An Indian doctor in the capital region, Delhi, sees coronavirus cases and deaths rising in the area, which is also plagued by air pollution.
An Indian doctor in the capital region, Delhi, sees coronavirus cases and deaths rising in the area, which is also plagued by air pollution.
As COVID-19 vaccine supplies ramp up across the country, most provinces and territories have released details of who can expect to receive a shot in the coming weeks. Here's a list of their plans to date: Newfoundland and Labrador The province says it is in Phase 1 of its vaccine rollout. Health-care workers on the front lines of the pandemic, staff at long-term care homes, people of "advanced age" and adults in remote or isolated Indigenous communities have priority. Chief medical health officer Dr. Janice Fitzgerald has said Phase 2 will begin in April if vaccine supply remains steady. The second phase prioritizes adults over 60 years old, beginning with those over 80, as well as Indigenous adults, first responders, rotational workers and adults in marginalized populations, such as those experiencing homelessness. Adults between 16 and 59 years old will be vaccinated in the third phase of the rollout, and Fitzgerald has said she expects that to begin this summer. --- Nova Scotia Health officials began expanding access to COVID-19 vaccines on Feb. 22, opening community clinics for people aged 80 years and older. Dr. Robert Strang, chief medical officer of health, has said the province's plan is to open another 10 clinics in March for 48,000 people who will be mailed a letter informing them how to book an appointment. Strang said the vaccination program will then expand to the next age group in descending order until everyone in the province is offered the chance to be immunized. The age groups will proceed in five-year blocks. Future community clinics are to be held March 8 in Halifax, New Minas, Sydney and Truro; March 15 in Antigonish, Halifax and Yarmouth; and March 22 in Amherst, Bridgewater and Dartmouth. The province began its vaccination campaign with residents of long-term care homes, those who work directly with patients, those who are 80 and older, and those who are at risk for other reasons including First Nations and African Nova Scotian communities. Nova Scotia plans to have vaccine available to at least 75 per cent of the population by the end of September 2021. --- Prince Edward Island The province says the first phase of its vaccination drive, currently slated to last until the end of March, targets residents and staff of long-term and community care, as well as health-care workers with direct patient contact at higher risk of COVID-19 exposure. Those 80 and older, adults in Indigenous communities, and truck drivers and other rotational workers are also included. The next phase, which is scheduled to begin in April, will target those above 70 and essential workers. The province intends to make the vaccine available to everyone in late summer and fall. --- New Brunswick The province is also focusing on vaccinating those living in long-term care homes, health-care workers with direct patient contact, adults in First Nations communities and older New Brunswickers in the first phase, which lasts until at least March. The next phase is scheduled to begin in the spring and includes residents and staff of communal settings, other health-care workers including pharmacists, first responders and critical infrastructure employees. The government website says once the vaccine supply is continuous and in large enough quantities, the entire population will be offered the shots. --- Quebec Quebec started vaccinating older seniors on Monday, after a first phase that focused largely on health-care workers, remote communities and long-term care. In Montreal, mass vaccine sites including the Olympic Stadium opened their doors to the public as the province began inoculating seniors who live in the hard-hit city. The government announced last week it would begin booking appointments for those aged 85 and up across the province, but that age limit has since dropped to 70 in some regions, including Montreal. The province says the vaccination of children and pregnant women will be determined based on future studies of vaccine safety and efficacy in those populations. --- Ontario The province began vaccinating people with the highest priority, including those in long-term care, high-risk retirement home residents, certain classes of health-care workers and people who live in congregate care settings. Several regions in Ontario moved ahead Monday with their plans to vaccinate the general public, while others used their own systems to allow residents aged 80 and older to schedule appointments. Toronto also began vaccinating members of its police force Monday after the province identified front-line officers as a priority group. Constables and sergeants who respond to emergency calls where medical assistance may be required are now included in the ongoing first phase of Ontario's vaccine rollout, a spokeswoman for the force said. A day earlier, Toronto said the province expanded the first phase of its vaccination drive to include residents experiencing homelessness. The provincial government has said it aims to begin vaccinating Ontarians aged 80 and older starting the week of March 15, the same day it plans to launch its vaccine booking system, which will offer a service desk and online portal. It has said the vaccine rollout will look different in each of its 34 public health units. When asked about the lack of provincewide cohesion, Health Minister Christine Elliott said that public health units know their regions best and that's why they have been given responsibility to set the pace locally. --- Manitoba Manitoba is starting to vaccinate people in the general population. Appointments are now available for most people aged 94 and up, or 74 and up for First Nations people. Until now, vaccines have been directed to certain groups such as health-care workers and people in personal care homes. Health officials plan to reduce the age minimum, bit by bit, over the coming months. Dr. Joss Reimer, medical lead of the province's vaccine task force, has said inoculations could be open to all adults in the province by August if supplies are steady. --- Saskatchewan The province is still in the first phase of its vaccination rollout, which reserves doses for long-term care residents and staff, health-care workers at elevated risk of COVID-19 exposure, seniors over the age of 70 and anyone 50 or older living in a remote area. In all, nearly 400,000 doses are required to finish this stage. The next phase will be focused on vaccinating the general population by age. It hopes to begin its mass vaccination campaign by April, but there if there isn’t enough supply that could be pushed back to June. Saskatchewan will begin immunizing the general population in 10-year increments, starting with those 60 to 69. Also included in this age group will be people living in emergency shelters, individuals with intellectual disabilities in care homes and people who are medically vulnerable. Police, corrections staff and teachers are among the front-line workers not prioritized for early access to shots. The government says supply is scarce. --- Alberta Alberta is now offering vaccines to anyone born in 1946 or earlier, a group representing some 230,000 people. Appointments are being offered through an online portal and the 811 Health Link phone line. Shots are also being offered to this cohort at more than 100 pharmacies in Calgary, Red Deer and Edmonton starting in early March and the government has said there are also plans to include doctors’ offices. Health Minister Tyler Shandro has said all eligible seniors should have their first shots by the end of March. But he said Monday that the province will not give Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine to anyone over the age of 65 after the National Advisory Committee on Immunization expressed concerned there is limited data on how well it will work in older populations. The first phase of the vaccine rollout also included anyone over 65 who lives in a First Nations or Metis community, various front-line health care workers, paramedics and emergency medical responders. Phase 2 of the rollout, to begin in April, is to start with those 65 and up, Indigenous people older than 50 and staff and residents of licensed supportive living seniors’ facilities not previously included. --- British Columbia British Columbia will extend the time between the first and second doses of COVID-19 vaccines to four months so all adults could get their initial shot by the end of July. Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says evidence from the province and around the world shows protection of at least 90 per cent from the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines. The province launched the second phase of its immunization campaign Monday and health authorities will begin contacting residents and staff of independent living centres, those living in seniors' supportive housing as well as homecare support clients and staff. Seniors aged 90 and up can call to make their appointment starting next Monday, followed a week later by those aged 85 and over, and a week after that by those 80 and up. Henry also says first responders and essential workers may be eligible to get vaccinated starting in April as the province also decides on a strategy for the newly authorized AstraZeneca vaccine. --- Nunavut The territory says it expects enough vaccines for 75 per cent of its population over the age of 18. After a COVID-19 vaccine is administered, patients will be tracked to ensure they are properly notified to receive their second dose. Nunavut's priority populations are being vaccinated first. They include residents of shelters, people ages 60 years and up, staff and inmates and correctional facilities, first responders and front-line health-care staff. --- Northwest Territories The Northwest Territories its priority groups — such as people over 60, front-line health workers and those living in remote communities — are being vaccinated The territory says it expects to vaccine the rest of its adult population starting this month. --- Yukon Yukon says it will receive enough vaccine to immunize 75 per cent of its adult population by the end of March. Priority for vaccinations has been given to residents and staff in long-term care homes, group homes and shelters, as well as health-care workers and personal support workers. People over the age of 80 who are not living in long-term care, and those living in rural and remote communities, including Indigenous Peoples, are also on the priority list for shots. --- This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 2, 2021. The Canadian Press
OTTAWA — A majority of Canadians believe Ottawa will follow through on its plan to provide enough COVID-19 vaccine doses for everyone who wants a shot by the fall, a new poll suggests. Fifty-six per cent of respondents are confident the federal government can buy enough vaccine to ensure inoculation for those who seek it by September, according to an online survey by Léger and the Association for Canadian Studies. Canadians on both coasts and in Quebec were optimistic about their provinces' rollout plans as well as that of the feds. Respondents in Ontario and the Prairies were more skeptical, with just one in three Albertans expressing faith in their government's delivery scheme. The poll also found that most residents are in no rush to lift anti-pandemic lockdowns, with two-thirds saying restrictions should remain at least until half the population is immunized. Léger executive vice-president Christian Bourque says the ramp-up in vaccine shipments last week likely brightened Canadians' views of federal distribution efforts. Only two weeks ago, 69 per cent of respondents blamed Ottawa rather than provincial governments for delays in vaccine delivery, Léger found. "There’s been a bit of a change over the past couple of weeks," Bourque said in an interview. "The news we got about the doses coming in from Pfizer and the new doses acquired from (Moderna) plus the fact that we approved AstraZeneca … all of these elements together have actually had some positive influence on Canadians’ confidence that we will get vaccinated before the deadline that the federal government set for itself." Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has repeatedly promised to secure enough doses to immunize all willing Canadians by the end of September. The Public Health Agency of Canada is currently expecting delivery of about 445,000 doses of various vaccines this week, following last week’s record high of 640,000 doses in a seven-day period. It's unclear when the first doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine — approved by the public-health agency on Friday — will arrive in the country, but a senior government official told The Canadian Press on background the first doses could land as early as mid-week, boosting the total. Now, attention turns to the provinces as shipments start to pour in and provincial administration is put to the test. Despite the challenges of ongoing public health restrictions, the more prudent strain of Canada's national character is visible behind the responses to the Léger survey, Bourque suggested. "The majority of Canadians are extremely careful about what should happen and when, depending on the pace at which we vaccinate," he said, referring to lockdown lifts. "Basically, there’s no rush." This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 2, 2021. Christopher Reynolds, The Canadian Press
YANGON, Myanmar — Police in Myanmar repeatedly used tear gas and rubber bullets Tuesday against crowds protesting last month's coup, but the demonstrators regrouped after each volley and tried to defend themselves with barricades as standoffs between protesters and security forces intensified. Myanmar authorities have escalated their crackdown on the protests in recent days, making mass arrests and firing into the crowds. The United Nations said it believed at least 18 people were killed on Sunday by security forces. Foreign ministers from Southeast Asian countries were meeting Tuesday to discuss the increasingly volatile crisis. Despite the crackdown, demonstrators have continued to flood the streets — and are beginning to more rigorously resist attempts to disperse them. Hundreds, many wearing construction helmets and carrying makeshift shields, gathered in Myanmar's largest city of Yangon, where a day earlier police had fired repeated rounds of tear gas. They dragged bamboo poles and debris to form barricades, chanted slogans and sang songs at the police lines. They even threw banana skins onto the road in front of them in a bid to slow any police rush. The mainly young demonstrators fled in panic each time tear gas canisters were fired but soon returned to their barricades. Videos posted on social media showed similar chaotic scenes in the Insein neighbourhood of northern Yangon. Protesters also took up their flags and banners to march through the streets of Dawei, a small city in southeastern Myanmar that has seen almost daily large demonstrations against the coup. One group of demonstrators was targeted by the security forces as it entered a narrow street on its way to pay respects at the house of a man killed in Sunday’s crackdown. Another was attacked on the main street in the city’s centre. Yangon and Dawei were among the cities where security forces reportedly fired live ammunition into crowds Sunday, according to the U.N. Human Rights Office. There were reports that they also fired live rounds Tuesday, but they could not immediately be confirmed. Some fear the junta’s escalating use of force is meant to provoke a violent backlash by the demonstrators — who have largely remained nonviolent — in order to discredit them and justify an even harsher crackdown. Videos from recent days show a greater number of protesters trying to stand their ground and throw objects at the police. “I beg the people in Myanmar not to fall in this trap, so to stay peaceful,” U.N. Special Envoy on Myanmar Christine Schraner Burgener said in interview with CNN, acknowledging that it was easier for her, safely away from the violence, to urge peaceful protesting. She also accused the authorities of spreading rumours about the conditions of people in detention to stir up even more anger on the streets. The Feb. 1 coup reversed years of slow progress toward democracy in Myanmar after five decades of military rule. It came the day a newly elected Parliament was supposed to take office. Ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party would have been installed for a second five-year term, but instead she was detained along with President Win Myint and other senior officials. The military government has charged Suu Kyi, 75, with several offences that critics say are trumped up merely to keep her jailed and potentially prevent her from participating in the election promised in a year’s time by the military. Her party says it does not know where Suu Kyi — who has a long history of campaigning for democracy in Myanmar — is being held. The weekend crackdown drew international condemnation. In addition to the use of force, authorities also detained more than 1,000 people over the weekend, according to the independent Assistance Association for Political Prisoners. Those detained included at least eight journalists, among them Thein Zaw of The Associated Press. U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called the use of force and arbitrary arrests “unacceptable,” according to his spokesperson. The U.S., British and other governments issued similar statements of concern. But the military has showed no sign of backing down. The protesters and their supporters have appealed for help from abroad, but there are few prospects for major intervention. The results of Tuesday's special meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, held by video conference because of the coronavirus pandemic, were expected to be announced in the evening. But the 10-nation regional group's policy of seeking a consensus among its members makes it unlikely to take strong action. The U.N.’s independent expert on human rights in Myanmar, Tom Andrews, has proposed that countries could institute a global embargo on the sale of arms to Myanmar and “tough, targeted and co-ordinated sanctions” against those responsible for the coup, the crackdown and other rights abuses. But any kind of co-ordinated action at the United Nations would be difficult since two permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, China and Russia, would almost certainly veto it. Some countries have imposed or are considering imposing their own sanctions. ___ Associated Press writers Niniek Karmini in Jakarta, Indonesia, and Eileen Ng in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, contributed to this report. The Associated Press
Alibaba and Ant Group founder Jack Ma has lost the title of China's richest man, a list published on Tuesday showed, as his peers prospered while his empire was put under heavy scrutiny by Chinese regulators. Ma and his family had held the top spot for China's richest in the Hurun Global Rich List in 2020 and 2019 but now trail in fourth place behind bottled water maker Nongfu Spring's Zhong Shanshan, Tencent Holding's Pony Ma and e-commerce upstart Pinduoduo's Collin Huang, the latest list showed.
The latest numbers on COVID-19 vaccinations in Canada as of 4 a.m. ET on Tuesday, March 2, 2021. In Canada, the provinces are reporting 66,691 new vaccinations administered for a total of 1,949,643 doses given. The provinces have administered doses at a rate of 5,144.275 per 100,000. There were 500 new vaccines delivered to the provinces and territories for a total of 2,442,170 doses delivered so far. The provinces and territories have used 79.83 per cent of their available vaccine supply. Please note that Newfoundland, P.E.I., Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and the territories typically do not report on a daily basis. Newfoundland is reporting 3,827 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 20,285 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 38.739 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Newfoundland for a total of 33,820 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 6.5 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 59.98 per cent of its available vaccine supply. P.E.I. is reporting 1,485 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 12,176 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 76.758 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to P.E.I. for a total of 14,715 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 9.3 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 82.75 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Nova Scotia is reporting 5,335 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 32,856 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 33.667 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Nova Scotia for a total of 61,980 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 6.4 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 53.01 per cent of its available vaccine supply. New Brunswick is reporting 7,424 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 33,741 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 43.255 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to New Brunswick for a total of 46,775 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 6.0 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 72.13 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Quebec is reporting 6,560 new vaccinations administered for a total of 438,815 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 51.284 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Quebec for a total of 537,825 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 6.3 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 81.59 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Ontario is reporting 17,424 new vaccinations administered for a total of 704,695 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 47.974 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Ontario for a total of 903,285 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 6.1 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 78.01 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Manitoba is reporting 1,222 new vaccinations administered for a total of 76,670 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 55.679 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Manitoba for a total of 108,460 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 7.9 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 70.69 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Saskatchewan is reporting 1,063 new vaccinations administered for a total of 79,289 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 67.242 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Saskatchewan for a total of 74,605 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 6.3 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 106.3 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Alberta is reporting 7,830 new vaccinations administered for a total of 235,508 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 53.50 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Alberta for a total of 274,965 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 6.2 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 85.65 per cent of its available vaccine supply. British Columbia is reporting 23,308 new vaccinations administered for a total of 275,681 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 53.722 per 1,000. There were 500 new vaccines delivered to British Columbia for a total of 323,840 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 6.3 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 85.13 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Yukon is reporting 897 new vaccinations administered for a total of 16,071 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 385.109 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Yukon for a total of 18,900 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 45 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 85.03 per cent of its available vaccine supply. The Northwest Territories are reporting zero new vaccinations administered for a total of 16,454 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 364.68 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to the Northwest Territories for a total of 19,100 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 42 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 86.15 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Nunavut is reporting 126 new vaccinations administered for a total of 7,402 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 191.138 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Nunavut for a total of 23,900 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 62 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 30.97 per cent of its available vaccine supply. *Notes on data: The figures are compiled by the COVID-19 Open Data Working Group based on the latest publicly available data and are subject to change. Note that some provinces report weekly, while others report same-day or figures from the previous day. Vaccine doses administered is not equivalent to the number of people inoculated as the approved vaccines require two doses per person. The vaccines are currently not being administered to children under 18 and those with certain health conditions. In some cases the number of doses administered may appear to exceed the number of doses distributed as some provinces have been drawing extra doses per vial. This report was automatically generated by The Canadian Press Digital Data Desk and was first published March 2, 2021. The Canadian Press
British Columbia will delay giving people their second dose of COVID-19 vaccine up to four months in order to vaccinate more people sooner. While some say the decision is ‘risky,’ Dr. Bonnie Henry says data shows people have strong protection for several months after the initial dose.
The latest numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Canada as of 4 a.m. ET on Tuesday, March 2, 2021. There are 870,033 confirmed cases in Canada. _ Canada: 870,033 confirmed cases (30,430 active, 817,586 resolved, 22,017 deaths).*The total case count includes 13 confirmed cases among repatriated travellers. There were 2,559 new cases Monday. The rate of active cases is 80.07 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 20,525 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 2,932. There were 23 new reported deaths Monday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 295 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 42. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.11 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 57.93 per 100,000 people. There have been 24,545,470 tests completed. _ Newfoundland and Labrador: 989 confirmed cases (240 active, 743 resolved, six deaths). There were two new cases Monday. The rate of active cases is 45.97 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 50 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is seven. There were zero new reported deaths Monday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of two new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is zero. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.05 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 1.15 per 100,000 people. There have been 197,997 tests completed. _ Prince Edward Island: 132 confirmed cases (18 active, 114 resolved, zero deaths). There were no new cases Monday. The rate of active cases is 11.28 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 17 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is two. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is zero per 100,000 people. There have been 103,458 tests completed. _ Nova Scotia: 1,642 confirmed cases (35 active, 1,542 resolved, 65 deaths). There was one new case Monday. The rate of active cases is 3.57 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there has been 32 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is five. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 6.64 per 100,000 people. There have been 334,183 tests completed. _ New Brunswick: 1,431 confirmed cases (37 active, 1,367 resolved, 27 deaths). There was one new case Monday. The rate of active cases is 4.73 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there has been seven new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is one. There were no new reported deaths Monday. Over the past seven days there has been one new reported death. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is zero. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.02 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 3.46 per 100,000 people. There have been 237,242 tests completed. _ Quebec: 288,353 confirmed cases (7,590 active, 270,364 resolved, 10,399 deaths). There were 613 new cases Monday. The rate of active cases is 88.52 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 5,426 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 775. There were six new reported deaths Monday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 82 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 12. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.14 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 121.28 per 100,000 people. There have been 6,302,949 tests completed. _ Ontario: 301,839 confirmed cases (10,570 active, 284,283 resolved, 6,986 deaths). There were 1,023 new cases Monday. The rate of active cases is 71.74 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 7,695 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 1,099. There were six new reported deaths Monday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 114 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 16. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.11 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 47.41 per 100,000 people. There have been 10,898,699 tests completed. _ Manitoba: 31,894 confirmed cases (1,171 active, 29,827 resolved, 896 deaths). There were 35 new cases Monday. The rate of active cases is 84.9 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 419 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 60. There was one new reported death Monday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 10 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is one. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.1 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 64.96 per 100,000 people. There have been 532,555 tests completed. _ Saskatchewan: 28,801 confirmed cases (1,551 active, 26,865 resolved, 385 deaths). There were 154 new cases Monday. The rate of active cases is 131.59 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 1,004 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 143. There were zero new reported deaths Monday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 13 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is two. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.16 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 32.66 per 100,000 people. There have been 575,410 tests completed. _ Alberta: 133,795 confirmed cases (4,674 active, 127,233 resolved, 1,888 deaths). There were 291 new cases Monday. The rate of active cases is 105.7 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 2,459 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 351. There were two new reported deaths Monday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 45 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is six. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.15 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 42.7 per 100,000 people. There have been 3,403,106 tests completed. _ British Columbia: 80,672 confirmed cases (4,533 active, 74,776 resolved, 1,363 deaths). There were 438 new cases Monday. The rate of active cases is 88.06 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 3,409 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 487. There were eight new reported deaths Monday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 28 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is four. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.08 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 26.48 per 100,000 people. There have been 1,928,448 tests completed. _ Yukon: 72 confirmed cases (zero active, 71 resolved, one death). There were no new cases Monday. There have been no new cases over the past seven days. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 2.38 per 100,000 people. There have been 8,168 tests completed. _ Northwest Territories: 42 confirmed cases (three active, 39 resolved, zero deaths). There were no new cases Monday. The rate of active cases is 6.64 per 100,000 people. There have been no new cases over the past seven days. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is zero per 100,000 people. There have been 14,519 tests completed. _ Nunavut: 358 confirmed cases (eight active, 349 resolved, one death). There was one new case Monday. The rate of active cases is 20.33 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there has been seven new case. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is one. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 2.54 per 100,000 people. There have been 8,660 tests completed. This report was automatically generated by The Canadian Press Digital Data Desk and was first published March 2, 2021. The Canadian Press
Mikhail Gorbachev, the last Soviet leader, was set to throw a Zoom party in quarantine to celebrate his 90th birthday on Tuesday, as President Vladimir Putin hailed him as an "outstanding statesman" who influenced the course of history. Gorbachev, who championed arms control and democracy-oriented reforms as Soviet leader in the 1980s, is widely credited with helping end the Cold War. His critics in Russia blame him for what they regard as the unnecessary and painful breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991.
Wall Street ended lower on Tuesday, pulled down by Apple and Tesla, while materials stocks climbed as investors waited for the U.S. Congress to approve another stimulus package. Volume on U.S. exchanges was 12.3 billion shares, compared with the 14.9 billion average for the full session over the last 20 trading days.
Islanders eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine can now book appointments online through Skip the Waiting Room. The P.E.I.-based company said it has secured a contract with the province to help provide more efficient access during the pandemic. "We saw reports of people waiting in a car for 8 hours to get testing done," said CEO and co-founder Mark Richardson. "COVID seemed like a great fit for me, so I started rattling the chains that I could rattle and said: 'As an Islander and a business, we'd love to help out with this.'" The company was born five years ago after Richardson found himself sitting in the waiting room at a walk-in clinic — for four and a half hours. "I thought to myself: 'There's got to be a better way to do this.'" 'I had seen some of the frustration and seen some of the lineups at the testing centres,' says Mark Richardson, the CEO and co-founder of Skip the Waiting Room. From there, the online site and app were created, giving others the option of pre-booking appointments to reduce time spent lingering in clinics. So far, Richardson said around 60,000 people have used the service for walk-in care on the Island. "I think every Canadian understands the frustration and wasted time of sitting in a waiting room or trying to get through a phone line." Now, in addition to becoming available to other provinces, Richardson said the company has expanded on P.E.I. to areas like internal medicine, MRI appointments and mammography appointments. Meeting an urgent timeline For those looking to book online before heading into a walk-in clinic, there is a fee of $5. But because of the terms of his contract with the P.E.I government, Richardson says it's free to schedule provincial services such as COVID-19 vaccines. I'm sure it will get a little bit more hectic when we get to the general announcement or the general population. - Mark Richardson, Skip the Waiting Room A statement from Health P.E.I said it entered into a short-term agreement with Skip the Waiting Room after it was identified as the only option available to "meet the urgent timelines to launch an online scheduling system to support COVID vaccine delivery." According to the statement, all safeguards outlined under the P.E.I Health Information Act are being maintained. "We had to jump through a lot of privacy hoops and some threat-risk assessments and all those things," said Richardson. "It was an extensive process but I'm glad to be on the other side of it." 'Going to do our best' Richardson said he doesn't know the exact number of people who have used the company to book vaccines so far — but he said he does expect it to increase. "I'm sure it will get a little bit more hectic when we get to the general announcement or the general population," he said. "I know people will be very eager to get their vaccine, as I am." For now, Richardson said, the company is spending time making improvements so that when Islanders do reach out to book virtually, Skip the Waiting Room is ready. "We might be able to book, you know, thousands of people a day, 24/7," he said. "We're working our best to make sure that there will be no hiccups. "No promises, but we're certainly going to do our best." More from CBC P.E.I.
LIVERPOOL, England — Ian St. John, a Liverpool great who scored the winning goal to give the club its first FA Cup title and was a key player in the rebuild under Bill Shankly in the 1960s, has died. He was 82. St. John died Monday following a long illness, his family said in a statement released by Liverpool on Tuesday. St. John, a Scotland international who later fronted the popular British TV show “Saint and Greavsie” alongside another former player, Jimmy Greaves, played 425 games for Liverpool from 1961-71 and scored 118 goals. No goal was more important than the one he scored in extra time to clinch a 2-1 win for Liverpool over Leeds in the 1965 FA Cup final. St. John joined for a club-record fee from Scottish team Motherwell while Liverpool was in the second division and, alongside Ron Yeats, was part of the spine of a team which earned promotion under Shankly then won the English league title in 1964 and '66. Liverpool called St. John a “legend” and described his FA Cup final winner against Leeds as “one of the most iconic goals in Liverpool's history." “One of the players along with Bill Shankly who made this club what it is today,” former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher wrote on Twitter. St. John, who went on to manage Motherwell and English club Coventry, scored nine goals in 21 appearances for Scotland's national team. “A fantastic guy,” said Steven Gerrard, a former Liverpool midfielder who currently manages Scottish club Rangers. “Really insightful in terms of his career and experience at Liverpool and trying to pass on a lot of knowledge and expertise.” ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Associated Press
EDMONTON — Asmaa Ali says slurs about her hijab and the colour of her skin have become so frequent she doesn't report them to police anymore. Whether she's running errands or on her way to work as a nurse at an Edmonton hospital, the 23-year-old Somali-Canadian says she's always looking over her shoulder. She and several other Black and Muslim women in her life are feeling more frightened in public, she says, because of an increasing number of assaults. Five Somali-Canadian women, all wearing hijabs, have been attacked or threatened in Edmonton in the last 10 weeks. "I've always been hyper-vigilant in public spaces because of my identity. But hearing about these attacks has made me more anxious and aware of my surroundings." Ali says she also has been assaulted in the past, but is too traumatized to reveal details. Avoiding public transit, not running errands alone and self-defence classes are all things she says she and her female friends and family are considering. Edmonton's Al-Rashid Mosque began offering Muslim women self-defence lessons following the recent attacks. The classes are full. Ali says the number of hate crimes reported to Alberta's police forces are not reflective of the increasing number of people approaching her with their stories of assaults. "It makes me enraged," she says. "Most of my visibly Muslim friends and family members have a story of some kind of Islamophobia. The general public hears about this through the media, while our reality is that these are our sisters and our mothers." Trent Daley is a member of Edmonton's Anti-Racism Advisory Committee. He says someone approaches him or his network on a weekly basis about an assault. Most victims are Black and Muslim women. "There's been a notable marked increase (in assaults) following the pandemic. It's so pervasive right now," Daley says. "It's full of racial epithets, full of disgusting language targeting them based off the scarf that they wear and the identity they presumed that this person has. It's dehumanizing." Calgary police say they received 80 hate crime complaints between January and November 2020. Cheryl Voordenhout with the Edmonton Police Service says it received 60 reports of hate crimes last year. So far in 2021, three of seven hate-crime-related investigations have involved Somali-Muslim women. On Dec. 8, a mother and daughter were violently attacked in the Southgate mall parking lot. A week later, near the same mall, another woman was subject to racial slurs as someone tried to hit her head with a shopping bag. In February, a man made racial comments and became aggressive toward a woman at the University of Alberta transit centre. The same day, a man came up behind a woman walking in a popular neighbourhood, pushed her to the ground and made threats to kill her and tear off her burqa. The latest attack happened Feb. 17. The National Council of Canadian Muslims said a man approached a Black Muslim woman wearing a hijab at the Century Park transit station, swore at her and threatened to kill her. Political leaders, including Premier Jason Kenney, have spoken out against the attacks. But the CEO of the national Muslims council says condemnation is not enough. Mustafa Farooq says Alberta's government is turning a blind eye to an environment in which the region's racialized communities are being cast out. "Anti-Black racism is a real problem in Alberta," he says. "Black-Muslim women tend to face greater challenges than almost anyone else, because racism and gendered Islamophobia are real problems. "We can look, for example, at street harassment bylaws. We can look at ways in which anti-racism initiatives are being funded. We can look at hate crime units and their advocacy in dealing with these challenges," Farooq says. "So much can be done immediately, but it's not happening." Daley adds that recent rallies and marches in Edmonton and Calgary in opposition to COVID-19 measures are examples of how the pandemic has exacerbated racism in Alberta. Some participants were seen carrying tiki torches, which many say are a symbol used by white supremacists. Ali says the Muslim community needs support from leaders and neighbours. "It's widely researched that repeatedly experiencing racism ... causes worse health outcomes for communities of colour. In a pandemic that's brought so many of our inequalities to the forefront, these (attacks) are only making it worse," she says. "Every single time we hear that yet another woman has been attacked, we hold our breath and call our family and friends." This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 2, 2021 ___ This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship. Fakiha Baig, The Canadian Press
The Montreal Port Authority has the green light to build a new container port terminal in Contrecœur, about 50 kilometres east of downtown Montreal. Environment and Climate Change Minister Jonathan Wilkinson approved the project on Monday. "Through project assessments based on science and consultations with Indigenous peoples and the public, we are able to protect our water and air, while supporting our communities," Wilkinson says in a statement. The assessment concluded that the project is not likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects when mitigation measures are taken into account, the statement says. The Montreal Port Authority estimates that the project will generate about 5,000 jobs during the construction phase and more than 1,000 direct jobs during the operation phase, the statement says. The container port terminal will have a maximum annual capacity of 1.15 million containers. The project will also include a features such as a seven-track classification yard, a container storage and handling area and rail and road accesses. The Société de développement économique du Saint-Laurent (SODES) says the project will consolidate maritime expertise while making the St. Lawrence Seaway more competitive. Wilkinson's approval was the last step of many in getting the project authorized, and now the port authority is ready to make a call for tenders with an aim to get the facility operational by 2024. In a statement, Martin Imbleau, president and CEO of the port authority, said the project will be a "key public utility for the development of Quebec and Canada." Wilkinson's decision was also the last hope of environmentalists who, in recent decades, have raised a number of concerns about the consequences of the project on the fauna and flora nearby. The area includes the copper redhorse, an endangered fish, and the western chorus frog, whose population is declining. However, there are 330 legally binding conditions that the developer must respect throughout the life of the project, Wilkinson's statement says, and those conditions will help protect human health, fish, migratory birds, wetlands and the use of the land by First Nations people. On Monday, the non-profit environmental group SNAP Québec blasted the minister's "unacceptable" decision. "We will use all legal means needed to make sure the Species at Risk Act is respected," the group stated on social media. The Montreal Port Authority already has 19 terminals, including one in Contrecœur. Since the 1950s, solid bulk has been unloaded there, to supply, among other things, the steel industry. The additional container terminal will be able to accommodate two freighters at a time. It will be built one kilometre upstream from the bulk terminal, near Verchères.
TORONTO — George Weston Ltd. reported its fourth-quarter profit fell compared with a year ago as it was hit by one-time charges. The company, which operates through Loblaw, Choice Properties and Weston Foods, says it earned a profit available to common shareholders of $289 million or $1.88 per diluted share for the quarter ended Dec. 31. The result was down from a profit of $433 million or $2.81 per diluted share a year earlier. However, on an adjusted basis, George Weston says it earned $2.03 per diluted share, up from an adjusted profit of $1.69 per diluted share in the fourth quarter of 2019. Revenue for the fourth quarter of 2020, which included 13 weeks, totalled $13.81 billion, up from $12.11 billion a year earlier when George Weston's fourth quarter only had 12 weeks. Analysts on average had expected an adjusted profit of $1.89 per share and $14.06 billion in revenue, according to financial data firm Refinitiv. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 2, 2021. Companies in this story: (TSX:WN, TSX:L, TSX:CHP.UN) The Canadian Press
Although difficult months remain ahead — especially for poorer countries lacking the resources to buy vaccines — the end of the coronavirus pandemic in the developed world is now in sight. Virus variants remain an unpredictable element but trendlines suggest that the great majority of deaths anticipated in developed countries due to the COVID-19 pandemic have occurred already. The range of impacts on different countries can be seen in the statistics as the first full year of the pandemic draws to a close. These statistics show how Canada has fared compared to the five other Western members of the G7: the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, France and Italy. The numbers do not explain why one country did better than another — whether it was the policies of the national government, the actions of local governments, the foresight of its health authorities or the nature of its society and the behaviour of its people. When historians look back on this pandemic, the first yardstick they'll apply to measure its severity is, of course, the number of people it killed. How bad did it get? The United States is now coming down from its third wave of COVID infections. Canada has only had two so far. The peak came at different times in different places — but each of the six countries in this comparison experienced one week that was worse than any other. In France and Italy, the pandemic peaked in November 2020, but in North America and the U.K. the first two weeks of 2021 were the worst. On January 8, Canada reported a single-day record of 9,214 new cases. The following day, the U.S. reported a single-day record of 315,106 new cases. A health care worker walks through the post-vaccine waiting area at a mass COVID-19 vaccination clinic for Peel Region in Mississauga, Ont., on Monday, March 1, 2021. The peak of intensity is measured here by the highest recorded daily caseload, per capita. At the pandemic's height in the U.K., U.S. and France, COVID-19 was infecting almost one person in a thousand every day. In Canada, that number never reached one in 4,000. Canada had the least intense pandemic of the six. Immunizations vs infections Vaccinations are the magic bullet that will end this pandemic. Some countries have done far better than others in administering them. The U.K.'s vaccination effort started strong and stayed that way. Germany and the U.S. showed steady increases week over week. France was slow to start but soon caught up. Italy and Canada faltered and lost ground. But vaccinations don't tell the whole story. Vaccines entered the picture as much of the western world was racing to get ahead of a new wave of infections. Canada placed last among this group of nations in terms of doses per capita. But it also has posted the lowest per capita caseloads through 2021. The U.K. was the undisputed winner of the vaccine race but posted the worst per capita caseloads and death rates of the six. And the nation with the second-best record on vaccinations — the U.S. — had the second-worst caseloads. If this analysis had included the one non-Western member of the G7, Japan, that inversion would be even more extreme. Japan has only one-eighth the death rate of Canada, but Canada has vaccinated about 300 times as many people as Japan on a per capita basis. Given this strange inversion, how should we measure each nation's overall performance? The next graph attempts to do that by dividing each nation's total number of vaccines administered, week over week, by the number of new cases it recorded in the same week, to give an overall score — call it the "O Factor" — that may offer a clearer picture of how much progress each country has made so far in 2021. The O Factor penalizes countries for failing to control infections in the present, but gives credit for the future caseload reductions they can expect to achieve by getting needles in arms now. The damage to economies Historians will one day study the pandemic's social and economic effects. Some of those effects aren't clear yet. By killing a vast number of European peasants, the Black Death transformed the labour market, allowing workers to demand more for their work and ultimately helping to free them from feudalism. Perhaps this (far less apocalyptic) pandemic will free workers from the bondage of commuting and cubicles. Whatever changes it leaves in its wake, it's clear the economic blow of the pandemic has not fallen evenly on all nations. The six countries we're comparing here have taken different approaches to pandemic-related shutdowns and layoffs. Some (such as Canada) went big on public spending, while others held back. And some countries will struggle more than others with the debts they have accumulated. Some countries' measures, such as Canada's, were directed more toward items that appear in the budget (tax forgiveness or direct expenditures such as the Canada emergency response benefit) while others such as Italy kept most of their interventions off their budget bottom line (through measures such as loans to industry, or the purchase of an equity share in Alitalia). All six of the nations measured here saw nearly unprecedented spikes in the number of unemployment claims as the pandemic took hold. But some were hit harder than others and some bounced back faster than others. The graphs shown here only offer snapshots of a pandemic that isn't over yet. Although immunization appears to offer a path out of this global disaster, new mutations and new variants have the potential to delay that. Unless Canada can improve its vaccination performance, other countries probably will be quicker to bend their rates of death and hospitalizations downward, closing a gap that currently favours Canada. But the numbers suggest that one thing won't change: when compared with its peers in Europe and North America, Canada's pandemic experience has been less intense — and less deadly.
A group of people living in Lanark County are calling for changes to the Ottawa Valley Recreation Trail that would see snowmobiles and all other motorized traffic redirected elsewhere because of excessive speeding. David Frisch, spokesperson for the group Lanark Residents for Safe Trails, said the creation of a recreational trail "where you put passive users and motorized users [side-by-side] is a recipe for disaster." The call for change comes after a collision between a snowmobile and a pedestrian last week on the trail, one that sent the pedestrian to hospital with serious injuries. Frisch said members of the group have witnessed numerous instances of snowmobiles going well above the speed limit and other times driving straight through stop signs. "It seems it's treated like an open drag strip. Like dragway park," Frisch said. Get motorized vehicles off trail, says group Over the years, several members of the group who live along the trail have taken it upon themselves to track the speeds snowmobilers reach. They do this by using cameras on separate properties and calculating how long it takes to travel between the two. Frisch said during one weekend in January, the group calculated the speed of more than 650 drivers. They found that 80 per cent of snowmobilers were going faster than the speed limit of 20 km/h. The majority were going 40 km/h, he said, with some reaching up to 100 km/h. "Sooner or later, someone's going to get hurt or killed," said Frisch. "It's absolutely inappropriate to have that kind of traffic traveling cheek-by-jowl with pedestrians, and in a populated area with numerous intersections and stop signs and [children]." 16 warnings issued this year Const. Joe Tereschuk with the Ontario Provincial Police's Carleton Place detachment said his unit is aware of complaints of speeding on the trail. So far this year, officers have spent 165 hours patrolling areas of the trail where complaints have been made, Tereschuk said, issuing 16 warnings and charging one driver. "The majority of people are abiding by the rules of the trail and they're riding safely," Tereschuk said, noting there are likely instances of people speeding where OPP aren't patrolling. He said police will continue to monitor the trail and promote messaging around safe driving. "It's not acceptable to drive your machine in a reckless [manner or at an] excessively excessive speed, and it's an easy situation to resolve by everybody just slowing down and running safely," Tereschuk said. Investments in signs, radars and barriers The trail is shared by all of Lanark County and any changes to how it's used would have to be made by all the local councils. Carleton Place Mayor Doug Black, whose community includes part of the trail, said his town council is aware of the speeding issues. "It's a small minority and it's always a small minority we have to address in government," he said. Black said diverting motorized vehicles off the trail isn't on the table right now. He said the town has already made significant investments into making it safer, installing signage, speed radar and a barrier to separate vehicles and pedestrians. "We are continuing to enforce to the best of our ability to make it a safe and pleasant environment for all users," he said.
March has lived up to the old adage — coming in like a lion — after a relatively mild winter that didn't physically arrive until February. Both a snow squall watch and a frostbite advisory were in effect for the nation's capital on the first day of the month. Yet, it follows a late fall and first couple of months of winter that seemed questionable if it was truly the season the calendar displayed. "Some people are going to say this winter was missing in action. Others will say, 'oh my gosh, it was too cold at the end,'" said David Phillips, senior climatologist with Environment and Climate Change Canada. November, December, and January were two to three degrees warmer than normal, until the polar vortex hit last month. Don't write the obituary on winter quite yet. - David Phillips, Environment and Climate Change Canada February temperatures were close to normal — even though the first and last days of the month were above zero. "I give [this winter a] nine out of ten. It was actually ideal," Phillips said. "It wasn't painful or brutal at all and what I think was so interesting is that when you wanted the snow and the cold to freeze things up, it came in February." Ottawa had a few days at the end of January and mid-February where the temperature fell below –20 C, but that's only about a third of the usual three weeks worth the city would normally get in winter, he said. For those who enjoy the cold and snow, winter could not have come soon enough. The Rideau Canal Skateway didn't open until Jan. 28, and closed a mere 26 days later. One thing this winter did lack — and something most people were likely happy to live without in the dead of winter — was rain. Phillips said Ottawa normally sees about 45 millimetres of rain in January and February, but only saw about one millimetre, at least until Sunday. Looking north on Ottawa's Rideau Canal Skateway toward the Château Laurier and Shaw Centre in February 2021. The canal was open a mere 26 days this winter. The warmer winter was also helpful during the COVID-19 pandemic, he said. "I think this winter was particularly good for getting out and about when you could social distance," Phillips said. "Nature could have been far crueller." March prime maple syrup weather March may indeed bring along more of a chill, at least this week, with overnight lows ranging between –12 and –15 C. Phillips expects most of March to be prime maple syrup weather, with below freezing nights and melting daytime temperatures. This spring could bring ideal weather for maple syrup producers, says Phillips. Despite spring being a few weeks away, he said people shouldn't put away their shovels just yet, because the last month of winter and beginning of spring can also be unpredictable. "Don't write the obituary on winter quite yet ... You still get 50 cm of snow in Ottawa in an average spring."
VANCOUVER — Essential workers who are more likely to contract and transmit COVID-19 should be prioritized for immunization with the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine now that a national panel is not recommending it for seniors, two experts say. Caroline Colijn, a COVID-19 modeler and mathematician at Simon Fraser University, and Horatio Bach, an adjunct professor in the division of infectious diseases at the University of British Columbia, also say the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine could be better promoted by provincial health officials as a strong contender to the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines. The National Advisory Committee on Immunization has recommended that the Oxford-AstraZeneca not be used for people 65 and over due to concern about limited data on how it will work in older populations, even after Health Canada authorized its use last week for all adults. Oxford-AstraZeneca reported about 62 per cent effectiveness at preventing COVID-19 while Pifzer-BioNTech and Moderna have said the efficacy of their vaccines is about 95 per cent. Colijn and Bach say the fact that there have been no hospitalizations from severe illness and no deaths among those using Oxford-AstraZeneca needs to be underscored because people awaiting immunization seem to be fixated on the higher efficacy data for the first two vaccines approved in Canada. "If the AstraZeneca vaccine will prevent you from getting really sick that's still a win for you," Colijn said. "I see this huge, huge benefit of vaccinating young people, particularly people with high contact, essential workers, sooner." The national committee made its recommendation against vaccinating seniors with Oxford-AstraZeneca after several provinces announced their plans Monday to ramp up vaccination programs. However, Health Canada's chief medical adviser, Dr. Supriya Sharma, said after the vaccine was approved last Friday more information is forthcoming showing efficacy may be higher for Oxford-AstraZeneca. Canada has ordered 24 million doses of the vaccine, with most of them expected to arrive from the United States between April and September. British Columbia's provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, said essential workers including first responders, teachers and those who work in poultry factories where outbreaks have occurred may be offered the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine sooner, depending on availability. She said that while people will have limited choice on whether they could wait for the other two vaccines they should take the first vaccine that is offered. Colijn said that's all the more important if the wait for the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines is several weeks or even months off, meaning fewer people would be protected from the virus. She suggested giving people a choice isn't the way to go when it comes to distributing the valuable resource of vaccines. "Maybe it's political, but from a public health standpoint it feels like vaccination is a huge collective benefit," she said. "The more vaccines that we can get out, the more robust we're going to be, the more reopenings we're going to have, the more social and economic activity we're going to enjoy and the less pandemic we're going to have." However, Bach said it would be unethical to not offer people a choice of vaccines in the same way they can make their own decisions on other aspects of their health care, though everyone should take the first vaccine they can get. "I think the way we can attract more people is to tell them that is the reality. And repeat, repeat, repeat that more than likely you're not going to be hospitalized with disease." This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 2, 2021. Camille Bains, The Canadian Press
The past year has fractured our world in countless ways. Now, as people look to pick up the pieces, those managing debt need to account for their position in our uneven economic recovery. In this so-called K-shaped recovery, one part of the population is rebounding quickly while another has a longer, slower path. For example, in January the unemployment rate for whites was 5.7%, compared to 8.6% for Hispanics and 9.2% for Black workers and 6.6% for Asians, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Those who remain unemployed or underemployed might continue to rely on debt to get by. Meanwhile, those whose finances have held steady or improved may be primed to wipe out debt. MANAGING DEBT IN THE BOTTOM HALF Some consumers have had no choice but to rack up debt — including unpaid rent or mortgage, credit card debt and overdue utility bills. If this is your situation, focus on basic needs and paying minimums to avoid collections. — PROTECT THE ESSENTIALS: If you’re among the millions of Americans unable to cover your housing costs right now, take advantage of the eviction moratorium and mortgage relief programs now extended through June 30. Keep an eye out for additional benefits in the COVID-19 relief package being discussed in Washington and call 211 to get connected to local assistance for basic needs like food and shelter. Add transportation, internet and cellphone to your priorities list, too, so you can stay connected to friends and family for help and to hunt for work. “All creditors will make it sounds like they’re the most important ones to get paid,” says Amanda Christensen, a financial coach based in Morgan, Utah. “Housing and transportation have to come to the top of that list and take priority.” — IF NEEDED, LOOK FOR CHEAP CREDIT: If you need to add debt to cover your regular expenses, like groceries and utilities, financial coach Vineet Prasad of Fulton, California, suggests finding the cheapest options. “A revolving credit line on your home equity has a much lower APR than a credit card. Another option is a personal loan at a credit union.” To qualify for a HELOC, you’ll generally need equity of at least 15% of your home’s value. And weigh the risks: HELOCs tend to have adjustable interest rates, which can make them more expensive over time, and your house is at risk of foreclosure if you can’t repay the debt. — FOCUS ON LONG-TERM RECOVERY: Once your situation stabilizes, focus on paying down debt and make savings a priority, too. Consider using a debt payoff calculator that can track your debts and monthly payments. And while you may be tempted to throw all your spare income toward debt payoff, having some cash tucked away can help you weather the next financial crisis. Saving even a small percentage of your income helps, Christensen says: “If you’re not saving anything right now, see if you can get in that 1% to 5% range.” MANAGING DEBT IN THE TOP HALF If your finances held steady or improved over 2020, think about how you can take advantage of your situation, whether through charitable giving or using some of your cash to improve your finances. And if you’re focused on reducing debt, the classic payoff playbook works well: First, take stock of what you owe. Consider using a spreadsheet or online debt tracker to organize your balances. Then choose a payoff strategy, like the debt snowball method where you focus on your smallest debt by paying as much on it as you can while paying minimums on the others. Once it’s paid off, roll the amount you were paying on it into the payment for your next largest debt and so on until you’re completely debt-free. Paying off debt can be a long-haul game. To stay focused, Prasad advises finding someone who can serve as a confidant and provide encouragement. “Getting an accountability partner who is good at managing their money generally can be a huge differentiator with actually following through with your plan and the grind of paying it off over time,” he says. ANYONE CAN HAVE OVERWHELMING DEBT Regardless of your income or employment status, you may have too much debt to realistically pay off with a strategy like debt snowball. If all your monthly debt payments, including housing, total more than 50% of your monthly gross income, you may need to look into debt relief, like a debt management plan at a non-profit credit counselling agency or bankruptcy. The goal is to resolve your debt quickly and in a way that sets you up to meet future financial goals. Otherwise, you may spend years funneling money toward insurmountable debt, sacrificing retirement, an emergency fund and other goals. Bankruptcy in particular may be a good option, as it can help you resolve what you owe in a matter of months instead of years. While bankruptcy filings were down 30% in 2020, according to the American Bankruptcy Institute, that may change in 2021 as consumers’ financial pictures begin to stabilize. To make the most of the fresh start bankruptcy offers, don’t wait so long that you can’t even afford the filing fees. Act when you are in a position to improve your financial situation, says bankruptcy attorney Cathy Moran of Redwood City, California. “When you’ve hit the bottom and things are about to get better, that’s when you want to file,” Moran says. _____________________________ This column was provided to The Associated Press by the personal finance website NerdWallet. Sean Pyles is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @SeanPyles. RELATED LINK: NerdWallet: Pay off debt: tools and tips http://bit.ly/nerdwallet-debt-tools-and-tips Sean Pyles Of Nerdwallet, The Associated Press
CANBERRA, Australia — Police on Tuesday ruled out investigating an unnamed Australian Cabinet minister over an allegation that he raped a 16-year-old girl more than 30 years ago. The decision by New South Wales state police adds pressure on Prime Minister Scott Morrison to establish an independent investigation to examine the accusation. The accusation has created a cloud over the 16 men in Morrison’s 22-minister Cabinet and is feeding complaints of a culture within Parliament that is toxic for women. The rape allegation was contained in an anonymous letter sent to the prime minister’s office and to three female lawmakers last week. The 31-page letter contained a statement from a complainant, taken by her lawyer, that detailed her allegation of a rape she said occurred in Sydney in 1988. The minister had not been elected to Parliament at the time. The letter, which included excerpts from her diary and a photograph of her with her alleged rapist from 1988, was forwarded by the lawmakers and Morrison to police. The woman, who has not been named, took her own life in her hometown of Adelaide in June at the age of 49. Morrison on Monday rejected calls to stand the minister down and to establish an inquiry, saying police should investigate. Police, however, said Tuesday that “there is insufficient admissible evidence to proceed.” Morrison said the minister “vigorously and completely denied the allegations.” But the woman’s lawyer, Michael Bradley, and several critics of the government have called for the minister to step down while an independent inquiry investigates the evidence. Nicholas Cowdery, formerly the chief prosecutor in New South Wales, said the allegation needs to be investigated to give voters confidence in the integrity of those governing them. The accused minister should step down, he said. “When something like this emerges, we need to know what is involved in it, does it disqualify that person from occupying that position and what action should be taken,” Cowdrey told Australian Broadcasting Corp. “The only way to do that is to run an investigation — not a criminal investigation, but an investigation with a political context run maybe by someone like a retired judge.” Barnaby Joyce was deputy prime minister when he ran into political strife in 2018 over revelations that he had impregnated a female staffer, who is now his partner, in an extramarital affair. The final straw in Joyce’s leadership of the Nationals party, the junior coalition partner, came when a woman from outside government accused him of sexual harassment. He quit as leader. Joyce, who remains a government lawmaker, said the 1988 rape allegation should be investigated in private, perhaps by a judge. But he added that the accused minister should not step down because such allegations are “a dangerous arrow that can be fired in all sorts of directions for political purposes.” “I was basically jammed out of a job, to be quite frank,” Joyce said of the sexual harassment complaint against him that was lodged with his party but not with police. “It was used as a mechanism to get me out,” he added, referring to his enemies within his party. The accused minister is also under mounting pressure to make his own identity public. Media have reported that he is expected to go public on Wednesday, but will not step aside. The police decision to drop the investigation comes two weeks after Morrison apologized in Parliament to a former government staffer who alleged she was raped by a more senior colleague in a minister’s office two years ago. Brittany Higgins quit her job in January and reactivated her complaint to police after initially not pursuing the case because she felt it would have affected her employment. The colleague, who has not been named publicly, was fired for breaching security by taking Higgins into a minister’s Parliament House office following a night of heavy drinking. The Associated Press does not usually identify alleged victims of sexual assault, but Higgins has chosen to identify herself in the media. The public disclosure has triggered a flurry of complaints about the behaviour of lawmakers and a toxic work culture within Parliament House. Australian Federal Police Commissioner Reece Kershaw said the man whom Higgins accused of rape would be contacted by police “at the appropriate time.” Rod McGuirk, The Associated Press