Good evening, here are the COVID-19 updates you need to know tonight.
- Canada faces rising COVID-19 wave as health restrictions ease
- Canadian small businesses seek extra hiring aid in federal budget to help with pandemic recovery
- 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.
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Coronavirus in Canada
- The Ontario government released a plan to “stay open” on Tuesday, as the number of COVID-19 patients in hospitals has started to rise again, and traces of the virus found in wastewater are also increasing. Meanwhile, opposition politicians are calling on the government to expand access to PCR tests for the virus.
- In Alberta, the Calgary Stampede is promising that this year’s event will be complete, similar to pre-pandemic times.
- Prince Edward Island Premier Dennis King has tested positive for COVID-19. In the province, there were two more COVID-19-related deaths today. Officials said there were 19 people in hospital with the disease and 3,487 active infections on the Island.
- British Columbia is ending the quarantine program for temporary foreign workers but will keep the support program for temporary foreign workers self-isolating until next March.
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
- Chinese authorities began locking down some areas of Shanghai two days ahead of schedule, as new COVID-19 cases in the city jumped by a third despite stringent measures already in place.
- U.S. President Joe Biden received a second booster dose of the Pfizer vaccine a day after federal regulators approved a fourth shot for those aged 50 and older.
- Indonesia and many other developing nations are ramping up their vaccination campaign, aided by donations from wealthy countries, but they have been calling for donations with a longer shelf life. Nineteen million doses of vaccines in the country’s national stockpile have expired this year, as donated shots arrive with a short shelf life, a health official said on Wednesday.
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.
- Eileen Dooley: With a return-to-office, it’s high time we redefine what it means to be productive
- Wildlife experts are searching for the virus that causes COVID-19 in deer, bears, moose and wolves in Minnesota’s north woods
- Everything you need to know about Canada’s travel restrictions for vaccinated and unvaccinated people
- Where do I book a COVID-19 booster or a vaccine appointment for my kids? Latest rules by province
- What is and isn't 'paid sick leave' in Canada? A short primer
- Got a vaccine 'hangover'? Here's why
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.