Coronavirus: What's happening in Canada and around the world on April 22

Nova Scotia brings in new, tougher measures as COVID-19 cases reach highest level seen in the province in a year.

Ontario reports 3,682 new cases of COVID-19 and 40 additional deaths, ICU number tops 800

Nova Scotia Premier Iain Rankin and Dr. Robert Strang, the province's chief medical officer of health. Rankin introduced new 'circuit breaker' measures Thursday as cases in the province rose. (Communications Nova Scotia)

The latest:

Nova Scotia's premier introduced new "circuit breaker" measures Thursday, as COVID-19 case numbers in the province rose to some of their highest levels in a year. 

The new measures, in place for four weeks for Halifax Regional Municipality and surrounding areas, restrict non-essential travel. Restaurants will be open for takeout only, retails stores will remain open but at 25 per cent capacity, and some schools will be moved to online learning. 

There is no restriction on outdoors parks, but gyms and yoga studios are closed. 

Health officials on Thursday reported 38 new cases of COVID-19 — the highest figure the province has seen since late April last year. With the update, the number of active cases in the province rose to 111.

Premier Iain Rankin's government recently stepped up restrictions on most non-essential travel for a period of at least four weeks as it tries to stave off an increase of COVID-19 cases.

Health officials in Newfoundland and Labrador reported three new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, while Prince Edward Island reported one new case of COVID-19.

Health officials in New Brunswick reported 19 new cases Thursday. 

-From CBC News and The Canadian Press, last updated at 2:05 p.m. ET

What's happening across Canada

The federal government announced Thursday that it will ban direct passenger flights from India and Pakistan from landing in Canada for at least the next 30 days. COVID-19 cases in India are at record highs and the double mutation variant responsible for a case surge in India has arrived in Canada. 

"This is a temporary measure while we asses the evolving situation and determine appropriate measures going forward," said Omar Alghabra, minister of transport. 

Cargo flights will be allowed to arrive in Canada to ensure continued supply of vaccine and PPE coming from India. 

The government says 35 flights from India with at least one case of COVID-19 on board arrived in Canada in the last two weeks.

WATCH | Ontario premier promises help with paid sick days:

Ontario premier promises help with paid sick days


16 days ago
Ontario Premier Doug Ford spoke from COVID-19 isolation on Thursday to announce his government will work on its own support program for those who lose wages when they're forced off work because of the coronavirus. 0:49

As of 5:45 p.m. ET on Thursday, Canada had reported 1,155,840 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 86,768 considered active. A CBC News tally of deaths stood at 23,822.

Hard-hit Ontario reported 3,682 new cases of COVID-19 and 40 additional deaths on Wednesday. Hospitalizations in the province — which is facing a massive strain on the health-care system — stood at 2,350, while the number of patients in the province's intensive care units with COVID-19 related illness stood at 806.

Premier Doug Ford, who is isolating after a staff member tested positive for COVID-19, held a news conference from isolation on Thursday. 

The premier, who offered an apology over how his government handled some recent COVID-19 restrictions, pledged a paid sick-leave program for Ontario workers, saying people forced into quarantine should not have to worry about their jobs or income. But when that would happen or what form it would take were not immediately clear. 

Public health experts, labour groups and local officials have been calling for sick-leave support for much of the pandemic.

Across the North, Nunavut was the first territory to report updated information Thursday, saying it has three new cases. Premier Joe Savikataaq said in a tweet that there were 36 active cases in Nunavut, with all but two of them in Iqaluit. There was one new case each in Yukon and the Northwest Territories

In Quebec, health officials on Thursday reported 1,248 new cases of COVID-19 and seven additional deaths. Hospitalizations stood at 711, with 174 people in intensive care, according to a provincial dashboard. 

The province is expanding its vaccination program to people with chronic illnesses who don't require regular hospital care as well as to those with intellectual or physical disabilities.

Health Minister Christian Dubé says it will be up to people with chronic illnesses — a category that includes diabetes, obesity and respiratory problems — to decide whether they qualify.

In the Prairie provinces, Manitoba reported 261 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday and one additional death.

Saskatchewan reported 254 new cases and one additional death on Thursday. There are 177 people in hospital with COVID-19 and, of those, 48 are in intensive care. About 53 per cent of residents 40 and older have received a first dose of vaccine.

In Alberta, health officials reported 1,857 new COVID-19 cases Thursday and six new deaths. There are 1,326 cases involving variants of concern in the province, including a first case of the B1617 variant, behind the surge of cases in India.  

Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, announced that the wait time between first and second vaccine doses for some cancer patients will be shortened to 21 to 28 days. 

British Columbia reported 1,006 new cases of COVID-19 and four additional deaths on Thursday. Hospitalizations stood at 502, a new record high, with 161 in intensive care. Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says pressure on B.C.'s health-care system is "immense" right now.

As a result, the province will begin limiting non-urgent surgeries in the Lower Mainland for at least the next two weeks to move resources toward caring for patients with COVID-19. 

-From CBC News and The Canadian Press, last updated at 4:30 p.m. ET

What's happening around the world

WATCH | India seeing deadly surge in COVID-19 cases:

COVID-19 variant, politics drive India’s deadly 2nd wave

The National

17 days ago
With more than a million new COVID-19 infections in just four days, India is a world hotspot for the virus fuelled by a new variant of interest. Oxygen shortages are helping drive up the death toll, and the ruling party is accused of helping spread the virus by holding election campaign events. 2:55

As of Thursday evening, more than 144.2 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University's case tracking tool. The reported global death toll stood at more than three million.

Japan will declare "short and powerful" states of emergency for Tokyo, Osaka and two other prefectures, a cabinet minister said on Friday, as the country struggles to contain a resurgent pandemic just three months ahead of the Olympics.

Under a new state of emergency for April 25 to May 11, the government will require restaurants, bars and karaoke parlours serving alcohol to close, and big sporting events to be held without spectators, Economy Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura said.

Passersby wearing protective masks walk on the street amid the COVID-19 outbreak in Tokyo, on Thursday. The government has announced a series of states of emergency, three months ahead of the Olympics. (Androniki Christodoulou/Reuters)

Japan has so far avoided an explosive spread of the pandemic that has crippled many countries. There have been a total of about 550,000 cases and 9,761 deaths, which is significantly lower than the numbers seen in other large economies.

But the latest rise in infections has stoked alarm with an explosive variant surge and a critical shortage of hospital beds in some regions, while Japan's vaccination drive remains sluggish.

In the Asia-Pacific region, Australia will reduce the number of flights arriving from India because of the growing wave of COVID-19 cases in the world's second-most populous country.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he had agreed with state and territory leaders that the numbers of Australian citizens and permanent residents returning in chartered flights would be reduced by 30 per cent. The government would soon announce a 30 per cent reduction in scheduled commercial flights from India as well, he said.

Laos locked down its capital and closed its international borders to most traffic Thursday after identifying a COVID-19 cluster connected to its bigger neighbour Thailand.

In Europe, a plan by German Chancellor Angela Merkel's government to mandate standard restrictions in areas where the coronavirus is spreading too quickly has cleared its final legislative hurdle.

Parliament's upper house, where Germany's 16 state governments are represented, could have held up the plan by seeking renegotiations, but let it pass on Thursday. It now goes to President Frank-Walter Steinmeier to be signed.

The Norwegian government said Thursday that it will "lend" all of its 216,000 AstraZeneca vaccine doses to Sweden and Iceland as long as Norway has use of the vaccine on pause. Health Minister Bent Hoeie said that if the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine is resumed, "we will get back the doses we lend as soon as we request it" and Iceland and Sweden "send back the doses from their first deliveries from AstraZeneca."

A Bosnian medical worker gathers personal information from patients as they arrive at a vaccination station in Sarajevo on Wednesday. Citizens older than 75 are the first to receive the COVID-19 vaccine as mass vaccination begins in the Bosnian capital. (Elvis Barukcic/AFP/Getty Images)

In Africa, intensive care units in Tunisian public and private hospitals are at the limit of their capacity as COVID-19 cases surge, an official in an independent scientific committee that advises the government told Reuters on Thursday. Amenallah Messadi added that a surge in cases driven by the B117 variant had pushed the health system to the brink of collapse.

In the Americas, U.S. President Joe Biden announced tax credits for certain businesses that pay employees who take time off to get vaccines.

In the Middle East, Syria's government has received its first delivery of COVID-19 vaccines through the global COVAX initiative, with almost 200,000 doses of the AstraZeneca shot, UN officials said.

-From The Associated Press and Reuters, last updated at 10:00 p.m. ET

With files from The Canadian Press, The Associated Press and Reuters

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