Good evening, here are the coronavirus updates you need to know tonight.
- Health Canada has approved Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine.
- Britain says people with history of significant allergic reactions should avoid thePfizer vaccine
- Claims the province was slow to bring in tighter COVID-19 rules is “Alberta bashing:” Kenney
In Canada, there have been at least 435,330 cases reported. In the last week 45,554 new cases were announced, 8% more than the previous week. There have also been at least 350,010 recoveries and 12,983 deaths. Health officials have administered more than 13,894,770 tests.
Worldwide, there have been at least 68,225,587 cases confirmed and 1,556,834 deaths reported.
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
- In Ontario, York Region hospitals say their facilities have reached a “tipping point” in COVID-19 admissions. The province reported 1,890 new cases, 28 new deaths from coronavirus.
- In Quebec, Premier François Legault said he wants the police to issue more fines for those violating COVID-19 rules. The province reported 1,728 new cases and 37 deaths from coronavirus today.
- In Alberta, Premier Jason Kenney described criticisms he waited too long to respond to rising coronavirus cases in the province as “Alberta bashing.” Yesterday, the province announced sweeping shutdown measures as the province deals with almost 20,000 active infections – the highest rate of new cases in the country.
- Saskatchewan says it is ready to begin immunizing critical health care workers against COVID-19 with 1,950 doses of Pfizer’s vaccine starting next week.
- In Manitoba, some 900 health care workers will be the first to receive the vaccine after doses start to arrive in the province as early as next week.
- The Northwest Territories government says it has found COVID-19 in waste water in Yellowknife.
- Health studies have found the vaccine, which requires two doses three weeks apart to be effective, to be safe.
- Canada is just the third country – after Bahrain and Britain – to approve a fully tested coronavirus shot.
- The first doses of the vaccine are set to be administered beginning next week, with hospital and nursing home staff at the front of the line.
- The Prime Minister previously said his objective is to have most Canadians vaccinated by September of 2021.
Also today, Pfizer reported that documents related to its vaccines had been “unlawfully accessed” in a cyberattack on Europe’s medicines regulator.
Also in Ottawa, the government unveiled the specifics of a program to allow asylum seekers who have been working in a specific list of health care related professions to apply for permanent residency starting Dec. 14.
Vaccine controversy: A Canadian biomanufacturing company says it can still produce a COVID-19 vaccine for Canada if asked, but the federal government says it has already picked the best candidates. In Question Period, the Conservative Leader asked why the Prime Minister ignored advice from his own task force to seek a made-in-Canada vaccine.
Coronavirus around the world
- In Britain, two National Health Service workers reported anaphylactoid reactions associated with receiving the vaccine, prompting a warning from the country’s medicine regulator for people with a history of significant allergic reactions to avoid the drug.
- Kim Jong Un’s sister, Kim Yo Jong, lambasted South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha for questioning North Korea’s claim to be free from coronavirus, warning of potential consequences for the comments.
Coronavirus and business
The Bank of Canada left its key policy rate unchanged today at a record-low 0.25 per cent.
- The central bank made its final scheduled interest rate decision of 2020, balancing the near-term economic risks from the second wave of coronavirus with the arrival of vaccines to alleviate the pandemic.
- The bank also made no changes to its quantitative easing program, under which it has committed to buying at least $4-billion a week of Canadian government bonds.
Also today: Federal tourism marketing strategies will shift toward promoting travel within regions first, and across the country second, the government said today. Federal funding has shifted away from attracting foreign visitors to Canada for the foreseeable future, as COVID-19 suppresses travel.
And: Dollarama announces a new round of pandemic pay as it reported higher earnings and increased its dividend to shareholders.
- Editorial: “Peel Region may be the warehouse capital of Canada. It is also a busy manufacturing and food-processing centre. And it has been disproportionately walloped by the coronavirus.”
- John Lester: “The federal government correctly acted to cushion the impact on household incomes. But in its haste the government set the stage for a massive overcompensation of earnings losses that compromises fairness and limits options for using fiscal policy to strengthen the recovery.”
- Lawrence Martin: “If there’s anyone who merits persons of the year distinction it is the countless number of health care workers, not just in the U.S. but the world over, who risked their lives and in many cases have given their lives in caring for the COVID-afflicted.”
- After months on the front lines of the pandemic, nurses across Alberta are struggling with burnout. Now a second wave has many fearing they will be unable to provide adequate care to those who need it.
- On the high seas, COVID-19 can’t slow down the world’s wildest sporting event.
- Julie Van Rosendaal says 2020 was the year we learned how to cook.
- Minks test positive for COVID-19 on farm in British Columbia where workers are reported to be sick.
- Forbes says the average value of the NHL’s 31 franchises dropped for the first time since 2001, falling 2 per cent during the past year.
- 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.