People who have been infected and recovered from COVID-19 can have a short window of immunity, but it likely won’t stay that way, infectious disease expert with Trillium Health Partners, Dr. Sumon Chakrabarti says.
People who have been infected and recovered from COVID-19 can have a short window of immunity, but it likely won’t stay that way, infectious disease expert with Trillium Health Partners, Dr. Sumon Chakrabarti says.
Small groups of right-wing protesters — some of them carrying rifles — gathered outside heavily fortified statehouses around the country Sunday, outnumbered by National Guard troops and police brought in to prevent a repeat of the violence that erupted at the U.S. Capitol. As darkness fell, there were no reports of any clashes. Security was stepped up in recent days after the FBI warned of the potential for armed protests in Washington and at all 50 state capitol buildings ahead of President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration on Wednesday. Crowds of only a dozen or two demonstrated at some boarded-up, cordoned-off statehouses, while the streets in many other capital cities remained empty. Some protesters said they were there to back President Donald Trump. Others said they had instead come to voice their support for gun rights or decry government overreach. “I don’t trust the results of the election,” said Michigan protester Martin Szelag, a 67-year-old semi-retired window salesman from Dearborn Heights. He wore a sign around his neck that read, in part, “We will support Joe Biden as our President if you can convince us he won legally. Show us the proof! Then the healing can begin.” As the day wore on with no bloodshed around the U.S., a sense of relief spread among officials, though they were not ready to let their guard down. The heavy law enforcement presence may have kept turnout down. In the past few days, some extremists had warned others against falling into what they called a law enforcement trap. Washington State Patrol spokesman Chris Loftis said he hoped the apparently peaceful day reflected some soul-searching among Americans. “I would love to say that it’s because we’ve all taken a sober look in the mirror and have decided that we are a more unified people than certain moments in time would indicate,” he said. The security measures were intended to safeguard seats of government from the type of violence that broke out at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, when far-right Trump supporters galvanized by his false claims that the election had been stolen from him overran the police and bashed their way into the building while Congress was certifying the Electoral College vote. The attack left a Capitol police officer and four others dead. More than 125 people have been arrested over the insurrection. Dozens of courts, election officials and Trump’s own attorney general have all said there was no evidence of widespread fraud in the presidential race. On Sunday, some statehouses were surrounded by new security fences, their windows were boarded up, and extra officers were on patrol. Legislatures generally were not in session over the weekend. Tall fences also surrounded the U.S. Capitol. The National Mall was closed to the public, and the mayor of Washington asked people not to visit. Some 25,000 National Guard troops from around the country are expected to arrive in the city in the coming days. The roughly 20 protesters who showed up at Michigan’s Capitol, including some who were armed, were significantly outnumbered by law enforcement officers and members of the media. Tensions have been running high in the state since authorities foiled a plot to kidnap Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer last year. At the Ohio Statehouse, about two dozen people, including several carrying long guns, protested outside under the watchful eyes of state troopers before dispersing as it began to snow. Kathy Sherman, who was wearing a visor with “Trump” printed on it, said she supports the president but distanced herself from the mob that breached the U.S. Capitol. "I’m here to support the right to voice a political view or opinion without fear of censorship, harassment or the threat of losing my job or being physically assaulted,” she said. Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, a Republican, said he was pleased with the outcome but stressed that authorities "continue to have concerns for potential violence in the coming days, which is why I intend to maintain security levels at the Statehouse as we approach the presidential inauguration.” Utah's new governor, Republican Spencer Cox, shared photos on his Twitter account showing him with what appeared to be hundreds of National Guard troops and law enforcement officers standing behind him, all wearing masks. Cox called the quiet protests a best-case scenario and said many ”agitating groups" had cancelled their plans for the day. At Oregon's Capitol, fewer than a dozen men wearing military-style outfits, black ski masks and helmets stood nearby with semiautomatic weapons slung across their bodies. Some had upside-down American flags and signs reading such things as “Disarm the government.” At the Texas Capitol, Ben Hawk walked with about a dozen demonstrators up to the locked gates carrying a bullhorn and an AR-15 rifle hanging at the side of his camouflage pants. He condemned the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol and said he did not support Trump. “All we came down here to do today was to discuss, gather, network and hang out. And it got blown and twisted completely out of proportion,” Hawk said. At Nevada's Capitol, where demonstrators supporting Trump have flocked most weekends in recent months, all was quiet except for a lone protester with a sign. “Trump Lost. Be Adults. Go Home,” it read. More than a third of governors had called out the National Guard to help protect their capitols and assist local law enforcement. Several governors declared states of emergency, and others closed their capitols to the public until after Biden's inauguration. Some legislatures also cancelled sessions or pared back their work for the coming week. Even before the violence at the Capitol, some statehouses had been the target of vandals and angry protesters during the past year. Last spring, armed protesters entered the Michigan Capitol to object to coronavirus lockdowns. People angry over the death of George Floyd under a Minneapolis police officer's knee vandalized capitols in several states, including Colorado, Ohio, Texas and Wisconsin. Last last month, crowds in Oregon forced their way into the Capitol in Salem to protest its closure to the public during a special legislative session on coronavirus measures. Amid the potential for violence in the coming days, the building's first-floor windows were boarded up and the National Guard was brought in. "The state capitol has become a fortress,” said Oregon Senate President Peter Courtney, a Democrat. “I never thought I’d see that. It breaks my heart.” ___ Associated Press writers Farnoush Amiri in Columbus, Ohio; Gillian Flaccus in Salem, Oregon; Mike Householder and David Eggert in Lansing, Michigan; Meg Kinnard in Columbia, South Carolina; Rachel La Corte in Olympia, Washington; Sam Metz in Carson City, Nevada; Marc Scolforo in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; and Paul Weber in Austin, Texas, contributed to this report. David A. Lieb And Adam Geller, The Associated Press
VANCOUVER — Staff in long-term care homes across Canada are struggling to isolate elderly residents with dementia during COVID-19 outbreaks, accelerating the deadly spread of the virus, experts say. These vulnerable residents have a tendency to wander as well as a need for social connection and physical touch, leading them to enter other patients' rooms or common areas where they could contract or transmit the virus, say doctors and advocates. "It's a significant problem in the time of COVID-19 and long-term care," said Laura Tamblyn Watts, CEO of CanAge, a national seniors advocacy group. "It's also quite inhumane to be locking people up in their rooms. Older people with dementia in long-term care are not prisoners," she added. "The good news is there are some things we can do to help support infection prevention and control while at the same time not isolating seniors exclusively in their rooms." The novel coronavirus has taken a lethal toll on Canadians living in long-term care homes. More than 3,000 of Ontario's over 5,000 deaths have been in these facilities, as have more than 600 of British Columbia's roughly 1,000 fatalities. Overall in Canada, residents of these homes account for 10 per cent of total cases and 72 per cent of deaths. A woman whose grandmother died of COVID-19 in a Vancouver care home has raised the alarm about residents wandering during outbreaks. Parbs Bains said she was on a Zoom call with her sick grandmother when another resident entered the room and began hugging her and kissing her on the forehead, remaining for several minutes before a nurse arrived to usher her out. The care home, Little Mountain Place, is the site of B.C.’s deadliest outbreak in such a facility, with 41 dead. But in all long-term care homes with outbreaks in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, keeping residents with cognitive impairments isolated has been a challenge, said chief medical health officer Dr. Patricia Daly. The health authority advises staff to monitor residents who wander but not to lock them in rooms or restrain them, Daly said. Tamblyn Watts said 80 per cent of residents of long-term care homes in the country have some form of cognitive impairment such as dementia. Keeping them in one room without social engagement, exercise or daily routines has a negative effect, she said. She said more staff, not necessarily with medical training but with dementia training, are needed to compassionately intervene when they see a resident wandering and redirect them to a safe area. Ideally, there would be a separate room where residents could walk to other than their own, Tamblyn Watts added. "It does, however, mean that you need to have people on deck to be able to help with that," she said. Quebec announced last year it would hire 10,000 patient attendants to work in care homes and train them over last summer. B.C. and Ontario have also created new jobs in care homes for people without prior experience, but much more hiring needs to be done, Tamblyn Watts said. She also said more infection control, cleaning, testing and now vaccines are needed, in order to prevent COVID-19 from getting inside care homes to begin with. Dr. Roger Wong, clinical professor and vice dean in the University of British Columbia faculty of medicine, said people with dementia need a lot of hands-on care. "Clearly, we always need more staffing," he said. But he said there are some ways to help residents with cognitive impairments stay in their rooms, including placing a stop sign by the door or hanging a curtain over the doorway. In some secure units, seniors wear wristbands that ring an alarm when they leave, Wong said. It's also technologically possible, though not common practice, to place GPS trackers in residents' footwear, he said. Playing a familiar piece of music in their rooms can be comforting and help them remain in that space, Wong added. He said families could plan to speak to their loved ones virtually at times when they are more likely to get confused and wander, often in the late afternoon or evening for Alzheimer's patients. However, it can be a challenge to ensure that residents understand the people on their screen are their loved ones, he said. Jennifer Stewart, manager of advocacy and education for the Alzheimer Society of B.C., acknowledged that virtual visits can be helpful for some and confusing for others. Patients may not be able to understand or retain the information about why they need to be separated from others or be able to follow protocols, such as frequent hand washing, she added. "I think we're in a really tough spot," she said. "I don't think anyone's found a perfect solution here." However, Stewart said person-centred care is key: looking at each patient as a unique individual and speaking with their families about how to provide them with safety, comfort and meaning. B.C. seniors advocate Isobel Mackenzie said the primary way that the virus is spreading in care homes is from staff to residents, rather than from resident to resident. Staff are in close physical contact with many different patients, she noted, and many residents are not mobile. She said, though, that immediately after a single positive case, all residents and employees should be tested and residents should be isolated. Every patient positive for COVID-19 should be kept not only in their room, but as much as possible in a certain section of the home, she said. Daly of Vancouver Coastal Health said care homes in the region do not automatically do mass testing after a single staff member tests positive. She said testing depends on the likelihood the employee transmitted the virus to others in the home as well as the timing of transmission. Mackenzie has also called for frequent, routine testing of staff, which B.C. does not do. Ontario tests staff at least every two weeks and has also deployed some pilot projects for rapid testing. Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said B.C. considered whether to periodically send staff to a testing site, as is done in Ontario, but that is very "low yield" and challenging to do. As for rapid testing at care homes on a daily basis, that is "not feasible" with the tests that the province has, she said. "Our focus has been instead on making sure we have the resources to ensure staffing, particularly if an outbreak has been identified. When an outbreak is identified, testing is done," Henry said. The seniors advocate said understaffing is "absolutely" still an issue. "I think there have been additional strains on an already strained staffing system," Mackenzie said. She said family members can be designated essential visitors to be the eyes and ears of a loved one within the care home and flag problems for staff. Some residents don't have family members who are able to play this role but many do, she said. Mackenzie added that even when dementia patients are isolated, they should be receiving physical touch from staff. Care providers should also use gentle persuasion and de-escalation techniques to assuage any anxieties residents are experiencing, she said. "If they're mobile enough that they're individually ambulating out of their room in the common areas, they've got some capacity. That is not a person in end-stage Alzheimer's with no capacity to understand anything," she pointed out. "It's easy to throw up our hands and say we couldn't do anything, we can't isolate these people because they wander. That is not true of every resident or even of most residents. It might be true of some and we know how to manage that." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 17, 2021. Laura Dhillon Kane, The Canadian Press
When Masjid Toronto first agreed to host seminars on addiction back in 2015, organizers weren't sure anyone would show up. "When we started off, there was skepticism," said Mohsin Syed, then the assistant manager of the downtown Toronto mosque. In fact, the subject was considered so delicate that participants were not told what the specific topic being discussed would be. To Syed's surprise, as the seminar series continued, the number of attendees grew and grew. In fact, "we were ... so packed in that basement that our air conditioning was not enough," he told CBC Toronto. Masjid Toronto was one of nine GTA mosques that hosted the seminar series, which aimed to tackle misconceptions and reduce stigma around addiction in Muslim communities. "After each seminar, we would get a lineup of people asking for resources, or discussing their cousin, their family, their friends," said Dr. Ahmed Hassan. Hassan, an addiction psychiatrist at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, spearheaded the events and then wrote about them in a study published this month in the Community Mental Health Journal. He lists several reasons why stigma around addiction can be prevalent in Muslim communities, including belief that addiction is sinful and shameful. "We wanted to address the stigma through this psycho-educational program," said Hassan of the 90-minute sessions. "We would dig deep in the content, and integrate Islamic teachings." For Syed at Masjid Toronto, that integration of a religious lens was critical. "Because these acts are already a sin — people are very afraid to talk about it," he explained. By having religious leaders participate in the seminars, Syed said, it "created a sense of comfort for the community. This is not just coming from a medical doctor who wants to do a diagnosis." Study hopes to inspire more outreach Religious teaching "agrees with science. And then [participants] see it more as a disease rather than a sin," said Hassan. According to his study, the approach was successful, resulting in a "significant reduction" of stigma. Post-seminar, nearly half of participants said they were interested in learning more about addiction science, and two-thirds felt more motivated to help family and friends dealing with substance-use disorder. Hassan hopes the study could open the door to more outreach inside of mosques, potentially tackling an even wider range of topics. "Trauma, PTSD ... I don't think [those issues] have been openly discussed in the community," said Hassan.
An apparent family of sabre-toothed cats with an unusual genetic quirk is providing new hints about how the predators lived tens of thousands of years ago. The ancient big cats, also known as sabre-toothed tigers and by their scientific name Smilodon fatalis, ranged through much of North and South America — including Canada — during the last ice age, but died out around 10,000 years ago. The new study by researchers at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto looked at fossils from nearly full-grown individuals that were about 132 and 141 kilograms respectively — roughly the size of a full-grown modern lion or tiger. But despite their huge size, it appeared they weren't quite ready for adult independence. "What we're seeing here is the first evidence to back up this idea that they were probably with their mother at two years old," said Ashley Reynolds, lead author of the research published this week in the journal iScience. That's unlike modern tigers that set out and establish their own territories at a similar stage of growth. Fossils excavated in the 1960s The fossils were among 4,000 from various animals excavated by Royal Ontario Museum researchers in Coralito, Ecuador in the 1960s from a site that was once a grassy, open forest area inhabited by giant ground sloths, camels, alpacas and the occasional fox. Because they were dug up so long ago, the researchers weren't sure how old they were, but it was between 150,000 and 11,000 years ago and probably in the range of 50,000 to 75,000 years ago, said Ashley Reynolds, lead author of the study. There were 58 Smilodon fossils in total, but it wasn't clear how many individuals they came from. Reynolds, a PhD candidate at the University of Toronto and the Royal Ontario Museum, took a closer look, and found among them two lower left jaws that obviously belonged to two different individuals. They contained a full set of adult teeth that showed little signs of wear, suggesting the animals, while nearly fully grown, were adolescents about two years old — roughly equivalent to human teenagers. Tooth feature suggests fossils were related And both those individuals had an unusual feature — an extra premolar that is found in only five per cent of sabre-toothed cat jaws. Because it's so rare and the presence of an extra tooth is known to be genetic in other animals such as humans, and because the animals were of similar size and found together, the researchers proposed that the two individuals were from the same litter of cubs. "The coolest thing is that we have evidence that we have siblings," Reynolds said. "It's very, very, very rare that you find evidence of two fossils being related." And most of those cases, she said, involve eggs or newborns. Animals were likely social, not solitary Most of the other Smilodon bones found with the two cubs looked the right size to come from the same animals, except for one ulna — a forearm bone — that was larger and came from a mature adult. The researchers suggested that this was probably the cubs' mother, as modern cats are generally cared for by their mothers. She noted that when modern tigers are this close to being fully grown, they've already gone out and established their own territories. If these cubs were still with their mother, that would imply that sabre-toothed cats were more like lions — social animals that stay with their parents for longer than solitary tigers. Though commonly referred to as the sabre-toothed tiger, Smilodon is not actually closely related to modern-day big cats like tigers and lions. Reynolds noted that other studies suggest that Smilodon's huge, iconic sabre-like canines, used for hunting, took about two years to grow in. The juveniles may have relied on their family group until those had fully developed, she said. "We will never be able to go out and see a sabre-toothed cat in the wild," she said. But, based on interpretation of fossil evidence, she said, "it's pretty remarkable to think what we can tell about animals that have been gone for thousands of years." More study needed to verify assumptions Larisa DeSantis, a paleontologist who has studied sabretooth cats but was not involved in the study, said the paper is "thought provoking and raises several interesting hypotheses regarding the sociality of [sabre-toothed] cats." But DeSantis, an associate professor of biological sciences and earth and environmental sciences at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn., said the paper's conclusions rely on a lot of assumptions about the relatedness of the individuals that haven't been verified with techniques like DNA analysis or even radiocarbon dating to confirm they all died at the same time. "It would seem logical that saber-tooth cats would also [like lions] have an extended period of parental care; however, this is difficult to test with fossils," she said in an email. "Further study of these specimens may help bring additional clarity to the social behaviour of sabertooth cats." Reynolds said radiocarbon dating is tricky for fossils found at sites like Coralito, which is saturated in tar, and the likelihood of getting DNA out of fossils from this kind of environment is also low. But she said both techniques would be interesting to try. Margaret Lewis, a paleontologist who studies the evolution of meat-eating mammals and was also not involved in the research, said researchers' hypothesis that the cats were related and the conclusions drawn from that are all possible. "How probable it is, it's hard to say because it's one thing built on another," said Lewis, a professor at Stockton University in Galloway County, N.J. However, she said the ideas about how sabre-toothed cats grew will be interesting to test in future studies.
A high school class in Kings County, N.S., is using its entrepreneurship course to help a local charitable organization that has been overwhelmed by families in need due to the COVID-19 pandemic. "We wanted to do what we could to help them out, so we're raising money here and will donate what we can," said Tyler Croteau, a Grade 11 student at Northeast Kings Education Centre in Canning. The entrepreneurship class is selling clothing with customized COVID designs. The funds raised through sales will go to the Open Arms Outreach Centre in Kentville, a non-profit organization that helps people struggling to make ends meet. It assists with emergency shelter, housing and food supports. "To find out that this year a group of students are working on an initiative to support us, it's very humbling," said Open Arms executive director John Andrew. "For me, it signals hope and I know there are a lot of youth out there who have a strong commitment to helping people in their own community." The school had a COVID scare of its own almost two months with two COVID-19 cases. The school was closed for three days for cleaning before students returned. But that didn't slow down planning for the fundraising effort. "We're helping people out who really need it," said Ahrun Havercroft, a Grade 12 student from Sheffield Mills. "We thought that would be a great thing to do and it would also be a great learning experience for everybody in our class." It isn't the first fundraising effort by the class this school year. Before Christmas, it held an event at the local drive-in theatre in Cambridge to benefit Chrysalis House, an organization that provides shelter and outreach services for women and children in the area. So far, the clothing fundraiser has raised just over $1,100 in only a few weeks. "Everybody has sort of taken on different roles," said NKEC teacher Dale Sanford, who teaches the entrepreneurship course. "The students have been awesome around the whole social piece with this and entrepreneurship is such an important skill for them to have." MORE TOP STORIES
Law enforcement officers far outnumbered protesters at state capitol grounds on Sunday, as few Trump supporters who believe the president's false claim that he won the 2020 election turned out for what authorities feared could be violent demonstrations. More than a dozen states activated National Guard troops to help secure their capitol buildings following an FBI warning of armed demonstrations, with right-wing extremists emboldened by the deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Jan. 6.
The debate about the U.S. Electoral College pits those who think the president should be chosen via popular vote versus those who believe the interests of small and large states must be balanced.
Truckers delivering essential goods during the COVID-19 pandemic are facing a "dehumanizing" struggle to find open washrooms, one that could lead to health concerns down the road, according to a national agency that represents women drivers. Many chain restaurants and local businesses that remain open have restricted public access to their facilities, which means truckers working 12-hour shifts may end up not using a restroom all day. Shelley Uvanile-Hesch, CEO of the Women's Trucking Federation of Canada, is now pushing businesses to open their facilities and for carriers to stand up for their drivers. One female truck driver, she said, told her how she'd been unloading at a facility for six hours without being allowed to use the facilities — and when she asked a third time, was given a roll of toilet paper and told to go behind the building. "This is very dehumanizing. It is so wrong on so many levels," Uvanile-Hesch said. "Drivers are human beings, we're not dogs. We don't go outside. We deserve to be able to go into a washroom like everybody else." Drivers are human beings. We're not dogs. We don't go outside. - Shelley Uvanile-Hesch, Women's Trucking Federation of Canada CEO Truckers experienced this heavily during the pandemic's first wave, Uvanile-Hesch said, and now they're going through it again. She said not having bathroom access could lead to long-term health effects like kidney disease and kidney stones. "Imagine being a city driver in the [Greater Toronto Area] and you're making your deliveries and you work a 13-hour day — and there's no place for you to go to the washroom," she said. In a statement Saturday, Natasha Tremblay, a spokesperson for Ontario's Minister of Transportation Caroline Mulroney, called it "unacceptable" that drivers have been denied access to public restrooms and urged businesses to "step up and support" them. "Our government is committed to supporting the trucking industry. Truck drivers and commercial carriers have worked hard to keep goods moving for the people of Ontario and it is unacceptable that some of them have been denied washroom access," Tremblay said. There are currently 50 truck stops with bathrooms open on the province's highway network, Tremblay said. The province also plans to keep 18 seasonal rest area locations open, along with 31 truck inspection stations and one tourist information centre. The sites are in addition to the province's 23 On Route service centres, she said. 'Have some compassion for us' While drivers are used to going a long time without washrooms — especially on trips through northern Ontario — designated spaces must be created during the pandemic, said truck driver Brigitte Belton. Belton, who's been driving a transport truck for the past six years, said she spends between 11 and 14 hours on the road each day — and it could be tough to continue on if businesses that are open keep refusing bathroom access. Even finding a bite to eat is difficult, she said, with many eateries closing as early as 8 p.m. — and that can be grueling for drivers who work long shifts that end late in the night. "Basically anywhere you go and pick up or deliver, they're refusing you," she said. "We're driving your medicine. We're driving your food. We're driving everything for you ... have some compassion for us." In many ways, truckers are keeping the economy moving, Uvanile-Hesch said, and at some point the drivers may say "enough is enough." "What are you going to do when you go to your store and the shelves are starting to be empty? Because within three days, that's all it would take if these trucks stopped moving."
The latest numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Canada as of 4:00 a.m. ET on Sunday Jan. 17, 2021. There are 702,183 confirmed cases in Canada. _ Canada: 702,183 confirmed cases (76,234 active, 608,084 resolved, 17,865 deaths).*The total case count includes 13 confirmed cases among repatriated travellers. There were 6,479 new cases Saturday from 89,622 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 7.2 per cent. The rate of active cases is 202.81 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 49,169 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 7,024. There were 137 new reported deaths Saturday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 975 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 139. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.37 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 47.53 per 100,000 people. There have been 16,486,584 tests completed. _ Newfoundland and Labrador: 395 confirmed cases (eight active, 383 resolved, four deaths). There were zero new cases Saturday from 143 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 0.0 per cent. The rate of active cases is 1.53 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of three new cases. 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 0.77 per 100,000 people. There have been 76,165 tests completed. _ Prince Edward Island: 104 confirmed cases (nine active, 95 resolved, zero deaths). There were zero new cases Saturday from 477 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 0.0 per cent. The rate of active cases is 5.73 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of two new cases. 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 85,889 tests completed. _ Nova Scotia: 1,554 confirmed cases (30 active, 1,459 resolved, 65 deaths). There were four new cases Saturday from 1,334 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 0.30 per cent. The rate of active cases is 3.09 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 26 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is four. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 6.69 per 100,000 people. There have been 195,067 tests completed. _ New Brunswick: 911 confirmed cases (268 active, 631 resolved, 12 deaths). There were 27 new cases Saturday from 1,312 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 2.1 per cent. The rate of active cases is 34.5 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 146 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 21. There were zero new reported deaths Saturday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of three new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is zero. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.06 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 1.54 per 100,000 people. There have been 127,403 tests completed. _ Quebec: 240,970 confirmed cases (21,601 active, 210,364 resolved, 9,005 deaths). There were 2,225 new cases Saturday from 9,590 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 23 per cent. The rate of active cases is 254.58 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 14,737 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 2,105. There were 67 new reported deaths Saturday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 358 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 51. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.6 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 106.13 per 100,000 people. There have been 2,647,264 tests completed. _ Ontario: 234,364 confirmed cases (28,618 active, 200,406 resolved, 5,340 deaths). There were 3,056 new cases Saturday from 71,183 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 4.3 per cent. The rate of active cases is 196.46 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 22,527 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 3,218. There were 51 new reported deaths Saturday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 372 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 53. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.36 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 36.66 per 100,000 people. There have been 8,575,369 tests completed. _ Manitoba: 27,322 confirmed cases (2,986 active, 23,575 resolved, 761 deaths). There were 180 new cases Saturday. The rate of active cases is 218.04 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 1,156 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 165. There were two new reported deaths Saturday. 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 0.29 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 55.57 per 100,000 people. There have been 436,236 tests completed. _ Saskatchewan: 19,985 confirmed cases (4,043 active, 15,730 resolved, 212 deaths). There were 270 new cases Saturday from 1,218 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 22 per cent. The rate of active cases is 344.24 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 2,178 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 311. There were two new reported deaths Saturday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 21 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is three. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.26 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 18.05 per 100,000 people. There have been 320,404 tests completed. _ Alberta: 116,087 confirmed cases (12,713 active, 101,957 resolved, 1,417 deaths). There were 717 new cases Saturday. The rate of active cases is 290.83 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 5,446 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 778. There were 15 new reported deaths Saturday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 145 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 21. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.47 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 32.42 per 100,000 people. There have been 2,979,663 tests completed. _ British Columbia: 60,117 confirmed cases (5,955 active, 53,115 resolved, 1,047 deaths). There were zero new cases Saturday from 4,365 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 0.0 per cent. The rate of active cases is 117.42 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 2,947 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 421. There were zero new reported deaths Saturday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 48 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is seven. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.14 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 20.65 per 100,000 people. There have been 1,021,911 tests completed. _ Yukon: 70 confirmed cases (two active, 67 resolved, one deaths). There were zero new cases Saturday. The rate of active cases is 4.9 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of zero new cases. 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 2.45 per 100,000 people. There have been 6,256 tests completed. _ Northwest Territories: 25 confirmed cases (one active, 24 resolved, zero deaths). There were zero new cases Saturday. The rate of active cases is 2.23 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of one new cases. 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 8,323 tests completed. _ Nunavut: 266 confirmed cases (zero active, 265 resolved, one deaths). There were zero new cases Saturday. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of zero new cases. 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 2.58 per 100,000 people. There have been 6,558 tests completed. This report was automatically generated by The Canadian Press Digital Data Desk and was first published Jan. 17, 2021. The Canadian Press
Austria on Sunday extend its third COVID-19 lockdown into February, hoping to drive down infection rates despite an influx of variants that spread the coronavirus more easily. "We have two to three hard months ahead of us," Chancellor Sebastian Kurz told a news conference, flanked by regional leaders and health officials in a show of unity a day after thousands marched in Vienna to protest against restrictions. Austria, a country of 8.9 million people, is in its third lockdown, with only essential shops open.
For many, it's a rite of passage: getting your driver's licence the minute you turn 16. But for Ontario drivers looking to make it to the next step in the province's tiered licensing system, the current COVID-19 lockdown could mean they'll face quite a wait. Since the lockdown went into effect in late December, approximately 39,000 road tests in the province have been cancelled. What's more, the emergency orders introduced by the Ontario government on Jan. 12 mean that "all in-vehicle passenger road tests will be cancelled across the province until further notice," according to a statement from the ministry. In eastern Ontario, about 9,000 drivers have received cancellation notices — including Ottawa teen Karina Gruson. "I was kind of discouraged," said the 17-year-old, who'd been booked for a road test to get her G2 licence on Dec. 30 before receiving an email informing her it wouldn't take place. Under Ontario's graduated licensing system, Gruson needs to pass a road test to move from a G1 to a G2 licence. A G1 is typically held for a year — although that period can be shortened — and comes with restrictions like needing a fully-licensed driver in the passenger seat and not driving on 400-series highways. In order to graduate to a less-stringent G2, drivers must pass a road test — and then another one, after a year, to get their full licence. No available tests for years Both Gruson and her friend, Violet De Caria, got their G1s shortly after turning 16. "I do a lot of sports and I was going to get a job, so I wanted to be able to, like, drive to those things to make it easier for my parents," Gruson said. De Caria turned 16 in July, and said she and a friend got up at 6 a.m. for their written G1 test in order to beat the long lines that formed at Service Ontario locations earlier in the pandemic. "[It] wasn't really worth it, because I'm not going to get [a G2] for a while," she said. "So I could have slept in." When she tried to book her G2 test recently, De Caria said she couldn't find an available spot for the next two years. "Which was crazy, like, absolutely crazy to me," she said. Since the lockdown, De Caria said booking a test isn't even an option with the website saying it isn't taking bookings "until further notice." "It just makes me really upset. I was super excited to start driving," she said, adding her parents had hoped she'd be able help out by eventually driving her brother to soccer practice. More instructors could be hired A Ministry of Transportation spokesperson said the ministry was working through the backlog and — when road tests resume — would work with its service provider to hire more examiners to increase the number of tests. The ministry said road tests for commercial drivers will continue during the lockdown, and all DriveTest locations remain open for services like knowledge tests, with full COVID-19 precautions in place. As for Gruson, she was able to rebook her road test for March 2 after someone else cancelled, and she's hoping she'll be able to complete her test on that date. "I'm pretty excited, because I've been practising for a long time now," she said.
The latest numbers on COVID-19 vaccinations in Canada as of 4:00 a.m. ET on Sunday Jan. 17, 2021. In Canada, the provinces are reporting 35,604 new vaccinations administered for a total of 543,291 doses given. The provinces have administered doses at a rate of 1,433.513 per 100,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to the provinces and territories for a total of 761,500 doses delivered so far. The provinces and territories have used 71.34 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 3,506 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 5,291 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 10.104 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Newfoundland for a total of 11,175 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 2.1 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 47.35 per cent of its available vaccine supply. P.E.I. is reporting 1,502 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 5,102 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 32.163 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to P.E.I. for a total of 8,250 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 5.2 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 61.84 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Nova Scotia is reporting 3,769 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 7,600 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 7.788 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Nova Scotia for a total of 23,000 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 2.4 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 33.04 per cent of its available vaccine supply. New Brunswick is reporting 2,713 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 7,732 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 9.912 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to New Brunswick for a total of 17,775 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 2.3 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 43.5 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Quebec is reporting 10,783 new vaccinations administered for a total of 137,856 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 16.111 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Quebec for a total of 162,175 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 1.9 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 85 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Ontario is reporting 14,460 new vaccinations administered for a total of 189,090 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 12.873 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Ontario for a total of 277,050 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 1.9 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 68.25 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Manitoba is reporting zero new vaccinations administered for a total of 13,539 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 9.832 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Manitoba for a total of 33,625 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 2.4 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 40.26 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Saskatchewan is reporting 2,910 new vaccinations administered for a total of 16,927 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 14.355 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Saskatchewan for a total of 24,400 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 2.1 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 69.37 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Alberta is reporting 7,451 new vaccinations administered for a total of 81,561 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 18.528 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Alberta for a total of 84,175 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 1.9 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 96.89 per cent of its available vaccine supply. British Columbia is reporting zero new vaccinations administered for a total of 75,914 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 14.794 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to British Columbia for a total of 99,475 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 1.9 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 76.31 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Yukon is reporting zero new vaccinations administered for a total of 1,184 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 28.372 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Yukon for a total of 7,200 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 17 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 16.44 per cent of its available vaccine supply. The Northwest Territories are reporting zero new vaccinations administered for a total of 512 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 11.348 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to the Northwest Territories for a total of 7,200 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 16 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 7.111 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Nunavut is reporting zero new vaccinations administered for a total of 983 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 25.383 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Nunavut for a total of 6,000 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 15 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 16.38 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. This report was automatically generated by The Canadian Press Digital Data Desk and was first published Jan. 17, 2021. The Canadian Press
As they prepare for the return of the Boeing 737 Max to Canadian skies for the first time in almost two years, Canada's two largest airlines are grappling with how to ease passenger wariness about the jet's reputation during a time of heightened anxiety around flying. "The pandemic compounded people's concern about the Max," said WestJet's vice-president of communications and chief of staff, Richard Bartrem. "The angst around the pandemic drove their reticence to flying even higher." Countries worldwide grounded the Max in March 2019 after two crashes just months apart, in Indonesia and Ethiopia, that killed 346 people including 18 Canadians and family that were permanent residents. Transport Canada hasn't specified the date when Canadian airlines can resume using the 737 Max for passenger flights, but said it's imminent. Airlines expect an announcement could come as soon as this week. A year ago, restoring confidence after two fatal crashes would have been a big challenge by itself. Now, Air Canada and WestJet are doing that during a pandemic, when WestJet's internal research shows travellers are more apprehensive about flying in general — and even more uncomfortable with flying on a Max than before. The majority surveyed — 64 per cent — said they would avoid flying on the Max altogether, according to the latest data the airline shared with CBC News from the fall. The two crashes exposed serious flaws with the plane's design and certification process. Boeing agreed to pay $2.5 billion US after admitting to defrauding and obstructing the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in connection with evaluating the plane's flight-control system, called MCAS, which was found to have pushed the plane's nose down as pilots struggled to right it in the two crashes. Canada's regulator said it has spent 15,000 hours independently verifying changes to the aircraft and ensuring Boeing and the FAA addressed all of its safety concerns. Last month, the U.S. became the first country to approve the plane to return to the skies, followed by Brazil. 75 per cent not comfortable with Max, WestJet finds As WestJet aims to return its fleet to service on Jan. 21, the carrier has been tracking public opinion. The airline conducted a series of surveys with more than 800 Canadian flyers online over an 18-month period. The results show that pre-pandemic in September 2019, 59 per cent of flyers surveyed said they would not be comfortable flying on a Max when it returns to passenger service. As the pandemic wore on, that number of wary travellers grew to 75 per cent in October. Canadian travellers in Western and Atlantic Canada, along with business travellers, said they were more likely to get back on a 737 Max. Ruth Adonya flew from Ottawa to Nigeria this week, but said she wouldn't have done it on a Max. "I'm already anxious about flying," said Adonya when CBC News spoke to her at the Ottawa International Airport. "I know someone who died from one of the crashes. I'm very nervous about it, so I wouldn't get on." New opt-out policies To try and ease that apprehension, WestJet has released a new webpage with a safety video and a new policy it says is centred around transparency. If you're booking on a Max, WestJet says it will make it clear that you can opt out at any time and change your flight to another plane free of charge. Notifications will also be sent to customers ahead of their flight reminding them. "We never want to put anybody in a position where they feel they're being forced to be on that aircraft," said Bartrem, who added that WestJet hasn't decided how long the policy will be in effect. "If you are at the gate and haven't read any of the emails or didn't notice at the time of booking, and you now look out the window and want to talk to a customer service agent [because you] realize it's the Max — if you don't want to get on, then we'll certainly book you onto another flight." WATCH | Transparent communication around return of 737 Max: 'We understand the apprehension': Air Canada VP Air Canada is aiming to start flying the Max on Feb.1, and said it plans to roll out a similar policy and dedicated webpage to educate the public about the safety of the aircraft. "The strategy will be very similar," said Murray Strom, vice-president of flight operations. "We understand the apprehension, we have policies in place through our commercial division to alleviate passengers' concerns. We're not going to put a passenger on the airplane who doesn't want to be." Strom said he has total confidence in the safety of the Max, because Transport Canada has asked the manufacturer and U.S. regulator thousands of questions over the past two years. "You have to trust the experts that have certified this aircraft," he said. "People are skeptical of Boeing. They're not happy with the [Federal Aviation Administration]. But in Canada, we have a very strong certification group." Sunwing declined CBC's request for an interview about its fleet of the aircraft and has not yet announced its plans to return the Max to service. Max more fuel-efficient, cuts operating costs Airlines around the world have a lot riding on the successful return of the Max, especially during a time of historic financial losses. In Canada, the jet is a top performer in WestJet and Air Canada's fleets. Air Canada said the Max is a greener aircraft and 20 per cent more fuel efficient compared to other models. It can cut operating costs by 11 per cent, "which is significant," the airline said in a statement to CBC News. The Max has a longer range than previous 737 models, and is smaller than wide-body aircraft that are more expensive to operate. This allows the carrier to resume non-stop flights to destinations which haven't been profitable during the pandemic because too many seats were empty on larger aircraft to make the trip viable. Air Canada said it offered flights to Hawaii on bigger jets over the holidays when air traffic was up, but it will end them on Jan. 23. It plans to resume flights on the route once the Max is back in service. Everything that's been necessary to be done has been done, double checked, triple checked. - Richard Steer, Air Canada senior vice-president of operations The airline said it's ready to start Max flights when Transport Canada gives its approval. "Everything that's been necessary to be done has been done, double checked, triple checked," said Richard Steer, the senior vice-president of operations at Air Canada, who is responsible for the safe dispatch of the Max fleet. "We are ready. The aircraft is ready, and we are just reintroducing the type that has performed well for us." WATCH | Richard Steer on the airworthiness of the 737 Max: 'You need to disclose, disclose, disclose' But the planned PR campaigns don't go far enough for Paul Njoroge. His three children, wife and mother-in-law died when a 737 Max went down in Ethiopia, just months after the first Max disaster. He wants airlines' websites to mention the crashes. "If you're going to disclose, you need to disclose, disclose, disclose," said Njoroge. "Say 'we're giving you an option to opt out this plane because it killed 346 people." Njoroge said he didn't know about the Max crash in Indonesia when he booked his family's plane tickets. If he knew, he said, he wouldn't have put them on the flight. "I'm sure some potential passengers will not know why you are telling them it's a 737 Max and they can opt out. You have to remind them ... that way they can make an informed decision." Chris and Clariss Moore's daughter also died in the Ethiopian Airlines crash on her way to a UN assembly in Nairobi. They say Danielle was an activist, and that if she were alive today, she too would be demanding more answers from Transport Canada, Boeing and the FAA about the recertification process. "I don't trust this plane and I never will," said Clariss Moore. "We just want to make sure that they've done everything within the rules and the guidelines of the regulations, and to satisfy ourselves that it's safe," said Chris Moore. WATCH | Chris and Clariss Moore still wary of the 737 Max: Can't brand away issues Chris Clearfield, a pilot of small planes and co-author of Meltdown: Why Our Systems Fail and What We Can Do, said he believes airlines "have a real uphill battle" ahead to change the public's perception. He said ValuJet was able to rebrand its airline business after a deadly crash in 1996 in Florida, for example, but rebranding a widely used jet like the 737 Max is a completely different kind of challenge. "This is an industry-wide problem," said Clearfield. "You can't sort of brand away the issue." He said even though the airline industry is certain about the Max's safety now, it needs to be honest with passengers, and emphasize that there were problems and the industry learned from them. He expects that with time and a clean safety record, travellers' uneasiness about this jet will fade. American Airlines has been flying the plane for about two weeks and has completed more than 100 flights. The airline said so far, "bookings on the Max are comparable to other aircraft, and we aren't seeing data to suggest customers don't want to fly on the aircraft." WestJet plans to fly the Max commercially on Thursday pending Transport Canada approval. The airline announced it plans to operate three weekly round-trip flights between Calgary and Toronto for the next month as it evaluates adding more routes.
Unidentified gunmen killed two female judges from Afghanistan's Supreme Court on Sunday morning, police said, adding to a wave of assassinations in Kabul and other cities while government and Taliban representatives have been holding peace talks in Qatar. A spokesman for the Taliban said its fighters were not involved. Afghan President Ashraf Ghani issued a statement condemning attacks on civilians by the Taliban and other militant groups.
Britain's government hopes to ease some lockdown restrictions in March as it presses ahead with Europe's fastest rollout of COVID-19 vaccines, foreign minister Dominic Raab said on Sunday. "What we want to do is get out of this national lockdown as soon as possible," Raab told Sky News television. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has set a target of vaccinating the oldest age groups, the clinically vulnerable and frontline workers - roughly 14 million people - by the middle of February.
Recent developments: Another 123 cases of COVID-19 and one death were recorded in Ottawa on Sunday, Some 9,000 road tests have been cancelled in eastern Ontario. The province is pushing back the timeline for the second dose of the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine. What's the latest? Health officials in the nation's capital recorded 123 cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, the second lowest daily-case total of the past seven days. The virus has also killed another person, according to Ottawa Public Health (OPH), raising the city's death toll to 403. Another 22 cases and three more deaths were also recorded in the Outaouais. With Ontario under a stay-at-home order, some 9,000 road tests have been cancelled in eastern Ontario — and licence-seekers are facing long waits to get those tests rebooked. Provincial health officials say the second dose of the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine will now be pushed back from 21 to 27 days for those in long-term care or retirement homes or those caring for seniors — and possibly even longer for other recipients. The change is because Pfizer-BioNTech will delivering fewer vaccines to Canada in the near future as it reworks some of its production lines. Those who've received the Moderna vaccine will see no change. How many cases are there? As of Sunday, 12,286 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in Ottawa since the start of the pandemic. There are 1,274 known active cases, 10,609 resolved cases and 403 deaths from COVID-19. Public health officials have reported more than 21,900 COVID-19 cases across eastern Ontario and western Quebec, including more than 19,000 resolved cases. One hundred and three people have died of COVID-19 elsewhere in eastern Ontario and 142 people have died in western Quebec. CBC Ottawa is profiling those who've died of COVID-19. If you'd like to share your loved one's story, please get in touch. What can I do? Ontario says people must only leave home when it's essential to avoid more COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths. People who leave home for non-essential reasons can now be fined, though police won't be stopping people just for being outside. Travel within Ontario is not recommended. Residents who leave the province should isolate for 14 days upon returning. Private indoor gatherings are not allowed, while outdoor gatherings are capped at five. It's strongly recommended people stick to their own households. People who live alone are still allowed to interact with one other household. Outdoor recreation venues remain open. In-person shopping is limited to essential businesses. Others can offer pickup and delivery. The province will announce by Wednesday which schools can offer general in-person learning. The Ottawa-Carleton School Board has said it won't bring that back for secondary schools until at least Feb. 1. Child-care centres remain open. The lockdown rules are in place until at least Feb. 11. WATCH | 'We cannot police our way out of this pandemic,' says doctor In western Quebec, residents are also being asked to stay home unless it's essential and not see anyone they don't live with, with an exception for people living alone. They can visit one other home. Quebec's 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew is now in effect, with fines of up to $6,000 for breaking the rules. The province has shut down non-essential businesses and has extended secondary school closures until later this week. Like in Ontario, travel from one region of Quebec to another is discouraged. Those rules are in place until Feb. 8. Distancing and isolating The novel coronavirus primarily spreads through droplets when an infected person speaks, coughs, sneezes, or breathes onto someone or something. These droplets can hang in the air. People can be contagious without symptoms. This means it's important to take precautions like staying home while symptomatic, keeping hands and frequently touched surfaces clean and maintaining distance from anyone you don't live with — even with a mask on. Masks, preferably with three layers, are mandatory in indoor public settings in Ontario and Quebec. OPH says residents should also wear masks outside their homes whenever possible. Anyone with COVID-19 symptoms should self-isolate, as should those who've been ordered to do so by their public health unit. The length varies in Ontario and Quebec. Health Canada recommends older adults and people with underlying medical conditions and/or weakened immune systems stay home as much as possible and get friends and family to help with errands. Anyone returning to Canada must go straight home and stay there for 14 days. Air travellers have to show recent proof of a negative COVID-19 test. Symptoms and vaccines COVID-19 can range from a cold-like illness to a severe lung infection, with common symptoms including fever, a cough, vomiting and loss of taste or smell. Children can develop a rash. If you have severe symptoms, call 911. Mental health can also be affected by the pandemic, and resources are available to help. COVID-19 vaccines have been given to health-care workers and long-term care residents in most of the Ottawa-Gatineau area. The exception for now is Renfrew County, which says it expects its first doses in early February. Ontario wants every long-term care resident and worker to have at least one shot by Feb. 15. In Ottawa, it's now expected the second phase of vaccination, which includes older adults and essential workers, will begin closer to April. The province is aiming to have vaccines widely available to the public in August, and Ottawa believes it can have nearly 700,000 residents vaccinated by then. Quebec has a somewhat controversial policy of giving a single dose to as many people as possible rather than giving fewer people two doses. It says people will get their second dose within 90 days. As of Jan. 14, western Quebec's health authority had given out about 4,400 doses. It says it will have reached all of its long-term care homes by early this week. Where to get tested In eastern Ontario: Anyone seeking a test should book an appointment. Ontario recommends only getting tested if you have symptoms, if you've been told to by your health unit or the province, or if you fit certain other criteria. People without symptoms but part of the province's targeted testing strategy can make an appointment at select pharmacies. Travellers who need a test have very few local options to pay for one. Ottawa has 10 permanent test sites, with mobile sites wherever demand is particularly high. The Eastern Ontario Health Unit has sites in Cornwall, Hawkesbury, Rockland and Winchester. Its Alexandria and Casselman sites are temporarily closed. People can arrange a test in Picton over the phone or Bancroft, Belleville and Trenton, where online booking is preferred. The Leeds, Grenville and Lanark health unit has permanent sites in Almonte, Brockville, Kemptville and Smiths Falls and a mobile clinic. Renfrew County test clinic locations are posted weekly. Residents can also call their family doctor or 1-844-727-6404 with health questions. Kingston's main test site is at the Beechgrove Complex, another is in Napanee. In western Quebec: Tests are strongly recommended for people with symptoms and their contacts. Outaouais residents can make an appointment in Gatineau at 135 blvd. Saint-Raymond or 617 ave. Buckingham. They can check the wait time for the Saint-Raymond site. There are recurring clinics by appointment in communities such as Maniwaki, Fort-Coulonge and Petite-Nation. Call 1-877-644-4545 with questions, including if walk-in testing is available nearby. First Nations, Inuit and Métis: Akwesasne has had at least 116 residents test positive on the Canadian side of the border and five deaths. More than 230 people have tested positive across the community. Its curfew from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. is back and it has a COVID-19 test site by appointment only. Anyone returning to the community on the Canadian side of the international border who's been farther than 160 kilometres away — or visited Montreal — for non-essential reasons is asked to self-isolate for 14 days. Kitigan Zibi logged its first case in mid-December and has had a total of 18. The Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte had its only confirmed case in November. People in Pikwakanagan can book a COVID-19 test by calling 613-625-2259. Anyone in Tyendinaga who's interested in a test can call 613-967-3603. Inuit in Ottawa can call the Akausivik Inuit Family Health Team at 613-740-0999 for service, including testing, in Inuktitut or English on weekdays. For more information
At least 56 people have died in the 6.2 magnitude earthquake which hit Sulawesi island on Friday nightView on euronews
Kids and teens stuck at home during the COVID-19 pandemic are picking up life skills from older siblings and parents — the kind that result in messy kitchens and less-than-bright whites. But as CBC discovered, parents and experts alike welcome this development. Kitchen wizards Chef Cory Haskins is the academic chair in the culinary arts and baking programs at Algonquin College. He's also got four teenagers at home, and since COVID-19, they've found their culinary groove. "The kids are all at home. They don't have the same activities that we previously had. And [their] mom and I are here to be able to provide some guidance," said Haskins. They started with eggs, pancakes and waffles. Now one daughter has learned to bake bread. Another is making cakes and cookies, and a son has mastered pasta carbonara. For a life-long foodie, Haskins said it feels good to see his kids find their culinary footing. "Everybody needs to learn how to cook," he said. "This is a perfect time for kids to get in the kitchen and do some experimenting." Food educator Carley Schelck heads up The Urban Element, and believes heartily in building kids' culinary literacy. It's cultivated independence in an age where there's a lot of dependency on the parent. - Carley Schelck With kids at home during the pandemic and parents stuck on Zoom calls, Schelck's nine-year-old son is learning to forage. "It has forced my son to go fend for himself a little bit more. It's cultivated independence in an age where there's a lot of dependency on the parent," she said. Schelck's advice to parents is to show kids how to use knives and appliances safely, and then step back and stand by. Dollars and sense For some families, COVID-19 has meant a change in income and spending habits — and that's led some kids to learn about the importance of budgeting and the value of a dollar. "Honestly, this is the best time," said Tecla Kalinda, the founder of Zalasmart, an Ottawa-based organization that helps teach kids and teens about financial literacy. "Especially as parents are losing jobs [and] things are getting tighter." Kalinda says there's a fine line between sharing financial realities with kids and protecting them from worry. "It can be tricky. Parents should be open about talking about money, and talking about in a positive way. [But] you don't want to stress the kids out," said Kalinda. "The best time to teach someone is doing their core development phase. And that's when they're a child. That's when they start building their habits. And a lot of the stuff you learn during that time frame tends to stick with you for life." Fixer uppers Think kids can't wield a hammer or screwdriver? Think again, says Bettina Vollmerhausen, co-founder at the Ottawa Tool Library. The pandemic has created conditions for handy parents to show the way. "There's so much organic learning that goes on when the kids are at home," said Vollmerhausen. Even minor drywall repairs or switching out spent washers can be conquered by kids and teens, although Vollmerhausen's caveat is that potentially dangerous tools only be used "under guidance" from someone with experience. And if no one has that experience? Fire up a YouTube video, Vollmerhausen suggests, and watch it together. "There is so much happening right around us that we can do together to build cohesion in the family. We're in this together. We're learning together." Keys to success Extra time at home could also be spent in the driveway or garage with the family wheels. Teens can learn to check things like tire pressure, wiper blades, and oil and windshield washer fluid levels, said Martin Restoule, the co-ordinator of transportation trades at Algonquin College. Even changing a tire isn't out of the realm of possibilities, he said — albeit with parental supervision. "All this stuff would be good for them to know before they go out and get their licenses," said Restoule. "Lift the hood and have a look around. It's a valuable lesson." Technical literacy Tech-savvy students are rapidly outpacing their parents and, in some cases, their teachers. "Kids are troubleshooting issues together. They're learning about how to present on video, how to connect, how to be aware of their background," said Mark Nunnikhoven, vice president of Cloud Research at Trend Micro, a cybersecurity software company. "All of these skills are going to follow these kids throughout life." Kids who are already "very comfortable in a digital world" are going even further, said Nunnikhoven. "To take that already high level of digital fluency to truly understanding how to make things bend to their own will, that's going to stay with them throughout their educational career as well as their professional career."
India's COVID-19 vaccination drive was still facing some delays on Sunday after it hit a bump on the first day due to glitches in an app used to coordinate the campaign, according to officials in some states. Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched on Saturday what his government has described as the "world's largest vaccination programme". It aims to vaccinate around 300 million people to curb the pandemic in India, which has reported the second highest number of coronavirus cases after the United States.
When people sense the party might be coming to an end, they start eyeing the exits. MPs are no different — particularly in the uncertain climate of a minority government. This past week, three MPs announced they would not be seeking re-election when the country next goes to the polls. One of those retirement announcements — that of Liberal MP Navdeep Bains — prompted a cabinet shuffle. The other two announcements were by Bloc Québécois MPs Simon Marcil and Louise Charbonneau. Five Conservative MPs have said already that this will be their last term in office, bringing the total number to eight. Those five Conservatives are all from Ontario: Diane Finley (Haldimand–Norfolk), Peter Kent (Thornhill), Phil McColeman (Brantford–Brant), Bruce Stanton (Simcoe North) and David Sweet (Flamborough–Glanbrook). They're also all experienced MPs, first elected between 2004 and 2008. Most represent safe seats for the Conservatives, won by margins of between 10 and 22 percentage points in the 2019 federal election. Sweet won his Flamborough–Glanbrook seat near Hamilton by just 2.6 percentage points, however, making it a potential swing riding in the next election and a seat the Liberals will be targeting. The Mississauga–Malton seat vacated by Bains is not likely to be up for grabs, considering Bains won it by a margin of 32 points over the Conservatives in 2019. Bains isn't the only Liberal MP from that election who won't be on the ballot next time. The party already has seen two MPs resign (Michael Levitt and former finance minister Bill Morneau) and be replaced in byelections. Ontario MPs Yasmin Ratansi and Marwan Tabbara are sitting as Independents after leaving the Liberal caucus and are unlikely to run under the Liberal banner in the next election, if they run at all. While the Conservatives and Liberals might see more members of the Class of 2019 opt out of the next campaign, the Bloc proportionately has the largest share of its caucus on the way out. Marcil was one of just 10 Bloc MPs elected in 2015, making him one of their few veterans. His Mirabel seat, however, looks like a safe one for the Bloc — he won it by 26 points in the last election. Charbonneau was only elected in 2019. So far, that makes her the only first-term MP in the Commons now who is ruling out running for re-election. She won the Trois-Rivières riding in a close three-way battle by only 2.4 points over the Liberal candidate, with the Conservatives finishing a strong third. Charbonneau's departure will make the contest for this seat even more fierce than it would have been. At this point, those are the only parties certain to be missing a few incumbents during the next campaign. The New Democrats could have a full slate of 24 incumbents on the ballot, though a party spokesperson says two NDP MPs still have to make a final decision. All three of the Green Party's MPs have confirmed they will be seeking re-election. What's an incumbent worth, anyway? There is certainly value to having an incumbent on the ballot. A familiar name with an experienced local organization and a deeper connection to a riding is going to have an advantage over other candidates. But some incumbents are worth more than others. The NDP's Alexandre Boulerice was the incumbent who had the most impact in his or her own riding in the 2019 federal election. He bucked the NDP's downward provincial trend in Quebec by holding on to his Montreal riding of Rosemont–La Petite-Patrie with ease, doing 22 points better than a "generic" NDP Quebec candidate would have been expected to do. But the impact of most incumbents is far more modest. Incumbent candidates lost an average of 0.8 percentage points in support between the 2015 and 2019 elections. In ridings where parties did not have their incumbent MP on the ballot, their replacements did an average of 6.6 points worse than the previous performance of their departed predecessors. That puts the value of an incumbent in the last election at roughly six points. While incumbency is not always decisive, it can still affect the outcome in a lot of seats: 58 ridings across the country were decided by six points or less in 2019. History suggests more retirements to come Assuming Ratansi and Tabbara don't seek re-election as Independents, the current number of MPs who will not seek re-election stands at 10 — just about three per cent of the entire House of Commons. That would be the lowest number of pre-election retirements on record — which might suggest that a few more MPs are likely to be added to the list before long. Given their shorter lifespans, it follows that minority Parliaments tend to see smaller numbers of MPs choosing not to run for re-election than those that serve during majority governments. Since 1867, there have been about twice as many retirements in majority Parliaments (17.5 per cent of MPs on average) than in minority Parliaments (8.8 per cent). The smallest number on record was recorded in 2011, at the end of prime minister Stephen Harper's second term of minority government, when the number of retiring incumbents represented just 5.5 per cent of all MPs. Even minority governments that failed to live as long as the current one — John Diefenbaker's two minorities in 1957-58 and 1962-63, and Joe Clark's in 1979-80 — saw retirement rates of between six and nine per cent. So unless a few more MPs decide they are throwing in the towel, a new record will be set when Canada next goes to the polls.