Coronavirus: What's happening in Canada and around the world Oct. 26

Ontario Education Minister Stephen Lecce says a mandatory vaccination policy would mean pink slips for tens of thousands of educators when Ontario already faces staffing challenges.

Tens of thousands would lose jobs if Ontario mandated vaccinations in education, minister says

Ontario Education Minister Stephen Lecce, pictured in June, says mandating vaccines for education workers would mean tens of thousands of educators would lose their jobs. (Christopher Katsarov/The Canadian Press)

The latest:

Ontario's education minister says 50,000 people could lose their jobs if the province mandated COVID-19 vaccines for education workers.

Responding to the NDP in question period today, Stephen Lecce said such a policy would mean pink slips for tens of thousands of educators when Ontario already faces staffing challenges.

He says any unvaccinated staff member has to provide proof of a negative test to enter a school.

The government says the 50,000 figure includes education workers who are unvaccinated or won't disclose their status.

Earlier this month Lecce said about 80 per cent of school staff have attested to being fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Some school boards, such as the Toronto District School Board and some hospitals, have enacted tougher policies that include possible termination.

-From The Canadian Press, last updated at 4:40 p.m. ET

What's happening across Canada

WATCH | Saskatchewan premier refuses COVID-19 restrictions, says situation improving

Sask. premier refuses COVID-19 restrictions, says situation improving

2 years ago
Duration 1:59
Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe says the COVID-19 situation is improving, new restrictions aren’t needed and would be unfair to the vaccinated. Public health experts are calling for gathering limits, which the mayor of Saskatoon is bringing in.


What's happening around the world

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced a new COVID-19 vaccine mandate for any worker of a business that requires a vaccine certificate at entry. The New Zealand cabinet today agreed on the new mandate for businesses in the hospitality sector, as well as others, including gyms, barbers, and hairdressers where customers are expected to have vaccine certificates. (Mark Mitchell/Getty Images)

As of Tuesday afternoon, more than 244.3 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University's coronavirus case-tracking tool. The reported global death toll stood at more than 4.9 million.

Moderna said Tuesday that it will make up to 110 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine available to African countries. According to the announcement, Moderna is prepared to deliver the first 15 million doses by the end of this year, with 35 million in the first quarter of 2022 and up to 60 million in the second quarter.

The company said "all doses are offered at Moderna's lowest tiered price" and called it "the first step in our long-term partnership with the African Union." Africa and its 1.3 billion people remain the least-vaccinated region of the world against COVID-19, with just over five per cent fully vaccinated.

Meanwhile, Senegal and Rwanda have signed an agreement with German company BioNTech for the construction of its first start-to-finish factories to make messenger RNA vaccines in Africa.

BioNTech, which developed the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, said Tuesday that construction will start in mid-2022. It is working with the Institut Pasteur in Dakar, Senegal's capital, and the Rwandan government, a statement said.

In the Asia-Pacific region, Cambodia's government has announced plans to reopen the country in several stages to fully vaccinated foreign tourists starting from the end of this month. The Tourism Ministry said the program will allow visitors who are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus to skip being quarantined if they stay at least five days in designated areas. The first such areas are two seaside provinces, Sihanoukville and Koh Kong, on the Gulf of Thailand.

On arrival, visitors must show proof they have been vaccinated and take a rapid results test for COVID-19. They can proceed without quarantine if the results are negative. Siem Reap province, home to the famous Angkor temples, is to be added to the quarantine-free province list in January.

In the Middle East on Monday, health officials reported 7,516 new cases of COVID-19 and 140 additional deaths. 

In Europe, the European Union's drug regulator said it has concluded in its review that Moderna's COVID-19 booster vaccine may be given to people aged 18 years and above, at least six months after the second dose.

In the Americas, Venezuela reopened public schools and universities, which serve more than 11 million students, though some schools remained closed for repairs or because of lack of staff.

-From Reuters, The Associated Press and CBC News, last updated at 2:09 p.m. ET

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