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

The measures are the first by a major European economy requiring proof of vaccination, a recent negative virus test or recovery from COVID-19 in the previous six months for all categories of workers.

Italy requires COVID-19 pass for all workers beginning Oct. 15

A teacher, left, has her 'Green Pass' checked by a school worker as she arrives at the Isacco Newton high school, in Rome on Sept. 13. Italian workers in both the public and private sectors will be obligated to provide a health pass to access the workplace from Oct. 15 under a decree passed Thursday by the Italian government. (Andrew Medichini/The Associated Press)

The latest:

  • Getting kids active after COVID-19 will be a 'substantial challenge,' says public health researcher.

Italy is reporting up to a 40 per cent increase in the number of people getting a first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine following a government decree requiring a health pass for all workers, public and private, starting Oct. 15.

The office of Italy's coronavirus czar says there's been a 35 per cent one-week rise in first doses compared with last Saturday. Italian regions nationwide reported upticks of 20 per cent to 40 per cent for appointments this week to get the shot.

On Thursday, Italy became the first major European economy to require all workers to present a "Green Pass" to work next month. It requires proof of vaccination, a recent negative test or recovery from COVID-19 in the past six months.

Health Minister Roberto Speranza says the requirement is aimed at boosting the vaccine campaign while creating safer workplaces. Italy, once the epicentre of the outbreak in Europe, has fully inoculated 75 per cent of its population aged 12 and older. Italy has reported more than 130,000 confirmed deaths, the third-highest toll in Europe after Britain and Russia.

"The Green Pass is an instrument of freedom that will help us make workplaces safer," Speranza told a news conference. "The second reason is to reinforce our vaccine campaign."

Slovenia and Greece adopted similar measures this week. But Italy's 2-trillion-euro ($2.35 trillion US) economy, the third-largest in the European Union, is a far larger target, and the measure underscores the government's determination to avoid another lockdown, even as the number of new virus infections creeps up, mostly among the unvaccinated.

What's happening across Canada

WATCH | Doctor holds counter-protest against demonstrators targeting hospitals: 

Doctor holds counter-protest against demonstrators targeting hospitals

2 years ago
Duration 6:55
Dr. Raghu Venugopal, an emergency room doctor in Toronto, held a counter-protest against demonstrators targeting Toronto General Hospital in opposition to COVID-19 measures and vaccine mandates. He says the protests are 'unacceptable' and 'un-Canadian' and that the government needs to legislate against demonstrations outside hospitals.

What's happening around the world

As of Saturday, more than 227.8 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University's coronavirus tracker. The reported global death toll stood at more than 4.6 million.

In the Americas, South Carolina is setting records for COVID-19 hospitalizations, and new cases in the state are approaching the peak levels of last winter. Case numbers have risen from 150 a day to more than 5,000. The state hit nearly 2,600 COVID-19 patients hospitalized in early September, a record.

WATCH | What we know about COVID-19 vaccines in pregnant people: 

What we know about COVID-19 vaccines in pregnant people

2 years ago
Duration 5:44
Two doctors answer questions about the safety of vaccines on pregnant people, and the risks unvaccinated pregnant people face when they catch COVID-19.

In the Middle East, the capital of the United Arab Emirates has ended a policy requiring those coming in from other emirates to have a recent negative COVID-19 test. Abu Dhabi made the announcement on Saturday, saying that people from the UAE's six other emirates could enter the capital from Sunday without getting a test.

In Asia, Vietnam has approved Cuba's Abdala vaccine for use, the government said on Saturday, as the Southeast Asian country battles its worst outbreak of COVID-19. Abdala becomes the eighth COVID-19 vaccine approved for use in Vietnam, which has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the region, with only 6.3 per cent of its 98 million people having received at least two shots.

In Singapore, health officials reported 1,009 new COVID-19 cases on Saturday, the highest since April last year. A recent rise in cases after the relaxation of some COVID-19 measures has prompted Singapore to pause further reopening. More than 80 per cent of its population has been vaccinated against COVID-19.

Police in Australia used pepper spray to subdue protesters on Saturday at an anti-lockdown rally in Melbourne, the country's second-largest city. About 1,000 demonstrators gathered in the suburb of Richmond after the location of the protest was changed at the last minute to evade authorities.

Anti-lockdown protesters encounter police officers on Burnley Street in Richmond, an inner suburb of Melbourne, Australia, on Saturday. The protesters gathered three kilometres from Melbourne's central business district despite COVID-19 restrictions prohibiting large outdoor gatherings. (Darrian Traynor/Getty Images)

There were minor scuffles as well as a violent confrontation involving a handful of protesters. Several protesters were arrested. Most of the demonstrators defied regulations by failing to wear masks. Some 2,000 police officers were deployed at road checkpoints and barricades, as well as on roving patrols, to try to stop the rally from going ahead in breach of public health orders.

Melbourne is the capital of Victoria, which on Saturday reported 535 new infections and one COVID-19 death in the latest 24-hour period. The city's sixth lockdown began on Aug. 5 Across Australia, health officials recorded 1,882 new coronavirus cases on Saturday.,

With files from Reuters and CBC News

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