The investigation begins in Lytton and new travel rules: In The News for July 5

·6 min read

In The News is a roundup of stories from The Canadian Press designed to kickstart your day. Here is what's on the radar of our editors for the morning of July 5 ...

What we are watching in Canada ...

LYTTON, B.C — Mounties are on the scene in Lytton, B.C., working to determine what caused a fire that destroyed much of the village and left at least two people dead.

Dawn Roberts, the director of communications for the B.C. RCMP, told a news conference yesterday that investigators were able to access the village over the weekend.

"We have no timeline on how long it will take, but it will be thorough. We ask for everyone's patience to allow the investigation the time and space in order to determine the facts," she said.

Premier John Horgan previously said he had heard anecdotal evidence linking the start of the fire to a train running through the community.

Roberts said officers are working to track down witnesses or anyone who may have information about what caused the fire.

Federal Public Safety Minister Bill Blair said in a statement posted to Twitter Sunday that the government has approved a request for assistance from B.C.

More than 100 out of province firefighters are expected to arrive today, with preparations underway to limit any potential COVID-19 exposure.

There are 174 active fires across the province, with dozens starting in the past 24 hours.

An evacuation order remains in place for more than 100 homes 40 kilometres southwest of Kamloops, B.C., as an out-of-control wildfire continues to burn.

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Also this ...

OTTAWA — After nearly 16 months of rigid travel restrictions, Canada is finally starting to loosen the rules — but only for a specific few.

Effective today, fully vaccinated Canadians and permanent residents — those who have had a full course of a COVID-19 vaccine approved for use in Canada — can skip the 14-day quarantine.

Eligible air travellers are also exempt from the requirement that they spend their first three days in Canada in a government-approved hotel.

But the Canada Border Services Agency has a warning: would-be travellers will still be prohibited from entering the country if they were not eligible to travel to Canada before today.

Travellers must use the ArriveCAN app or web portal prior to departure to log their vaccination details, as well as the results of a negative COVID-19 test that's less than three days old.

Anyone who arrived before today will still be required to spend a full two weeks in quarantine upon arrival, the agency says.

The ArriveCAN portal can be accessed either via the Apple or Android app or online via the federal government's website at canada.ca., and travellers must use the latest version of the app.

The mutual travel restrictions between Canada and the United States — which prohibit all discretionary travel between the two countries while continuing to allow the movement of trade, essential workers and international students — are due to expire July 21.

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What we are watching in the U.S. ...

SURFSIDE, Fla. — Rescuers are resuming their search for victims at a collapsed South Florida condo building after demolition crews set off a string of explosives that brought down the structure in a plume of dust.

The crews were given the all clear not long after the 12-story high rise came tumbling down around 10:30 p.m. Sunday.

Crews began clearing the new debris so rescuers could start making their way into parts of an underground garage of particular interest in the search for 121 people still unaccounted for, including four Canadians.

The first portion of the Champlain Towers South building collapsed on June 24.

Thus far, the bodies of 24 people have been recovered.

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What we are watching in the rest of the world ...

ROME — Pope Francis has spent a first night after intestinal surgery in a Rome hospital, where he was reported by an Italia cardinal to be doing well.

The Vatican gave scant details about the operation Sunday evening in Gemelli Polyclinic, a Catholic hospital.

Francis is convalescing today in a 10th-floor suite the hospital reserves for use by a pontiff.

Twice daily updates on Pope Francis' condition are expected to be issued by the Vatican with the first coming later this morning.

The Vatican said late Sunday that Francis responded well to the colon surgery.

Francis had developed an intestinal stenosis, or narrowing.

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In Sports ...

MONTREAL — The Montreal Canadiens have overcome wave after wave of adversity in 2021.

From losing streaks to a COVID-19 shutdown to injuries and long odds throughout an improbable playoff run, these underdogs mustered a response each and every time their backs were pressed firmly against the wall.

A franchise in search of its 25th Stanley Cup, and Canada's first since Montreal last hoisted hockey's Holy Grail on a June night back in 1993, will have to dig far deeper than at any point in this trying year to keep that now-flickering dream alive.

The Canadiens face the daunting task of climbing a mountain that only one other NHL team has ever conquered — erasing a 3-0 deficit in the final. And it has to happen against the defending champion Tampa Bay Lightning.

"We've got nothing to lose," winger Josh Anderson said as Montreal prepared for tonight's Game 4 at the Bell Centre. "Everyone's going to be ready … I can tell you that.

"We're not finished yet."

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ICYMI ...

MONTREAL — A Quebec woman who was the first person in Canada to receive a COVID-19 vaccine has died.

Gisele Lévesque, 89, passed away peacefully of natural causes last Monday, surrounded by family, according to the public health authority in Quebec City.

The health authority said her death was not related to COVID-19.

Lévesque received the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine last Dec. 14 at the CHSLD St-Antoine, a long-term care home in Quebec City.

"The first citizen of the country to receive the COVID-19 vaccine on December 14, Ms. Lévesque was a figure of hope in the fight against COVID-19," the health authority said in statement issued on Sunday.

A native of Rimouski, Que., she lived in Quebec City.

The retired National Bank employee was very calm and direct about being No. 1 on the list, according to her nieces, saying simply: "'I was chosen, of course."

Lévesque moved into the long-term care facility just as the pandemic broke out in March 2020. Her family thanked the facility for the care she received.

She was inoculated at 11:25 a.m. on Dec. 14, the historic moment in Canada's pandemic fight captured by local health officials, with those gathered to observe the moment breaking into applause once it was done.

Lévesque called getting vaccinated "very important" and "emotional."

"I'm proud, very proud," she said at the time, urging people to follow health rules and get vaccinated.

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This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 5, 2021

The Canadian Press

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