- Large celebrations held yearly for Canada Day have been called off, but there are other activities — virtual and otherwise — still ongoing this July 1.
- Outdoor gathering limits were increased from 100 to 200 people on Tuesday for events like festivals, sporting events and performances, but not private gatherings like weddings.
- Alberta Safeway workers voted in favour of striking after the company ended its COVID-19 ‘hero pay’ program.
- Four outbreaks at Edmonton restaurants are responsible for 40 cases of COVID-19: Greta Bar (15 cases), Earl’s Tin Palace (6 cases), The Pint (10 cases) and Local (9 cases) on Jasper Avenue.
- An outbreak at a Calgary condo building, the Verve in East Village, has grown to 49 cases, 33 of which are active.
- Alberta will spend billions on infrastructure projects, cut its corporate tax rate, establish a new investment agency and introduce a series of targeted incentives for industry as part of a plan to restart its battered economy.
- A backlog of cattle waiting to be processed at meatpacking plants has put Alberta cattle ranchers in a tough position.
- The province reported 41 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, for a total of 547 active cases.
- Two areas in Alberta are under “watch” as their active cases have surpassed a rate of 50 per 100,000 people: Calgary-Centre and Edmonton-Mill Woods West.
What you need to know today in Alberta:
Dr. Deena Hinshaw, the province’s chief medical officer of health, said the province has decided to increase its outdoor gathering limits, just in time for Canada Day, because it was seeing little community transmission of COVID-19 at public outdoor events.
Toronto’s city council has voted to make non-medical masks mandatory indoors, and Hinshaw said Alberta municipalities can look at their own circumstances and take appropriate measures.
Small to mid-sized businesses, co-operatives and non-profits impacted by COVID-19 were able to apply for grant relief on Monday morning — but some are saying that while the support is welcome, it won’t be enough on its own.
The Alberta government’s blueprint to reboot the economy was announced Monday in Calgary.
Alberta will increase spending on infrastructure projects, cut its corporate tax rate and establish a new investment agency as part of a plan to restart its battered economy.
Alberta reported 41 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday.
In all, 154 people have died of COVID-19 in Alberta.
As of Tuesday, there are 547 active cases and 7,407 recovered in the province. The province has completed more than 449,000 tests for COVID-19.
Here’s how the active cases break down within provincial zones:
- Edmonton zone: 246 cases.
- Calgary zone: 232 cases.
- North zone: 36 cases.
- South zone: 28 cases.
- Central zone: 4 cases
- Unknown: 1 case.
What you need to know today in Canada:
Large-scale Canada Day events across the country have been cancelled, including the celebration and firewalks held yearly at Parliament Hill. Instead, a show was streamed live and will be followed by virtual fireworks.
Canada’s economy shrank by 11.6 per cent in April, the biggest plunge on record, following March’s contraction of 7.5 per cent as COVID-19 lockdowns began.
For the past few months, WestJet has barred the sale of adjacent seats throughout entire planes and Air Canada has followed suit in economy class. Those practices are set to end tomorrow.
As of 2:15 p.m. ET on Wednesday, Canada had 104,271 confirmed and presumptive coronavirus cases. Provinces and territories listed 67,746 of the cases as recovered or resolved. A CBC News tally of deaths based on provincial reports, regional health information and CBC’s reporting stood at 8,663. Wednesday’s tally did not include Ontario cases because of the Canada Day holiday.
Self-assessment and supports:
Alberta Health Services has an online self-assessment tool that you can use to determine if you have symptoms of COVID-19, but testing is open to anyone, even without symptoms.
The province says Albertans who have returned to Canada from other countries must self-isolate. Unless your situation is critical and requires a call to 911, Albertans are advised to call Health Link at 811 before visiting a physician, hospital or other health-care facility.
If you have symptoms, even mild, you are to self-isolate for 10 days from the onset of symptoms.
The province also operates a confidential mental health support line at 1-877-303-2642 and addiction help line at 1-866-332-2322, available from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m., seven days a week.
Online resources are available for advice on handling stressful situations and ways to talk with children.
There is a 24-hour family violence information line at 310-1818 to get anonymous help in more than 170 languages, and Alberta’s One Line for Sexual Violence is available at 1-866-403-8000, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
EU regulator backs month-long storage of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine in fridges
Europe’s drug regulator on Monday recommended extending the storage time for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at normal fridge temperatures to 31 days from five days, easing logistical challenges during rollouts in the region.
The change is applicable to unopened vials, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) said, adding that the advice by its human medicines committee came after assessing additional stability study data submitted by Pfizer and BioNTech.
“EMA is in continuous dialogue with the marketing authorisation holders of COVID-19 vaccines as they seek to make manufacturing improvements to enhance vaccine distribution in the EU,” the watchdog said.
The EU has allowed for ramped-up production of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in the region and is eyeing a new deal to secure more doses of the shot after the bloc was hit by cuts in the supply of AstraZeneca’s vaccine.
Vaccine deliveries were also slower initially under the EU’s centralised procurement strategy.
U.S. authorities in February had approved storage and transport of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine at standard freezer temperatures of -15 to -25 degrees Celsius for up to two weeks instead of the ultra-cold temperatures between -80 to -60 degrees Celsius it usually requires.
The EU storage change also comes as the U.S. and German drugmakers are seeking approval of the vaccine for inoculating adolescents aged 12 to 15 years. The United States and Canada have started vaccinating this group with the shot, which uses the brand name Comirnaty.
The two-dose vaccine, similar to the one developed by Moderna, uses new mRNA technology to deliver instructions to the human body to build immunity against COVID-19.
With 200 million vaccine doses delivered overall, the EU is on track to achieve its goal of inoculating 70% of its adult population by summer, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen tweeted on May 9.
(Reporting by Pushkala Aripaka in Bengaluru; Editing by Ramakrishnan M. and Alex Richardson)
Sanofi-GSK report positive interim results for their COVID-19 shot
An experimental COVID-19 vaccine developed by Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline showed a robust immune response in early-stage clinical trial results, enabling them to move to a late-stage study, the French drugmaker said on Monday.
Sanofi and Britain’s GSK said a global Phase III trial would start in the coming weeks and involve more than 35,000 adults, with the hope of seeing the vaccine approved by the fourth quarter after having initially targeted the first half of this year before a setback.
Sanofi and GSK last December were forced to restart their trial when the vaccine showed a low immune response in older adults as a result of a weak antigen formulation.
Sanofi and GSK shares were little changed in early trading.
“The Phase II interim results showed 95% to 100% seroconversion following a second injection in all age groups and across all doses, with acceptable tolerability and no safety concerns,” Sanofi said.
Seroconversion refers to the vaccine’s ability to prompt the body to produce antibodies against the coronavirus, as measured by blood readings. Later mass trials will be based on real infections.
“Interestingly, we also observed that our vaccine generated a higher antibody response in those with previous COVID-19 infection, we are analysing this further as it may suggest our vaccine could serve as a potential booster, regardless of what vaccine someone may have received (beforehand),” Su-Peing Ng, Sanofi’s global head of medical for vaccines, told reporters.
Ng said the vaccine had not been tested against so-called variants in the Phase II trial but that the Phase III study would be assessing it against various strains including a virus lineage known as B.1.351 first detected in South Africa.
But Sanofi, Ng said, has conducted parallel studies evaluating its vaccines against variants, with results expected to be published soon.
GSK and Sanofi’s vaccine candidate uses the same technology as one of Sanofi’s seasonal influenza vaccines. It will be coupled with an adjuvant, a substance that acts as a booster to the shot, made by GSK.
‘QUITE A POTENTIAL’
Some 162.75 million people have been reported to be infected by the coronavirus in more than 210 countries and territories since the first cases were identified in China in December 2019, while economies have taken a hit and restrictions have turned daily life upside down.
The United States and Europe have embarked on mass vaccinations programmes in the past months, raising hopes of a gradual reopening, although the virus is still in circulation in many regions, with variants causing concern.
Last month, the European Union executive’s President Ursula von der Leyen said protein-based COVID-19 vaccines such as the one developed by Sanofi and GSK offered “quite a potential”, a positive signal as the bloc develops its purchasing strategy for the next two years.
Sanofi’s shot, however, even if approved, will come long after ones from Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna, which have produced efficacy results of more than 90%.
So far, Sanofi has purchasing agreements with the United States, the EU, Britain and Canada, as well as with the World Health Organization-backed COVAX facility.
The company has pledged to help other drugmakers this year, striking “fill and finish” deals for vaccines made by Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson.
In addition to its vaccine project in collaboration with GSK, Sanofi is working on a mRNA candidate with U.S. company Translate Bio for which it has started clinical trials.
(Reporting by Matthias Blamont; editing by Louise Heavens and Jason Neely)
Worldwide coronavirus cases cross 161.42 million, death toll at 3,488,751
More than 161.42 million people have been reported to be infected by the novel coronavirus globally and 3,488,751 have died, according to a Reuters tally.
Infections have been reported in more than 210 countries and territories since the first cases were identified in China in December 2019.
Interactive graphic tracking global spread of coronavirus: open https://tmsnrt.rs/2FThSv7 in an external browser.
Eikon users can click for a case tracker.
The following table lists the top 50 countries by the number of reported cases. A complete list is available with the above links.
COUNTRIES AND TOTAL DEATHS CONFIRMED DEATHS PER
TERRITORIES CASES 10,000
United States 584,768 32,926,288 17.9
India 262,317 24,046,809 1.94
Brazil 430,417 15,433,989 20.55
France 107,423 5,848,154 16.04
Turkey 44,301 5,095,390 5.38
Russia 254,590 4,922,901 17.62
United Kingdom 127,668 4,446,824 19.21
Italy 123,927 4,146,722 20.51
Spain 79,339 3,604,799 16.95
Germany 85,903 3,579,871 10.36
Argentina 69,254 3,242,103 15.56
Colombia 79,760 3,067,879 16.06
Poland 71,311 2,849,014 18.78
Iran 76,433 2,732,152 9.34
Mexico 219,901 2,375,115 17.43
Ukraine 47,620 2,143,448 10.67
Peru 65,316 1,873,316 20.02
Indonesia 47,823 1,734,285 1.79
Czech Republic 29,857 1,651,178 28.09
South Africa 55,012 1,605,252 9.52
Netherlands 17,423 1,589,282 10.11
Canada 24,825 1,312,408 6.7
Chile 27,520 1,266,601 14.69
Iraq 15,910 1,134,859 4.14
Philippines 18,958 1,131,467 1.78
Romania 29,413 1,070,605 15.11
Sweden 14,275 1,037,126 14.03
Belgium 24,645 1,026,473 21.56
Pakistan 19,384 873,220 0.91
Portugal 16,999 841,379 16.53
Israel 6,379 839,076 7.18
Hungary 29,041 796,390 29.71
Bangladesh 12,102 779,535 0.75
Jordan 9,203 722,754 9.24
Serbia 6,646 705,185 9.52
Switzerland 10,179 679,510 11.96
Japan 11,396 673,821 0.9
Austria 10,455 635,780 11.83
United Arab Emirates 1,626 543,610 1.69
Lebanon 7,569 534,968 11.05
Morocco 9,091 514,670 2.52
Malaysia 1,822 462,190 0.58
Nepal 4,669 439,658 1.66
Saudi Arabia 7,134 431,432 2.12
Bulgaria 17,194 413,320 24.48
Ecuador 19,442 405,783 11.38
Slovakia 12,168 387,162 22.34
Greece 11,322 373,881 10.55
Belarus 2,681 373,351 2.83
Panama 6,288 369,455 15.05
Source: Reuters tally based on statements from health ministries and government officials
Generated at 10:00 GMT.
(Editing by David Clarke)
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