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

Top headlines:

  1. Johnson & Johnson’s single-shot COVID-19 vaccine becomes the fourth vaccine approved for use in Canada
  2. Ontario expects to give a first coronavirus vaccine dose to all residents over 60 by early June
  3. Internal e-mails show PMO scrambled to contain pandemic early-warning system controversy

In the last 7 days, 20,287 cases were reported, down 3 per cent from the previous 7 days. There were 277 deaths announced, down 18 per cent over the same period. At least 1,964 people are being treated in hospitals and 829,427 others are considered recovered. Canada’s inoculation rate is 35th among 84 countries with a population of 1 million or more people.

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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 doses Lockdown rules and reopeningVaccine distribution planFour vaccines approved in Canada Essential resources

Photo of the day

Seniors arrive for their shots at a COVID-19 vaccination clinic in Montreal on March 5, 2021.

Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press

Coronavirus in Canada

  • Ontario released new details for its coronavirus vaccination plans today, saying it intends to give a first dose to all residents over 60 by early June. The province also announced that stay-at-home measures will lift in Toronto and Peel on Monday.
  • Manitoba said it is “very confident” that all eligible people in the province will get a first dose between mid-May and the end of June. The province will delay second doses in order to get more initial shots administered on a quicker timeline.
  • New Brunswick announced it will ease some COVID-19 restrictions starting Monday. The province also said it is aiming to administer a vaccine dose to every resident before the end of June.
  • In Alberta, a judge ruled that the pastor charged with violating the province’s Public Health Act will remain in jail until his trial because religious beliefs are not above public health orders. The pastor at GraceLife Church was cited for holding services that ignored physical distancing and capacity rules.
  • Quebec reported 798 new infections and 10 more deaths today, including three in the past 24 hours.

In Ottawa, internal e-mails show the Prime Minister’s Office was scrambling last summer to contain fallout over the silencing of Canada’s pandemic early-warning system after learning it was curtailed less than a year before COVID-19 struck.

  • E-mails show top staffers trying to figure out what went wrong with the the Global Public Health Intelligence Network, and whether the blame for its mishandling could be contained to the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), and decision makers within that department, without political ramifications for the government.

Vaccine approvals: Health Canada approved the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine today, making it the fourth approved option for use in Canada.

Vaccine rollout: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced 1.5 million more doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine are now scheduled to arrive in March. Another two million doses that were set to arrive in the summer will now be delivered in April and May.

Also today, the Prime Minister said Ottawa will continue to focus spending on emergency aid, and won’t talk about increasing health funding to the provinces until post-pandemic.

Coronavirus around the world

  • Despite a high-profile World Health Organization investigation in January, the world is no closer to an answer on the origins of COVID-19, experts say. In an open letter, 26 global experts say the WHO-led investigation lacked independence and the access needed to complete the inquiry. They also called for a new investigation in their letter.
  • Meanwhile, the global health organization also warned countries not to relax coronavirus restrictions. The WHO’s top doctor cited concern about the spread of the variant from Brazil and concern that COVID-19 case numbers are increasing globally after a six-week slowdown.

Globe opinion

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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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