Good evening, here are the COVID-19 updates you need to know tonight.
- The federal government has awarded contracts worth up to $631-million for COVID-19 border testing to three companies amid Omicron variant concerns
- Canada to manufacture Merck’s antiviral COVID-19 drugs, one of the first treatments for non-hospitalized COVID-19 patients, if Health Canada approves
- Malaria deaths jumped by 69,000 in 2020 due to COVID-19 disruptions, WHO says
In the past seven days, 21,956 cases were reported, up 10 per cent from the previous seven days. There were 127 deaths announced, down 11 per cent over the same period. At least 1,263 people are being treated in hospitals.
Canada’s inoculation rate is 18th 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.
Photo of the day
Coronavirus in Canada
- Several unvaccinated staff at an Ontario correctional centre have been placed on unpaid leave amid a COVID-19 outbreak. The latest provincial data shows that the Maplehurst Correctional Complex in Milton has 36 active cases of COVID-19 among inmates. Meanwhile, Health Minister Christine Elliott said today that it could take months to assess Omicron’s impact on the province’s plan to ease COVID-19 restrictions. The province is reporting 887 new COVID-19 cases today, as well as three new deaths from the virus.
- Quebec is reporting 1,189 new COVID-19 cases and two additional deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus.
- British Columbia’s Health Minister Adrian Dix says the Delta variant’s spread through the unvaccinated remains the province’s focus.
COVID-19 border testing contracts worth $631-million were awarded to three companies by the federal government as concerns over the Omicron variant deepen across Canada.
- Public Services and Procurement Canada said Switch Health, LifeLabs and Dynacare are carrying out testing of international travellers entering Canada at airports and land border crossings.
COVID-19 antivirals: Merck Canada inked a deal with Thermo Fisher Scientific to manufacture a COVID-19 antiviral drug at its facility in Whitby, Ont. The drug – one of the first treatments for non-hospitalized COVID-19 patients – is currently pending Health Canada approval.
Quarantine hotel: A fully vaccinated Canadian traveller returning from South Africa says he was forced to stay in a quarantine facility in Toronto even after receiving a negative test. Lennard Skead, of Brandon, Man., said he received the result on Saturday but wasn’t allowed to leave the hotel until the next day, when he was notified by a quarantine officer.
Extra curriculars on campus: Many of Canada’s largest universities say they will offer more on-campus activities and in-person lectures next term, as they come under pressure from students eager for a return to something resembling pre-pandemic campus life.
Coronavirus around the world
- Health care disruptions linked to the coronavirus pandemic helped malaria kill 69,000 more people in 2020 than the previous year, the World Health Organization said.
- In the United States, New York City declared that all private-sector employers must implement COVID-19 vaccine mandates for their workers.
- Just days after more than 40,000 people protested in Vienna against the current lockdown, Austria’s third conservative chancellor in two months, Karl Nehammer, took office on Monday seeking to guide the country out of the lockdown.
Coronavirus and business
Tyson Foods will pay about $50-million in year-end bonuses to front-line and hourly meatpacking workers starting this month after food-processing plants struggled to find enough workers this year due to the tight labour market and safety concerns during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- About 59,000 workers were infected with COVID-19 through January at plants run by Tyson and competitors JBS USA, Cargill Inc, National Beef Packing Company and WH Group’s Smithfield Foods, according to a U.S. House of Representatives subcommittee report.
Also today: Investors brace for potential hit to U.S. earnings because of Omicron
And: Bank of Canada rate decision expected to balance employment gains against risk of Omicron variant
- Rob Carrick: Consumer spending hit full speed as Omicron arrived. Might a touch of restraint be called for?
- Canada’s big banks and insurers obtain court order to allow virtual annual general meetings in 2022
- Despite push for cleaner energy, U.S. oil CEOs stress need for fossil fuels as the industry struggles with shortages of natural gas and power in Asia and Europe from output losses spurred by the pandemic.
- Oil prices rebounded on hopes the Omicron variant would have a less damaging economic impact
- Everything you need to know about Canada’s travel restrictions for vaccinated and unvaccinated people
- Waiting for a second dose? We answer your COVID-19 vaccine questions
- What is and isn’t ‘paid sick leave’ in Canada? A short primer
- Got a vaccine ‘hangover’? Here’s why
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.