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Auditor-General of Canada Karen Hogan warned that billions of dollars of COVID-19 payments might not be paid back.Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press

Good evening, these are the top coronavirus headlines tonight:

Top headlines:

COVID-19 updates from Canada and the world

Pandemic recovery

  • The Canadian government paid out more than $210-billion to individuals and businesses between early 2020 and mid-2022 as large swaths of the Canadian economy were forced to shut down or scale back during the pandemic. Now the Auditor-General says there may be billions that were ineligible and the main federal bodies responsible for the programs are doing a poor job of identifying which should be returned.
  • Meanwhile, Scotiabank economists say Ottawa’s COVID-19 spending played a small role in driving inflation up and a larger impact on increased interest rates.
  • China, the last major country trying for “zero COVID,” rolled back rules on isolating people with the virus and dropped test requirements for some public places Wednesday in a dramatic change to a strategy that confined millions of people to their homes and sparked protests and demands for President Xi Jinping to resign.
  • U.S. defense chief Lloyd Austin said he wants to keep the military’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate in place to protect the health of the troops.
  • Pfizer Inc and Clear Creek Bio Inc announced on Tuesday a collaboration to identify a potential drug candidate and develop a new class of oral treatment against COVID-19.

Globe Opinion

More reading

Dr. Heather Patterson has been using her camera to capture health care’s continuing surge in child admissions. Her goal: to capture the joy and pain she sees daily – and to spark discussions on solutions. She and two colleagues reflect on the hard realities they face on their shifts.

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