Although Ontario’s holiday testing blitz offering free rapid antigen screening to individuals is well underway across the province, the City of Guelph has not yet been deemed an area of concern.
This means no pop-up take-home rapid antigen test kits are expected to come to Guelph until next week at the very earliest.
According to the provincial website, Guelph is not the only city currently void of rapid tests pop-up sites as the neighbouring cities of Kitchener, Waterloo and Cambridge have also not been identified as areas of higher traffic.
New locations will be posted on Fridays, and on a rolling basis as sites are confirmed.
Of the five listed pop-up sites for Thursday, if someone living in Guelph wanted a free test kit they would be required to drive to the closest pop-up located at Yorkdale Mall for the 10:00 a.m. release of the kits.
The pop-up sites listed for this coming Friday are also few and far in between with the closest location the Tecumseh Mall in Windsor.
“Two million rapid tests are being provided with free of charge at pop-up testing sites in high-traffic settings such as malls, retail settings, holiday markets, public libraries and transit hubs,” said Anna Miller, senior communications advisor with the Ontario Ministry of Health.
“Locations across the province were identified by local health partners and businesses where higher traffic is anticipated over the holiday season and where vaccinated and unvaccinated people are likely to gather. More sites across the province will be added to the website on a weekly basis.”
A staff member at the Guelph Public Library said although the library systems were deemed locations for rapid test kit distribution, no branches within the Guelph Public Library system have received any test kits and no information has been provided on when test kits can be expected to arrive.
“So far, two LCBOs in Guelph have handed out COVID-19 take-home rapid test kits,” said Miller.
The two LCBOs that did receive the rapid tests kits on Friday both ran out within hours, and one location was faced with a late delivery which left people who showed up before the store opened scrambling with questions the staff couldn’t answer.
“Ontario has a limited supply of rapid tests and every single test the province has received from the federal government is on its way out the door to thousands of workplaces, hospitals, home and community care settings, long-term care homes, schools and child care centres on top of the many pop-up sites across the province,” said Miller. “In addition to Ontario directly procuring additional rapid tests where possible, we are continuing to urge the federal government to make more rapid tests available to provinces as quickly as possible.”
Chuck Ferguson, communications manager with Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health, said if the province does establish a pop-up rapid test distribution site in our area Public Health will certainly promote its location on our website and social media.
As of now, Public Health has not been notified of any pending sites to date.
Ferguson did note that if a local business or organization is looking for rapid tests for their members or staff, they can request rapid tests, or checking in with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce as it is rolling out free rapid tests for small- and medium-sized businesses in communities across the province.
There are currently 273 reported active cases in Guelph with 48 new cases reported in Guelph on Wednesday.
China cuts rates on policy loans for first time since April 2020 – CNBC
China’s central bank on Monday cut the borrowing costs of its medium-term loans for the first time since April 2020, defying market expectations, to cushion any economic slowdown.
The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) said it was lowering the interest rate on 700 billion yuan ($110.19 billion) worth of one-year medium-term lending facility (MLF) loans to some financial institutions by 10 basis points to 2.85% from 2.95% in previous operations.
Thirty-four out of the 48 traders and analysts, or 70% of all participants, polled by Reuters last week predicted no change to the MLF rates, although a rising number of market participants start to forecast a rate cut.
With 500 billion yuan worth of MLF loans maturing on Monday, the operation resulted a net 200 billion yuan of fresh fund injections into the banking system.
The central bank also lowered the borrowing costs of seven-day reverse repurchase agreements, or repos, by the same margin to 2.10% from 2.20%, when it offered another 100 billion yuan worth of reverse repos into the banking system on the day, compared with 10 billion worth of such short-term liquidity tool due on Monday.
Credit Suisse chairman resigns after company probe – BBC News
The chairman of global banking giant Credit Suisse, Antonio Horta-Osorio, has resigned with immediate effect after an internal company probe.
He was reportedly found to have broken the UK’s Covid-19 quarantine rules.
The former boss of Lloyds Banking Group joined Credit Suisse after a series of scandals at the Swiss bank.
Now, Mr Horta-Osorio, who was the chairman of Credit Suisse for less than a year, has been replaced by board member Axel Lehmann.
“I regret that a number of my personal actions have led to difficulties for the bank and compromised my ability to represent the bank internally and externally,” Horta-Osorio said in a statement issued by the bank.
“I therefore believe that my resignation is in the interest of the bank and its stakeholders at this crucial time,” he added.
Last month, it was reported by the Reuters news agency that a preliminary investigation by Credit Suisse had found that Mr Horta-Osorio had breached Covid-19 rules.
He reportedly attended the Wimbledon tennis finals in July at a time when the UK’s Covid-19 rules required him to be in quarantine.
Speaking to the BBC, a spokesperson for Credit Suisse said that the bank would give no further details on Mr Horta-Osorio’s resignation other than those in its statement.
They also said that there were no plans to release the findings of the investigation.
Before joining Credit Suisse Mr Horta-Osorio was chief executive of British lender Lloyds Banking Group.
He was brought in to lead Switzerland’s second-largest bank to help clean up a corporate culture marred by its involvement with collapsed investment company Archegos and insolvent supply chain finance firm Greensill Capital.
In February 2020, then-Credit Suisse chief executive Tidjane Thiam resigned after a scandal revealed the bank had spied on senior employees.
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UK government to cut funding for BBC – Mail on Sunday report
Britain’s government will cut the BBC’s funding by ordering a two-year freeze on the fee that people pay to watch the broadcaster, the Mail on Sunday reported.
The future of the licence-payer funded British Broadcasting Corporation is a perpetual topic of political debate, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government most recently suggesting its funding needs to be reformed.
Set against an inflation rate expected to reach a 30-year high of 6% or more in April, freezing the licence cost at its current 159 pounds ($217.40) would provide some relief to consumers battling sharply rising costs of living.
But it would also be a large blow to the BBC’s finances as it tries to compete with privately funded news outlets and the likes of Netflix and other entertainment streaming services funded by consumer subscriptions.
In November, the government launched negotiations to agree how much the TV licence would cost, part of a five year funding settlement due to begin in April 2022.
The Digital, Media, Culture and Sport department declined to comment when asked about the Mail on Sunday report.
Culture secretary Nadine Dorries said that the licence fee settlement would be the last such agreement and tweeted a link to the Mail on Sunday article.
“Time now to discuss and debate new ways of funding, supporting and selling great British content,” she said on Twitter.
The BBC declined to comment on Dorries’ tweet or the Mail on Sunday report.
The opposition Labour Party said the funding cut was politically motivated.
“The Prime Minister and the Culture Secretary seem hell-bent on attacking this great British institution because they don’t like its journalism,” said Lucy Powell, Labour lawmaker and culture policy chief.
The BBC’s news output is regularly criticised by UK political parties. Its coverage of Brexit issues – central to Johnson’s government – has long been seen as overly critical by supporters of leaving the European Union.
Last week, one Conservative lawmaker said BBC coverage relating to parties in Johnson’s Downing Street residence during coronavirus lockdowns amounted to a “coup attempt” against the prime minister.
($1 = 0.7314 pounds)
(Reporting by William James. Editing by Jane Merriman)
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