The federal government is joining calls on Quebec Premier François Legault to relax how pandemic curfew rules are applied to homeless people in Montreal.
The federal government is joining calls on Quebec Premier François Legault to relax how pandemic curfew rules are applied to homeless people in Montreal.
Police were out in force early and opened fire in different parts of the biggest city of Yangon after stun grenades, tear gas and shots in the air failed to break up crowds. Several wounded people were hauled away by fellow protesters, leaving bloody smears on pavements, media images showed. "Police and military forces have confronted peaceful demonstrations, using lethal force and less-than-lethal force that – according to credible information received by the UN Human Rights Office – has left at least 18 people dead and over 30 wounded," the U.N. human rights office said.
(Cecilia Fabiano/LaPresse/The Associated Press - image credit) Health Canada's approval of the Oxford-AstraZeneca and the Serum Institute of India's version to prevent COVID-19 in adults follows similar green lights from regulators in the United Kingdom, Europe Union, Mexico and India. The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, called ChAdOx1, was approved for use in Canada on Friday following clinical trials in the United Kingdom and Brazil that showed a 62.1 per cent efficacy in reducing symptomatic cases of COVID-19 cases among those given the vaccine. Experts have said any vaccine with an efficacy rate of over 50 per cent could help stop outbreaks. Dr. Supriya Sharma, Health Canada's chief medical adviser, said the key number across all of the clinical trials for those who received AstraZeneca's product was zero — no deaths, no hospitalizations for serious COVID-19 and no deaths because of an adverse effect of the vaccine. "I think Canada is hungry for vaccines," Sharma said in a briefing. "We're putting more on the buffet table to be used." Specifically, 64 of 5,258 in the vaccination group got COVID-19 with symptoms compared with people in the control group given injections (154 of 5,210 got COVID-19 with symptoms). Dr. Susy Hota, medical director of infection prevention and control at Toronto's University Health Network, called it a positive move to have AstraZeneca's vaccines added to Canada's options. "Even though the final efficacy of the AstraZeneca vaccine appears lower than what we have with the mRNA vaccines, it's still reasonably good," Hota said. "What we need to be focusing on is trying to get as many people as possible vaccinated so we can prevent the harms from this." Canada has an agreement with AstraZeneca to buy 20 million doses as well as between 1.9 million and 3.2 million doses through the global vaccine-sharing initiative known as COVAX. WATCH | AstraZeneca vaccine overview: Canada will also receive 2 million doses of AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine manufactured by the Serum Institute of India, the government announced Friday. Here's a look at some common questions about the vaccine, how it works, in whom and how it could be rolled out. What's different about this shot? The Oxford-AstraZeneca is cheaper and easier to handle than the mRNA vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, which need to be stored at ultracold temperatures to protect the fragile genetic material. AstraZeneca says its vaccine can be stored, transported and handled at normal refrigerated conditions (2 to 8 C) for at least six months. (Moderna's product can be stored at refrigeration temperatures for 30 days after thawing.) The ease of handling could make it easier to administer AstraZeneca's vaccine in rural and remote areas of Canada and the world. "There are definitely some advantages to having multiple vaccine candidates available to get to as many Canadians as possible," Hota said. Sharma said while the product monograph notes that evidence for people over age 65 is limited, real-world data from countries already using AstraZeneca's vaccine suggest it is safe and effective among older age groups. "We have real-world evidence from Scotland and the U.K. for people that have been dosed that would have been over 80 and that has shown significant drop in hospitalizations," Sharma said, based on a preprint. Data from clinical trials is more limited compared with in real-world settings that reflect people from different age groups, medical conditions and other factors. How does it work? Vaccines work by training our immune system to recognize an invader. The first two vaccines to protect against COVID-19 that were approved for use in Canada deliver RNA that encodes the spike protein on the surface of the pandemic coronavirus. Health-care workers Diego Feitosa Ferreira, right, and Clemilton Lopes de Oliveira travel on a boat in the state of Amazonas in Brazil, on Feb. 12, to vaccinate residents with the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. The product can be stored at refrigeration temperatures, which facilitates its use in remote areas. In contrast, the AstraZeneca vaccine packs the genetic information for the spike protein in the shell of a virus that causes the common cold in chimpanzees. Vaccine makers altered the adenovirus so it can't grow in humans. Viral vector vaccines mimic viral infection more closely than some other kinds of vaccines. One disadvantage of viral vectors is that if a person has immunity toward a particular vector, the vaccine won't work as well. But people are unlikely to have been exposed to a chimpanzee adenovirus. AstraZeneca is working on reformulating its vaccine to address more transmissible variants of coronavirus. How and where could it be used? Virologist Eric Arts at Western University in London, Ont., said vaccines from Oxford-AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, which is also under review by Health Canada, and Russian Sputnik-V vaccines all have some similarities. "I do like the fact that AstraZeneca has decided to continue trials, to work with the Russians on the Sputnik-V vaccine combination," said Arts, who holds the Canada Research Chair in HIV pathogenesis and viral control. Boxes with AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine are pictured at St. Mary's Hospital in Dublin, Ireland. Health Canada says the vaccine is given by two separate injections of 0.5 millilitres each into the muscle of the arm. "The reason why I'm encouraged by it is I think there might be greater opportunity to administer those vaccines in low- to middle-income countries. We need that. I think our high-income countries have somewhat ignored the situation that is more significant globally." Researchers reported on Feb. 2 in the journal Lancet that in a Phase 3 clinical trial involving about 20,000 people in Russia, the two-dose Sputnik-V vaccine was about 91 per cent effective and appears to prevent inoculated individuals from becoming severely ill with COVID-19. WATCH | Performance of AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine so far: There were 16 COVID-19 cases in the vaccine group (0.1 per cent or 16/14,964) and 62 cases (1.3 per cent or [62/4,902) in the control group. No serious adverse events were associated with vaccination. Most adverse events were mild, such as flu-like symptoms, pain at injection site and weakness or low energy. Arts and other scientists acknowledged the speed and lack of transparency of the Russian vaccination program. But British scientists Ian Jones and Polly Roy wrote in an accompanying commentary that the results are clear and add another vaccine option to reduce the incidence of COVID-19.
TUCSON, Ariz. — Mike Weir went on a back-nine birdie binge to take control of the Cologuard Classic. Phil Mickelson waded into the mud for the second straight day and will have to dig out of a deep hole if he’s going to make history. Weir shot a 5-under 67 to build a two-shot lead in the Cologuard Classic on Saturday, leaving Mickelson with a lot of ground to make up to win his third straight PGA Tour Champions start. “I can’t recall a time where I’ve hit so many shots close to the hole,” Weir said. “I’ve hit really a lot of shots that have been almost tap-in to just outside of tap-in. My wedges have been very good, even mid iron game’s been very good, and I’m driving it good.” Weir shot 66 in the opening round and had eight birdies in breezy conditions at tricky Tucson National. The Canadian left-hander was at 13 under, with Kevin Sutherland second heading into the final round. Tim Petrovic became the second player in PGA Tour Champions history to have a hole-in-one in consecutive rounds with an ace on No. 14. He was 8 under after a 67. Mickelson is bidding to become the first player to win his first three career starts on a PGA Tour-sanctioned tour. The five-time major champion was nine shots back after a 72 that included a second straight day of hitting out of the mud on No. 15. Mickelson was the last amateur to win a PGA Tour event as 20-year-old in Tucson 30 years ago, but has burned the edges of holes through two days in his return. “I really don’t know what to say other than it just was fractionally off the whole time,” he said. “I thought I hit a lot of good shots that just weren’t ending up close and I just wasn’t able to score. I scored terribly today, obviously, and relative to how I play.” Lefty hit into the large wash dissecting the course for the second straight day, pulling a drive on the par-5 second after doing the same on No. 13 Friday. He had a stretch of three birdies in four holes after the double bogey on No. 2 and another on the par-5 12th when he got up and down from a greenside bunker. Mickelson hit out of the mud on the par-5 15th in Friday's opening round after a 5-iron rolled farther than he expected and trickled into the pond on the dogleg right. He hit driver in the second round and ended up with the same result when his ball landed on the fairway and caromed hard right. Mickelson left his shoes on for his mud shot in Friday's round and made a 4-foot birdie putt after slopping it out. He opted to take his shoes off for his second muddy go-round and had another birdie chance despite spraying himself with mud, only to watch the putt slide by the hole. “I’m doing something wrong, so I've got to fix that,” he said. “I don’t know what to say. I hit two really good shots that have both ended up in the water. I can easily play more left, but then I can’t get there. Then I can’t get that second shot there and I’m trying to make a 4.” Weir shot 1-under 35 on the front nine before going on a birdie binge. The 2003 Masters champion ran off a string of seven birdies in eight holes to start the back nine, but a pulled approach shot on the par-4 18th led to a bogey. Petrovic had an ace on No. 16 in the opening round and pulled off rare consecutive-day aces on the 186-yard 14th Saturday. Petrovic raised his hands in the air as the handful of fans cheered, then curled up into a fetal position on the tee box after watching another improbable ace. The only other PGA Tour Champions player with aces in consecutive rounds was Graham Marsh at the 2004 Senior British Open. “I heard someone say, “Go in,” and I’m like, `No, it can’t -- there’s no way, I just had one yesterday, and it’s been six years since I had the one before that,'” Petrovic said. “I just flopped on the ground and then I kind of got in the fetal position. That’s all I could do.” Sutherland had four birdies and eagled the par-5 17th to shoot a bogey-free 67. Scott Parel was three shots off the lead after a bogey-free 67 that included five birdies. John Marshall, The Associated Press
A survey on experiences of racism in policing by the Southern Chiefs' Organization (SCO) was launched to mark Indigenous Justice Awareness Day. The survey is open to all Manitoba First Nations and will report on experiences of racism when dealing with police services across the province. “I’m proud to be launching this important and much-needed survey to better understand racism experienced by First Nation citizens in their encounters with police services in Manitoba,” said SCO Grand Chief Jerry Daniels in a press release. “One of the great injustices is that the systems that are supposed to protect us can be themselves perpetrators of violence.” Indigenous Justice Awareness Day came from the fatal shooting when John Joseph (J.J.) Harper, a 37-year-old member of the Wasagamack Indian Band in the Island Lake area, was killed by the Winnipeg police in March 1988. Since 2017, an Indigenous person in Canada is 10 times more likely to be shot and killed by a police officer than a non-racialized Canadian, according to a recent analysis. In the spring of 2020, three Indigenous people in Winnipeg were reported to have been fatally shot by Winnipeg police officers over the span of 10 days. On Feb. 14, William Ahmo from Sagkeeng First Nation died due to an incident with correctional officers at Headingley Correctional Institute. Through the survey, the SCO plans to examine the larger, systemic issue that has resulted in many of these unfortunate deaths. “We know that good data and reporting can lead to understanding and real change, which are both greatly needed,” said Daniels. “We have faced systemic racism for centuries now. It’s time for it to end. Indigenous lives matter, and we cannot take one more phone call or one more announcement of our people suffering or dying at the hands of the justice system.” All First Nations in Manitoba can access this survey at www,scoinc.mb.ca. The survey will only be open for six weeks starting Feb. 26. Winnipeg Police Service Chief Danny Smyth acknowledged the police in Winnipeg have not always been on the right path and that their past actions and procedures have contributed to harming Indigenous people in the community. “Earlier in my tenure as chief, I formally apologized to the Indigenous community while testifying at the national MMIWG Inquiry. Accountability is necessary if there is to be reconciliation,” said Smyth on Friday. “There are many other community organizations and leaders who work tirelessly to provide services in our community. This is the kind of community engagement I see as important. Partnering with and supporting groups like this is the true essence of crime prevention through social development.” Smyth ensures that the police service will reflect the needs and expectations of the community through continued recruitment making sure the Winnipeg police reflect the diversity of the community, along with continued partnership and support of Indigenous service providers. Continued training and education will also take place to ensure Winnipeg police understand the generational trauma inflicted on people who have experienced colonization. “We are not perfect, and we will make mistakes, but we are on the right path to combat racism,” he added. Nicole Wong is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the Winnipeg Sun. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada. Nicole Wong, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Winnipeg Sun
TORONTO — An Ontario cottage-country mayor called for a more flexible approach to COVID-19 containment on Saturday ahead of both new lockdown measures for his municipality and a sobering milestone in the province's efforts to curb virus transmission. The province's overall case count since the onset of the global pandemic inched towards 300,000, driven in part by rising numbers of infections linked to virus variants of concern. The 1,185 new infections added to the provincial total on Saturday pushed the overall tally to 299,754. The province, which has been logging around 1,000 new cases a day in recent weeks, is poised to cross the 300,000 threshold on Sunday. The rising number of cases tied to virus variants, which grew by 31 on Saturday, prompted the province to trigger a so-called "emergency brake" in the Thunder Bay and Muskoka Simcoe public health units on Friday in a bid to limit further transmission. The move didn't sit right with Bracebridge, Ont., Mayor Graydon Smith, who said the decision doesn't account for differences in infection rates within the Muskoka region. Smith wants the county's medical officer of health to treat Muskoka differently, saying most of the elevated infections are in the southern portion of the county in cities like Barrie, Ont. "While we recognize we're all one health unit, there are certainly different conditions and situations within that health unit that make us feel like we might be unduly affected by that blunt an instrument," Smith said in a telephone interview. Smith said the broad brush the government is deploying stands to harm local businesses struggling to get back on their feet after a provincewide stay-at-home order that only lifted two weeks ago. "I think business owners who have just been given an opportunity to get open and start functioning a little bit closer to normal right now are seeing that go away again, especially in the restaurant, beauty salon, gym side," he said. But another affected mayor said there were statistically sound reasons for a shift to the grey phase of the province's colour-coded pandemic response plan. Speaking ahead of the government's Friday announcement, Thunder Bay, Ont., Mayor Bill Mauro said the local public health unit had recorded more COVID-19 cases in February than throughout all of 2020. "We're in a difficult spot right now,'' he said at the time. "Clearly there is a situation here that we don't see ending in the near term.'' But even as two units prepare to see tighter public health restrictions take effect, such measures are set to ease in several other regions. The Niagara Region, Chatham-Kent, Middlesex-London, Southwestern, Haldimand-Norfolk, Huron Perth, and Grey Bruce will all move to less restrictive tiers of the province's pandemic response framework. Saturday's case counts showed long-standing COVID-19 hot spots continuing to lead the province in new infections. Health Minister Christine Elliott said Toronto saw 331 new cases in the past 24 hours, nearby Peel Region recorded 220 and York Region logged 119. Hospitalizations in the province declined by three to 680, with 276 patients in intensive care and 182 on a ventilator. Ontario is also nearing 7,000 total pandemic-related deaths, with the 16 reported on Saturday pushing the provincial total to 6,960. The province reached 200,000 cases 54 days ago on Jan. 5. Infection rates have slowed somewhat during that period — it took the province 47 days to progress from 100,000 to 200,000 total cases. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 27, 2021. Ross Marowits, The Canadian Press
All households in England with school or college aged children will be offered two rapid COVID-19 tests per person per week to support the government’s priority to get young people back in the classroom, the health ministry said on Sunday. Last week British Prime Minister Boris Johnson set out a phased plan to end England's latest COVID-19 lockdown, offering a "cautious" approach to try to prevent a return to wholesale restrictions that have hobbled the economy. The health ministry said rapid test kits would be made available to collect from Monday at more than 500 locations, or through workplace testing and local community testing services.
Two regions in Ontario are being placed back into lockdown shortly after leaving the province’s strictest pandemic measure. This comes after a rise in the number of COVID-19 and B.1.1.7 variant cases. As Morganne Campbell reports, business owners appear to be at their wits end over the province's approach to managing the pandemic.
The U.S. government on Saturday authorized Johnson & Johnson's single-dose COVID-19 vaccine, enabling millions more Americans to be vaccinated in the coming weeks and setting the vaccine up for additional approvals around the world. The J&J vaccine is the third authorized in the United States, following ones from Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna, both of which require two doses. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced the emergency use authorization of the J&J vaccine for adults aged 18 and older following Friday's unanimous endorsement by the agency's panel of outside experts.
One of the provinces that's largely escaped the ravages of the COVID-19 pandemic abruptly moved to stem a burgeoning outbreak on Saturday, while Canada's two long-standing virus hot spots marked a grim anniversary and braced to pass some sobering milestones in their respective fights against the pandemic. Prince Edward Island's newly announced "circuit-breaker" measures, which limit gathering sizes and social circles, are meant to clamp down on an outbreak of COVID-19 that officials believe is linked to the variant of the virus that first emerged in the United Kingdom. "We do seem to be stuck in this tangled spider's web of COVID and it won't really let us out of its grip," P.E.I. Premier Dennis King said Saturday. The measures come into effect Sunday and are set to last two weeks. They also prohibit indoor dining and receptions for weddings and funerals, while limiting occupancy in retail stores and gyms. The province counted six new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday, all among people in their 20s. None of the cases are linked to travel outside the province. P.E.I. has had 127 cases of the virus since the pandemic began, 10 per cent of which are currently active. Ontario, meanwhile, is poised to cross the 300,000 case threshold on Sunday after the 1,185 new infections counted Saturday pushed the overall tally to 299,754. The province has been logging roughly 1,000 new cases per day in recent weeks. Ontario is also approaching 7,000 total deaths linked to the virus, with 6,960 recorded as of Saturday. Meanwhile Quebec, Ontario's neighbour to the east, marked one year since detecting its first case of COVID-19. In that time, it's seen 287,003 cases of the virus, including 858 that were announced Saturday. It also logged 13 more deaths for a total of 10,385. Elsewhere, New Brunswick reported two new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday, while Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador each added four. Manitoba recorded 88 new cases of the virus and four more deaths, while Saskatchewan counted five added deaths and 162 new cases. Alberta, meanwhile, reported six new deaths linked to COVID-19 and 415 new diagnoses. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 27, 2021. The Canadian Press
The latest numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Canada as of 7:30 p.m. ET on Saturday Feb. 27, 2021. There are 864,196 confirmed cases in Canada. _ Canada: 864,196 confirmed cases (30,864 active, 811,372 resolved, 21,960 deaths).*The total case count includes 13 confirmed cases among repatriated travellers. There were 2,726 new cases Saturday. The rate of active cases is 81.21 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 20,391 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 2,913. There were 45 new reported deaths Saturday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 330 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 47. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.12 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 57.78 per 100,000 people. There have been 24,328,440 tests completed. _ Newfoundland and Labrador: 981 confirmed cases (274 active, 701 resolved, six deaths). There were four new cases Saturday. The rate of active cases is 52.48 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 80 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 11. There was one new reported death Saturday. 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 195,286 tests completed. _ Prince Edward Island: 127 confirmed cases (13 active, 114 resolved, zero deaths). There were six new cases Saturday. The rate of active cases is 8.14 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 12 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 101,073 tests completed. _ Nova Scotia: 1,638 confirmed cases (39 active, 1,534 resolved, 65 deaths). There were four new cases Saturday. The rate of active cases is 3.98 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 30 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 6.64 per 100,000 people. There have been 326,109 tests completed. _ New Brunswick: 1,430 confirmed cases (42 active, 1,362 resolved, 26 deaths). There were two new cases Saturday. The rate of active cases is 5.37 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 10 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is one. There were zero new reported deaths Saturday. 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 0.04 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 3.33 per 100,000 people. There have been 235,465 tests completed. _ Quebec: 287,003 confirmed cases (7,973 active, 268,645 resolved, 10,385 deaths). There were 858 new cases Saturday. The rate of active cases is 92.98 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 5,547 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 792. There were 13 new reported deaths Saturday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 93 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 13. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.15 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 121.11 per 100,000 people. There have been 6,250,877 tests completed. _ Ontario: 299,754 confirmed cases (10,479 active, 282,315 resolved, 6,960 deaths). There were 1,185 new cases Saturday. The rate of active cases is 71.12 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 7,755 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 1,108. There were 16 new reported deaths Saturday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 112 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 47.24 per 100,000 people. There have been 10,790,098 tests completed. _ Manitoba: 31,809 confirmed cases (1,208 active, 29,708 resolved, 893 deaths). There were 90 new cases Saturday. The rate of active cases is 87.58 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 480 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 69. There were four new reported deaths Saturday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 11 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is two. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.11 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 64.74 per 100,000 people. There have been 528,966 tests completed. _ Saskatchewan: 28,506 confirmed cases (1,548 active, 26,573 resolved, 385 deaths). There were 162 new cases Saturday. The rate of active cases is 131.33 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 1,068 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 153. There were five new reported deaths Saturday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 17 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is two. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.21 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 32.66 per 100,000 people. There have been 570,478 tests completed. _ Alberta: 133,203 confirmed cases (4,546 active, 126,774 resolved, 1,883 deaths). There were 415 new cases Saturday. The rate of active cases is 102.81 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 2,468 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 353. There were six new reported deaths Saturday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 65 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is nine. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.21 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 42.58 per 100,000 people. There have been 3,387,838 tests completed. _ British Columbia: 79,262 confirmed cases (4,719 active, 73,188 resolved, 1,355 deaths). There were zero new cases Saturday. The rate of active cases is 91.67 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 2,923 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 418. There were zero 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 0.08 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 26.32 per 100,000 people. There have been 1,910,966 tests completed. _ Yukon: 72 confirmed cases (zero active, 71 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 2.38 per 100,000 people. There have been 8,142 tests completed. _ Northwest Territories: 42 confirmed cases (three active, 39 resolved, zero deaths). There were zero new cases Saturday. The rate of active cases is 6.64 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 zero per 100,000 people. There have been 14,451 tests completed. _ Nunavut: 356 confirmed cases (20 active, 335 resolved, one deaths). There were zero new cases Saturday. The rate of active cases is 50.82 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 18 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is three. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 2.54 per 100,000 people. There have been 8,615 tests completed. This report was automatically generated by The Canadian Press Digital Data Desk and was first published Feb. 27, 2021. The Canadian Press
WINNIPEG — Manitoba Opposition New Democrats are promising to create a Crown corporation to improve internet and cellular service in northern and rural areas, if they win the next election in 2023. The idea was one more than 20 resolutions passed at the party's annual convention Saturday, in addition to calls for a higher minimum wage, higher staffing levels in health care, and a ban on new pipelines and fracking. "I hear about it time and time again ... everywhere, there's so many issues with connectivity," NDP Leader Wab Kinew told the convention, which was held online. Some delegates spoke of spotty or non-existent cell service on northern roads. Shelley Wiggins, a delegate from Swan River, told the convention rural students in her area are hard-pressed to get internet access. "The solution that the school division has for them ... is to drive 30, 40 (minutes), even an hour into town and park outside the school building to access the internet," she said. Manitoba Hydro has an extensive fibre-optic network along its major transmission lines, and the Progressive Conservative government issued a request for proposals last year to connect that network to more homes and businesses in outlying areas. "Our government has engaged in a fair and open process that is designed to bring reliable connectivity to rural and northern Manitoba," Blake Robert, media relations director for the Tory cabinet, wrote in an email Saturday. "We look forward to sharing the results of that process in the near future," Robert said, adding the issue was not resolved when the NDP was in government between 1999 and 2016. Kinew said he is concerned the Tories may privatize the network. Manitoba Hydro recently folded its telecom division into its general operations, and a recent review of the Crown corporation by former Saskatchewan premier Brad Wall suggests Hydro should focus on its core responsibilities. Exactly what a new Crown corporation would look like under an NDP government — and whether it might enter retail service, for example — remains to be seen. "We'll start working on articulating this vision a little bit more as we head into the next election," Kinew said in an interview after the convention. On the province's current $11.90 hourly minimum wage, NDP delegates passed a resolution that called for it to be raised to a living wage, "keeping in mind the living wage may exceed $15 an hour when the NDP forms government." Kinew said he thinks $15 an hour is achievable "over a term in government". Delegates also approved a resolution that calls on the federal and provincial governments to ban any new pipeline projects, fracking and the expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline. The idea was resisted by some. "We need to strategically plan where we're going to be three years from now and how the decision by this resolution may affect potential voters that support us," said delegate Ron Kostyshyn, who lost an attempt to have the matter referred to the NDP provincial council for further study. Recent opinion polls have suggested the NDP have gained popular support as that of the governing Tories has dropped during the pandemic. A survey by Probe Research Inc. in December suggested the NDP had surpassed the Tories for the first time since 2016. One political analyst said Manitobans seem to have become more comfortable with Kinew, who took over the NDP helm in 2017, and have been displeased with the Tory government's handing of the COVID-19 pandemic. "I think, increasingly, people are probably familiar with Wab Kinew. They feel like they know him better than they did in the last election," said Royce Koop, who teaches political studies at the University of Manitoba. "I think, increasingly, the NDP is in a good position to translate this (dissatisfaction with the government) into actual support, actual votes in the next election." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 27, 2021 Steve Lambert, The Canadian Press
EDMONTON — Alberta Premier Jason Kenney is condemning alleged vandalism at the office of an Opposition legislature member. His denunciation came on Saturday shortly after Edmonton MLA Janis Irwin posted pictures showing the front window spray-painted with the words "Antifa Liar." Kenney issued a social media post Saturday saying that while there are "countless ways" to register disagreement with a lawmaker, but "vandalism is not one of them." He also noted that "many other MLA offices have been vandalized in recent months" and condemned those responsible. The premier was criticized for taking days to denounce anti-lockdown demonstrators who marched in Edmonton last weekend, some carrying tiki torches, which Opposition Leader Rachel Notley said are widely considered symbols of white supremacy and racism in that context. The NDP leader issued a tweet of her own some time after Kenney's, saying all forms of racism, misogyny and hate should be called out and she was proud to have Irwin on her team. Irwin, who is her party's critic for women and LGBTQ issues, said on Twitter that the vandalism has left her "sad and angry," but added her feelings are just "a fraction" of what members of racialized groups and other marginalized communities feel every day. Irwin said she's reported the incident to police and plans to talk with them about the possibility it may be connected to previous hateful messages she's received. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 27, 2021. The Canadian Press
Toronto police say a 37-year-old man has been charged in the death of his mother, who they allege died after calling first responders seeking help while walking in a west-end park. They say Kathleen Hatcher of Toronto was located in the trail area of King's Mill Park on Friday morning with significant injuries. Hatcher was transported to hospital where she was pronounced dead. Police spokesman Const. Alex Li says Colin Hatcher, the victim's son, is now facing a charge of second-degree murder in the case. He declined to release the cause of Kathleen Hatcher's death and says the investigation is ongoing. Li says anyone who may have witnessed the incident, which he says took place along a popular walking route, is being urged to come forward. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 27, 2021. The Canadian Press
(CBC - image credit) Stephen Welch has been in the book business for almost 40 years. For the last 15, he's operated his store on Saint-Viateur Street in Mile End, catering to the intellectuals and artists who make the neighbourhood a cultural hub. But now, facing a significant commercial rent hike, Welch says he's being forced out of his space. "At a certain point a buzz happens. And that's when large developers start to see that there's something going on on the street and want to get in on the action," he told CBC News. "You can be paying a fairly low rate as I was and then, when the lease is up, they can put it up as much as they want." Welch said his current lease ends in August, but when he tried to negotiate with the building's owner, real estate developer Shiller Lavy, they weren't able to come to an agreement. "I just said I want the same deal for two years and they said no, no no, we want the moon," said Welch. "I understand that Shiller Lavy is a business and they want to make money, that's what they're doing. But it doesn't have to be predatory and profits don't have to be so high as to alter and change the street." Developer Danny Lavy told CBC News in a phone interview that Welch's rent was originally low because he had a long-term lease with an outdated rate. He said the current hike amounts to an increase of about $1,500 per month. Lavy said he had no choice but to up the cost of rent for the bookstore because of what he pays in property taxes and insurance on the building. The storefront of S. W. Welch bookstore now has a 'for rent' sign in the window. For Welch, the hike comes after a particularly difficult financial year for non-essential businesses. "It's a pandemic, there's no tourists on the street, I was closed three months last year," he said. It's also the second time Welch has had to move because of increasing commercial rents. Welch was priced out of his previous location on St-Laurent Boulevard as real estate on the strip became more in demand. He added that small, independent shops like his give character to the neighbourhood and make it a destination. "You go to anywhere in Canada or the U.S., you go to the main strip, you're going to see exactly the same thing, the same big box stores, the same fast food stores. There's very little diversity. Holding onto diversity is a great thing if you can." Stephen Welch said he tried to negotiate with his landlord, but they were not able to come to an arrangement. More protections needed, says city councillor Welch said he'd like the province to bring in new legislation to protect small businesses from being driven out of trendy areas. Richard Ryan, city councillor for Mile End, told CBC News that there is a provincial registry designed to monitor commercial rent increases but it's not mandatory. He said making this registry mandatory was a key recommendation following city consultations on vacant storefronts in commercial areas. Ryan added that this is not the first time businesses in the area have suffered and closed due to sudden rental increases. He gave the example of the indie cafe and event space Le Cagibi, which was formerly located at the corner of St-Laurent Boulevard at St-Viateur Street. The business was forced to close and relocate to Little Italy due to a similar substantial rent increase. Lorraine Lévesque is the owner of Bohême Vintage in Mile End. Across the street from S. W. Welch, a vintage clothing store owner said she's worried the Mile End is losing a lot of the character that makes it unique. Lorraine Lévesque has been in business in the same spot since 1997, and has seen a shift recently. "It's been really bad. Because you can see vacant stores all the time, and it's just, it's killing the neighbourhood," said Lévesque. Lévesque said if the Mile End is to retain its characteristic charm, there needs to be limits on commercial rents the way there are on residential properties in Quebec. "We would wish that someone with some power could do something."
WASHINGTON — The U.S. is getting a third vaccine to prevent COVID-19, as the Food and Drug Administration on Saturday cleared a Johnson & Johnson shot that works with just one dose instead of two. Health experts are anxiously awaiting a one-and-done option to help speed vaccinations, as they race against a virus that already has killed more than 510,000 people in the U.S. and is mutating in increasingly worrisome ways. The FDA said J&J’s vaccine offers strong protection against what matters most: serious illness, hospitalizations and death. One dose was 85% protective against the most severe COVID-19 illness, in a massive study that spanned three continents — protection that remained strong even in countries such as South Africa, where the variants of most concern are spreading. “The more vaccines that have high efficacy that we can get into play, the better,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top U.S. infectious disease expert, said ahead of the FDA’s ruling. Shipments of a few million doses to be divided among states could begin as early as Monday. By the end of March, J&J has said it expects to deliver 20 million doses to the U.S., and 100 million by summer. J&J also is seeking authorization for emergency use of its vaccine in Europe and from the World Health Organization. Worldwide, the company aims to produce about 1 billion doses globally by the end of the year. On Thursday, the island nation of Bahrain became the first to clear its use. ___ The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content. Lauran Neergaard And Matthew Perrone, The Associated Press
WASHINGTON — The Justice Department said Saturday it will appeal a judge’s ruling that found the federal government’s eviction moratorium was unconstitutional. Prosecutors filed a notice in the case on Saturday evening, saying that it was appealing the matter the to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. On Thursday, U.S. District Judge J. Campbell Barker ruled that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevented had overstepped its authority and that the moratorium was unlawful. “Although the COVID-19 pandemic persists, so does the Constitution,” the judge wrote. The CDC eviction moratorium was signed in September by President Donald Trump and extended by President Joe Biden until March 31. Barker, who was nominated by Trump in 2018 to serve in the Eastern District of Texas, stopped short of issuing an injunction in the case. Several property owners had brought the litigation arguing that the federal government didn’t have the legal authority to stop evictions. “The federal government cannot say that it has ever before invoked its power over interstate commerce to impose a residential eviction moratorium,” Barker wrote. “It did not do so during the deadly Spanish Flu pandemic. Nor did it invoke such a power during the exigencies of the Great Depression. The federal government has not claimed such a power at any point during our Nation’s history until last year.” State and local governments had approved eviction moratoriums early in the pandemic for many renters, but many of those protections have already expired. To be eligible for protection, renters must have an income of $198,000 or less for couples filing jointly, or $99,000 for single filers; demonstrate they’ve sought government help to pay rent; declare that they can’t pay because of COVID-19 hardships; and affirm that they are likely to become homeless if evicted. Michael Balsamo, The Associated Press
WINNIPEG — Ryan Poehling scored the game winner Saturday as the Laval Rocket downed the Manitoba Moose 2-1. Lukas Vejdemo also scored for Laval (5-2-1), beating Moose goalie Arturs Silovs 7:18 into the first period. Tyler Graovac responded for Manitoba (4-4-0) with just two minutes left in the game. Silovs stopped 23-of-25 shots on Saturday, and Laval netminder Charlie Lindgren made 16 saves. It was the Rocket's second straight win over the Moose after Laval topped Manitoba 4-3 on Friday. The Rocket are first in the American Hockey League's Canadian Division with 11 points. The Moose will face the Marlies in Toronto on Monday, and the Rocket are set to visit the Bellville Senators in Ottawa on March 8. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 27, 2021. The Canadian Press
CHARLOTTETOWN — Officials in Prince Edward Island introduced what they described as new "circuit-breaker measures" on Saturday in an effort to curb a recent spike in the province's long-standing low COVID-19 case count. The discovery of six new infections prompted the announcement from Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Heather Morrison and Premier Dennis King, who said the latest diagnoses cannot be linked to travel outside the province. Officials are acting under the assumption that they are a contagious new variant of COVID-19 that first emerged in the United Kingdom and was detected on the Island earlier this month, they added. "We need to wrap our arms around this virus and prevent it from spreading to the full extent that we can," King said at a Saturday afternoon briefing. "We will continue to ask people to stay apart as much as possible while at the same time being as active socially and physically as possible because we have learned over time how important both those aspects are to our overall well-being." The new restrictions, which take effect on Sunday and last for two weeks, will limit gatherings to an immediate household, plus a consistent circle of 10 contacts. Sporting events, tournaments and competitions will be banned but team practices can continue. Organized gatherings for concerts, worship services and movies will be limited to 50 people while gyms, museums, retail stores and libraries can operate at half-capacity with additional cleaning measures in place. Restaurants can remain open for takeout and delivery only, while personal services may operate on an appointment basis provided masks are worn. The tighter restrictions are needed to "interrupt the chain of transmission," Morrison said. "As this outbreak continues to evolve in the coming days, we are expecting to receive more positive cases," she said. "This outbreak is likely going to get worse before it begins to get better." Her comments came as the province reported six new COVID-19 infections, all among patients in their 20s. The province has recorded 14 new cases in four days – 12 of which have no connection to travel outside the province. Prince Edward Island has remained relatively unscathed by the pandemic, going long stretches without new infections. The province last introduced a circuit-breaker lockdown in early December after counting seven new cases over the course of one weekend. The initial lockdown, which closed restaurants, libraries and fitness facilities, was eased after a week. The province then introduced rules closer to the ones being implemented now, which were in place until early January. King said the current outbreak is not only disappointing but also worrisome, as the province is operating under the assumption that the new cases are a more contagious variant of the novel coronavirus. "It's discouraging from the perspective of all Islanders simply because we've done very, very well to date and we can see the finish line but we do seem to be stuck in this tangled spider's web of COVID and it won't really let us out of its grip." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 27, 2021. The Canadian Press
Si certains croient encore de nos jours que les jeunes sont continuellement centrés sur leur nombril et peu empathiques, une enseignante de l’école secondaire du Grand-Coteau s’est fait un plaisir de leur prouver le contraire, à sa façon. Après avoir lu un texte du chroniqueur Patrick Lagacé publié dans La Presse à propos de la réalité de ceux qui évoluent actuellement dans le milieu hospitalier, Marie-Josée Larouche a en effet eu l’idée de demander à ses étudiants d’écrire une lettre adressée à ceux qui combattent la pandémie au quotidien, et ce, qu’ils soient infirmières, médecins… ou concierge. « Dans son reportage, Patrick Lagacé a mis des citations de gens qui lui ont écrit et qui pratiquent toutes sortes de métiers dans le domaine de la santé. Ils expliquaient comment les choses se passaient pour eux dans leur réalité actuelle. J’ai lu ça un samedi matin comme toute bonne enseignante qui lisait son journal en buvant son café. Mais c’est le lundi en me levant à 5 h du matin que j’ai eu le flash. J’ai alors pondu un petit document vite fait que j’ai présenté plus tard à mes étudiants. » Évidemment, l’idée d’écrire une lettre peut sembler novatrice pour des jeunes du secondaire qui ont grandi à l’ère du SMS et du clavardage. Mais plutôt que de les rebuter, il semble que le projet proposé par leur enseignante ait piqué leur curiosité. Devant cet enthousiasme inattendu de ses protégés, l’enseignante a d’ailleurs décidé de pousser l’expérience un peu plus loin et l’exercice qui devait durer durant deux périodes s’est finalement étiré sur cinq périodes. « Pour eux, une lettre, c’est un peu comme un pigeon voyageur, s’amuse l’enseignante. Je leur ai expliqué comment on écrivait une lettre jadis, il n’y a pas si longtemps. Éventuellement, ils vont devoir écrire eux-mêmes des lettres d’intentions quand ils vont postuler pour un emploi. Alors, ça nous a permis de travailler la structure. » Les membres des trois groupes qui en sont à leur première année au secondaire ont par ailleurs eu à pousser leur réflexion un peu plus loin. Ce qui a permis à certains de considérer pour la première fois tout le personnel qui est nécessaire afin qu’un établissement de santé fonctionne rondement, en particulier durant une pandémie. « Je leur ai demandé qui sont les gens qu’on peut retrouver dans un hôpital outre les infirmières et la personne qui nous accueille à l’arrivée. Ils ont fait des recherches et ils m’ont sorti plein de choses. On a parlé du fait que le rôle du concierge pouvait être tout aussi important que celui de l’administrateur. Et j’ai vu leurs yeux s’allumer. Il y a eu des déclics. L’exercice a rendu la chose très concrète pour eux. » Les lettres écrites par les élèves des trois groupes de 24 étudiants de l’enseignante ont par la suite été distribuées au personnel de trois établissements de santé, soit le CHUM, l’Hôpital Pierre-Boucher ainsi que l’hôpital Honoré-Mercier de Saint-Hyacinthe. « Ils étaient vraiment inspirés, nous révèle Mme Larouche. Et semble-t-il que ceux qui ont reçu les lettres ont été hyper touchés. Ce qui est beaucoup ressorti, c’est qu’ils ont constaté à quel point les jeunes sont conscients de la situation et de la réalité dans les hôpitaux. Ils se sont sentis « enveloppés » si je peux dire par leur démarche, par leurs mots. Certains ont dit que ça leur avait donné du courage. Quand j’ai dit ça à mes groupes, ils étaient vraiment fiers. Ils ont travaillé tellement fort! » Steve Martin, Initiative de journalisme local, La Relève
Some students in Newfoundland and Labrador are headed back to school. Students in the central, western and northern parts of the province will return to in-class instruction starting on Wednesday, Education Minister Tom Osborne and Newfoundland and Labrador English School District CEO Tony Stack announced Friday. “I want to think Dr. Fitzgerald for her guidance with these enhanced protocols to keep students and staff safe in light of the new realities of the COVID-19 variant,” said Osborne. “I know these are significant changes for students, parents, teachers and staff, but as the chief medical officer of health indicated, the variant is a new virus. “Her guidance is meant to keep us safe.” The announcement comes on the heels of Friday’s public health update from the province’s chief medical officer of health. Dr. Janice Fitzgerald informed people the Avalon Peninsula will be held under Alert Level 5 of the pandemic response plan, while the rest of the province would move to Alert Level 4 starting at midnight Friday. Under Scenario 3 of the return-to-school plan, schools on the Avalon Peninsula will remain in virtual sessions for the next two weeks. That will take them to March 12 before a decision will be made to return students to in-school sessions. There is a provision to allow students with complex needs to have access to in-school learning if their families want to take advantage of that. The rest of the province’s students will spend the first two days of next week taking part in virtual classes and will return to in-school sessions on Wednesday. "Ordinarily, it is a 14-day cycle for most schools and all of the curriculum interaction will occur within those 14 days. It is just that it is going to be 50 per cent of the time,” said Stack. Further to the division for in-school sessions, schools in the other regions of the province will be further divided. Those schools that can manage it will return to Scenario 1 — close to normal — while others will move to Scenario 2 for intermediate and high school classes. That means those classes will be cut in half and students will attend sessions under a staggered schedule of in-school and virtual learning. There are 50 schools that will fall under this scenario, typically schools with high enrolment. Regardless of which of the above scenarios a school falls under, there are universal public health regulations that will be set for them. Students from kindergarten to Grade 3 are not required to wear a mask during the school day, but they will be required to wear one while on the bus. All students from Grade 4 to Grade 12 will be required to wear masks all day whether in class or on the school bus. Students in Grade 7 to Grade 12 are required to keep a distance of two metres (six feet) between them at all times. Staff will be required to wear a Level1 medical mask and a face shield at all times while teaching, and at any other time when a two-metre distance cannot be maintained. Personal protective equipment will be provided by the district. The school board does not anticipate when there will be a return of extracurricular activities such as school sports, choirs and bands. “I trust the guidance of Public Health and our chief medical officer of health,” said Osborne. “With the additional protocols that have been put in place, I believe that our schools are as safe as they can be and our early learning and child-care centres are as safe as they can be.” Included in the announcement was the indication that outside the Avalon Peninsula, regulated child care will be allowed to return to full capacity. Masks and face shields are mandatory. Because of this, the provincial government will no longer reimburse fees of absentee children for centres. As long as Avalon child-care centres stay in the current status, the government will to pay those fees. In a news release Friday afternoon, the Newfoundland and Labrador Teachers’ Association said some of the increased health precautions were the correct move, but the NLTA has some concerns. The association said the decision to keep Avalon Peninsula schools under Scenario 3 is the right decision, and it supports some of the public health measures enacted for schools in other regions. “However, we still have concerns about the ability of many schools to maintain effective student cohorting and the continued challenges they will face with respect to proper physical distancing and poor ventilation,” NLTA president Dean Ingram stated. “We would certainly like to know more about what role interactions at school and school-sponsored activities played in the recent outbreak and how this, and the science around the B.1.1.7 virus variant, have been factored into the decisions made. “An abundance of caution should always be the rule.” The NLTA also sought clarification on whether teachers will be included in the second phase of vaccine rollouts around the province and said schools should not be the weak link in the province’s COVID-19 response. “Schools are where all of our homes, workplaces and community contacts come together,” said Ingram. “Strengthening protections for students and staff, and by extension their families, to make school re-entry safe and sustainable for all should be the focus.” Nicholas Mercer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Central Voice