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

Top headlines:

  1. The government is looking at all options to bar people who have travelled overseas from receiving the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit, which pays $500 a week to those unable to work because they must quarantine.
  2. BioNTech is warning there will be gaps in global supply until other vaccines are rolled out.
  3. Britain has quietly updated its vaccination playbook to allow for a mix-and-match vaccine regimen, confounding experts.

In Canada, there have been at least 599,057 cases reported. In the last week 43,785 new cases were announced, 1 per cent fewer than the previous week.

There have also been at least 504,972 recoveries and 15,865 deaths. Health officials have administered more than 16,286,436 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 reopeningCanada’s vaccine distribution planDeveloping/approved vaccinesPfizer’s vaccine, explained Essential resources

Photo of the day

A man applies the finishing touches to graffiti representing a COVID-19 vaccine in Kolkata, India, on the weekend.RUPAK DE CHOWDHURI/Reuters

Coronavirus in Canada

In Ottawa, questions are beginning to surface around whether Canadians who have travelled abroad should be allowed to collect the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit during their mandatory two-week isolation period upon returning to the country.

  • Employment Minister Carla Qualtrough says the benefit was never intended to encourage Canadians to travel outside the country.

Overwhelmed hospitals: Patients in multiple Canadian hot spots are flooding hospitals at an alarming rate and expected to arrive in even greater numbers in the weeks to come, doctors said.

Vaccine rollout in First Nations: Provinces and territories are prioritizing Indigenous populations, because of their high risk for COVID-19, particularly in remote communities where there is inadequate infrastructure and access to health care.

Coronavirus around the world

Coronavirus and business

It will be several years before the airline industry is expected to shake off the devastation caused by the pandemic.

  • A full recovery to 2019 passenger levels will not happen until perhaps 2024, the International Air Transport Association says.
  • The usual measures airlines use to predict demand for seats and flights – the economy, past sales, per-seat profits and more – have been replaced.
  • Seat sales are now dictated by consumers’ fear of becoming sick or stranded, and by government travel restrictions, which can change daily.

Also today: Several Canadian companies, including the country’s top banks, say they are planning to thank their staff for a year of hard work with year-end bonuses.

And: In the early days of the COVID-19 shutdown in 2020, several insurance companies offered discounts and rebates. Are they still?

Also, amid the biggest economic crisis in generations, some small-business owners are finding ways to adapt.

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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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