And Nunavut says the tough measures it put in place just before Christmas were so effective it rolled back travel restrictions on Monday, allowing businesses to reopen and schools to resume in-person learning on January 24. .
It’s a different story in New Brunswick where new restrictions take effect today, limiting residents to a single-household bubble while closing indoor gymnasiums, entertainment venues and restaurants.
In neighboring Prince Edward Island, where Chief Medical Officer Dr Heather Morrison says the “worst of this wave” is yet to come, current restrictions including business capacity limits and distance learning for students, will be extended.
Nationwide, the number of new COVID cases and associated hospitalizations remain at or near record highs.
Ontario recorded an increase in hospitalizations of 182 on Thursday to an all-time high of 3,630. About 6,000 new cases were reported in Alberta and Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe announced that he had tested positive for COVID-19.
The federal government also announced Thursday evening that a vaccination mandate for truckers entering Canada from the United States would begin on Saturday as planned, despite an earlier statement from the Canada Border Services Agency that Canadian truckers would be exempted.
When news of the first cases of COVID-19 began to emerge in Canada in early 2020, Linda Silas was one of the first to sound the alarm about the lack of proper personal protective equipment for workers. of health.
As early indications showed the virus was spreading through droplets that landed on surfaces, Silas, president of the Canadian Federation of Nurses, urged health authorities to learn from the 2003 SARS outbreak. and to take the highest level of precaution.
Now she knows she was right – the virus is airborne – but she is still desperately demanding more protective equipment for nurses two years later.
Regional unions across the country are reporting that nurses who have requested fit-tested respirators still cannot get them in some cases, despite the Omicron variant being far more transmissible than previous variants.
The shortage of healthy nurses to deal with the massive surge of the Omicron variant has meant that hospitals and other healthcare facilities have deployed nurses with confirmed cases of COVID-19, and some still go unseen. come up with appropriate masks, she said.
“These vulnerable patients could have COVID-positive staff caring for them, and without the proper PPE, that’s just plain dangerous,” she said.
Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, describes the spread of COVID-19 as a cloud of smoke coming from someone’s mouth and nose. She and other doctors have suggested the public use more effective masks to protect themselves.
And that …
OTTAWA — Three Canadian regiments are now without a patron after the Queen stripped Prince Andrew of all his military titles and royal patronage.
The disgraced Duke of York was the honorary colonel-in-chief of three Canadian regiments: the Royal Highland Fusiliers of Canada, the Princess Louise Fusiliers and the Queen’s York Rangers.
Rideau Hall and a spokesperson for the Canadian Armed Forces have confirmed that these titles have now been “relinquished” by the Prince, the Queen’s second eldest son.
Private organizations in Canada – including Lakefield College School, the Royal Victoria Yacht Club, Maple Bay Yacht Club and the SickKids Foundation – that once proudly boasted the prince’s patronage severed ties with him in 2019 when he walked away. removed from all public office amid a sex trafficking scandal.
American Virginia Roberts Giuffre has filed a civil suit against Prince Andrew alleging she was trafficked by sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, with whom the prince was friends, and coerced into having sex with the prince three times while she was underage.
Prince Andrew has categorically denied the allegations.
The Queen’s decision to strip him of his military titles and patronage came a day after a US judge rejected a bid by the prince’s legal team to have Giuffre’s case thrown out.
What we’re watching in the US…
In the United States, teachers face classrooms where up to half of students are absent because they were exposed to COVID-19 or their families kept them home for fear of the virus. increase in the number of cases.
Widespread absences have only added to the difficulty of keeping students on track in another school year disrupted by the pandemic.
Tabatha Rosproy is a teacher in Olathe, Kansas, and the 2020 National Teacher of the Year. She says teachers often have to pick up class when absent children return.
“It really hurts learning,” Rosproy said.
In Seattle, attendance has averaged 81% since returning from winter vacation. Los Angeles Public Schools marked about 30% of the district’s more than 600,000 students absent Tuesday, the first day back after the hiatus.
In New York, about 76% of the city’s nearly one million public school students were in class Wednesday, with some schools reporting that more than half of their students were absent.
What we watch in the rest of the world…
TAIPEI, Taiwan — Most access to a major city adjacent to Beijing was suspended Thursday as China tries to contain an outbreak of the highly contagious variant of Omicron, which is testing the ‘zero tolerance’ policy of the country against COVID-19 and its ability to successfully host the Winter Olympics.
Tianjin is one of six cities where the government is imposing lockdowns and other restrictions as part of a policy to track down every case of the virus. But the outbreak in a city so close to the Olympic host is particularly worrying.
Elsewhere, more than 20 million people are confined in China.
Other countries that have tried a similar zero-tolerance approach have abandoned it. China is persisting, but may find the strategy increasingly difficult since the Omicron variant is more contagious than previous versions of the virus. The challenge comes as China welcomes thousands of people from abroad for the Olympics, which begin on February 4.
During the Tokyo Olympics in July, Japan experienced a widespread outbreak caused by the Delta variant, but measures taken at the Olympics themselves were mostly effective in stopping transmission, said Kenji Shibuya, research director at Tokyo Foundation for Policy Research and public health expert. .
The rules in Beijing will be even stricter than those in Tokyo.
SEOUL — North Korea fired two short-range ballistic missiles in its third weapons launch this month, apparently in retaliation for new sanctions imposed by the United States for its continued test launches.
The South Korean military said the missiles came from an interior area in the western province of North Pyongan.
Japan’s prime minister’s office and defense ministry also detected the launch, and its coast guard urged ships to watch out for falling objects.
Hours earlier, North Korea issued a statement scolding the Biden administration for imposing new sanctions on its missile tests and warned of stronger and more explicit action if Washington maintains its “confrontational stance.” “.
Experts say the launches are meant to extract concessions from the United States
On this day in 1990…
“The Canadian”, Via Rail’s legendary passenger train, made its last trip across Canada after 34 years of service on the longest railway line in the world, a journey of 4,645 kilometres. Along with this, and the shutdown of other trains, 2,716 jobs disappeared.
MELBOURNE — Tennis star Novak Djokovic is again at risk of deportation after the Australian government revoked his visa for the second time.
Immigration Minister Alex Hawke said on Friday he had used his discretion to revoke the 34-year-old Serb’s visa on public interest grounds three days before the start of the Australian Open.
Djokovic’s attorneys are expected to appeal the reversal in Federal Circuit and Family Court, as they successfully did after the first reversal.
“The Morrison government is strongly committed to protecting Australia’s borders, particularly in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Hawke said in a statement, referring to Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
This is the second time Djokovic’s visa has been canceled since arriving in Melbourne last week to defend his Australian Open title.
His exemption from a COVID-19 vaccination requirement to compete has been approved by the Victorian state government and Tennis Australia, the tournament organiser. This apparently allowed him to receive a visa to travel.
But the Australian Border Force rejected the exemption and canceled his visa upon arrival in Melbourne. Djokovic spent four nights in a migrant detention hotel before a judge overturned the decision on Monday.
Melbourne-based immigration barrister Kian Bone said Djokovic’s lawyers faced an ‘extremely difficult’ task to obtain court orders over the weekend to allow their client to play next week.
TORONTO — “Degrassi” is set to return in the spring of 2023, but the popular teen drama will be a darker hour-long TV series.
US streaming platform HBO Max says it’s bringing a new take on the Toronto high school saga, which it describes as an “evolution” of the “Degrassi” story that stays true to the original but “promises fans a journey into exciting new territory that is both creative and dramatic.
The 10-episode season will be filmed in Toronto this summer and will be produced in partnership with Canadian production company WildBrain Ltd., which owns the rights to the show.
Plans to make “Degrassi” available to Canadian viewers are still in the works.
OTTAWA — Experts say there are risks in rubbing your throat with a rapid COVID-19 test meant for the nose.
Immunology expert Earl Brown acknowledges recent social media posts that suggest throat samples may better reveal evidence of the Omicron variant.
But the University of Ottawa professor says that while Omicron is more easily detected in some people’s throats, rapid tests should be used as directed.
He says tests certified to analyze nasal samples wouldn’t necessarily work so well for saliva, which can become contaminated from food and drink, or dilute a nasal sample.
Health Canada says medical devices — including the country’s supply of rapid COVID-19 tests — are approved for use “as recommended by the manufacturer.”
However, the agency adds that provinces and territories may offer their own advice “outside the scope of the product label.”
This report from The Canadian Press was first published on January 14, 2022.
The Canadian Press