President Donald Trump returned to the White House on Sunday after spending the Thanksgiving holiday break with his family at Camp David. (Nov. 29)
President Donald Trump returned to the White House on Sunday after spending the Thanksgiving holiday break with his family at Camp David. (Nov. 29)
For two Virginia police officers who posed for a photo during the deadly U.S. Capitol insurrection, the reckoning has been swift and public: They were identified, charged with crimes and arrested. But for five Seattle officers the outcome is less clear. Their identities still secret, two are on leave and three continue to work while a police watchdog investigates whether their actions in the nation's capital on Jan. 6 crossed the line from protected political speech to lawbreaking. The contrasting cases highlight the dilemma faced by police departments nationwide as they review the behaviour of dozens of officers who were in Washington the day of the riot by supporters of President Donald Trump. Officials and experts agree that officers who were involved in the melee should be fired and charged for their role. But what about those officers who attended only the Trump rally before the riot? How does a department balance an officer's free speech rights with the blow to public trust that comes from the attendance of law enforcement at an event with far-right militants and white nationalists who went on to assault the seat of American democracy? An Associated Press survey of law enforcement agencies nationwide found that at least 31 officers in 12 states are being scrutinized by their supervisors for their behaviour in the District of Columbia or face criminal charges for participating in the riot. Officials are looking into whether the officers violated any laws or policies or participated in the violence while in Washington. A Capitol Police officer died after he was hit in the head with a fire extinguisher as rioters descended on the building and many other officers were injured. A woman was shot to death by Capitol Police and three other people died after medical emergencies during the chaos. Most of the officers have not been publicly identified; only a few have been charged. Some were identified by online sleuths. Others were reported by their colleagues or turned themselves in. They come from some of the country’s largest cities — three Los Angeles officers and a sheriff’s deputy, for instance — as well as state agencies and a Pennsylvania police department with nine officers. Among them are an Oklahoma sheriff and New Hampshire police chief who have acknowledged being at the rally, but denied entering the Capitol or breaking the law. “If they were off-duty, it’s totally free speech,” said Will Aitchison, a lawyer in Portland, Oregon, who represents law enforcement officers. “People have the right to express their political views regardless of who’s standing next to them. You just don’t get guilt by association.” But Ayesha Bell Hardaway, a professor at Case Western Reserve University law school, said an officer’s presence at the rally creates a credibility issue as law enforcement agencies work to repair community trust, especially after last summer's of protests against police brutality sparked by the police killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. Communities will question the integrity of officers who attended the rally along with “individuals who proudly profess racist and divisive viewpoints,” she said. “It calls into question whether those officers are interested in engaging in policing in a way that builds trust and legitimacy in all communities, including communities of colour.” In Rocky Mount, a Virginia town of about 1,000, Sgt. Thomas Robertson and Officer Jacob Fracker were suspended without pay and face criminal charges after posting a photo of themselves inside the Capitol during the riot. According to court records, Robertson wrote on social media that the “Left are just mad because we actually attacked the government who is the problem … The right IN ONE DAY took the f(asterisk)(asterisk)(asterisk)(asterisk) U.S. Capitol. Keep poking us.” Attempts to contact the pair were unsuccessful and court records do not list lawyers. Leaders in Rocky Mount declined to be interviewed. In a statement, they said the events at the Capitol were tragic. “We stand with and add our support to those who have denounced the violence and illegal activity that took place that day,” said Police Chief Ken Criner, Capt. Mark Lovern and Town Manager James Ervin. “Our town and our police department absolutely does not condone illegal or unethical behaviour by anyone, including our officers and staff.” On the other side of the county, five Seattle officers are under investigation by the city’s Office of Police Accountability. Two officers posted photos of themselves on social media while in the district and officials are investigating to determine where they were and what they were doing. Three others told supervisors that they went to Washington for the events and are being investigated for what they did while there. Seattle Police Chief Adrian Diaz said his department supports officers’ freedom of speech and that those who were in the nation's capital will be fired if they “were directly involved in the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.” But police leaders need to evaluate more than just clear criminal behaviour, according to Chuck Wexler, executive director of the Police Executive Research Forum, a policing research and policy group. They must also consider how their actions affect the department credibility, he said. Officers' First Amendment rights “don’t extend to expressing words that may be violent or maybe express some prejudice,” Wexler said, “because that’s going to reflect on what they do when they’re working, when they’re testifying in court.” Through the summer and fall, Seattle police — along with officers elsewhere — came under criticism for their handling of mass protests against police brutality following the death of George Floyd. The city received more than 19,000 complaints against officers, most for excessive use of force and improper use of pepper spray. Andrew Myerberg, director of the Seattle Office of Police Accountability, said none of the officers now under investigation were involved in those cases. But Sakara Remmu, cofounder of Black Lives Matter Seattle/King County, said the officers should be fired regardless. Their public declarations of solidarity with Trump fosters not just community distrust, but terror of the entire department, she said. “It absolutely does matter when the decorum of racial peace cracks and racial hatred comes through, because we already have a documented history and legacy of what that means in this country,” Remmu said. In Houston, the police chief decried an officer who resigned and was later charged in the riot. A lawyer for Officer Tam Pham said the 18-year veteran of the force "very much regrets” being at the rally and was “deeply remorseful.” But many chiefs have said their officers committed no crimes. “The Arkansas State Police respects the rights and freedom of an employee to use their leave time as the employee may choose,” department spokesman Bill Sadler said of two officers who attended the Trump rally. Malik Aziz, the former chair and executive director of the National Black Police Association, compared condemning all officers who were in Washington to tarring all the protesters who took to streets after the killing of George Floyd with the violent and destructive acts of some. A major with the Dallas Police Department, Aziz said police acting privately have the same rights as other Americans, but that knowingly going to a bigoted event should be disqualifying for an officer. “There’s no place in law enforcement for that individual,” Aziz said. Martha Bellisle And Jake Bleiberg, The Associated Press
Saskatchewan's premier says the fight over the Keystone XL pipeline isn't over yet. In a recent interview with CBC's Rosemary Barton, Premier Scott Moe says conversations around the TC Energy project are ongoing, despite U.S. President Joe Biden's recent cancellation of the pipeline's permit by executive order. "I wouldn't say this project is over by any stretch. There is a lot of conversation to have on KXL," Moe said in an interview on Rosemary Barton Live. The 1,897-kilometre pipeline would have carried 830,000 barrels of crude oil daily from oilsands in Hardisty, Alta., to Nebraska, connecting to the original Keystone pipeline running to the U.S. Gulf Coast refineries. A portion of the project would have crossed into southern Saskatchewan. Moe, along with Alberta Premier Jason Kenney and Ontario Premier Doug Ford, has pushed Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the federal government to take action against the pipeline's halt. That could include economic sanctions, Moe suggested — a possibility also raised by Kenney. "I haven't said that we should go to sanctions and sanctions should be utilized first," Moe said in his interview with Barton. "But sanctions are always on the table in any conversation or any challenge that we may have with our trading relationship with our largest partner." The project, originally blocked by U.S. President Barack Obama, was then approved by President Donald Trump, who wanted to negotiate the terms of the project, before ultimately being blocked again by Biden in the first days of his presidency. Federal Opposition leader Erin O'Toole has also expressed frustration over the cancellation of the project, saying in a statement it "will devastate thousands of Canadian families who have already been badly hurt by the economic crisis." Trudeau's government has repeatedly said that it supports the project and has made that clear to the new U.S. administration, but both the prime minister and Canada's ambassador to the U.S. have said it is time to respect the decision and move on. Speaking on Friday morning, Trudeau reiterated his disappointment with the cancellation and said he would raise the issue during his phone call with Biden scheduled for later in the day. "Obviously the decision on Keystone XL is a very difficult one for workers in Alberta and Saskatchewan who've had many difficult hits," he said. "Over the past years we have been there for them and we will continue to be there for them and I will express my concern for jobs and livelihoods in Canada, particularly in the West, directly in my conversation with President Biden." Trudeau stressed he and the new president are on the same wavelength on fighting climate change and middle-class job creation, as well as the "values of Canadians." Moe called the cancellation a "devastating blow to North American energy security," and said in the interview with Barton he'll continue to advocate for the pipeline, which he says has both economic and environmental benefits for Canada.
Guyana said late on Saturday that a Venezuelan navy vessel detained two vessels that were fishing in Guyana's exclusive economic zone, the latest dispute in a long-running border conflict between the two South American nations. Caracas says much of eastern Guyana is its own territory, a claim that is rejected by Georgetown. The conflict has flared up in recent years as Guyana has started developing oil reserves near the disputed area.
ATLANTA — Six months after his death, the late civil rights leader and longtime Georgia congressman John Lewis will retain a palpable influence in Congress: The state’s two new Democratic U.S. senators — both personal friends and admirers — promise to carry on his legacy. Sen. Raphael Warnock was Lewis’ pastor and stood at his bedside before Lewis died. Sen. Jon Ossoff, the Senate’s youngest current member, served as an intern in Lewis’ Washington office years ago. Both were sworn into office Wednesday. Their victories have already brought about significant change. Warnock is Georgia’s first Black senator, and Ossoff is the first Jewish senator from the state. Together, their election victories swung control of the Senate to Democrats. Stacey Abrams, a Democrat who narrowly lost the nationally watched race for Georgia governor in 2018, said in a statement to The Associated Press that Warnock and Ossoff represent Lewis’ legacy in the Senate “as champions of civil rights, human rights and voting rights." “Congressman Lewis is irreplaceable,” Abrams wrote. "However, Georgians gave America the opportunity to pass sweeping reforms that will strengthen our democracy and commemorate his fight for all.” Both of the newly minted senators have pledged to pursue legislation to expand and protect voting rights, a cause that Lewis championed for most of his life. Democrats and their supporters are hopeful that their newfound control of the White House and Congress could mean voting protections previously stalled by a GOP-led Senate could receive quick passage. Chief among those is a bill passed by the House in 2019 that has since been renamed after Lewis. It seeks to restore portions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2013. The ruling in Shelby County v. Holder ended a requirement that jurisdictions with a history of discriminatory voting practices receive preclearance from the federal government for any changes to voting procedures. Democrats and voting rights groups argue that the ruling has led to a cascade of changes in many states that have disenfranchised voters, including polling place closures. In a news conference Thursday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi identified the legislation as a top priority and said she was optimistic about its prospects. That said, the Senate could have its hands full with the impending impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump, as well as consideration of appointments by President Joe Biden and his early legislative proposals, including a $1.9 trillion coronavirus plan. Lewis died in July at the age of 80 after battling pancreatic cancer. He served in the House for 33 years representing Georgia’s 5th Congressional District, which includes most of Atlanta. Lewis became a key player in the civil rights movement as a young man in the 1960s. He helped found the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, was among the original Freedom Riders who challenged segregated bus terminals in the South, and was the youngest person to speak at the March on Washington in 1963. Most associated with the pursuit to secure and protect voting rights, Lewis led protesters in the 1965 Bloody Sunday march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, where he had his skull fractured by police, and was a driving force behind voting rights laws in the U.S. for decades. Lewis was a parishioner of Warnock's for years at the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta where the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. preached and Warnock remains pastor. Warnock was called to Lewis' bedside days before his death and presided over his funeral service. “Today the world lost a giant. I lost a mentor, a church member and a friend," Warnock said in a tweet shortly after Lewis' death. “In his youth, John Lewis wrestled with a call to ministry. But instead of preaching sermons, he became a sermon for all the world to see.” Ossoff first met Lewis when, as a teenager, he was inspired by Lewis' book “Walking With the Wind” and wrote him a letter. “I was so inspired by how a person so young had taken a leadership role in the pursuit of justice and confronting the abuse of power, and was just in awe of his life,” Ossoff said in an interview with The Associated Press in December. Lewis wrote back and invited Ossoff to come work in his office for a few months, spawning a yearslong relationship between the two. Lewis' early endorsement of Ossoff helped him defeat a challenger with far more experience in elected office to clinch the Democratic nomination for Senate. Warnock and Ossoff defeated Republican incumbents Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, who both ran on fealty to Trump, in a runoff election on Jan. 5. They are the first Democrats to win a U.S. Senate election in Georgia since 2000. On the night of the election, as the Democrats’ leads became clear, members of Congress who worked alongside Lewis paid tribute to the late congressman, saying he laid the groundwork for the victories. “My friend John Lewis planted the foundation of this Georgia over his career,” Democratic Rep. Bill Pascrell of New Jersey said in a tweet. “I wish he were here tonight to watch this.” Ben Nadler, The Associated Press
BERLIN — Hertha Berlin fired coach Bruno Labbadia and general manager Michael Preetz on Sunday after a poor run of form left the big-spending club near the Bundesliga relegation zone. Labbadia spent nine months in charge and becomes the fourth permanent Hertha coach to leave the post in the last two years after Saturday's 4-1 defeat to Werder Bremen. Preetz departs after nearly 12 years as general manager, with former sporting director and former German national team player Arne Friedrich taking over his duties. Hertha is 14th in the Bundesliga, two points above the relegation playoff place, and has won only one of its last eight league games. “With 17 points from 18 games we are in a very serious situation,” chairman Carsten Schmidt said in a statement. “Therefore we have decided after due consideration to provide new impetus with a change of coach. We will clarify the successor for the coach position in the coming days.” Schmidt told broadcaster Sky that candidates to succeed Labbadia include Pal Dardai, who coached Hertha from 2015 to 2019. “We have a clear plan," Schmidt said. “We are not going into this task unprepared.” Labbadia was initially appointed in April 2020 to steady the ship after a turbulent 10-game spell under former Germany and United States national team coach Jürgen Klinsmann, but failed to make progress toward the top half of the table in his second season. The poor form comes despite Hertha being among Europe's biggest spenders on transfers in 2020. It is particularly troubling for Hertha given the club's stated aim of establishing itself as a Champions League regular and also the success of rival Union Berlin, eighth in the standings, on a much smaller budget. With funding from investor Lars Windhorst, Hertha spent large sums last year on signing forwards Krzysztof Piatek from Milan and Matheus Cunha from Leipzig, defensive midfielder Lucas Tousart from Lyon and midfielder Matteo Guendouzi on loan from Arsenal. None has consistently hit strong form in Berlin. ___ More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Associated Press
A new app has been created to bring awareness and support to those impacted by gun violence in Toronto. The Enough is Enough app was launched by music producer Dub J. Global News Weekend Host Mike Arsenault has more.
WASHINGTON — As the House prepares to bring the impeachment charge against Donald Trump to the Senate for trial, a growing number of Republican senators say they are opposed to the proceeding, dimming the chances that former president will be convicted on the charge that he incited a siege of the U.S. Capitol. House Democrats will carry the sole impeachment charge of “incitement of insurrection” across the Capitol late Monday evening, a rare and ceremonial walk to the Senate by the prosecutors who will argue their case. They are hoping that strong Republican denunciations of Trump after the Jan. 6 riot will translate into a conviction and a separate vote to bar Trump from holding office again. But instead, GOP passions appear to have cooled since the insurrection. Now that Trump's presidency is over, Republican senators who will serve as jurors in the trial are rallying to his legal defence, as they did during his first impeachment trial last year. “I think the trial is stupid, I think it’s counterproductive,” said Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla.. He said that "the first chance I get to vote to end this trial, I’ll do it” because he believes it would be bad for the country and further inflame partisan divisions. Trump is the first former president to face impeachment trial, and it will test his grip on the Republican Party as well as the legacy of his tenure, which came to a close as a mob of loyal supporters heeded his rally cry by storming the Capitol and trying to overturn Joe Biden's election. The proceedings will also force Democrats, who have a full sweep of party control of the White House and Congress, to balance their promise to hold the former president accountable while also rushing to deliver on Biden's priorities. Arguments in the Senate trial will begin the week of Feb. 8. Leaders in both parties agreed to the short delay to give Trump's team and House prosecutors time to prepare and the Senate the chance to confirm some of Biden’s Cabinet nominees. Democrats say the extra days will allow for more evidence to come out about the rioting by Trump supporters, while Republicans hope to craft a unified defence for Trump. Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., said in an interview with The Associated Press on Sunday that he hopes that evolving clarity on the details of what happened Jan. 6 “will make it clearer to my colleagues and the American people that we need some accountability.” Coons questioned how his colleagues who were in the Capitol that day could see the insurrection as anything other than a “stunning violation” of tradition of peaceful transfers of power. “It is a critical moment in American history and we have to look at it and look at it hard,” Coons said. An early vote to dismiss the trial probably would not succeed, given that Democrats now control the Senate. Still, the mounting Republican opposition indicates that many GOP senators would eventually vote to acquit Trump. Democrats would need the support of 17 Republicans — a high bar — to convict him. When the House impeached Trump on Jan. 13, exactly one week after the siege, Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., said he didn’t believe the Senate had the constitutional authority to convict Trump after he had left office. On Sunday, Cotton said “the more I talk to other Republican senators, the more they’re beginning to line up” behind that argument. “I think a lot of Americans are going to think it’s strange that the Senate is spending its time trying to convict and remove from office a man who left office a week ago,” Cotton said. Democrats reject that argument, pointing to a 1876 impeachment of a secretary of war who had already resigned and to opinions by many legal scholars. Democrats also say that a reckoning of the first invasion of the Capitol since the War of 1812, perpetrated by rioters egged on by a president who told them to “fight like hell” against election results that were being counted at the time, is necessary so the country can move forward and ensure such a siege never happens again. A few GOP senators have agreed with Democrats, though not close to the number that will be needed to convict Trump. Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, said he believes there is a “preponderance of opinion” that an impeachment trial is appropriate after someone leaves office. “I believe that what is being alleged and what we saw, which is incitement to insurrection, is an impeachable offence,” Romney said. “If not, what is?” But Romney, the lone Republican to vote to convict Trump when the Senate acquitted the then-president in last year’s trial, appears to be an outlier. Sen. Mike Rounds, R-South Dakota, said he believes a trial is a “moot point” after a president's term is over, “and I think it’s one that they would have a very difficult time in trying to get done within the Senate.” On Friday, GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, a close Trump ally who has been helping him build a legal team, urged the Senate to reject the idea of a post-presidency trial — potentially with a vote to dismiss the charge — and suggested Republicans will scrutinize whether Trump’s words on Jan. 6 were legally “incitement.” Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, who said last week that Trump “provoked” his supporters before the riot, has not said how he will vote or argued any legal strategies. The Kentucky senator has told his GOP colleagues that it will be a vote of conscience. One of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s nine impeachment managers said Trump’s encouragement of his loyalists before the riot was "an extraordinarily heinous presidential crime." Rep. Madeleine Dean, D-Pennsylvania., said "I mean, think back. It was just two-and-a-half weeks ago that the president assembled a mob on the Ellipse of the White House. He incited them with his words. And then he lit the match.” Trump’s supporters invaded the Capitol and interrupted the electoral count as he falsely claimed there was massive fraud in the election and that it was stolen by Biden. Trump’s claims were roundly rejected in the courts, including by judges appointed by Trump, and by state election officials. Rubio and Romney were on “Fox News Sunday,” Cotton appeared on Fox News Channel's “Sunday Morning Futures” and Romney also was on CNN's “State of the Union,” as was Dean. Rounds was interviewed on NBC's “Meet the Press.” ___ Associated Press writer Hope Yen contributed to this report. Mary Clare Jalonick And Lisa Mascaro, The Associated Press
ANKARA, Turkey — Armed pirates attacked a Turkish cargo ship off the West African coast, kidnapping 15 sailors and killing one of them, officials said Sunday as Turkey sought to recover the captured crew. The Liberian-flagged M/V Mozart was sailing from Lagos, Nigeria, to Cape Town in South Africa when it was attacked Saturday morning 100 nautical miles (185 kilometres) northwest of the island nation of Sao Tome and Principe. Turkey’s Maritime Directorate said the crew initially locked themselves in a safe area but the pirates forced entry after six hours. During the struggle, one crew member aboard died. It identified the victim as engineer Farman Ismayilov of Azerbaijan, the only non-Turkish crew member. After kidnapping most of the crew, the pirates left the ship in the Gulf of Guinea with three sailors aboard, state-run Anadolu news agency said. According to reports, the pirates disabled most of the ship’s systems, leaving only the navigation system for the remaining crew to find their way to Gabon's Port-Gentil. The Gulf of Guinea, off the coasts of Nigeria, Guinea, Togo, Benin and Cameroon, is the most dangerous sea in the world for piracy, according to the International Maritime Bureau. Maritime security consultancy Dryad Global described the attack as “an exceptional incident for both its severity and distance from shore.” Last year, boardings in the waters off West Africa rose to 18 from 13 in 2019, the London-based firm added. Mevlut Cavusoglu, Turkey's foreign minister, said he had spoken to the senior officer remaining on the Mozart, Furkan Yaren, and that the morale and physical condition of the sailors aboard was good. “We are continuing co-ordinated negotiations for the release” of the abducted sailors, he said. “The pirates have yet to make any response.” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has twice spoken to Yaren, his office said in a tweet. It added that Erdogan issued orders for the recovery of the kidnapped crew. “The owners and operators of the M/V Mozart, which was hijacked at gunpoint in the Gulf of Guinea, have regretfully confirmed that one of its crew has been killed and others abducted,” Istanbul-based Boden Maritime said. Among the captives is the ship’s captain, Mustafa Kaya, 41. His brother Seyit, of Istanbul, said the sailors’ families had been called by Erdogan. “We hope we see them free, unharmed soon,” he said. “Everybody is trying. We pray for our brothers.” In July 2019, 10 Turkish seamen were kidnapped off the coast of Nigeria. They were released less than a month later. Andrew Wilks, The Associated Press
Genetically modified organisms can help address current agricultural challenges, but public opinion is against them. Maybe the search for delicious decaf coffee could lead to widespread acceptance.
Many residents of British Columbia's south coast woke up to rain on Sunday after expecting an overnight snow dump, but Environment Canada warns snow is still in the forecast. The federal weather agency updated its snowfall warnings for the region early Sunday morning, saying that between two to 15 centimetres are expected by Monday morning. It says communities near the water such as Comox, Parksville, Nanaimo could see up to five centimetres of snow, while rain or wet snow is still possible in the lower elevations of Metro Vancouver. Snow is expected on the Sunshine Coast, Vancouver Island, the Central Coast, and in parts of Metro Vancouver. It will likely change to rain or become mixed with rain late Sunday afternoon. Several agencies have issued advice on how to stay safe in the snow and slush. BCAA issued a release outlining the most common winter driving problems. They include not having winter tires, under-inflated tires and driving on roadways or driveways that aren't plowed or properly shovelled. Burnaby RCMP tweeted an image of two essential items many people might need on Sunday: a shovel and a window scraper. Vancouver Coastal Health also advised people to take care walking in snowy conditions by wearing rubber-soled shoes and using hand rails if they are available. In preparation for the wintry weather, the City of Vancouver says more than 100 vehicles and 3,000 tonnes of salt are ready to hit the roads this weekend. The city is also opening additional shelter spaces at the Powell Street Getaway, the Vancouver Aquatic Centre and the Creekside Community Centre. Environment Canada says precipitation is expected to ease Sunday afternoon and then return in the evening, with snowfall at night and on Monday mainly accumulating over higher elevations. Meanwhile periods of snow are anticipated through Monday morning in the Fraser Valley, including Chilliwack and Hope, with the potential for significant snowfall Sunday night. Environment Canada warns that wet and slushy snow may make for a messy commute in the valley Monday morning and power outages are also possible if heavy, wet snow accumulates on trees. The agency says more snow is possible later in the week.
Artificial intelligence is supported by an infrastructure of hardware and software that is growing increasingly present in our lives, yet remains hidden in plain view.
There was no distribution plan for the coronavirus vaccine set up by the Trump administration as the virus raged in its last months in office, new President Joe Biden's chief of staff, Ron Klain, said on Sunday. "The process to distribute the vaccine, particularly outside of nursing homes and hospitals out into the community as a whole, did not really exist when we came into the White House," Klain said on NBC's "Meet the Press." Biden, a Democrat who took over from Republican President Donald Trump on Wednesday, has promised a fierce fight against the pandemic that killed 400,000 people in the United States under Trump’s watch.
Here's a timeline of key developments in the COVID-19 pandemic in Canada since the first presumptive case was reported on Jan. 25, 2020: Jan. 25: A Toronto man in his 50s who returned from the Chinese city of Wuhan — the initial epicentre of the outbreak — becomes the first presumptive case of the novel coronavirus in Canada. The man is placed in isolation in Toronto's Sunnybrook Hospital. Jan. 26: The man's wife, who had travelled with him from Wuhan, also tests positive, becoming the country's second presumptive case. The woman is allowed to self-isolate at home. Jan. 27: The National Microbiology Lab in Winnipeg confirms that the Toronto man being treated at Sunnybrook Hospital is the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in Canada. Jan. 28: The Toronto man's wife is declared the second confirmed case of COVID-19. Health officials in British Columbia say a man in his 40s who travels to China for work is presumed to have COVID-19. The man is in self-isolation at his Vancouver home. Feb. 4: There is another presumptive case reported in B.C. — a woman who had family visiting from China's Hubei province. She is in isolation at her home. Feb. 7: A plane carrying more than 200 Canadians from Wuhan arrives at CFB Trenton in eastern Ontario, where they start a 14-day quarantine. Feb. 20: A woman who returned from Iran becomes B.C.'s sixth case of COVID-19 and the first person in Canada diagnosed with the illness who did not recently visit China or have close contact with someone who did. The Toronto man who was the country's first confirmed case is cleared after testing negative for the virus. Feb. 27: Quebec public health officials report the province's first presumptive case, a woman from the Montreal region who recently returned from Iran. March 5: B.C. announces eight new cases, including Canada's first-ever case possibly contracted within the community, rather than through travel or contact with other cases. March 8: Canada records its first death from COVID-19. A man in his 80s died in a North Vancouver nursing home. March 11: The World Health Organization declares COVID-19 a pandemic. Canada has more than 100 cases. A Utah Jazz player tests positive two days after a game against the Toronto Raptors, causing the NBA to suspend its season. March 12: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau self-isolates after his wife Sophie Gregoire Trudeau tests positive for COVID-19. The NHL and most other sports leagues suspend seasons. The Juno Awards are shelved. Minor hockey across the country is cancelled. The Ontario government announces schools across the province will be closed for two weeks after March break. Manitoba and Saskatchewan report their first cases. March 13: The federal government announces Parliament will go on break. March 14: The federal government urges Canadians currently abroad to return home as soon as possible March 15: Nova Scotia reports its first three cases. March 16: Canada announces it is closing its borders to non-Canadians, apart from Americans and a few other exceptions. March 17: Ontario and Alberta declare states of emergency. March 18: Canada and the United States announce they will close their shared border to non-essential traffic. B.C. and Saskatchewan declare states of emergency. March 19: New Brunswick declares a state of emergency. March 20: COVID-19 cases pass 1,000 across the country. Manitoba declares state of emergency. March 22: Canada says it won't compete in the Tokyo Olympics or Paralympics. March 23: Ottawa announces repatriation flights for Canadians stranded in foreign countries. March 24: Olympics officially postponed until 2021. March 25: Emergency aid bill passes. Canada makes it mandatory for all travelers arriving in the country to quarantine for 14 days. March 30: Trudeau says a new wage subsidy program will cover all businesses whose revenue has dropped by at least 30 per cent because of COVID-19. April 2: COVID-19 death toll passes 100 in Canada. April 3: Ontario projects COVID-19 death toll could reach 15,000. April 4: U.S. company 3M told by the White House to stop exporting N95 respirators to Canada. April 6: 3M makes a deal with the White House to provide N95 masks to Canada. Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada's chief public health officer, says wearing masks is a way for people who might have COVID-19 without realizing it to keep from spreading the illness. April 9: Ottawa projects 4,400 to 44,000 Canadians could die of COVID-19. Government announces more than one million people lost their jobs in March. April 13: Federal government announces nearly 5.4 million Canadians are receiving emergency aid. April 15: Canada passes 1,000 virus-related deaths. April 22: Ontario and Quebec, the hardest-hit provinces, call on the military to help out in long-term care homes. April 23: Canadian death toll passes 2,000 as country announces it will pour $1.1 billion into vaccine testing. April 25: New Brunswick introduces a two-household bubble, allowing people to interact with others. April 28: Canada hits 50,000 cases. May 4: Restrictions begin to lift in several provinces including Quebec and Manitoba. May 8: The unemployment rate rockets up to 13 per cent, the second-highest figure on record in Canada. May 11: Some Quebec schools reopen and Ontario stores start offering curbside pickup. May 12: Death toll passes 5,000. May 13: The country's top doctor says Canadians in communities where COVID-19 is still spreading should wear non-medical masks when they can't stay physically distant from others. May 14: Many stores, child-care centres and hair salons open in Alberta. May 19: Many stores reopen in Ontario, B.C. and Saskatchewan. May 23: Thousands pack a park on a sunny day in Toronto, creating fears of a new outbreak. May 26: A new report from the military helping battle COVID-19 in five long-term care facilities in Ontario reveals extreme neglect and exposes the extent of the horrific conditions facing residents. May 29: At least 41 staff and students test positive for COVID-19 in the first two weeks after elementary schools outside the Montreal area reopen. June 12: Ontario enters Stage 2 of its reopening, except for Toronto, Windsor-Essex and Peel region. June 18: Canada officially records more than 100,000 cases of COVID-19 over the length of the pandemic. June 26: The Canadian Red Cross sends 900 people to work in Quebec's long-term care homes until mid-September, replacing Canadian Armed Forces members. June 26: The Nova Scotia government announces all bars and restaurants can operate at full capacity after more than two weeks without a single new case of COVID-19. July 3: P.E.I., Newfoundland and Labrador, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia begin allowing their Atlantic neighbours to visit without self-isolating for 14 days after entering. The so-called "Atlantic bubble" as a way to boost struggling local economies. July 16: Trudeau says the federal, provincial and territorial governments reached a deal on billions of dollars in transfers to continue reopening economies amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Trudeau says the federal government will contribute $19 billion to the effort. July 18: The Blue Jays are denied approval to play in Toronto due to the COVID-19 pandemic. July 18: Quebec becomes the first province in Canada to require mask-wearing in all indoor public places. July 28: Remdesivir becomes the first drug to be approved by Health Canada for treatment of patients with severe COVID-19 symptoms. July 31: COVID Alert, A voluntary smartphone app that can warn you if you've come into close proximity to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, becomes available to download. Aug. 3: Quebec increases the limits on indoor and outdoor public gatherings from 50 people to 250 people. The province's health minister says despite the relaxed rules, COVID-19 continues to circulate in Quebec, especially among young people. Aug. 17: The Canadian Football League cancels its 2020 season, making it the first year since 1919 that the Grey Cup won't be awarded. Sept. 8: Hundreds of thousands of children and teenagers across Canada re-enter classrooms for the first time in six months. Alberta and Quebec are among the first to report new cases of COVID-19 related to the reopening of schools. Sept. 14: The Bloc Quebecois caucus, including leader Yves-Francois Blanchet, enters self-isolation after a member of Blanchet's staff tested positive for COVID-19. Sept. 16: Federal Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole says he, his family and some party workers are in self-isolation after an aide tested positive for COVID-19. Sept. 19: Nunavut reports its first confirmed cases of COVID-19. The territory's chief public health officer says there are two cases at the Hope Bay gold mine 125 kilometres southwest of Cambridge Bay. Top public health official Dr. Michael Patterson says both miners were exposed in their home jurisdictions. Sept. 22: Rebecca O'Toole, the wife of Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole, tests positive for COVID-19. Sept. 23: In an address to the country, Trudeau says the second wave of COVID-19 is underway. He says families won't likely be able to gather for Thanksgiving, but it is not too late to save Christmas. Sept. 25: Tougher COVID-19 restrictions are also reimposed in Winnipeg due to a spike in cases. In Ontario, Ford says bars and restaurants will have to stop serving booze at 11 p.m. Sept. 30: Parliamentarians unanimously pass Bill C-4 to usher in a new batch of COVID-19 benefits. For Canadians left jobless or underemployed because of the pandemic, the legislation supplants the CERB support program with a more flexible and generous employment insurance regime. Oct. 1: Stringent new rules take effect in three Quebec regions at the heart of rising COVID-19 case counts in the province. Bars, cinemas and restaurant dining rooms are ordered closed for at least 28 days in Montreal, Quebec City and Chaudiere-Appalaches. Restaurants are still allowed to offer takeout. The strictest of the new measures include prohibiting private gatherings. Oct. 19: Canada's COVID-19 case count surpasses the 200,000 mark. The development comes just over four months after Canada reached the 100,000-case threshold. Oct. 28: A report from Canada's chief public health officer focusing on the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic says Canada ranks 26th in the world for total deaths per million population. Nov. 10: The Manitoba government forces non-essential stores to close and bans social gatherings in an effort to stop a surge of COVID-19 cases. Nov. 16: Canada's COVID-19 case count tops 300,000 less than a month after it crossed the 200,000 threshold. Nov. 23: The premiers of Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador announce they will temporarily pull out of the so-called "Atlantic Bubble" for two weeks due to a resurgence of COVID-19 cases in Atlantic Canada. Nov. 26: Federal health officials say Canada has purchase agreements with seven COVID-19 vaccine producers. Nov. 26: New Brunswick becomes the latest Atlantic province to opt out of the so-called bubble and demand anyone entering the province self-isolate for 14 days. The province also introduces heightened public health measures in the Fredericton area. Nov. 27: Trudeau says most Canadians should receive the COVID-19 vaccine by September 2021. The prime minister says Canada's vaccine distribution program would be led by former NATO commander Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin. Dec. 2: Johnson & Johnson begins the process of applying for emergency approval of its COVID-19 vaccine from Health Canada and the European Medicines Agency, while Pfizer-BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine is given permission for emergency use in the U.K. Dec. 4: Canada records more than 400,000 cases of COVID-19, just 18 days after it hits the 300,000 mark. Dec. 7: Trudeau says Canada will receive up to 249,000 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine in December. Dec. 8: Partial results published in the medical journal Lancet suggest the COVID-19 vaccine candidate from Oxford University and AstraZeneca is safe and about 70 per cent effective. Dec. 9: Health Canada approves national use of Pfizer-BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine. Dec. 14: The first doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine are administered to people in Quebec and Ontario. Dec. 20: Canada surpasses 500,000 total cases of COVID-19 as Nunavut reports its first two deaths. The federal government restricts travel from the U.K. for 72 hours in an effort to keep a contagious new strain out of Canada. Dec. 23: Health Canada says the COVID-19 vaccine from U.S. biotech firm Moderna is safe for use in Canada. Dec. 26: Ontario confirms its two first Canadian cases of a more contagious variant of COVID-19 first identified in the United Kingdom. The province also re-enters a lockdown that shutters non-essential businesses and closes schools to in-person learning for at least two weeks. Dec. 28: Canada surpasses 15,000 deaths related to COVID-19. Dec. 30: The federal government announces plans to require air travellers to test negative for COVID-19 before landing in Canada. Jan. 3, 2021: Canada surpasses 600,000 total cases of COVID-19. Jan. 6: Quebec becomes the first province to announce a curfew to curb soaring COVID-19 infections. The provincial government says it's to be enforced for four weeks. Jan. 8: A new variant of COVID-19 that first surfaced in South Africa is reported in Alberta. Nova Scotia and New Brunswick tighten their boundaries, requiring people entering the provinces to quarantine for 14 days. Jan. 9: The Quebec curfew comes into effect, barring most residents from leaving their homes between 8 p.m. and 5 a.m. Jan. 11: Ontario's death toll surpasses 5,000. Jan. 14: A stay-at-home order takes effect in Ontario days after the daily case tally nearly hit 4,000. Among the added measures is a requirement for people to wear a mask inside businesses and restrictions on the size of gatherings. All non-essential retail stores may only open between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. Jan. 15: Pfizer says it will temporarily cut vaccine delivery to Canada because of issues with its European production lines. Jan. 16: Canada surpasses 700,000 cases of COVID-19. Jan. 23: Health Canada confirms it's approved a rapid COVID-19 test from Spartan Bioscience for use across the country. The company had previously recalled its rapid testing technology last spring over concerns expressed by the federal agency. Jan. 24: New Brunswick's Edmundston region enters lockdown in a bid to quash a rise in local COVID-19 case numbers. The Canadian Press
IQALUIT, Nunavut — In Nunavut, it's not unusual for the internet to cut out, slow down or stop working altogether. Unlike most jurisdictions in Canada, there is no option for unlimited internet. Instead, residents are faced with high prices and heavy fees for higher monthly data caps. Amy Matychuk, who lives in Iqaluit, says each month she and her fiancé wait for the notice from their internet service provider telling them they've reached their data limit. Matychuk says the couple spends about $250 a month on internet. Her fiancé is completing his masters, which requires him to be on Zoom nearly eight hours a day. "He's at the maximum data he can have on his phone, so once we run out of internet at home he can hot-spot to his phone," she said. Nunavut’s internet problems aren’t new, but the territory's senator, Dennis Patterson, says the pandemic has made a bad situation even worse. "Internet continues to be of crucial importance to remote communities in Nunavut. The situation has sadly not changed," Patterson said in an interview. A report commissioned by Nunavut Tunngavik Inc., the land-claim body that represents Inuit in the territory, says the fastest possible internet speed in Nunavut is eight times slower than the national average. The report states Nunavut is the only jurisdiction in Canada without residential access to internet speeds over 25 megabits per second. The highest possible speed in Nunavut is 15 megabits per second. Some 86 per cent of Canadian households have access to unlimited data packages and 94 per cent have access to broadband speeds of at least 25 megabits, the report says. It would cost a single Nunavut household at least $7,000 annually to reach the average level of data usage in Canadian households. Nunavut is also the only Canadian province or territory without access to fibre internet. There are three proposals that could bring it to Nunavut through lines connected to other provinces, but those are still a few years away from completion. Patterson says one reason internet hasn’t improved in the territory is a lack of competition for service providers. Northwestel, which is owned by Bell, serves all of Nunavut’s 25 communities. Qiniq, its main competitor, also offers internet and mobile phone service but runs off a different network because it doesn't have access to Northwestel's. “It's like an airport being owned by one airline and other airlines needed to either build their own airport or pay premium rates to access that airport," Patterson said. Another reason internet hasn't improved in the territory is because previously announced federal funding has not been distributed, he added. "There's been no action. It’s deeply disturbing to me." Last summer, projects in Yukon and the Northwest Territories received $72 million from the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission to improve broadband internet service. Nunavut did not receive any money. In a news release at the time, the CRTC said Nunavut projects were deferred to a second round of funding. "We need immediate relief during the height of the pandemic when all these services in health and education and working at home are so critical," Patterson said. The CRTC said in an email that it "is continuing to evaluate the applications submitted to the second call for applications." "Further funding announcements will be made as additional projects are approved." The CRTC said it could not disclose how many Nunavut projects had applied for funding. Andrew Anderson, communications director with Northwestel, said the company's proposal to the CRTC seeks to bring internet speeds up to 50 megabits per second with an option for unlimited internet. Right now, the company's highest internet package for home users is 150 gigabytes a month and costs $129. “We’re hopeful that our proposal brings good value to Nunavut and will help meet that standard, but we’re waiting to hear back on that," Anderson said. For his part, Patterson will continue to push the federal government to make immediate investments for faster, more affordable internet as the pandemic rages on. "People still need to work and do schooling remotely. It’s no secret that Nunavut has been subject to internet blackouts." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 24, 2021 ___ This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship Emma Tranter, The Canadian Press
CALGARY — Dr. Liz Ruelle says it was a difficult decision to close her veterinary practice to first-time patients after being swamped with requests by new pet owners who turned to animal companionship during the pandemic.For Ruelle, who operates the Wild Rose Cat Clinic in Calgary, everything takes two to three times longer with COVID-19 safety protocols, so providing timely medical attention to animals can be challenging.She's six months behind on regular checkups and so decided last October to refer new furry patients to emergency clinics. "Everyone was running out and getting pets ... and we're now facing backlogs of annual exams, because we weren't doing them for months," Ruelle said."I have a hard time saying no to people. It's gut-wrenching for us. When we're saying no, it's because we physically can't."Humane Canada says 78,000 cats and 28,000 dogs were in shelters across Canada in 2019. Sixty-five per cent of the felines and 73 per cent of dogs were either adopted or reclaimed by their owners.Numbers for last year aren't yet available, but shelters across the country say demand has been brisk, although the number of cats and dogs available has dropped."Our adoptions have thankfully stayed steady throughout the pandemic and haven't seen a marked increase in animal returns," said Jessica Bohrson from the Calgary Humane Society."With so many folks now working from home, they've been able to give their new pets a great deal of attention."There are about 10,000 veterinarians in Canada. Dr. Enid Stiles, president of the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association, said that's too few vets for the number of pets.The greatest shortfall is in British Columbia, Quebec and Newfoundland and Labrador."It's become a triage of what's most important. Certainly these new pets have thrown a wrench into things, because in Canada we already have a very big shortage of veterinarians," said Stiles, who shut down her Montreal clinic to new patients in December."My clinic said we would never do that, but ... we ended up having to stop taking any new patients because we're burning out. We had to put the brakes on and that's hard because where are those pets going to go?"The irony is they're going to end up being pushed out to more rural vets, who may still have some ability to see these patients, but now they're having to travel great distances in a pandemic just to get veterinary care."Lack of attention for newer patients has led to many veterinarians being subjected to verbal abuse from angry pet owners, Stiles added."People get frustrated and they're very emotional when dealing with pets. We understand, but certainly with the pandemic it's even more of a struggle," she said."People's fuses are short."The Toronto Humane Society switched to virtual adoptions last spring. The organization has fewer animals available than usual because it isn't allowed to bring in any from the United States with the border closed.Hannah Sotropa said the society has received more than 11,000 applications for adoption since the pandemic began."Definitely the interest has certainly increased. We're not seeing an increase in adoptions per se largely due to the fact we have had fewer animals," she said.The Toronto Humane Society has its own public veterinary service clinic which vaccinates, spays and neuters pets. It also has a dental suite."There's going to be backlogs. What's really important is we find ways to make veterinary care more accessible, so we can prevent animals ending up in our shelters simply due to affordability or lack of availability to basic, veterinary care," Sotropa said."It's important for people to know that even if they are an adopter, they can still come for help if they need it."This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 24, 2021— Follow @BillGraveland on Twitter Bill Graveland, The Canadian Press
A man in western P.E.I. surrendered peacefully to police Sunday after a tense situation in which police asked residents to stay inside and others to avoid the area, neighbours say. In a news release issued at 3:25 p.m., RCMP said the "situation has been dealt with." They provided no other details, other than to request that people continue to avoid the area on Route 14 in Nail Pond between the Back Settlement Road and Route 182, where the man was seen emerging from a home. Hal Perry, the MLA for the area, confirmed in a Facebook post that the man surrendered after "lengthy negotiations." West Prince RCMP sent an email early Sunday asking people to avoid the area due an "active incident in progress." They said there was no danger to the public. However, neighbours said said the situation was "nerve-racking" as at least nine police cars and an armoured truck were stationed outside the home. They said police told residents to stay inside, lock their doors and turn off their lights. Neighbour Florence DesRoches said she was sitting in her living room when she saw police apprehend the man at around 2:30 p.m. "When I looked out the window, I just noticed him walking out of the house with his arms up in the air and the armoured truck pulled up and there was cars come from everywhere," DesRoches said. When I looked out the window, I just noticed him walking out of the house with his arms up in the air and the armoured truck pulled up and there was cars come from everywhere — Florence DesRoches She said police approached him, he got down on the ground, they pointed guns at him, and he was handcuffed and taken back inside. Allan McInnis, mayor of the nearby town of Tignish, said the local fire hall was offered as a base for police. He said police told him Sunday morning "everything was well being taken care of." DesRoches said police were on scene for several hours. "People were calling my place constantly because they knew we live up here and they wanted to know what was going on, and when you don't know what's going on and nobody is telling you anything ... it's kinda nerve-racking." Maritime Electric had a planned power outage in the area from 2-6 a.m. However, a spokesperson for the utility said it was not related to the incident. More from CBC P.E.I.
Officials in President Joe Biden's administration tried to head off Republican concerns that his $1.9 trillion pandemic relief proposal was too expensive on a Sunday call with Republican and Democratic lawmakers, some of whom pushed for a smaller plan targeting vaccine distribution. "It seems premature to be considering a package of this size and scope," said Republican Senator Susan Collins, who was on the call with Brian Deese, director of the White House's National Economic Council, and other top Biden aides.
TORONTO — The patient, when he came into the hospital ER with what seemed to be mild pneumonia, wasn't that sick and might otherwise have been sent home. Except the man had just returned from China, where a new viral disease was spreading like a brush fire. His chest X-rays were also unusual. "We'd never seen a case like this before," says Dr. Jerome Leis. "I'd never seen an X-ray quite like that one." It was the evening of Jan. 23, 2020, when the team at Toronto's Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre decided to admit the 56-year-old patient. That same day, Canada's chief public health officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, told the country: "The risk of an outbreak in Canada remains low," Tam said in a refrain she and other officials would repeat for weeks on end. Less than two days after admission to Sunnybrook, the man would become "Patient Zero" — the first COVID-19 case in Canada. For several weeks, Leis, the hospital's medical director of infection prevention and control, had been anticipating just such a moment. He had known since the end of December about the outbreak in Wuhan, China, and he'd been following Chinese authorities as they published information about the new pathogen and its effects. Drawing on lessons learned from the SARS epidemic years earlier, Sunnybrook's screening staff were already asking new specific questions of incoming patients. Protocols were sharpened. Just that morning, in fact, internal-medicine residents and faculty had done a refresher around protective gear. "We were extremely suspicious that this was the novel coronavirus that had been described," Leis says. "It does feel like a lifetime ago and yet it does just seem like yesterday." Dr. Lynfa Stroud, on-call general internist and division head of general internal medicine at Sunnybrook, was notified the new patient needed to be admitted. "We didn't know what exactly we were dealing with," Stroud says. "We had early reports of presentations and how people evolved. We were a bit nervous but we felt very well prepared." The following day, as China was locking down Hubei province, Dr. Peter Donnelly, then head of Public Health Ontario, was asked about lockdowns in Canada. "Absolutely not," he declared: "If a case comes here, and it is probably likely that we will have a case here, it will still be business as normal.'' Confirmation of the clinicians' suspicions at Sunnybrook would come from the agency's laboratory, which had been working furiously to develop and validate a suitable test for the novel coronavirus based on information from China. The agency's lab had been testing samples for two weeks when the Sunnybrook call came in. "They sent a sample to us in a cab," says Dr. Vanessa Allen, chief of microbiology and laboratory science at Public Health Ontario. It would be the start of a round-the-clock effort to test and retest the new samples. "The last thing you need is a false signal or some kind of misunderstanding," says Allen, who had been a resident during the SARS outbreak. By about midday of Saturday, Jan. 25, the lab was sure it had identified the new organism that would soon take over the world and become a household name. "It wasn't called COVID at the time," Allen says of the disease. Over at Sunnybrook, Leis received the confirmation without much surprise. "It was consistent with what we were seeing and what we suspected," he says. "I was actually happy that the lab was able to confirm it." Within hours, public health authorities would let the country know that Canada had its first case of the "Wuhan novel coronavirus," although further confirmation from the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg was pending. "I want Ontarians to know that the province is prepared to actively identify, prevent and control the spread of this serious infectious disease in Ontario," Health Minister Christine Elliott declared as the province announced a new "dedicated web page" for latest information. The wife of "Patient Zero" would also soon be confirmed as COVID-19 positive but was able to self-isolate at home. "This (man) was one of the first cases to report on the more milder spectrum of disease, which was not something we were aware of," Leis says. "It helped to teach us about the larger spectrum in disease severity that we see with COVID-19, which is very different from SARS." Looking back now at their roles in a small piece of Canadian pandemic history, those involved talk about how much we didn't know about a virus that has since infected three-quarters of a million people in Canada, killing more than 18,800 of them. "The initial detection, in some ways, was the easy part," Allen says. "This virus and the implications are extremely humbling, and just the prolonged nature and impact of this was certainly not on my radar in January of last year." Yet treating "Patient Zero" and his wife afforded valuable lessons about what was then a poorly understood disease. For one thing, it became apparent that most of those afflicted don't need hospital admission — hugely important given the massive number of infections and resulting stresses on critical-care systems. "To be honest: We would have sent this patient home from the emergency room," Stroud says. "We admitted him because, at that time, it wasn't known very well what the course of illness was." Sunnybrook alone has now assessed more than 4,000 COVID-19 patients. To survive the onslaught, the hospital developed a program in which patients are screened and, if possible, sent to self-isolate under remote medical supervision. Both "Patient Zero" and his wife recovered. Their cases would mark Canada's first minor health-care skirmish of what was to become an all-out global defensive war against COVID-19. It also marked the beginning of relentless work hours for those on the front lines of health care. For health-care workers, it's been a long year since those first energized, if anxious, days one year ago. There's a weariness in their voices, a recognition the war is still raging, even as vaccines developed with stunning alacrity offer some hope of a truce. "We have been working essentially non-stop since last January and it's not slowing down now," Leis says. "Health-care teams are tired. There's a lot of concern about burnout. It's been challenging for sure." Despite COVID-19's deadly toll, the vast majority of COVID-19 patients, like "Patient Zero," recover. Still, even for some of those, their battle might never be over. "These people just don't get magically better," Stroud says. "Some will have lifelong lung scarring and damage to their lungs." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 24, 2021. Colin Perkel, The Canadian Press
Severe winds and heavy rains wrecked thousands of buildings, ruined crops and displaced almost 7,000 people in Mozambique over the weekend, officials said in their first detailed report on the disaster. Tropical cyclone Eloise hit Mozambique's Sofala coastal province on Saturday morning before weakening and heading inland to dump rain on Zimbabwe, eSwatini - formerly known as Swaziland - and South Africa. Authorities initially said Eloise had only caused minor damage in Mozambique's port city of Beira but that it was too early to gauge the full extent of the damage across the rest of the region.
AMSTERDAM — A suspected Canadian drug baron has been arrested in the Netherlands on an Interpol warrant, according to Dutch and Australian police. The 57-year-old was detained Friday and is of “significant interest” to Australian and other law enforcement agencies, according to a statement Sunday from the Australian federal police. It says he was targeted as part of an operation that dismantled a global crime syndicate in 2019 that was accused of trading large amounts of illegal drugs and laundering the profits. The Australian police plan to seek his extradition. Dutch national police tweeted that he was arrested at the request of Australian authorities via Interpol. The international police agency did not comment on the arrest. The suspect's name was not released by Dutch authorities, in line with the country's privacy rules, but media widely reported it to be Tse Chi Lop. Australian police said they would work with the country's Attorney-General’s Department to prepare an extradition request. Dutch National Prosecutor's Office spokesman Wim de Bruin said Sunday no extradition hearing had yet been scheduled. The Associated Press