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Good evening, here are the COVID-19 updates you need to know tonight.

Top headlines:

  1. Canada faces rising COVID-19 wave as health restrictions ease
  2. Canadian small businesses seek extra hiring aid in federal budget to help with pandemic recovery
  3. Ontario unveils new ‘stay open’ strategy as COVID-19 cases increase

In the past seven days, 238 deaths were announced, down 12 per cent over the same period. At least 3,932 people are being treated in hospitals.

Canada’s inoculation rate is 14th among countries with a population of one million or more people.

Sources: Canada data is compiled from government websites, Johns Hopkins and COVID-19 Canada Open Data Working Group; international data is from Johns Hopkins University.

Coronavirus explainers: Coronavirus in maps and chartsTracking vaccine dosesLockdown rules and reopening

Photo of the day

U.S. President Joe Biden reacts after receiving his second COVID-19 booster shot in the South Court Auditorium on the White House campus, Wednesday, in Washington.Patrick Semansky/The Associated Press

Coronavirus in Canada

Much of Canada is facing a fresh COVID-19 wave just as authorities ease measures meant to curb the spread of the virus, emboldened by a brief drop in cases and relatively high vaccination rates.

  • Political analysts say looming elections in Ontario and Quebec could deter politicians from reinstating pandemic health measures.
  • Meanwhile, less testing is making it hard for individuals to do the personal risk assessments politicians are urging.

Vaccine trial: BioNTech has expanded an ongoing clinical trial program to develop new vaccines and patterns of administration for better protection against the dominant Omicron coronavirus variant. The trial is taking place just as global COVID-19 cases are on the rise and protection against infection from its established Comirnaty vaccine has waned, though protection against severe disease remains.

Coronavirus around the world

Coronavirus and business

Canadian small businesses say they hope the federal government extends an incentive for companies to hire new staff. The subsidy to help struggling businesses expand their payrolls by hiring staff or giving their workers more hours during the COVID-19 pandemic was in last year’s budget.

  • Take-up of the program has been low because public health restrictions have only recently eased, allowing businesses to get closer to usual operations, says Dan Kelly, president of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business.

Also today: Air Canada is hiring hundreds of employees, redeploying aircraft and restoring routes cancelled in the pandemic. However, a recovery from the industry’s collapse is at least two years away, said Lucie Guillemette, Air Canada’s chief commercial officer.

And: In China’s Wall Street, more than 20,000 bankers and traders are sleeping in their offices to beat Shanghai’s COVID-19 lockdown.

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Sources: Canada data are compiled from government websites, Johns Hopkins University and COVID-19 Canada Open Data Working Group; international data are from Johns Hopkins.

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