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Good evening, these are the top coronavirus headlines tonight:

Top headlines:

COVID-19 updates from Canada and the world

  • XBB.1.5, referred to by some as the Kraken variant, is just the latest in a constantly evolving string of new variants of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. XBB.1.5 now seems to be spreading with remarkable speed in the United States.
  • Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador reported cases of the XBB.1.5 subvariant, reflecting a spread being reported around the globe.
  • Countries should consider recommending that passengers wear masks on long-haul flights, given the rapid spread of the XBB.1.5 subvariant, WHO officials said on Tuesday.
  • The WHO said a lack of data was making it challenging to help China manage the risks of a COVID-19 surge over the Lunar New Year holiday. The holiday comes amid an escalating diplomatic spat in which Beijing introduced transit curbs for South Korean and Japanese nationals on Wednesday.

Pandemic recovery

  • People in Beijing rushed to immigration offices on Monday, eager to renew their passports after China dropped COVID-19 border controls that had largely prevented its population from travelling for three years.
  • Canada’s urban areas experienced their strongest population growth in at least two decades, rebounding from a weak expansion during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Globe opinion

André Picard: The COVID ‘Kraken’ has been released, but it’s not a variant – it’s our indifference

Nancy Qian: China’s brutal COVID winter is just beginning

Listen in

On today’s episode of The Decibel, host Menaka Raman-Wilms speaks with virologist Dr. Angela Rasmussen about new variant XBB 1.5, and what we know, and don’t know, about it.

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