Good evening, here are the coronavirus updates you need to know tonight.
- New restrictions on vaccine exports out of the European Union seem most likely to affect countries with their own vaccine production – and as such spare Canada
- Five Amazon facilities in Ontario are currently under investigation for violating COVID-19 protocols and health and safety standards, including the Brampton warehouse where 622 staff thus far have tested positive
- COVID-19 passports are helping Israelis return to a semblance of pre-pandemic life
In the last 7 days, 27,125 cases were reported, up 21 per cent from the previous 7 days. There were 205 deaths announced, down 6 per cent over the same period. At least 2,198 people are being treated in hospitals and 886,516 others are considered recovered.
Canada’s inoculation rate is 36th among 84 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 tabled its budget today, which included billions of dollars to continue the fight against COVID-19 and the renewal of small business grants. And, the number of non-certified instructors supervising in the province’s classrooms more than doubled in February, compared to 2020. Meanwhile, multiple Amazon facilities in the province are facing scrutiny for COVID-19 health and safety concerns.
- The teachers’ union in Quebec has asked the province to prioritize vaccination for their members working in schools with COVID-19 variants. Meanwhile, only a few of the province’s asylum-seeking health care “guardian angels” have had their residency applications processed.
- Prince Edward Island is urging its service sector to step up and help young workers get a COVID-19 vaccine. The province wants to vaccinate 10,000 service workers between 18 and 29 in the coming weeks as part of a plan targeting those most likely to spread the coronavirus.
- In Saskatchewan, Premier Scott Moe says that 80 per cent of Regina’s active COVID-19 cases are in people under 50, as the British variant takes over from the original coronavirus.
- Military members have been deployed to Manitoba in an effort to help immunize 100,000 First Nations people against COVID-19 within 100 days.
- In British Columbia, more than 1,400 laid-off tourism and hospitality workers are set to provide non-clinical help with the COVID-19 vaccination rollout in the province.
In Ottawa, the federal government is offering assurances that Canada’s supply of COVID-19 vaccines will not be affected by new European Union export restrictions.
- The preliminary plan, unveiled in Brussels, seems most likely to affect countries with their own vaccine production, notably the U.K.
- The European Commission contends that the U.K. has imported almost 11 million doses from the EU but has not sent any to EU countries.
Indigenous health: Many Indigenous communities are struggling to cope with the dual emergencies of the pandemic and its effects on those with mental illness and addictions, a new report says.
Air travel: WestJet is set to resume suspended flights to eastern Canadian airports in May or June, in the hopes that eased travel restrictions and widespread vaccinations will encourage people to resume flying this summer.
Coronavirus around the world
- The outlook in the U.S. is improving, and currently stands in stark contrast to the deteriorating situation in places like Brazil, which reported more than 3,000 COVID-19 deaths in a single day yesterday, and across Europe, where another wave of infections is leading to new lockdowns.
- Turkey’s president is facing backlash for holding his party’s congress inside a packed sports complex amid a new surge of COVID-19 cases.
- Hong Kong suspended use of the Pfizer vaccine after its Chinese distributor informed the city that one batch had defective bottle lids.
Coronavirus and business
Rising housing prices and surging home sales have prompted a warning from the National Bank of Canada.
- A booming mortgage market “needs to be monitored” to make sure borrowers aren’t taking on excessive debt, said the National Bank of Canada’s chief executive officer.
- Banking regulators have warned that the proportion of home loans going to the most highly indebted borrowers is spiking again.
And: Canadians are itching to spend pandemic savings on travel, summer rentals and backyard pools.
Also today: Toronto realtors are bracing for a crazy spring market, and watching as outrageous tactics are becoming the norm.
- Isaac Bogoch and David Naylor: It makes no sense that those who consented to a first shot with a promise of a booster in three to four weeks should suddenly find weeks change to months. High-risk individuals shouldn’t have to delay their second shot.
- Heidi Tworek: Why disease names matter: The naming of diseases can seem to be an abstract question, but attention to history and rising racism are evidence that words make a difference.
- Rob Carrick: It’s time to get real about young adults and owning detached homes in big cities. The housing boom that makes ownership so attractive to millennials and Gen Z has priced them out of markets like Vancouver and Toronto. And there’s no going back.
- André Picard: The AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine is on the fast track to becoming the Edsel of the pandemic age.
- Andrew Coyne: Ontario’s fiscal situation was dire before the pandemic; it has grown much worse because of the pandemic; and it is going to get worse after the pandemic is long past.
- Rural Ontario housing prices see “bigger dollar rise in one year than in the past 30 years combined”
- Oil futures prices have tumbled for the second time in two weeks, as virus fears return
- The unequal effects of COVID-19 on multilingual immigrant communities
- How well do vaccines 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.