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Good evening, here are the COVID-19 updates you need to know tonight.

Top headlines:

  1. Ontario school boards seek answers on extending mask mandate after March Break
  2. Deloitte reverses COVID-19 vaccine mandate, but remains one of few large employers to do so
  3. WHO may reject Canadian-made Medicago COVID-19 vaccine because of ties to big tobacco

Due to changes in the prevalence of testing, case counts alone are no longer a reliable indicator of the spread of COVID-19. Going forward, we will only be including the weekly death rates and hospitalizations in the newsletter. For a snapshot of COVID-19 data in Canada, go to the coronavirus tracker.

In the past seven days, there were 283 deaths announced, down 26 per cent over the same period. At least 3,607 people are being treated in hospitals.

Canada’s inoculation rate is 13th among countries with a population of one million or more people.

Sources: Canada data are compiled from government websites, Johns Hopkins and COVID-19 Canada Open Data Working Group; international data are from Johns Hopkins University.

Coronavirus explainers: Coronavirus in maps and chartsTracking vaccine dosesLockdown rules and reopening

Photo of the day

U.S. President Joe Biden meets virtually with Irish Prime Minister Micheal Martin on St. Patrick's Day, in the Oval Office of the White House. The leaders met via video after Martin tested positive for COVID-19 yesterday while visiting Washington for St. Patrick's Day celebrations.NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images

Coronavirus in Canada

In Ottawa, Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos officially announced vaccinated travellers will no longer need to show a COVID-19 test to enter Canada beginning April 1.

  • Incoming tourists will still need to be vaccinated to visit Canada, and all inbound travellers must also upload their details to the ArriveCan app.
  • Unvaccinated Canadians and other travellers who are exempt from the vaccine mandate will still need to provide a negative rapid antigen or molecular test, or an accepted form of proof of recent infection to enter the country.
  • Unvaccinated travellers will also be tested on arrival, again eight days later, and will be required to quarantine for 14 days.

Moderna approved for kids: Health Canada has approved the use of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine for children between the ages of six and 11 years old.

Canada-made vaccine: The World Health Organization says it expects to reject Medicago’s two-dose Covifenz COVID-19 vaccine because of the company’s ties to big tobacco.

Coronavirus around the world

Coronavirus and business

Deloitte Canada is reversing its mandatory vaccination policy for employees, so far being one of the few big white-collar employers to walk back vaccine mandates for employees.

  • The other Big Four accounting firms – KPMG, PWC Canada and EY Canada – are keeping vaccine requirements in place, according to statements to The Globe and Mail. All of the Big Five banks – Bank of Montreal, Bank of Nova Scotia, Toronto-Dominion Bank, Royal Bank of Canada and Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce – also said they would continue sticking to a compulsory vaccination policy for employees.

And: As provinces end the last of their COVID-19 public-health restrictions, small businesses are preparing for an influx of customers – and many businesses are choosing to keep masks in place, despite mandates ending.

Also today: As Canadian companies look with anticipation to the end of pandemic employment restrictions and a return to some semblance of how we worked pre-COVID-19, they need to be prepared for new relationships with employees.

Plus: The Globe wants to know: How do you feel about returning to the office? In this survey, share your thoughts and feelings about return-to-work plans, remote work, and the traditional 9-to-5.

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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