The federal government is set to announce today that fully vaccinated Canadian travellers will no longer need to spend 14 days in quarantine upon arriving home.
A federal source familiar with the policy says the change will go into effect in early July.
The source spoke on condition of anonymity in order to discuss a policy decision that has yet to be made public.
It will apply to Canadian citizens and permanent residents who have had a full course of a COVID-19 vaccine.
Affected travellers will be required to take a COVID-19 test upon arrival in Canada, and remain in isolation until the test comes back negative.
The government will also eliminate the need for fully vaccinated Canadian air travellers to spend three days quarantining in an authorized hotel upon arriving in the country.
Moderna updates shipping plans
Moderna is going to start shipping its vaccine doses to Canada from its American production lines and will deliver seven million doses before the end of this month.
The deliveries should mean Moderna delivers 11.2 million doses in the second quarter, in the range of the 10.3 to 12.3 million doses it had previously promised.
The company has, however, not provided a specific delivery schedule yet for when the doses will arrive.
Moderna had until today only confirmed 1.5 million doses to be shipped next week, but that shipment may also be delayed or adjusted as the company shifts its Canadian supply to the United States.
Quebec reports fewer than 200 new cases for fourth consecutive day
Quebec is reporting 178 new cases of COVID-19 today, the fourth consecutive day health officials have reported fewer than 200 new infections.
Officials are also reporting eight more deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus, including one within the past 24 hours.
The Health Department says hospitalizations dropped by six, to 257, and the number of intensive care patients remained unchanged at 60.
Health officials say 74,208 doses of vaccine were administered Tuesday and about 76.5 per cent of those over 12 have received at least one dose of vaccine.
Montreal is reporting the highest number of new cases today, with 61, followed by the Chaudiere-Appalaches region, south of Quebec City, with 21 new infections.
The government says it expects to receive 21,700 doses of the Moderna vaccine this week.
Ontario reports 411 new cases of COVID-19, 33 deaths, more than 177,500 vaccinations
Ontario is reporting 411 new cases of COVID-19 today and 33 more deaths linked to the virus.
A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Health says that 11 of the deaths reported today occurred in April and May.
Health Minister Christine Elliott says there are 97 new cases in Toronto, 72 in Peel Region and 35 in Waterloo.
She says there are also 26 new cases in York Region and 25 in Hamilton.
Today’s data is based on nearly 30,500 completed tests.
The Ministry of Health says 571 people were hospitalized with the virus – 466 are in intensive care and 314 are on a ventilator.
Nova Scotia hospitals begin to ease visitor restrictions in phased approach
Nova Scotia is easing COVID-19 visitor restrictions at hospitals in a phased approach that aligns with the government’s reopening plan.
The health authority says the plan for hospital visitors will proceed in two-to-four-week intervals, depending on the number of infections in the province, the vaccine rollout and the capacity of the health-care system to manage new cases.
Beginning today, two family members or support people will be allowed to visit patients in intensive care, critically ill patients in the emergency department and women in labour and after birth.
Under the second phase, slated to begin June 16 at the earliest, one family member or support person will be allowed to visit an admitted patient or a patient in the emergency department, and three family members or support people will be allowed for palliative care patients and others nearing end of life.
The third phase, scheduled to start June 30 at the earliest, would allow two family members or support people to visit admitted patients and four would be allowed to visit patients in palliative care and others nearing end of life.
The fourth phase is tied to the start of the fourth step of the province’s reopening plan and would allow one family member or support person to accompany someone receiving outpatient care.
COVID-19 case counts in B.C. fall to levels not seen since October, vaccinations up
Health officials in British Columbia say the province has a strong COVID-19 immunization rate at 74.5 per cent of all adults for their first dose of a vaccine.
It comes as the infection rate drops to 148 new cases, a level not seen since last October.
There have been three more deaths for a total of 1,725 fatalities since the pandemic began.
A joint statement from Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says vaccination clinics are operating at a high capacity and health authorities are taking vaccines out into the community to accelerate immunizations.
The statement says as the province progresses towards step two of its restart plan, residents can be assured they’re on the right path as more people get vaccinated.
The next step would start June 15 at the earliest, and would allow for up to 50 people to gather together, lift provincial travel restrictions, and allow liquor to be served until midnight at pubs and restaurants and indoor high-intensity group exercise to resume.
Alberta premier hopes cities stay in lockstep when provincial COVID mask rules lift
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney says he hopes the cities of Edmonton and Calgary will stay in lockstep with the province when it comes to eventually lifting mask restrictions tied to COVID-19.
“I would just hope that everyone in the province follows the advice of the chief medical officer, whose team proposed our open for summer plan, which is a safe plan,” Kenney said Wednesday.
“We’ve seen places all across the world open up completely at much lower levels of [vaccine] population protection and see their [COVID case] numbers continue to fall.”
Earlier this week, Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson suggested the city may go its own way on mask rules when the third and final stage of Alberta’s reopening plan begins.
That stage, tentatively set for late June or early July, will occur when 70 per cent of eligible Albertans – those age 12 and older – have had at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose.
At that time almost all restrictions will be lifted, including laws mandating masks be worn in indoor public spaces and in workplaces.
Iveson, responding to concerns from the Edmonton Zone Medical Staff Association, said the city is considering keeping the mask rules in place until at least 70 per cent are fully vaccinated with two doses.
Mayor Naheed Nenshi has said Calgary city council will discuss masking and weigh options, with community health and safety being the priority.
Asked if he would step in if necessary to keep the mask rules aligned provincewide, Kenney said, “We’ve been trying to work co-operatively with municipal leadership over the past 16 tough months.
“I hope that will continue to be the case, and I have got to believe that our municipal leaders will respect the [provincial] plan put forward.”
In a letter sent June 3, the Edmonton Zone Medical Staff Association urged the two mayors to continue mandating masks in indoor public spaces until the level of two-dose vaccination is higher and Alberta has more control over a more contagious COVID-19 variant first identified in India.
About 67 per cent of eligible Albertans have received at least one vaccine dose and about 15 per cent are fully vaccinated.
On Thursday, Alberta is set to take a major step toward reopening when Stage 2 of its plan begins, with many businesses shuttered for months finally able to reopen.
Gyms and other indoor fitness facilities can open for solo and drop-in activities as well as fitness classes.
Movie theatres are back in business, as are museums, art galleries and libraries. Restaurants can sit up to six people to a table indoors or out.
Public outdoor gatherings for events like concerts and festivals can have up to 150 people maximum. Day camps and youth camps are allowed, as are indoor or outdoor youth and adult sports activities.
Outdoor gatherings among family and friends are capped at 20 people. Similar indoor get-togethers remain banned.
Post-secondary schools can reopen to in-person learning.
Customer capacity at retail stores and attendance at worship services rises to one-third of the fire code maximum.
“We continue to be able to reopen thanks to Albertans who protect each other every day,” Dr. Deena Hinshaw, chief medical officer of health, said in a news release Wednesday.
“We can keep up this progress if Albertans continue to book their first and second-dose appointments and follow public measures, such as masking, maintaining a safe distance and staying home when feeling even slightly unwell.”
Alberta reported 313 new cases of COVID-19 and 4,204 active cases Thursday.
There are 329 people in hospital with the illness, including 83 in intensive care.
About 3.2 million Albertans have received at least one vaccine dose.
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