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

Vietnam's capital has extended COVID-19 restrictions for a further two weeks in a bid to contain a rise in cases, as authorities launched a plan to test up to 1.5 million people.

Vietnam extends lockdown in Hanoi, plans testing of up to 1.5 million people

A police officer hands back a travel permit to a commuter at a street checkpoint in Vung Tau, Vietnam, on Monday. More than half of the country is now in lockdown to contain a COVID-19 surge. (Hau Dinh/The Associated Press)

The latest:

Vietnam's capital on Monday extended COVID-19 restrictions for a further two weeks, as authorities launched a plan to test up to 1.5 million people for the coronavirus in higher-risk areas of the capital to contain rising infections.

The Southeast Asian country dealt successfully with the virus for much of the pandemic, but the virulent delta variant has proved more challenging in recent months.

Hanoi, which has ordered people to stay at home and has halted all non-essential activities since July, has now divided the city into "red," "orange" and "green" zones based on infection risk.

"Accordingly, people in red areas must shelter in place and one person of every household there will be tested three times per week," a statement from city authorities said, noting that in other zones people would be tested every five to seven days.

Barricades on Monday separated red zones from other areas, photographs posted on social media and media outlets showed.

A barricade installed in Hanoi to restrict people's movements is part of plans by authorities to stop the spread of COVID-19. (Manan Vatsyayana/AFP/Getty Images)

Hanoi authorities expect up to 1.5 million test samples to be collected in the next week. The government is eager to keep the outbreak from reaching the intensity seen in Ho Chi Minh City.

Hanoi has been reporting on average 50 cases daily and has recorded over 4,000 cases since the pandemic began, official data showed.

Although the numbers are still low, authorities are wary after the delta variant helped drive up infections across the country to over 524,000 cases.

One third of Hanoi's eight million residents have been given at least one dose of a vaccine and on Sunday the health ministry called on the capital and Ho Chi Minh City to vaccinate all adult residents with at least one dose by Sept. 15.

Vietnam has one of the lowest coronavirus vaccination rates in the region, with only 3.3 per cent of its 98 million people fully vaccinated, and 15.4 per cent with one shot.


What's happening across Canada

WATCH | Ottawa protest against mandatory vaccines 'demoralizing' health-care advocate says: 

Protest against mandatory vaccination ‘demoralizing’ for health-care staff, advocate says

1 month ago
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Linda Silas, president of the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions, says the protest against COVID-19 measures that took place outside The Ottawa Hospital’s Civic campus was frustrating for exhausted health-care professionals. 1:08
  • COVID-19 exposure notices issued for 2 Air North flights between Whitehorse and Vancouver.

What's happening around the world

As of Monday afternoon, more than 220.9 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University. The reported global death toll stood at more than 4.5 million.

In Europe, the European Medicines Agency says it has started an expedited evaluation on whether to recommend use of a booster dose of the coronavirus vaccine made by Pfizer-BioNTech, with a decision expected within a few weeks.

In a statement Monday, the EU drug regulator says it is considering whether a third dose of the vaccine should be given six months after people over age 16 have received two doses "to restore protection after it has waned."

Meantime, Italy's health minister says a two-day meeting of his G20 counterparts yielded resolve to help poor nations obtain more COVID-19 vaccines.

Minister Roberto Speranza told reporters in Rome on Monday that achieving that includes vaccine production in less developed nations. The goal is "to bring vaccines to every corner of the world," he said, describing the meeting's unanimous final document as a "departure point."

Italian Health Minister Roberto Speranza talks to reporters following the G20 health ministers' meeting in Rome on Monday. (Roberto Monaldo/LaPresse/The Associated Press)

In the Middle East, many Israelis made last-minute preparations for the Jewish New Year holiday, which will be marked on Monday evening as COVID-19 restrictions remain in place. The central market place in Western Jerusalem was packed with shoppers buying groceries for the two-day holiday.

On Sunday, the country's tourism ministry said it will begin allowing organized foreign tour groups into Israel, beginning Sept. 19.

Tourists must be vaccinated against COVID-19, present a negative PCR test before their flight and undergo both PCR and serological testing upon arrival. Visitors must quarantine in their hotels until results come back — a process expected to take no more than 24 hours. 

In the Americas, the Chilean health regulator on Monday approved the COVID-19 vaccine produced by China's Sinovac Biotech Ltd for use in children over six years of age, allowing more people to be included in the country's rapid inoculation campaign.

The U.S. government's top infectious disease expert says he believes delivery of COVID-19 vaccine booster shots will be able beginning Sept. 20 for Americans who received Pfizer doses, while Moderna's may end up rolling out a couple of weeks later.

Dr. Anthony Fauci told CBS's Face the Nation on Sunday that U.S. health regulators need more time to study data from Moderna Inc. on its booster's efficacy.

Families separated by state border closures due to Australia's COVID-19 restrictions gathered on Sunday at a barricade separating New South Wales and Queensland to mark Father's Day. (Reuters TV)

In the  Asia-Pacific region, South Korea's daily increase in coronavirus infections has exceeded 1,000 for the 62nd consecutive day as officials are raising concerns about another viral spike during this month's Chuseok holidays, the Korean version of Thanksgiving.

Most of New Zealand will move out of lockdown Tuesday except for the largest city of Auckland, which will remain in the strictest type of lockdown until at least next week, the government announced Monday. The nation has been battling an outbreak of the delta variant since last month, with all recent cases being reported in Auckland, including 20 found on Monday.

In Africa, COVID-19 vaccine shipments ramped up in August, but the continent is still set to miss its goal of vaccinating the most vulnerable 10 per cent in every country by the end of September, according to Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, regional director of the World Health Organization for Africa.

With files from The Associated Press and CBC News

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