ottawa update

Ottawa Public Health (OPH) recorded 55 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday but zero deaths. 

Another 39 cases have been classified as resolved.

Ottawa and communities under the Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU) are now in the orange alert level, with slightly more restrictive rules than the rest of eastern Ontario, which is green.

Ottawa’s medical officer of health is backing up what some key numbers and experts have suggested: that the capital is close to moving to the red zone if the spread of COVID-19 doesn’t slow.

Numbers to watch

33.8: The weekly incidence rate, a rolling seven-day total of new COVID-19 cases expressed per 100,000 residents. The red zone threshold is 40.

.98: The number of people infected by a single COVID-19 case, or R(t). Health officials consider the spread under control if it’s below one.

34: The number of outbreaks in Ottawa.

504: The number of known active COVID-19 cases in Ottawa. One month ago there were more than 1,200.

Across the region

In western Quebec, another 25 cases were reported on Sunday but no new deaths. 

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Business

LILLEY: Trudeau makes Canada 'vaccine pirate,' stealing from poor nations – Toronto Sun

Published

 on


Article content

Canada is being described as a “vaccine pirate” after the latest announcement of COVID vaccine approvals showed we will be getting our doses from a facility funded to provide vaccines for the developing world.

On Friday, Health Canada announced that they had approved two related but distinct products, the AstraZeneca vaccine developed in collaboration with Oxford University and COVISHIELD, a version of the AstraZeneca recipe manufactured by Serum Institute of India.

The problem is that Canada will be getting its doses, starting as early as Wednesday, from the Serum Institute, an organization funded to produce vaccine doses for low- and middle-income countries.

Like the announcement that the Trudeau government will take 1.9 million doses from COVAX, this makes it look like Canada is taking vaccines meant for poorer countries.

In a news release last June announcing the deal that would allow the SII to produce the AstraZeneca vaccine, the company specifically said it was “to supply 1 billion doses for low-and-middle-income countries” In September, a donation from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation allowed the program to expand by an extra 100 million doses.

Advertisement

Story continues below

This advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below.

Article content

“This is vaccine manufacturing for the Global South, by the Global South, helping us to ensure no country is left behind when it comes to the race for a COVID-19 vaccine,” said Dr. Seth Berkley, CEO Gavi, the alliance to ensure poor countries have access to vaccines.

Now Canada has found its way to the front of that line.

Procurement Minister Anita Anand confirmed on Friday that of the 3.9 million doses of the AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD vaccines that we will see delivered before the end of June, 2 million will come from the Serum Institute and 1.9 million from COVAX.

The move has led one former Canadian health bureaucrat who now works internationally to accuse the Trudeau government of turning Canada into a “global vaccine pirate.” It’s a view held by many people paying attention to the details of our latest vaccine announcement.

We apologize, but this video has failed to load.

Amir Attaran, a professor with the School of Epidemiology and Public Health at the University of Ottawa, accused the Trudeau government of poaching these doses from developing countries.

“How many people in other lands will this kill? ‘Sunny ways’ it isn’t,” Attaran said on Twitter.

Dr. Srinivas Murthy, an infectious disease specialist with the B.C. Children’s Hospital, said that Canada was taking doses away from LMICs or low and middle-income countries.

“This is much more anger-inducing than the COVAX conversation weeks ago. The Serum Institute of India was funded by CEPI and GAVI to produce vaccines for LMICs. Canada, because of diplomacy and money, is skipping that line and taking doses meant for LMICs,” Dr. Murthy said.

Advertisement

Story continues below

This advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below.

Article content

When the Trudeau government announced at the beginning of February that we would be taking vaccines from COVAX, the move was blasted by a broad range of organizations including Doctors Without Borders and Oxfam.

“Canada should not be taking the COVAX vaccine from poor nations to alleviate political pressures at home,” Oxfam said at the time.

Advertisement

Story continues below

This advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below.

Article content

Yet, that is exactly what Trudeau was doing in early February and it is what he is doing now. Canadians are upset at seeing Americans, Brits, Italians, Serbians and Barbadians vaccinated much fast than we are, and they are rightly blaming the federal government.

Even the record 643,000 doses received across the country last week is less than the Americans use before lunch each day.

Justin Trudeau campaigned on improving Canada’s reputation on the world stage, now we are taking vaccines meant for developing countries. It is nothing short of a national embarrassment.

The Trudeau government owes Canadians an explanation on his latest moves; let’s hope he faces the tough questions he should later this week.

Comments

Postmedia is committed to maintaining a lively but civil forum for discussion and encourage all readers to share their views on our articles. Comments may take up to an hour for moderation before appearing on the site. We ask you to keep your comments relevant and respectful. We have enabled email notifications—you will now receive an email if you receive a reply to your comment, there is an update to a comment thread you follow or if a user you follow comments. Visit our Community Guidelines for more information and details on how to adjust your email settings.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Business

Experts advise Canadians to take whatever COVID-19 vaccine is offered – CBC News: The National

Published

 on


[unable to retrieve full-text content]

  1. Experts advise Canadians to take whatever COVID-19 vaccine is offered  CBC News: The National
  2. Coronavirus: What’s happening in Canada and around the world on Sunday  CBC.ca
  3. AstraZeneca approval opens door to some B.C. front-line workers getting earlier vaccine  Global News
  4. Europe must get its act together with Covid vaccine rollout  Telegraph.co.uk
  5. Keep up COVID-19 protocols as vaccines roll out, experts say  CBC News: The National
  6. View Full coverage on Google News



Source link

Continue Reading

Trending