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

Top headlines:

  1. Herd immunity is proving frustratingly elusive, with many experts warning we may never achieve it
  2. A group of ombudsmen are warning premiers to carefully consider the pitfalls of making people show proof of vaccination to access public services
  3. The University of Western Ontario says it will require students living in residence to be vaccinated against COVID-19

In the last 7 days, 23,632 cases were reported, down 33 per cent from the previous 7 days. There were 300 deaths announced, up 5 per cent over the same period. At least 2,774 people are being treated in hospitals and 1,303,565 others are considered recovered.

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Canada’s inoculation rate is 16th among 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.

Coronavirus explainers: Coronavirus in maps and chartsTracking vaccine dosesLockdown rules and reopeningVaccine distribution planFour vaccines approved in CanadaEssential resources

Photo of the day

Business owners are preparing patios for tomorrow's reopening as Quebec begins easing its COVID-19 restrictions.

Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press

Coronavirus in Canada

Across Canada, as many provinces begin to announce COVID-19 reopening plans, a group of ombudsmen are warning about potential pitfalls of vaccine passports.

  • The Canadian Council of Parliamentary Ombudsman released a report yesterday outlining how proof of COVID-19 vaccination can avoid complaints and challenges by establishing clear and transparent rules.
  • The report states that to create a fair system, any government must give clear direction on the new rules by passing a new law or making the new policy publicly available and have a clear review and appeal mechanism.

Herd immunity: Several countries with high vaccination rates – among them Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Seychelles and Chile – are struggling to contain new COVID-19 surges even though the math says they should be on the verge of herd immunity.

COVID-19 origins: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau backed U.S. President Joe Biden’s directive to U.S. intelligence officials to “redouble” their efforts to investigate the origins of COVID-19.

Coronavirus around the world

Coronavirus and business

The Canada Revenue Agency estimates about 30,000 self-employed people won’t have to repay their CERB payments, representing about $240-million in benefits, or about $8,000 on average.

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  • The government provided Canada Emergency Response Benefit payments with few validation checks to speed up payments during lockdowns last spring when three million jobs were lost.
  • The CRA sent out more than 441,000 letters to CERB recipients late last year asking them to verify they met eligibility rules for the payments.

Also today: Canadian personal protective equipment companies are confronting the sober reality of long-term production.

And: Toronto-Dominion Bank reported a sharp increase in quarterly profit, driven partly by new mortgages during the coronavirus pandemic.

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Information centre

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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