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

With the largest mass immunization effort in Canadian history now underway in almost every province, officials are urging members of the public to keep up their efforts to control the spread of COVID-19, especially as the holiday season approaches.

Alta. ICU patients at all-time high; Que. COVID-19 hospitalizations again top 1,000

A person wearing a face mask in seen in Toronto on Friday. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

The latest:

With the largest mass immunization effort in Canadian history now underway in almost every province, health authorities are urging members of the public to keep up their efforts to control the spread of COVID-19, especially as the holiday season approaches.

"I know we have the right plan and the expertise we need," Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said outside Rideau Cottage Friday. "But remember, a vaccine in a week or in a month won't help you if you get COVID-19 today."

Trudeau said the federal government is spending nearly $9 million toward research into treatments for COVID-19.

He said the investment through the National Research Council of Canada will be used to develop treatments to fight COVID-19 and other viral infections.

WATCH | Trudeau asked why many aren't listening to pandemic messaging:

Trudeau is asked why many Canadians aren't listening to pandemic messaging

3 years ago
Duration 1:58
Featured VideoPrime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke with reporters at Rideau Cottage on Friday.

As of Friday, New Brunswick is the only province that has yet to begin vaccinations, which Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Jennifer Russell attributed to "logistical and human resource reasons."

The province is scheduled to hold its first vaccination clinic at the Miramichi Regional Hospital this weekend.

The territories are not receiving the initial doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine because its ultra-low temperature requirements for storage have been deemed too challenging logistically for northern, rural and remote communities.

Instead, they expect to receive the Moderna vaccine, which has less stringent temperature requirements, when it is approved by Health Canada.

What's happening across Canada

As of 8 p.m. ET on Friday, Canada's COVID-19 case count stood at 495,346  with 75,695 of those cases considered active. A CBC News tally of deaths based on provincial reports, regional health information and CBC's reporting stood at 14,040

British Columbia announced 624 new cases of COVID-19 and 11 more deaths on Friday. The province also said 1,376 more doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine were administered to front-line health-care workers, for a total of 2,592 doses to date.

Earlier on Friday, a government website taking applications for the $1,000 B.C. Recovery Benefit crashed almost immediately after going online, leaving thousands of residents frustrated and the ministry asking for patience.

Alberta registered 1,413 new infections and 25 more fatalities. The province also said a record 141 people are in intensive care.

Meanwhile, photos of Premier Jason Kenney and other ministers not wearing masks during a town hall meeting has sparked criticism, with some noting their actions contravene the province's mask mandate for indoor workplaces.

WATCH | Alberta's top doctor addresses photos of maskless politicians:

Dr. Deena Hinshaw speaks to photo of maskless Alberta politicians

3 years ago
Duration 1:30
Featured VideoAlberta's top doctor clarifies the rules around wearing masks in an indoor workplace after a photo shared on social media sparked outrage.

Saskatchewan saw 245 new cases and two additional deaths.

Manitoba announced 350 new cases and 10 new deaths

Nearly half of the province's 547 deaths due to COVID-19 have occurred within the last three weeks.

WATCH | 900 more Manitoba health-care workers to receive vaccine:

900 more health-care workers in Manitoba to get COVID-19 vaccine

3 years ago
Duration 1:33
Featured VideoThe number of front-line health-care workers who will be vaccinated before Christmas is doubling in Manitoba.

Ontario, which reported 2,290 new cases and 40 more deaths on Friday, tightened restrictions in five regions amid mounting strain on its hospitals.

Hamilton will move into lockdown; Brant County and Niagara Region move into the red or "control" zone; the public health unit for Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox & Addington moves into the orange or "restrict" zone on the province's colour-coded system; and Timiskaming is moving into yellow or "protect" zone.

The restrictions take effect Monday and will remain in place until at least Jan. 4.

WATCH | Ontario tightens COVID-19 restrictions in 5 more regions:

Ontario tightens COVID-19 restrictions in 5 more regions

3 years ago
Duration 2:37
Featured VideoOntario is in the midst of extending lockdowns in hot spots and tightening restrictions in other regions.

Quebec reported 1,773 new cases and 36 more deaths.

For the second day in a row, the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations broke the 1,000 mark, with 1,011 patients in hospital, including 141 in intensive care.

The province is getting ready to ramp up its vaccination campaign by expanding it to a total of 21 sites across 15 regions starting next week.

A COVID-19 vaccination centre is seen in Gatineau, Que., on Friday. The province is getting ready to ramp up its vaccination campaign by expanding it to a total of 21 sites across 15 regions starting next week. (Olivier Plante/Radio-Canada)

New Brunswick reported no new cases.

Dr. Jennifer Russell, the province's chief medical officer of health, said she is "cautiously optimistic" that the Edmundston region, the only part of the province still in the orange phase of recovery, could move into a less restrictive yellow phase in time for the holidays.

Nova Scotia recorded seven new cases on Friday, while Newfoundland and Labrador reported five new cases.

WATCH | How N.S. kept COVID-19 from getting out of control:

How N.S. kept COVID-19 from getting out of control

3 years ago
Duration 2:05
Featured VideoNova Scotia’s ability to prevent COVID-19 outbreaks from growing out of control has made it the envy of the country and it’s something Dr. Robert Strang attributes largely to residents focusing on the common good.

Prince Edward Island announced further easing of public health rules, saying it will relax rules for visitors inside and outside health-care centres and hospitals.

Nunavut Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Michael Patterson said Friday an outbreak in Sanikiluaq is officially over.

Northwest Territories health officials identified two new cases — one in Yellowknife, and another in a non-resident worker at the territory's Gahcho Kué mine, located 280 kilometres northwest of the capital.

What's happening around the world

As of early Friday , more than 75.2 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported worldwide with more than 42.5 million of those cases considered recovered or resolved, according to a COVID-19 tracking tool maintained by Johns Hopkins University. The global death toll stood at more than 1.6 million.

WATCH | 2 billion vaccine doses secured for world's most vulnerable:

2 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccine secured for world’s most vulnerable

3 years ago
Duration 2:03
Featured VideoThe world has pulled together to pool resources and distribute COVID-19 vaccinations equitably, announcing today that two billion doses have been secured for the world's vulnerable populations, across 190 countries.

In the Americas, U.S. Vice-President Mike Pence was vaccinated for COVID-19 on Friday in a live-television event aimed at reassuring Americans the vaccine is safe. He celebrated the shot as "a medical miracle" that could eventually contain the raging coronavirus pandemic.

Pence, the highest-profile official yet to receive the vaccine, has taken an increasingly visible role in highlighting the safety of the shot, including touring a vaccine production facility this week.

WATCH | U.S. vice-president gets COVID-19 vaccine:

U.S. vice-president gets COVID-19 vaccine

3 years ago
Duration 5:05
Featured VideoU.S. Vice-President Mike Pence and other members of the White House COVID-19 task force received the Pifzer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine at a live public event intended to encourage Americans to get the shot.

In Europe, Sweden is tightening nationwide coronavirus restrictions by requiring many people to work from home and reducing the number who can gather in restaurants, shops and gyms starting next week. But the government decided against ordering the country's first full lockdown to control a recent spike in virus cases, the prime minister said Friday.

Sweden has stood out among European nations for its comparatively hands-off response to the pandemic. However, the country has seen a rapid increase in confirmed cases that is straining the health-care system.

A person is tested for COVID-19 in Lerum, Sweden, on Friday. (Adam Ihse/TT News Agency/AFP via Getty Images)

In Africa, South Africa's total reported cases surpassed 900,000, just two weeks after crossing 800,000, signaling a rapid rise in infections in the country battling a second wave.

Meanwhile, the World Health Organization said the agency is in touch with South African researchers who identified a new variant strain of the coronavirus.

A taxi driver sanitizes the hands of a passenger in Johannesburg, South Africa, on Thursday. (Luca Sola/AFP via Getty Images)

In Asia, South Korea has reported 1,062 new cases of coronavirus infections, its third straight day above 1,000 as the virus continues to slam the greater capital area where hospital beds are in short supply. 

The viral resurgence has put pressure on the government to raise social distancing restrictions to maximum levels, something policymakers have resisted for weeks out of economic concerns.

With files from The Canadian Press, The Associated Press and Reuters

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