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Good evening, here are the coronavirus updates you need to know tonight.

Top headlines:

  1. Airline passengers will be required to test negative before landing in Canada, Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic LeBlanc says
  2. The Ontario Premier admits he knew his Finance Minister travelled to the Caribbean ahead of the provincewide lockdown
  3. 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.

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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 reopeningCanada’s vaccine distribution planDeveloping/approved vaccinesPfizer’s vaccine, explained Essential resources

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Seniors stand in line to make an appointment to receive the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine outside the King's Point clubhouse in Delray Beach, Fla., today.Greg Lovett/The Associated Press

Coronavirus in Canada

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

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.

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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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