Good evening, here are the COVID-19 updates you need to know tonight.
- The federal Conservatives have reversed course on supporting trucker blockades, calling for an end to all barricades
- The Ottawa protests against COVID-19 restrictions have been going on for almost two weeks, and the havoc is spreading from Windsor, Ont. to Coutts, Alta. Here’s what you need to know
- “Someone once said that the end of the pandemic would be harder and messier than the beginning. They were right,” writes Gary Mason
In the past seven days, 74,424 cases were reported, down 25 per cent from the previous seven days. There were 851 deaths announced, down 16 per cent over the same period. At least 7,657 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 is compiled from government websites, Johns Hopkins and COVID-19 Canada Open Data Working Group; international data is from Johns Hopkins University.
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Coronavirus in Canada
- Opposition parties in Quebec are calling on the government to end its state of emergency and have a debate in the legislature about what measures should remain. The province reported 35 more deaths linked to COVID-19 and 2,312 hospitalizations.
- At a press conference Thursday, Dr. Kieran Moore said all of Ontario’s COVID-19 measures – including restrictions on businesses, masking rules and its vaccine certificate policy – are under review. The province has already moved to allow more extracurricular activities, including contact sports such as basketball and playing of wind instruments, to resume in the province’s schools.
- In Alberta, the president of the province’s Medical Association’s emergency medicine section says it’s too soon to lift all public health measures. Dr. Paul Parks says the move by Premier Jason Kenney to scrap pandemic restrictions could lead to an increase in infections and hospitalizations.
In Ottawa, the federal Conservatives have reversed course on the convoy protests, with interim leader Candice Bergen asking leaders to “take down the blockades.”
- In an e-mail, Bergen previously advocated against telling the convoy to leave Ottawa, adding that the party “need to turn this into the PM’s problem.”
- On Thursday, Bergen tabled a motion calling on the federal government to release a plan by the end of February for the lifting of all federal pandemic mandates and restrictions.
- Meanwhile, the city of Windsor, site of the Ambassador Bridge, is seeking an injunction against the blockade. And in Manitoba, protesters have blocked a third Canadian border crossing.
What you need to know: The convoy against COVID-19 restrictions has been in Ottawa for almost two weeks, and at border crossings, similar blockades have put the squeeze on Canada-U.S. trade.
🔊The Decibel podcast: Who are top leaders of the “Freedom Convoy” protest?
Coronavirus around the world
- In New Zealand, police arrested 120 people as they attempted to forcefully remove hundreds of protesters camped outside parliament to protest COVID-19 measures. The country’s prime minster, Jacinda Ardern told the protesters to “move on,” saying their views don’t reflect how the majority of the country feels.
- In England, Prince Charles, who contracted COVID-19 in March, 2020, tested positive for a second time. Buckingham Palace said he is self-isolating and was not displaying any symptoms.
- Gary Mason: Between apathy and outrage, the pandemic has reached its messiest phase to date
- Lawrence Martin: The Canada bashers have got it wrong about this country
- Patrick Leblond: The Ambassador Bridge blockade poses a greater threat than the Ottawa occupation
- AstraZeneca has raised its dividend and forecasts higher 2022 sales, but warns COVID-19 product boost is waning
- Indigenous Services Minister Patty Hajdu says the number of COVID-19 infections in First Nations communities has begun to decline, bringing hope that the worst of the Omicron wave has passed.
- Lifting restrictions could cause anxiety and stress to run high among those who remain wary of letting their guard down, psychology experts say.
- Everything you need to know about Canada’s travel restrictions for vaccinated and unvaccinated people
- Where do I book a COVID-19 booster or a vaccine appointment for my kids? Latest rules by province
- 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.