The latest on the coronavirus outbreak for August 3
- Coronavirus tracker: Follow the pace of COVID-19 cases, vaccinations in Canada.
- 'Manitoba's in a good place right now': Province to scrap mandatory masking, capacity limits.
- Job vacancies: Upfront bonuses being offered on job ads for entry-level and mid-level employment.
- World roundup: China initiates testing of millions in response to cases, Florida and Louisiana have pandemic-high hospitalizations.
- Explore: International students face vaccine hurdles ahead of Canadian campus life … Canada was an outlier on mixing vaccines but more countries may follow suit … Ontario's Opposition calls for regular rapid testing of school staff who are not vaccinated … At least 3 Calgary councillors would vote to reinstate a mask mandate in light of Alberta's new emphasis on an 'endemic' approach to COVID-19.
Capacity limits, mask mandate to be eliminated for most places in Manitoba
As of Tuesday, 80 per cent of eligible Manitobans ages 12 and up had received one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, according to the province, with the expectation that 75 per cent will have received two doses within the next week.
Those benchmarks were set out in the province's reopening plan as targets for the Labour Day long weekend in September. As a result of the accomplishment, capacity limits will be eliminated for most Manitoba businesses beginning Saturday.
There will also be no restrictions on indoor and outdoor gatherings at private residences, and masks will no longer be required at indoor public places, a dramatic turnaround for the province that experienced a brutal toll from the third wave of the coronavirus later than other Canadian jurisdictions.
"Manitoba's in a good place right now thanks to the hard work of our public health team and, of course, the collective efforts of all of you," said Premier Brian Pallister.
However, due to the ongoing presence of COVID-19 and the extra risk posed by the more contagious delta variant, health officials strongly recommend those who are not fully immunized continue to use masks and stay two metres away from others while indoors. As well, Chief Provincial Public Health Officer Dr. Brent Roussin said some businesses may still choose to require the use of masks "in this transition."
Specifically, the new public health orders — which will be reassessed before Sept. 7 — will allow retailers and malls, gyms and fitness centres, libraries, personal services such as hair and nail salons, day camps, markets and garden centres to open without restrictions.
Manitoba becomes the last of the three Prairie provinces to no longer require mandatory masking for indoor spaces. Mask mandates remain in place in Ontario and Quebec and parts of British Columbia.
"We have to learn how to live with COVID. So I want to remind Manitobans to be patient with others, be kind with others," said Roussin, who promised more information later this week on the province's plan for schools in September.
From The National
Desperate employers dangle signing bonuses to lure in workers
CBC News has reviewed dozens of popular job listings sites in Canada such as Glassdoor, Indeed, LinkedIn, SimplyHired and Workopolis and signing bonuses appear to be a common recruitment tool at this stage of the pandemic.
Signing bonuses are typically used in tailored offers to top executives, highly skilled workers such as engineers and tech specialists as well as some trades workers, such as mechanics. But an online sampling indicates jobs in personal care, retail, call centres and warehouses are being offered with bonuses that run from the hundreds up to $1,500.
Amazon and Fairmont Hotels and Resorts are among those offering, but bonuses are not the exclusive domain of large companies.
To lure candidates, Thomas Wilson is advertising a $1,000 signing bonus for each job. But the owner of the Spirit Tree Estate Cidery in Caledon, Ont., says anything more would be tough to do.
"We lost money last year. We lost money this year so far," he said. "We can only go so far."
Marie-Hélène Budworth, an associate professor with the school of human resource management at York University, predicts the signing bonus trend will have a limited lifespan.
"It might last a while, but it won't last forever," she said.
Budworth says raises are better for workers in the long run, and that employees would benefit from trying to lower the signing bonus to increase the salary instead.
World roundup: Wuhan sees testing again, at least 2 U.S. states have pandemic-high hospitalizations
Chinese authorities have announced mass coronavirus testing in Wuhan as an unusually wide series of COVID-19 outbreaks reached the city where the disease was first detected in late 2019.
The provincial capital of 11 million people in central China is the latest city to undergo citywide testing. The current outbreaks are still in the hundreds of cases in total, but have spread much more widely than previous ones, which did not feature the highly contagious delta variant.
In the Middle East, Iran on Monday reported 37,189 new cases of COVID-19 — a single-day high, according to Johns Hopkins University's COVID-19 tracker. The country, which has been hit hard by several waves of the novel coronavirus, also saw 411 additional deaths. Many global health experts believe Iran's official pandemic total of 18,860 deaths is an undercount of the actual COVID-19 toll.
In the U.S., the White House is pressing state and local governments to swiftly adopt policies to protect renters after an eviction moratorium expired over the weekend, potentially pushing millions of Americans out of their homes. In a statement on Monday, the White House emphasized that the federal government has provided $46.5 billion to keep renters in their homes, but it accused states and cities of being "too slow to act."
The number of people hospitalized for COVID-19 in Florida rose to an all-time high of 11,515 patients in one day, according to data the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released Tuesday. The figures also show 2,400 of those patients are in ICU beds. Louisiana also reported an all-time high of hospital patients with the virus at about 2,100, most of them unvaccinated.
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With files from Reuters, The Canadian Press, The Associated Press