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

Top headlines:

  1. Health Canada has approved Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine.
  2. Britain says people with history of significant allergic reactions should avoid thePfizer vaccine
  3. 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.

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New deaths in Canada, Dec. 9The Globe and Mail

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.

Coronavirus explainers: Coronavirus in maps and charts Lockdown rules and reopening Mask-wearing rules Back to school guide Essential resources

Photo of the day

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A person walks past the Pfizer headquarters building in Manhattan on Wednesday.CARLO ALLEGRI/Reuters

Coronavirus in Canada

In Ottawa, Health Canada announced it approved a COVID-19 vaccine produced by Pfizer and BioNTech, with rollout set to begin next week.

  • 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.

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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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