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U.S. crude oil stocks fall more than expected in week -API – Reuters Africa



Dec 24 (Reuters) – U.S. crude oil stocks fell more than expected in the most recent week while gasoline and distillate inventories increased, data from industry group the American Petroleum Institute showed on Tuesday.

Crude inventories fell by 7.9 million barrels in the week to Dec. 20 to 444.1 million barrels, compared with analysts’ expectations for a draw of 1.83 million barrels.

Crude stocks at the Cushing, Oklahoma, delivery hub fell by 2.2 million barrels, API said.

Refinery crude runs fell by 514,000 barrels per day, API data showed.

Gasoline stocks rose by 566,000 barrels, compared with analysts’ expectations in a Reuters poll for a 2 million-barrel gain.

Distillate fuel inventories, which include diesel and heating oil, rose by 1.68 million barrels, compared with expectations for an 867,000-barrel gain, the data showed.

U.S. crude imports fell last week by 331,000 barrels per day to 6.4 million bpd. (Reporting By New York Energy Desk; Editing by Dan Grebler)

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Nova Scotia announces tougher restrictions after 10 new COVID-19 cases –



Nova Scotia officials announced a series of new restrictions as it reported 10 new cases of COVID-19 Friday.

According to the province, nine of the new cases are in the Central Zone – five are close contacts of previously reported cases and three are under investigation.

READ MORE: Nova Scotia reports 3 new COVID-19 cases, more U.K. variant cases confirmed

The other case is related to travel outside Atlantic Canada. One case is in Eastern Zone and is related to travel outside Atlantic Canada.

The person in both of these cases is self-isolating as required, said the province.

Click to play video 'Nova Scotia announces tougher restrictions after 10 new COVID-19 cases'

Nova Scotia announces tougher restrictions after 10 new COVID-19 cases

Nova Scotia announces tougher restrictions after 10 new COVID-19 cases

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New COVID-19 restrictions announced amid uptick of cases

Premier Ian Rankin announced at a COVID-19 briefing Friday new restrictions for the Halifax area as the province continues to see a steady climb in cases.

Restrictions are returning in areas of the Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM) up to and including Porters Lake, as well as the communities of Enfield, Elmsdale, Mount Uniacke and Hubbards effective 8 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 27, and continuing until 11:59 p.m. on Friday, March 26.

An extension for those restrictions is possible.

Rankin said the restrictions include having restaurants and bars stop serving at 9 p.m. and close by 10 p.m.

Click to play video 'Coronavirus: Nova Scotia premier announces new restrictions, says virus ‘making a comeback’'

Coronavirus: Nova Scotia premier announces new restrictions, says virus ‘making a comeback’

Coronavirus: Nova Scotia premier announces new restrictions, says virus ‘making a comeback’

Nova Scotians were also asked to avoid all non-essential travel, especially to and from restricted areas of HRM, Hants and Lunenburg counties.

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Strang said he’s worried, especially since there are too many people not following public health measures.He said they’re moving faster than they did in December to resolve this outbreak as he wants to avoid the situation Newfoundland found itself in.

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Sports games, competitions, arts and culture performances will not be allowed, according to Strang, but practices will be allowed to continue with up to 25 participants.

Additional testing announced to protect Nova Scotia’s borders 

The province said residents in long-term care homes can only have visits from their designated caregivers and can only leave for medical appointments or for a drive.

“We had hoped we would not be back in the situation where these restrictions are necessary. We understand that they are disruptive but they are absolutely critical to contain the spread of COVID-19,” said Dr. Strang.

“Everyone needs to behave with the same caution as they did last spring when the virus first arrived in Nova Scotia. Everyone needs to get tested even if they only have one mild symptom,” he added.

READ MORE: Nova Scotia’s long-term care vaccine rollout on track despite supply chain uncertainties

In light of the new restrictions, the province said the general gathering limit is 10 indoors and outdoors, and if people do not follow the gathering limit can be fined. The fine is $1,000 for each person at an illegal gathering.

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To protect Nova Scotia’s borders, additional testing will be in place for some groups who regularly travel, the province said.

Effective Monday, March 1, three COVID-19 tests are required for rotational workers, specialized workers, and parents and children whose child custody visits involve travel outside Nova Scotia or Prince Edward Island.

The full list of restrictions are listed at

Read more:
First COVID-19 case found at Halifax Shipyard as province reports 8 new cases

Due to a technical issue resulting in incomplete data, the province said that the COVID-19 dashboard has not been updated on Friday.

As a result, the number of active cases, resolved cases, and immunization data was not made available as of yet.

“The dashboard will be updated once all the information becomes available,” the province said in a release.

NSLC confirms one COVID-19 case 

The new restrictions came after a spokesperson for the NSLC confirmed a case of the virus at its head office distribution centre complex in Halifax.

Beverley Ware said the company closed the building on Chain Lake Drive late Thursday to conduct a thorough cleaning and disinfecting process in response to the confirmed case of the virus.

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She said the company has 30 employees per shift in the distribution centre and 280 in the head office, though not all at once.

“A number are on the road or working from home on a rotational basis,” said Ware of staff.

Click to play video 'Nova Scotia prototype vaccine clinics successful'

Nova Scotia prototype vaccine clinics successful

Nova Scotia prototype vaccine clinics successful

She also noted the distribution centre normally closes from 3 p.m Saturday until 7 a.m. Monday, so “this has a minimal impact on our operations.”

“We’re awaiting Public Health’s direction on what they require of us and we’re prepared to do anything to keep our employees safe,” she said.

Ware said the confirmed case and the closure of the building will not interrupt business for customers.

“Our stores do have a safety supply of inventory build in, so we don’t expect any company disruptions at this time,” she said.

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Click to play video 'Nova Scotia reports 8 new COVID-19 cases Thursday'

Nova Scotia reports 8 new COVID-19 cases Thursday

Nova Scotia reports 8 new COVID-19 cases Thursday

The NSLC’s head office distribution centre is expected to reopen Monday.

HRM’s response to COVID-19

The Halifax Regional Municipality announced in a press release on Friday that new public health guidelines will take effect in the Halifax Regional Municipality as of 8 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 27.

According to HRM, spectators will not be permitted in any municipally-owned facility across the region as of Saturday.

In the affected areas of HRM up to and including Porters Lake, as well as the communities of Enfield, Elmsdale, Mount Uniacke and Hubbards, no games or tournaments will be permitted.

Click to play video 'Here’s why Indigenous-led vaccine strategy matters in Nova Scotia'

Here’s why Indigenous-led vaccine strategy matters in Nova Scotia

Here’s why Indigenous-led vaccine strategy matters in Nova Scotia

However, sport practices and training as well as organized arts and culture rehearsals will continue to be permitted with up to 25 people.

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The municipality’s facility bookings for all Halifax Regional Centre for Education (HRCE) schools in the affected areas will also be cancelled as of 8 a.m. Saturday.

In the meantime, fitness facilities will continue to be permitted to operate at 75 per cent capacity while maintaining three metres between people during high-intensity activities.

HRM said these new guidelines will continue until at least March 27, 2021.

For more information on municipal services during the COVID-19 pandemic, visit

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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AstraZeneca approval will speed up Manitoba vaccine rollout, task force head says –



The approval of the AstraZeneca vaccine will speed up Manitoba’s timeline for vaccinating all eligible age groups, but how much of an impact it has remains to be seen, says the head of the provincial government’s vaccine implementation task force.

“This is great news for our timeline and really does push us closer to our high-supply scenario” for future vaccination rollout, Dr. Joss Reimer said during a media briefing Friday.

Health Canada announced earlier Friday it had approved the vaccine developed by Oxford University-AstraZeneca, clearing the way for millions more doses of vaccine to come into the country.

Manitoba is basing its vaccine eligibility for members of the general public on age, starting with the oldest Manitobans and gradually working down.

The vaccine task force has released two separate timelines for when it expects to immunize each age group, under low- and high-supply scenarios. 

Under the low-supply scenario — which assumed using only the previously approved Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines — the province estimated it would complete vaccinations by the end of November.

Under the high-supply scenario, which assumed a third vaccine would become available, the province could complete vaccinations by the end of August. 

WATCH | Dr. Joss Reimer says Health Canada approval of AstraZeneca is ‘great news’:

Dr. Joss Reimer, head of Manitoba’s vaccine implementation task force, said Friday the approval of AstraZeneca adds another tool in the province’s toolbelt to help roll out vaccines quickly. 1:14

Easier storage, lower efficacy rate

AstraZeneca’s vaccine doesn’t have to be stored at the exceptionally low temperatures required for Pfizer-BioNTech’s and Moderna’s vaccines.

The AstraZeneca vaccine can be stored and transported at normal refrigerated temperatures of 2 to 8 C for at least six months, which means it can be administered in a wider range of settings, such as physicians’ offices and pharmacies.

Health Canada regulators have determined the new vaccine to be 62 per cent effective at preventing infection, which is less effective than the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines.

However, the shot is 100 per cent effective in preventing the severe outcomes of COVID-19 — including serious illness, hospitalizations and death — the regulators said.

“I think that’s the most important factor, is it kept people out of the ICU, and it kept people off of ventilators,” said virologist Jason Kindrachuk, an assistant professor in the department of medical microbiology at the University of Manitoba.

The availability of multiple vaccines raises the possibility people might be reluctant to take one if they know it has a lower efficacy rating, which poses challenges for public health messaging, he said.

“The most important factor right now for us [is] it’s keeping people out of the hospital, and as well trying to curb transmission. The AZ vaccine actually looks really good in both of those regards.”

Dose numbers still unknown

It’s too soon to know how much the AstraZeneca approval will alter Manitoba’s vaccination timeline, because no one knows yet how many doses the province will actually get.

“This is only good news as far as how long it will take to reach all Manitobans,” Reimer said.

“The more options we have and the more convenient it is for people to receive a vaccine, the more Manitobans will be able to receive it before the end of summer.”

The province is in the process of determining who will be eligible to receive the AstraZeneca vaccine. Health officials are waiting for the National Advisory Committee on Immunizations to release its recommendations.

Some countries in Europe have limited use of the vaccine to people under the age of 65, even though the World Health Organization says the product is effective for all age groups.

Health Canada said clinical trial results “were too limited to allow a reliable estimate of vaccine efficacy in individuals 65 years of age and older,” but was comfortable approving the vaccine due to experience in places its already been used.

WATCH | Health Canada’s Dr. Supriya Sharma outlines efficacy of AstraZeneca vaccine:

Dr. Supriya Sharma, Health Canada’s chief medical adviser, outlines why the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine has been approved in Canada. 3:10

“If it ends up being that we stick to a younger age cohort [for AstraZeneca in Manitoba], then we’ll have to make some decisions about who is highest risk in the younger age cohort,” Reimer said.

Like the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, AstraZeneca’s requires two shots. Health Canada has recommended the second dose be administered four to 12 weeks after the first.

Reimer said Manitoba will look at the results of the trials and decide whether to continue with the current process of administering second doses within three to four weeks, or stretching that time period in order to get more first doses to Manitobans. 

Around 500 physicians and pharmacies have applied to administer vaccines once a suitable candidate becomes available, and about 250 of those are approved and ready to go, Reimer said.

Doctors Manitoba issued a statement welcoming the approval of the new vaccine.

“This approval means Manitobans are one step closer to getting the vaccine from their doctor, a trusted medical professional who knows their health situation best,” president Dr. Cory Baillie said in the statement.

It’s possible that AstraZeneca could be considered as part of a door-to-door vaccination campaign, to reach people who are unable to leave their home, but who don’t live in a personal care home or other facility targeted by mobile immunization teams, she said.

WATCH | Full news conference on COVID-19 | Feb. 26, 2021:

Provincial officials give update on COVID-19 outbreak: Friday, February 26, 2021. 29:34

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Global National: Feb. 26, 2021 | Health Canada approves Oxford-AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine – Global News



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Global National: Feb. 26, 2021 | Health Canada approves Oxford-AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine  Global News

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