Coronavirus: What's happening in Canada and around the world on Saturday
Canadian Forces aircraft delivers 1st shipment of medical supplies to India
- Federal government to help employers get rapid tests through new portal.
- All adults can now book vaccine shots at select Ontario hot-spot pharmacies.
- Experts warn 4th wave of COVID-19 likely if Canada reopens too fast.
- New COVID-19 lockdowns took a big bite out of Canada's job market last month.
- Have a coronavirus question or news tip for CBC News? Email COVID@cbc.ca
A Canadian military plane landed in New Delhi on Saturday, carrying medical supplies to help fight COVID-19 in India, a country with the world's fastest pace of spreading infections.
The CC-150 Polaris aircraft brought about 25,000 vials of the antiviral drug remdesivir and 50 ventilators, the High Commission of Canada in India said on Twitter.
International Development Minister Karina Gould said earlier this week that this is the first aircraft to send medical supplies to India to help fight the pandemic, and more flights are expected.
"We will be sending another 300 ventilators over the coming weeks to India," she said.
This afternoon a consignment of <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/COVID19?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#COVID19</a> relief supplies from Canada arrived in India to support the heroic efforts of local frontline workers in the fight against <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/COVID19?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#COVID19</a>. <a href="https://twitter.com/IndianRedCross?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@indianredcross</a><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/CanadaStandsWithIndia?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#CanadaStandsWithIndia</a> 🇨🇦🇮🇳<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/StrongerTogether?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#StrongerTogether</a> <a href="https://t.co/2PGlp6lURx">pic.twitter.com/2PGlp6lURx</a>—@CanadainIndia
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is facing growing pressure to impose a strict nationwide lockdown despite the economic pain it will exact as a startling, record-breaking surge in coronavirus cases shows no signs of abating.
Indian television stations broadcast images of patients lying on stretchers outside hospitals waiting to be admitted, with hospital beds and critical oxygen in short supply.
People infected with COVID-19 in villages are being treated in makeshift outdoor clinics, with IV drips hanging from trees.
As deaths soar, crematoriums and burial grounds have been swamped with bodies, and relatives often wait hours to perform the last rites for their loved ones.
What's happening across Canada
As of 5:45 p.m. ET on Saturday, Canada had reported 1,279,977 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 81,052 considered active. A CBC News tally of deaths stood at 24,568.
Alberta registered 2,042 new COVID-19 cases and two more deaths on Saturday.
Meanwhile, Calgary police have arrested two organizers of a church service and charged them with organizing an illegal in-person gathering.
Artur and Dawid Pawlowski were also charged with inciting or inviting others to attend an illegal public gathering, as well as promoting and attending the illegal public gathering. Throughout the pandemic, the brothers have held large, maskless gatherings and have denied health officials entry to their church, which is located in the southeast neighbourhood of Dover.
Earlier today, police arrested two organizers of a church service who were in violation of a new court order obtained by Alberta Health Services in relation to mandatory compliance of public health orders for gatherings. <a href="https://t.co/0JoiEoh7Tv">https://t.co/0JoiEoh7Tv</a>—@CalgaryPolice
Saskatchewan saw 269 new cases but no new fatalities. The province also announced it is lowering the age for vaccine eligibility to 32. In the northern district, the eligibility age remains 18 years and older.
Manitoba recorded 488 new cases and three more deaths.
The latest figures come hours after Chief Provincial Public Health Officer Dr. Brent Roussin announced new pandemic rules on Friday evening.
The stricter public health order — which includes shutting down businesses from restaurants to gyms and barring indoor activities such as church services and sports — takes effect on Sunday and will stay in place for at least three weeks.
WATCH | New restrictions in Manitoba as COVID-19 cases surge:
Ontario registered 2,864 new cases and 25 more deaths on Saturday, marking the third day this week that new daily case counts have dipped below 3,000.
Also Saturday, younger Ontarians in some COVID-19 hot spots can now book vaccine appointments at pharmacies.
The province says 78 pharmacy locations in Toronto and Peel Region are now offering the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to people aged 18 and older. In Durham Region, Hamilton, Ottawa, Windsor and York Region, a total of 58 pharmacies are now offering the Moderna shot to anyone aged 18 and up.
WATCH | How the workers at a neighbourhood grocery store stay COVID-free:
Quebec confirmed 958 new cases and seven more deaths on Saturday.
In Montreal, community organizations and public health workers have been going door-to-door to provide residents with multilingual information on the COVID-19 vaccines.
The goal is to inform people of their options in neighbourhoods with lower vaccine uptake — especially where residents have lower income, are more isolated and do not have easy access to the internet.
WATCH | Campaign in Montreal brings vaccine information to people's doors:
New Brunswick reported its fifth death in a week related to an outbreak at a Grand Falls special care home. There were also eight new cases on Saturday, the province said, which brings the total number of active cases to 141.
Newfoundland and Labrador reported six new cases.
Nova Scotia logged 163 new cases and an additional death on Saturday. The province's latest surge is seeing younger patients fill hospitals and intensive care units.
WATCH | Nova Scotia tightens border and imposes new COVID-19 restrictions:
In the Northwest Territories, Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Kami Kandola says 90 per cent of coronavirus cases stemming from a recent outbreak in a Yellowknife school are among children and youth.
Nunavut added seven more infections on Saturday but also 10 new recoveries, lowering active cases in the territory to 74 — all of them in Iqaluit.
What's happening around the world
As of Saturday, 156.9 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported worldwide, according to a tracking tool maintained by Johns Hopkins University. The global death toll stood at more than 3.2 million.
In Europe, Greece reopened its beaches with social-distancing and disinfecting measures as the popular Mediterranean holiday destination eases COVID-19 curbs in preparation for the return of foreign visitors next week.
PHOTOS | Greece reopens beaches in bid to lure back tourists:
In Asia, Japan extended a state of emergency in Tokyo and three other areas until the end of May but reiterated it is still possible to host the Tokyo Olympics this summer.
In the Americas, production of Russia's Sputnik V vaccine will likely begin in Mexico during the final week of June, according to the Mexican Health Ministry.
In Africa, Tunisia will impose a full one-week lockdown on Sunday as cases mount and intensive care wards fill across the country.
With files from The Canadian Press, The Associated Press and Reuters