Coronavirus: What's happening in Canada and around the world Wednesday
Russia reports highest daily death toll since start of pandemic; Moscow will go into partial lockdown tomorrow
- O'Toole still won't say if all Conservative MPs are vaccinated, insists those attending Commons will be.
- Merck agrees to let other drugmakers produce its antiviral pill to treat COVID-19.
- New cases slowly declining in B.C. as pandemic 'stabilizes,' modelling group finds.
- Ontario prepares to vaccinate children as province reports 321 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday.
- COVID-19 booster shots to be made available to all British Columbians by May 2022.
- Alberta sees no 'significant bump' in COVID-19 cases after Thanksgiving weekend.
- LISTEN | The Current gets the latest from Russia and the U.K. — where COVID-19 cases are rising — and looks at Puerto Rico, where doctors are reporting signs of success.
- Track how many people have been given the COVID-19 vaccine across Canada.
Russia has recorded another high for daily COVID-19 deaths as authorities across the country moved to keep most people off work in line with a Kremlin order aimed at stemming the spread.
Russia's coronavirus task force on Wednesday registered 1,123 deaths in 24 hours, the largest daily toll since the pandemic's start. It also reported 36,582 new coronavirus cases, including 5,789 in Moscow.
Moving to curb contagion, Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered a non-working period from Oct. 30 to Nov. 7 when most state organizations and private businesses are to suspend operations.
The Russian leader encouraged the worst-affected regions to start the off-work time earlier and possibly extend it beyond Nov. 7. Six of Russia's 85 regions began the idle period on Monday, and more joined them Tuesday. Moscow is to suspend work for most people on Thursday.
Russian authorities expect the off-work time will help limit the spread of contagion by keeping people out of offices and public transportation, but many Russians sought to use the period for a seaside vacation ahead of the long winter season.
Russia isn't the only country dealing with an uptick in cases. According to a weekly report on the pandemic from the World Health Organization, more than 2.9 million new cases of COVID-19 were reported worldwide in the week of Oct. 18-24, up about four per cent from a week prior.
WHO's weekly summary said the highest numbers of new cases last week were reported in:
- The United States, which saw 512,956 new cases — a 12 per cent decrease from a week earlier.
- The United Kingdom, which saw 330,465 new cases — a 16 per cent increase.
- Russia, which saw 248,956 new cases — a 15 per cent increase.
- Turkey, which saw 196,850 new cases — a decrease of eight per cent.
- Ukraine, which saw 134,235 new cases — a 43 per cent increase.
The number of deaths reported globally last week was more than 49,000, the report said, up about five per cent from the previous week.
Europe stood out as the only major region worldwide to report an increase in both coronavirus cases and deaths over the last week, with double-digit percentage increases in each.
WHO officials have pointed to a number of factors for Europe's current troubles, including relatively low rates of vaccination in some countries in Eastern Europe.
-From The Associated Press and CBC News, last updated at 6:30 p.m. ET
What's happening across Canada
- Do you have a question about the coronavirus pandemic, including around booster doses? Email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Saskatchewan reports 223 new cases, 5 more deaths, as epidemiologist warns drop in testing means decreasing case numbers not completely accurate.
- N.B. reports another death from COVID-19, bringing total deaths this month alone to 53.
- Toronto's transit agency says service cuts expected when COVID-19 vaccine mandate kicks in.
- Manitoba reports 130 new cases, 3 more deaths as province expands eligibility for 3rd doses.
- Vaccines won't be mandatory for teachers, school staff as Quebec COVID-19 situation improves.
- Coroner's inquiry into Quebec long-term care facility hears 911 call made by health agency CEO.
- More than 4,000 health-care workers in B.C. remain unvaccinated, says health minister.
What's happening around the world
As of Wednesday evening, more than 244.8 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University's coronavirus tracking tool. The reported global death toll stood at more than 4.9 million.
In the Americas, an expert panel voted overwhelmingly to recommend the U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorize the Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine for children ages five to 11, saying the benefits of inoculation outweigh the risks.
Separately, a U.S. House of Representatives report says at least 59,000 meatpacking workers became ill with COVID-19 and 269 workers died when the virus tore through the industry last year. The report released Wednesday shows the coronavirus hit the industry much harder than previously thought and says companies could have done more to protect their employees.
In Europe, Slovenia's health minister on Wednesday warned the country could face a nightmare scenario if it does not contain the virus outbreak raging in the small Alpine nation and other low-vaccination countries of Central and Eastern Europe.
Health Minister Janez Poklukar said hospital beds have been filling up as the country logged the highest number of daily cases since January. With more than 3,000 confirmed infections in the past 24 hours, Poklukar said a lockdown is looming.
"While we watched with fear at neighbouring Italy at the start of the epidemic, we are now at a turning point because of low vaccination rates and we could easily have a Bergamo scenario," Poklukar said, mentioning the Italian city that was hit hard earlier in the pandemic.
Sweden will start offering booster shots to care workers and people aged 65 or older and plans to gradually extend the third jabs to most Swedes in the coming months, the government said.
In the Asia-Pacific region, the health ministry in Vietnam has approved vaccinations for children age 12 to 17, with older teens in more populated cities getting the first doses. There are about 14 million Vietnamese children in that age range.
China has reported nearly 250 locally transmitted cases of COVID-19 since the start of the current outbreak 10 days ago, with many infections in remote towns along porous international borders in the country's northwest. The country had 50 new local cases for Oct. 26, the highest daily count since Sept. 16, official data showed on Wednesday.
All fully vaccinated Australian citizens and permanent residents will be able to leave the country without a special exemption from Nov. 1, authorities said.
In South Africa — the hardest-hit country in Africa — the Health Ministry on Tuesday reported 331 new cases of COVID-19 and 53 additional deaths. According to the Johns Hopkins tracker, nearly 20 per cent of the country's population is fully vaccinated.
Over 8.4 million confirmed <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/COVID19?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#COVID19</a> cases on the African continent - with more than 7.9 million recoveries & 217,000 deaths cumulatively.<br><br>View country figures & more with the WHO African Region COVID-19 Dashboard: <a href="https://t.co/FKav40Cbdd">https://t.co/FKav40Cbdd</a> <a href="https://t.co/8e6EbDvjLY">pic.twitter.com/8e6EbDvjLY</a>—@WHOAFRO
In the Middle East, Saudi Arabia's Health Ministry on Tuesday reported 65 new cases of COVID-19 and two additional deaths. With slightly more than 62 per cent of the population fully vaccinated, health officials again urged people to take both doses of an approved COVID-19 vaccine.
-From Reuters, The Associated Press and CBC News, last updated at 6:30 p.m. ET
With files from Reuters and CBC News