أخبار عاجلة

Coronavirus: What's happening in Canada and around the world on Sunday

اخبارالعرب 24-كندا:الأحد 16 يناير 2022 10:15 صباحاً The latest:

The World Health Organization said Sunday that a UN-backed program shipping coronavirus vaccines to many low-income countries has now delivered one billion doses, but that milestone "is only a reminder of the work that remains" after hoarding and stockpiling in rich countries.

A shipment of 1.1 million COVID-19 vaccine doses to Rwanda on Saturday included the billionth dose supplied via the COVAX program, the UN health agency said.

WHO has long criticized unequal distribution of vaccines and called for manufacturers and other countries to prioritize COVAX. It said that, as of Thursday, 36 of its 194 member countries had vaccinated less than 10 per cent of their population and 88 had vaccinated less than 40 per cent.

The program has made deliveries to 144 countries so far, "but the work that has gone into this milestone is only a reminder of the work that remains," WHO said in a statement.

"COVAX's ambition was compromised by hoarding/stockpiling in rich countries, catastrophic outbreaks leading to borders and supply being locked. And a lack of sharing of licences, technology and know-how by pharmaceutical companies meant manufacturing capacity went unused."

At the end of December, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus urged everyone to make a "new year's resolution" to get behind a campaign to vaccinate 70 per cent of countries' populations by the beginning of July.

In a newspaper interview published Sunday, Germany's new international development minister, Svenja Schulze, said she wants to use her country's presidency this year of the Group of Seven industrial nations to ensure that COVAX gets the resources it needs in 2022.

Germany urges other countries to catch up

"Unfortunately, there are still too few countries participating in the financing of the global vaccination campaign," Schulze was quoted as telling the Funke newspaper group. "Alongside Sweden, Norway, Canada and the U.S., we are the ones who are giving most. The other industrial countries have significant ground to catch up."

Germany has said it donated 103 million doses to poorer countries last year and plans to donate another 75 million in 2022.

What's happening across Canada

With lab-based testing capacity deeply strained and increasingly restricted, experts say true case counts are likely far higher than reported. Hospitalization data at the regional level is also evolving, with several provinces saying they will report figures that separate the number of people in hospital because of COVID-19 from those in hospital for another medical issue who also test positive for COVID-19.

For more information on what is happening in your community — including details on outbreaks, testing capacity and local restrictions — click through to the regional coverage below.

You can also read more from the Public Health Agency of Canada, which provides a detailed look at every region — including seven-day average test positivity rates — in its daily epidemiological updates.

WATCH | What you need to know about layering masks

What you need to know about layering masks

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Duration 3:22

If you don’t have access to an N95 mask, or an equivalent, layering masks can be a good option — but that’s only if they’re being worn correctly. Dr. Anna Wolak, a family physician and member of Masks4Canada, breaks down the dos and don’ts of mask layering, as well as some hacks to help your masks fit better. 3:22

In British Columbia, the 2022 B.C. Winter Games have been cancelled over COVID-19 concerns.

In the Prairies, students in Manitoba are preparing to go back to in-person schooling on Monday. The two largest universities in Alberta are delaying a return to in-person classes until late February. In Saskatchewan, an epidemiologist is countering a claim made by the province's premier that restrictions don't curb the spread of Omicron.

In Ontario, nurses are calling for pay parity with police officers and firefighters amid a pandemic staffing crunch.

WATCH | The mostly unvaccinated patients overwhelming an Ontario ICU: 

The mostly unvaccinated patients overwhelming an Ontario ICU

2 days ago
Duration 3:39
Mostly unvaccinated patients are overwhelming the ICU at a Sarnia, Ont., hospital and some will head home with a new perspective on COVID-19, the vaccine and life. 3:39

In Quebec, the health agency representing hospitals in the east end of Montreal confirmed on Saturday that it will soon be reducing more services as hospitals struggle to balance the care of COVID-19 patients alongside others.

In the Atlantic provinces, Newfoundland and Labrador confirmed the province's 25th death related to the virus; Nova Scotia announced it will not be following up with some people who tested positive for the virus due to high cases and testing demand; New Brunswick entered Level 3 of its lockdown measures — the province's most restrictive level — on Saturday; and in Prince Edward Island, where the pandemic only made limited inroads in previous waves, officials recorded 309 new cases on Saturday.

In the North, Nunavut reported five new cases in the territory on Saturday, plus one presumptive case in the village of Naujaat, while the Yukon government is imposing stronger public health measures starting on Tuesday.

What's happening around the world

As of Sunday morning, roughly 326.25 million cases had been reported worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University's coronavirus tracker. The reported global death toll stood at more than 5.5 million.

In Asia, state media are reporting the Chinese city of Xi'an has gradually begun lifting restrictions after over three weeks of lockdown as authorities sought to stamp out a local outbreak.

They report lockdown measures have been either partially or completely lifted in some communities designated as lower risk, allowing people to leave their homes for a limited time to purchase daily necessities.

A volunteer, left, receives daily necessities on behalf of residents under home quarantine in Xi'an, capital of northwest China's Shaanxi province, on Jan. 12. (Tao Ming/Xinhua/The Associated Press)

The partial lifting of measures comes after the city went into strict lockdown on Dec. 22, following a local COVID-19 outbreak that officials attributed to the Delta variant.

In Europe, Austria's government proposed on Sunday setting the minimum age for mandatory vaccinations against COVID-19 at 18 and rolling out the program in stages from Feb. 1, seeking to build broad consensus for the disputed step.

The conservative-led government had said last month it intended the mandate to apply to all people aged 14 and up, which would make it the first European Union country to make vaccinations compulsory for the general population.

WATCH | Half of Europe could be infected with Omicron within weeks, WHO says: 

Cross-border truckers must be vaccinated, Ottawa says

2 days ago
Duration 2:00
The federal government says all truck drivers crossing into Canada must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, regardless of nationality, effective Saturday. Trucking associations on both sides of the border say that policy could hurt already strained supply chains by taking even more drivers out of circulation. 2:00

Denmark has lifted a number of COVID-19 restrictions and allowed the reopening of certain venues despite the spread of the Omicron variant in the country.

Cinemas, zoos, museums and theatres were among the places that could open their doors Sunday. Limited numbers of spectators also were allowed to attend indoor and outdoor sports events.

Visitors are required to wear masks at most of these places and provide proof that they have been vaccinated or have recovered or recently tested negative for COVID-19. The government is planning to relax coronavirus restrictions further in Denmark on Jan. 31.

In the Middle East, cases of COVID-19 in Saudi Arabia remain high after the kingdom recorded its highest daily number of infections last week, Health Ministry data showed, breaking through 5,000 cases.  An additional 5,281 new infections were reported on Saturday, bringing the total number of cases to 609,953 since 2020.

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