Coronavirus: What's happening in Canada and around the world on Monday
Federal officials announce updated travel rules; WHO talks about vaccine needs
- Alberta records lowest number of new COVID-19 cases in more than 10 months.
- Toronto hospital staff urged to follow protocols after outbreak includes vaccinated people.
- Shapovalov pulls out of Olympics amid high virus cases, low vaccination rate in Tokyo.
- Manitoba reports 74 new COVID-19 cases, passes vaccination goals for 1st step of reopening.
- Some international travel restrictions easing July 5 for fully vaccinated people with proof.
- Ontario sees 270 new COVID-19 cases as more 2nd-dose vaccine appointments open.
- Nova Scotia reports zero new COVID-19 cases Monday.
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The World Health Organization is setting up a technology transfer hub for producing mRNA COVID-19 vaccines in South Africa, officials said Monday, as they reiterated their call for stepped-up efforts to get vaccines to lower-income countries.
WHO director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus made the announcement aimed at boosting access to vaccines across the African continent, where COVID-19 cases and deaths have been rising.
"Today I am delighted to announce that WHO is in discussions with a consortium of companies and institutions to establish a technology transfer hub in South Africa," Tedros told a news conference.
WHO chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan said that there were several options on the table, mainly smaller companies and biotechs, adding: "But we are also in discussions with larger mRNA companies and hope very much they will come on board."
Pfizer and BioNTech, along with Moderna, are the main producers of COVID-19 vaccines using mRNA technology.
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South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said the ability to manufacture vaccines and other critical health supplies will "change the narrative of an Africa that is a centre of disease and poor development."
He added: "We will create a narrative that celebrates our successes in reducing the burden of disease, in advancing self-reliance and also advancing sustainable development."
<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Africa?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Africa</a> is in the midst of a full-blown third wave of <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/COVID19?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#COVID19</a> cases. Cases are rising in 22 Africa countries. <a href="https://t.co/NEFycaJW8j">pic.twitter.com/NEFycaJW8j</a>—@WHOAFRO
The South African president also spoke out against vaccine nationalism, urging countries with strong supplies to push for equitable access to critical COVID-19 vaccines.
Ramaphosa said the day was historic and a "step in the right direction," but he noted that South Africa would continue its effort, alongside other countries, to push for an intellectual property waiver that would allow more widespread manufacturing of vaccines.
U.S. set to miss vaccine-sharing goal
Meanwhile, U.S. President Joe Biden is expected to fall short of his commitment to ship 80 million COVID-19 vaccine doses abroad by the end of June because of regulatory and other hurdles, officials said as they announced new plans on Monday for sharing the shots globally.
The White House announced the final allocations for the doses, with 60 million shots going to the global COVAX vaccine-sharing alliance and 20 million being directed to specific partners. But fewer than 10 million doses have been shipped around the world, including 2.5 million doses delivered to Taiwan over the weekend and about one million delivered to Mexico, Canada and South Korea earlier this month.
"What we've found to be the biggest challenge is not actually the supply — we have plenty of doses to share with the world — but this is a Herculean logistical challenge," said White House press secretary Jen Psaki.
Psaki said shipments will go out as soon as countries are ready to receive the doses and the administration sorts out logistical complexities, including vaccination supplies such as syringes and alcohol prep pads, cold storage for the doses, customs procedures and even language barriers.
- From Reuters, The Associated Press and CBC News, last updated at 3:30 p.m. ET
What's happening across Canada
As of 7:45 p.m. ET on Monday, Canada had reported 1,409,607 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 11,025 considered active. A CBC News tally of deaths stood at 26,087. More than 32.3 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered so far across the country, according to CBC's vaccine tracker.
Ontario on Monday reported three additional deaths and 270 new cases of COVID-19, the lowest single-day figure the province has seen since last September.
The province, which has begun its reopening process amid falling case numbers, is moving to make second doses of COVID-19 vaccine available to more residents earlier. According to the province, people who received a first dose of an mRNA vaccine "on or before May 9" are now eligible to "book or rebook their second dose appointment at a shortened interval."
Meanwhile, a Toronto hospital network is urging staff to keep taking precautions to guard against the virus after several vaccinated people were infected in a COVID-19 outbreak at one of its facilities.
In Quebec, where a coroner's inquest is looking into deaths in long-term care homes during the early stages of the pandemic, health officials on Monday reported no new deaths and 90 new cases of COVID-19. It was the first time the province reported fewer than 100 daily infections since August.
Across the North, there were no new cases reported in Nunavut on Monday. "This is the 9th day in a row with no new cases," Premier Joe Savikataaq said on Twitter.
Health officials in Yukon and the Northwest Territories had not yet provided updated information for the day.
In Atlantic Canada on Monday, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick reported no new cases of COVID-19. Newfoundland and Labrador will not be providing an update because of the provincial holiday, while health officials in Prince Edward Island had yet to report any new cases.
Manitoba reported one death and 74 new COVID-19 cases on Monday — its lowest daily caseload since April 6. However, Dr. Brent Roussin, the chief provincial public health officer, said hospitalizations remain too high. There are 265 Manitobans hospitalized due to COVID-19, with 73 in intensive care.
The province has now reached its first vaccination goals under the Manitoba government's plan to ease some COVID-19 restrictions by July 1.
Saskatchewan, meanwhile, reported two new deaths and 48 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, a day after Premier Scott Moe announced that the province will lift all health restrictions on July 11.
In Alberta, health officials on Monday reported two new deaths and 60 new cases of COVID-19, its lowest number of new cases in more than 10 months.
The province's COVID-19 vaccine lottery, which is offering million-dollar cash awards and trips to Cancun is adding the Calgary Stampede to its stable of prizes. More than 70 per cent of Albertans have received at least one vaccine dose, but Premier Jason Kenney says the government is still hoping to entice more.
Announcing even more great prizes in the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/OpenForSummer?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#OpenForSummer</a> lottery, this time from the <a href="https://twitter.com/calgarystampede?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@calgarystampede</a>!<br><br>The winners of these 635 Stampede prizes will be announced on July 1. You have until 11:59PM on June 24 to enter.<br>➡️ <a href="https://t.co/cuT30TiLgY">https://t.co/cuT30TiLgY</a><br><br>Yahoo! 🤠 <a href="https://t.co/eCsrJDxXwV">pic.twitter.com/eCsrJDxXwV</a>—@jkenney
British Columbia on Monday reported three new deaths and 229 new cases over a three-day period, continuing a downward trend. The seven-day rolling average of new cases has now dipped below 100 for the first time since October.
- From CBC News and The Canadian Press, last updated at 7:45 p.m. ET
What's happening around the world
As of Monday evening, more than 178.6 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported around the world, according to Johns Hopkins University's case tracker. The reported global death toll stood at more than 3.8 million, according to the information compiled by the U.S.-based university.
In the Asia-Pacific region, every adult in India is now eligible for a free vaccine paid for by the federal government. The changed role for the government starting Monday ends a complex system of buying and distributing vaccines that overburdened states and created inequities in who got the shots.
The switch comes as coronavirus cases continue to drop. India registered 53,256 new infections and 1,422 deaths in the last 24 hours, the lowest in nearly three months. That raises its totals past 29.8 million cases and 386,000 deaths, though both are likely undercounts.
Indonesia, meanwhile, will tighten social restrictions for two weeks starting Tuesday, a government minister said, in a bid to contain a surge in cases in the world's fourth-most populous country.
The curbs will apply to "red zones" where cases have been rising sharply this month, co-ordinating Economic Minister Airlangga Hartarto told a streamed news conference on Monday.
In the Americas, Brazil's death toll from COVID-19 has surpassed 500,000 as experts warn that the world's second-deadliest outbreak may worsen due to delayed vaccinations and the government's refusal to back physical distancing measures.
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In Africa, Uganda recently moved to step up its lockdown measures amid an increase of variant of concern cases. The measures announced late Friday by President Yoweri Museveni include a ban on private and public transportation within and across districts, including in the capital Kampala.
In Europe, Britain is piloting a plan to ditch the self-isolation requirement for people who have received two doses of vaccine if they are exposed to someone with the virus, the health minister said.
Mask-wearing outdoors in Italy will no longer be required in virtually all of the country, starting on June 28, Health Minister Roberto Speranza tweeted Monday night.
In the Middle East, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has announced a further easing of coronavirus restrictions, as the number of infections continues to decline and the country's vaccination program gains momentum.
As of July 1, lockdowns imposed on Sundays and nighttime curfews would be lifted, while public- and private-sector workers would return to their normal working hours, Erdogan said Monday. Restrictions on public transport and intercity travel will also be lifted.
- From Reuters, The Associated Press and CBC News, last updated at 8:45 p.m. ET
With files from CBC News, The Canadian Press and The Associated Press