Good evening, here are the coronavirus updates you need to know tonight.
- Airline passengers will be required to test negative before landing in Canada, Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic LeBlanc says
- The Ontario Premier admits he knew his Finance Minister travelled to the Caribbean ahead of the provincewide lockdown
- Amid a rampant surge in COVID-19 infections, Britain is the first government to approve the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine
In Canada, there have been at least 572,495 cases reported. In the last week 44,141 new cases were announced, 6 per cent fewer than the previous week.
There have also been at least 484,076 recoveries and 15,461 deaths. Health officials have administered more than 15,978,274 tests.
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 charts • Lockdown rules and reopening • Canada’s vaccine distribution plan • Developing/approved vaccines • Pfizer’s vaccine, explained • Essential resources
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Coronavirus in Canada
- Ontario will announce the order and time frame for vaccinations by population groups, possibly within the next few weeks. Meanwhile, Premier Doug Ford says he knew Finance Minister Rod Phillips was travelling internationally roughly two weeks ago, and now says he made a mistake in not immediately asking the minister to return. And, a panel of Ontario judges suggested the province’s lockdown measures are at odds with the broader goal of limiting the spread of COVID-19.
- In Quebec, Liberal MNA Pierre Arcand is being asked to return home from a vacation in Barbados. Federal and provincial governments have warned against non-essential holiday travel.
- Saskatchewan announced its rollout plans for the province’s 4,900 doses of the Moderna vaccine for older residents in the North.
- In B.C., a Vancouver man spent Christmas in jail after repeatedly holding parties in violation of public-health orders.
- Alberta missed its goal of 29,000 vaccinations by the end of the year, but the Premier says health care professionals are working to catch up.
In Ottawa, the government said it will soon require air travellers to test negative for COVID-19 before returning to Canada amid concerns that federal efforts at the border are too loose.
Across Canada, an already-strained health care system is struggling to shift resources to ensure there are enough people to administer the coronavirus vaccine.
- Authorities are expanding vaccination clinics, planning to launch mobile vaccination sites, and eventually will lean on family doctors and pharmacies to hand out the shots – all of which require shifting resources, which experts say will be difficult.
- Pressure is also increasing to ensure vaccine doses are used as soon as they arrive amid concerns about the potential spread of a more contagious variant discovered in Britain.
COVID-19 variant: Health officials say the new coronavirus variant does not require individuals to take new precautions – but that following existing public-health guidelines is more important than ever.
Flu season: Hardly any cases of the flu have been reported in Canada this season. “I’ve been working on influenza surveillance and research for more than 20 years, and I’ve never seen this exceptionally low activity,” said one doctor.
Coronavirus around the world
- The head of the World Health Organization has called for US$4-billion to buy COVID-19 vaccines for lower- and middle-income countries under the COVAX facility.
- Britain will begin rolling out the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine on Monday, having already ordered 100 million doses.
Coronavirus and business
The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a boom in pump and dump stock scams.
- In the scams, shady promoters use any means necessary to push up the price of a company’s shares, then sell their stakes at huge profits just before the stock collapses.
- What’s worse, Canada has a reputation as a haven for shady stock promotion, in part owing to a lack of regulation.
And, the COVID-19 pandemic has presented both opportunities and challenges for first-time homebuyers. It has also fuelled a real estate boom in smaller Canadian cities, with 30 regions in Canada hitting record home sales in 2020.
- Christopher White: Classical music is a soothing antidote to the stress and negativity of the pandemic. In a barrage of doom and gloom, these stories told through music are what’s really engaging.
- Robyn Urback: Ontario Premier Doug Ford didn’t fail in his attempt to protect LTC residents from disorder and neglect during the second wave. It seems he didn’t even try.
- Konrad Yakabuski: U.S. President Donald Trump often lies to the public. But, he did deliver on his promise of a vaccine rollout by year-end.
- Scientific and health delivery fields will be represented in new Order of Canada appointees
- Gilligan’s Island star Dawn Wells dies from complications of COVID-19
- Police say a Vancouver man who spent Christmas in jail after repeatedly holding parties in violation of public-health orders is now bound by bail conditions
- Household finances: Paying down debt is still Canadians’ top financial priority heading into 2021, poll finds
- Coronavirus outbreak at Fulham leads to the second English Premier League game postponed this week
- The pandemic has prompted some unusual calls to 911, but the non-emergency ones are still a danger, dispatcher says
- When will a COVID-19 vaccine be available in Canada? How well do they work? Here’s what you need to know.
- Rob Carrick’s 10-point checklist of things you should have done by now to protect or improve your money situation. Tips for minimizing damage to your credit score; how to manage retirement anxiety during difficult times; and things to think about if you’re considering home delivery.
- Here are the expectations for self-isolation; tips for managing anxiety and protecting your mental health; and what to do if you think you have the virus. Wash your hands. How to break a bad habit (like touching your face). Is flying safe?
- The best foods to eat to maintain an immune system-friendly diet; and how to keep a healthy diet while working from home; four eating tips when working from home; and five mistakes that might cause you to gain unwanted weight. Here are the essentials to stock up on and how to shop safely for groceries; the best pantry staples and how to stop stress-eating.
- Find answers to your coronavirus and employment questions.
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.