Coronavirus: What's happening in Canada and around the world on Oct. 13
Some South American countries have only reached 20 per cent vaccination levels
U.S. to reopen land border to fully vaccinated Canadians next month.
Some unvaccinated people are going public after getting COVID-19. Will it convince others to get the shot?
Alberta's vaccine passport will be in place into next year, Kenney says.
Still worried about getting a vaccine for COVID-19? Here's how to understand the rare, but real, risks.
Have a coronavirus question or news tip for CBC News? Email: COVID@cbc.ca.
WATCH | Will Canadians with mixed dose vaccines be able to travel to the United States?
The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) said on Wednesday that COVID-19 cases are dropping overall in North America but remain high in the American Midwest, Alaska and Canada's Northwest Territories, where infection rates are 10 times the national average.
Infections are also dropping across South America, though cases are up in the greater Caracas area of Venezuela, and in parts of Chile's southernmost regions.
In the Caribbean, Barbados is reporting the highest number of COVID cases and deaths since the pandemic started, with a five-fold increase in infections over the last month, PAHO said.
The regional branch of the World Health Organization called for concerted action in the Americas to help every country reach WHO's vaccination coverage target of 40 per cent of their population by the end of this year.
So far, only nine countries in the region have vaccinated 50 per cent of their people, while six — Jamaica, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Haiti, Guatemala and Nicaragua — have yet to reach 20 per cent vaccination coverage, according to PAHO.
Without concerted action to increase the vaccination rate and public health measures, it is possible that COVID-19 could become endemic in the region, PAHO Director Carissa Etienne warned in a weekly briefing.
What's happening across Canada
COVID-19 ER visits and hospitalizations on the rise among Alberta kids.
Quebec postpones vaccination mandate deadline for health-care workers.
Ontario's new plan for lifting COVID-19 restrictions coming next week.
'Additional measures' may be coming to slow COVID spread in northern B.C., says Henry.
Saskatchewan in talks with Ontario as it nears point of moving ICU patients out of province.
OK to have shots for both COVID-19 and flu, P.E.I. health officials say.
Study finds people with low income, those in remote communities face higher COVID-19 risk.
Widespread cancellations in N.W.T. territorial court expected in response to COVID-19.
WATCH | Getting a flu shot this year may be even more important than usual:
What's happening around the world
As of Wednesday evening, about 239.1 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 4.8 million.
In Europe, Hungary has agreed to provide care to several dozen COVID-19 patients from neighbouring Romania in the coming days. Romania has struggled with record coronavirus cases, hospitalizations and deaths. The country has received 5,200 doses of monoclonal antibodies from Italy to assist with a rapid surge of infections amid low vaccination rates.
In the Asia-Pacific region, New Zealand on Thursday reported its biggest rise in COVID-19 infections in six weeks, with all cases detected in Auckland, raising prospects of a further extension of lockdown restrictions in the country's largest city beyond next week. Seventy-one new local cases were reported, up from 55 a day earlier. About 2.49 million New Zealanders have been fully vaccinated, or about 59 per cent of the eligible population.
In Africa, one of the largest religious denominations in Zimbabwe is also one of the most skeptical about the COVID-19 vaccine. Some followers of the secluded Apostolic Church believe vaccines are linked to Satanism. To combat that, authorities have formed teams of campaigners who are also churchgoers to dispel misconceptions about the vaccines in their own churches.
In the Americas, vaccination rates against COVID-19 in the United States have risen by more than 20 percentage points after multiple institutions adopted vaccine requirements, while case numbers and deaths from the virus are down, Biden administration officials said Wednesday. White House COVID-19 response co-ordinator Jeff Zients said mandates put into place by private businesses, health-care systems, social institutions and state and local governments have all contributed to the increase.
WATCH | Texas governor outlaws vaccine mandates:
With files from CBC News and The Associated Press