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

Top headlines:

  1. Several members of the Alberta government have stepped down following public outcry over their recent vacations
  2. Testing rates in December dropped significantly in several provinces – raising concerns that cases are going undetected
  3. British scientists are concerned that vaccines being rolled out may not be able to protect against a new variant

In Canada, there have been at least 611,424 cases reported. In the last week 47,922 new cases were announced, 10 per cent more than the previous week.

There have also been at least 517,884 recoveries and 16,074 deaths. Health officials have administered more than 16,417,249 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

Security officers carry a box containing coronavirus vaccines upon its arrival in Bali, Indonesia, on Tuesday. The Indonesian health ministry has started distribution of the Sinovac Biotech COVID-19 vaccine across the country. Indonesia has reported more cases of the virus than any other countries in Southeast Asia and second in Asia only to India.Firdia Lisnawati/The Associated Press


Coronavirus in Canada


The Senate’s Conservative Leader Don Plett is now back in Canada after travelling to Mexico in December for personal reasons, his spokesperson said.

  • Plett joins a growing list of politicians – including Ontario’s former finance minister, the municipal affairs minister in Alberta, and two federal Liberals – who travelled over the holidays despite pleas from both levels of government to avoid non-essential travel and have now have stepped aside from their duties.

Coronavirus spread: Scientists call on Canada to refocus efforts on addressing airborne spread of COVID-19.

COVID-19 lockdown: Public-health experts in several provinces called for stricter COVID-19 measures and “intense adherence” to guidelines.


Coronavirus around the world


Coronavirus and business

A slew of questions remain about the federal government’s decision to require passengers returning to Canada to show a negative COVID-19 test.

  • The new rule goes into effect this Thursday, but officials say without any interim orders, they are anticipating confusion for airlines and passengers.

Also today: December was Calgary’s best month for its residential real estate market since 2007, the city’s real estate board said, as the homebuying season was pushed back into the second half of 2020 because of spring shutdowns.


Globe opinion

  • André Picard: Canada – compared to Israel – is very slow at administering vaccines. The government rushed to get the first vaccines out for the sake of an impressive photo op. Now the rollout is moving with shocking lassitude.
  • Gary Mason: Hubris gets the best of politicians, it seems. Alberta Premier Jason Kenney’s response to a growing concern over several of his members’ holiday travel is pathetic.

More reporting


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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