MONTREAL — Canada's chief public health officer says it's still too soon to know whether the recent downward trend in new COVID-19 cases will continue. Dr. Theresa Tam says there's been an improvement in the COVID-19 numbers in B.C., Alberta, Ontario and Quebec but the disease is regaining steam elsewhere. She says it appears local health measures may be starting to pay off, but it's not clear whether they're strong and broad enough to continue to sustain progress. Some long-standing virus hot spots have made headway in lowering the number of new cases in recent weeks, but are still fighting outbreaks and flare-ups as they race to vaccinate vulnerable communities. The federal public safety minister announced today that the Canadian Armed Forces will support vaccine efforts in 32 First Nations communities in northern Ontario. Quebec, meanwhile, reported a fifth straight decline in the number of hospitalizations as the health minister urged citizens to keep following health measures. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan 24, 2021 The Canadian Press
OTTAWA — Members of Parliament return to the House of Commons on Monday following a month-long break that was anything but restful to again face the ramification of the COVID-19 pandemic as well as the threat of a possible election. One of the first orders of business will be for MPs to decide how Parliament will continue to function during the COVID-19 pandemic, including whether to let parliamentarians continue attending remotely and whether to adopt a new voting app for those who do. Those decisions come amid a much-changed situation as Ontario and Quebec remain under lockdown and stay-at-home orders following record-setting surges in new cases through much of the past month. Government House Leader Pablo Rodriguez’s office on Sunday said the Liberals had held “constructive” discussions with the other parties, and there were signs that the measure would be adopted without much fuss. Yet an agreement on the functioning of Parliament is likely to be the exception rather than the rule as opposition parties have indicated they plan to go hard at the government on a number of fronts — starting with its handling of the pandemic. The Liberals are expected to table new legislation this week aimed at preventing people who have travelled outside the country on non-essential business from being able to access up to $1,000 in federal sick-leave benefits to pay for their 14-day quarantine after returning. Yet delays in the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines are expected to dominate the agenda, with opposition parties indicating they plan to press the Liberals for answers on why Canada is facing delays in the delivery and distribution of shots — and what Ottawa is doing about it. That includes the news last week that Canada would receive only a fraction of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccinations originally promised over the next few weeks, though Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said Pfizer has promised to deliver 4 million doses by the end of March. Opposition parties have blamed the government for mishandling the rush to approve and buy vaccines, saying the Liberals have left Canada far behind other countries in terms of inoculating its citizens. Both NDP House Leader Peter Julian and Conservative foreign affairs critic Michael Chong left the door open to parliamentary committee hearings into the government’s handling of the vaccination campaign — including what it is doing to get shots into arms faster. “Why are other countries ahead?” Julian said. “That's the question that the government will have to respond to. And we believe that the government needs to very clearly spell out their plan to accelerate the vaccine distribution across the country.” The government has said it is doing all it can to secure as many shots as possible, which includes signing contracts with multiple pharmaceutical companies to secure millions of doses over the past few months. “I spend ... every day working to ensure that we have earlier and earlier doses in this country for Canadians given the importance of this vaccination effort,” Public Procurement Minister Anita Anand told the CBC last week. The Conservatives are also expected to continue pushing the government to approve rapid tests for COVID-19 and increase federal assistance for small businesses, Chong added, noting that many are in danger of closing permanently during the second wave. “Our singular focus is on the pandemic because that’s what Canadians expect of us,” Chong said. The Bloc Quebecois has also called for more answers on vaccines while pushing for more support for seniors, while Julian indicated that the NDP will be pressing for the government to extend assistance to families and business past March while cracking down on profiteers. Yet looming in the background will be the ever-present threat of a snap election. While Trudeau has insisted the Liberals don’t want to send Canadians to the polls, opposition parties have alleged that is exactly what the government hopes to happen. Parliamentarians are also returning only days after Julie Payette resigned as governor general, which has raised questions about how she will be replaced — and how Trudeau selected her for the vice-regal job in the first place. The Liberals are also expected to face fresh accusations of abandoning Western Canada for not raising more of a ruckus over U.S. President Joe Biden’s decision upon taking office last week to pull the plug on the Keystone XL pipeline. Yet the Liberals aren’t the only ones jumping back into the fire as they return to Ottawa for the resumption of Parliament, as the Conservatives will be looking to turn the page on Derek Sloan’s ouster last week. The decision to kick the former Conservative leadership candidate from caucus for accepting a donation from white supremacist Paul Fromm capped a week in which Tory Leader Erin O’Toole sought to distance his party from far-right elements. That followed Liberal efforts to associate the Conservatives with the type of right-wing extremists who stormed Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., earlier this month at the urging of outgoing president Donald Trump. In an interview, O’Toole dismissed the idea that kicking Sloan from caucus has pitted him against one of the party's most powerful wings, social conservatives, whose support O'Toole courted during the leadership race last year in part by backing Sloan at the time. The Bloc Quebecois also returns facing allegations of using “coded language” for seemingly questioning new Transport Minister Omar Alghabra’s fitness to serve in cabinet after having previously worked as head of the Canadian Arab Federation. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 24, 2021. —With files from Stephanie Levitz. Lee Berthiaume, The Canadian Press
PETERBOROUGH, Ont. — A man and a woman in their 60s have died after a weekend house fire in Peterborough, Ont. A news release from Peterborough Police Service says officers and fire services attended the home on Gillespie Avenue early Saturday morning. Officials say a 69-year-old woman and a 65-year-old man are dead. Police are working with fire services and the Ontario Fire Marshal’s Office to determine the cause of the blaze. The area was closed for most of Saturday for the investigation, but has since been re-opened. The Canadian Press
THE HAGUE, Netherlands — An alleged rebel commander from Central African Republic has been detained and turned over to the International Criminal Court by authorities in the troubled African nation, on charges of crimes against humanity and war crimes in the capital, Bangui, in 2013. The court announced the surrender of Mahamat Said Abdel Kani, of the Seleka rebel group, on Sunday night. He was detained on a warrant issued by the court under seal in January 2019. Fighting raged in Bangui in 2013 between the predominantly Muslim Seleka rebels, who seized power from then-President Francois Bozize, and a mainly Christian militia called the anti-Balaka. The violence left thousands dead and displaced hundreds of thousands more. The Hague-based court already has detained two alleged commanders of the anti-Balaka, Alfred Yekatom and Patrice-Edouard Ngaïssona, whose trial is scheduled to start next month. Said is the first suspect detained from the Seleka side of the conflict. A judge at the court who issued the arrest warrant found “reasonable grounds to believe that, from at least March 2013 until at least January 2014, a widespread and systematic attack was conducted by members of the Seleka against the civilian population and those perceived to be collectively responsible for, complicit with or supportive of the former Bozizé government and, later, of the Anti-Balaka," the court said in a statement. Said is charged with crimes including torture, persecution and enforced disappearances. The court's chief prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, welcomed the arrest. “As I have previously stated, my office will relentlessly pursue justice for the victims of atrocity crimes in the Central African Republic. Today is another manifestation of that commitment,” she said. The detention came with Central African Republic again in turmoil. On Friday, the government declared a 15-day nationwide state of emergency as a coalition of armed groups seeks to overthrow the newly reelected President Faustin-Archange Touadera. Mike Corder, The Associated Press
HEERENVEEN, NETHERLANDS — Winnipeg's Heather McLean was fourth in a World Cup long-track speedskating event Sunday.McLean posted a time of 37.522 seconds in a women's 500-metre race, finishing just 0.11 seconds from winning a bronze medal. McLean won bronze Saturday over 500 metres.She also finished 11th in the 1,000-metre race Sunday.Ottawa’s Isabelle Weidemann was fifth in the women's 3,000-metre race in 3:59.437. Laurent Dubreuil, of Levis, Que., was 15th in a men's 500-metre race. His original racing counterpart, Russian Ruslan Murashov, lost control and slid into Dubreuil’s outside lane, forcing the Canadian to slow down and swerve to avoid a collision.Dubreuil was permitted a solo re-skate after but settled for the 15th-place finish. He was ninth in the 1,000-metre race (1:08.880).Toronto’s Jordan Belchos was seventh in the men's 5,000-metre race (6:18.054) while Calgary’s Gilmore Junio was ninth in the men’s 500 (34.816).This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 24, 2021 The Canadian Press
Regina police have confirmed a small protest took place outside the home of Saskatchewan's chief medical health officer Dr. Saqib Shahab on Saturday. In a news release, police said they arrived at the residence shortly after 2:30 p.m. CST. "Police monitored the situation and conducted an investigation until the protesters departed at approximately 3:30 p.m. Police will review the information gathered to determine if further action is required," the release reads, in part. Premier Scott Moe condemned the group's actions calling the protest "unacceptable, sickening and wrong." Moe said the Regina Police Service and the RCMP are both involved to make sure Shahab and his family are safe. He said the government is looking into long-term security options to protect Shahab and his relatives. Alec Couros, a professor of educational technology and media at the University of Regina, said the protest took things to a personal level against Shahab and called it "incredibly disturbing." How did it come to this Couros said at this point, it's bigger than Dr. Shahab, but everything starts small. "This has been coming for a long time. This is related to QAnon, this is related to anti-masker protests that have happened. This is also related to the leadership or the lack thereof of our provincial system, our government, to provide clear and direct and concise information for the last ten months," he said. "If you fail to provide that direct and clear and concise information, you're somewhat responsible for what happens and what grows and is nurtured in that vacuum." There was much confusion in the beginning of the pandemic — and responsibility for that doesn't lie solely with the provincial government in Saskatchewan. Couros said inconsistent messages and what he called weak leadership at the World Health Organization contributed too. But once international advice became clearer, Saskatchewan didn't necessarily follow suit. Confusing messaging and inconsistent modelling of good pandemic behaviour can sow doubt in people who already distrust the government and media. The situation can become dire, Couros said. Protestors are 'idiots': Moe In his response to the protest, Premier Scott Moe used the word "idiots" to describe the people there. Couros said that shame or ridicule doesn't often work if you want people to engage in a dialogue with you and change their mind. "You can think of the parallel of, for those people who are trying to get loved ones out of a cult for instance, they try to leave some sort of connection, leave a door open," he said. "When you outright ridicule people, there's even less of a chance for these people to reconcile and to come closer to the truth." Other reaction There was a real outpouring of support for Shahab after the protest on Twitter. Several people condemned the protest and some used the hashtag #IStandWithShahab.
LISBON, Portugal — Official results from Portugal’s presidential election Sunday gave a clear victory to the centre-right incumbent candidate, who was returned to office for a final five-year term. Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa captured 62% of the vote, with 98% of districts reporting. He had widely been expected to win. In a stunning development, newly arrived right-wing populist André Ventura was in a close race for second place with Socialist candidate Ana Gomes, with both polling around 12%. Such a showing for Ventura would have been unthinkable until recently and will send a shudder through Portuguese politics. Four other candidates ran for head of state. THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. AP’s earlier story follows below. Portugal’s president appeared poised to win a second term in office Sunday, in an election held amid a devastating COVID-19 surge that has made the European country the worst in the world for cases and deaths. An exit poll suggested that centre-right incumbent Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa captured 57-62% of the vote, which would send him for a final five-year term. Socialist candidate Ana Gomes came second with between 13-16%, the poll by the Portuguese Catholic University’s Polling Center for public broadcaster RTP suggested. In what would be a stunning result, newly arrived right-wing populist André Ventura came third with 9-12%, the poll indicated. His showing would have been unthinkable until recently. Four other candidates ran for president. The head of state in Portugal possesses no legislative powers, which are held by parliament and the government, but is an influential voice in the running of the country. The exit poll estimated the turnout at 45-50% — lower than in recent elections and apparently confirming concerns that some people would stay away for fear of becoming infected with COVID-19. Political leaders say that when the pandemic began to worsen there was no longer enough time to change the Portuguese Constitution to allow a postponement. Portugal has the world’s highest rates of new daily infections and deaths per 100,000 population, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University, and its public health system is currently under huge strain. Rebelo de Sousa, 72, has long been viewed as the clear front-runner in the contest. He is an affable law professor and former television personality who as president has consistently had an approval rating of 60% or more. To win, a candidate must capture more than 50% of the vote. Rebelo de Sousa, a former leader of the centre-right Social Democratic Party, has worked closely with the centre-left minority Socialist government, supporting its pandemic efforts. He also has endeared himself to the Portuguese with his easygoing style. Photographs taken by passers-by of him in public places, such as one last year of him standing in line at a supermarket wearing sneakers and shorts, routinely go viral. With the country in lockdown, the election campaign featured none of the usual flag-waving rallies but restrictions on movement were lifted for polling day. Authorities increased the number of polling stations and allowed for early voting to reduce crowding on election day. In other precautions, voters were asked to bring their own pens and disinfectant to polling stations. Everyone voting wore a mask and kept a safe distance from each other. Prime Minister António Costa, in a tweet, urged people to turn out for the ballot, saying that “unprecedented planning” had gone into ensuring that the vote could take place safely. Portugal has 10.8 million registered voters, around 1.5 million of them living abroad. Every Portuguese president since 1976, when universal suffrage was introduced following the departure of a dictatorship, has been returned for a second term. No woman or member of an ethnic minority has ever held the post. Barry Hatton, The Associated Press
Amy Willier, a Cree artisan and entrepreneur who championed her culture and community through her Calgary gallery, has died. The 37-year-old ran Moonstone Creation in Inglewood alongside her mother Yvonne Jobin for more than a decade. Melrene Saloy-Eaglespeaker, a close friend of Willier's, said anyone who walked into the pale pink building, marked with a medicine wheel sign at the corner of 10th Avenue and 12th Street S.E., would be met with a huge smile and an offer of a mug of tea, or a chance to sit and chat. "They're internationally known, award-winning … they're one of those stops you make when you come to Calgary," Saloy-Eaglespeaker said. "She was so knowledgeable on every item, every artist, where it came from. She just took so much pride in the store, of being able to represent over 75 local Indigenous artists and to be able to talk about each one so passionately." Friends say Willier's death was sudden, and the cause wasn't immediately known. On Sunday morning, bouquets of flowers and candles were placed in front of the shop's blue door in her memory. "She just touched so many people in our community, whether she was teaching classes, she was buying from artists, she was showcasing, she was speaking. She just did so many things and wore so many hats. She was well-respected," Saloy-Eaglespeaker said. "She was very kind and open and caring and probably the best person I'll ever know." Willier was born on Sucker Creek reserve in northern Alberta, and her family moved to Calgary when she was a young child. Her mother founded Moonstone Creation in 2009, and Saloy-Eaglespeaker said Willier, who has a background in marketing, saw the store as an opportunity to learn from Jobin while spending more time with her young son Colton. Nicole Robertson, another friend of Willier's, said the bond between the two women was strong, and Willier was on her way to assuming the role of Cree matriarch like her mother before her. She said everyone who walked into Moonstone felt welcome — and that was due to Willier and Jobin's warm spirits. "Amy was a teacher of our creative ways and looking at ways to be a bridge between Indigenous people and non-Indigenous people," Robertson said. "She leaves behind a legacy of hope, of being a better human citizen, of our Indigenous teachings as a way of learning respect not only for each other, but for Mother Earth." Willier passed on knowledge wherever she could, teaching traditional crafts like how to intricately bead a tanned moose hide, tuft with caribou hair or craft drums. She had been scheduled to teach a virtual class on how to bead peyote-style on a feather with the University of Calgary on Wednesday. Robertson remembers seeing Willier speak after she received an award from the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada in 2017. "[Her speech] was so beautiful and just so commanding of such a beautiful spirit, a woman, leader … she gave a lot to our community and I will forever be grateful for the time that she had with us," she said. Willier is survived by her mother, 13-year-old son Colton, and seven-year-old adopted nephew A.J.
The Canadian NXIVM survivor is glad "The Vow" didn't make her "the next Carole Baskin."
LAKE PLACID, N.Y. — Jonna Curtis and Hayley Mack scored in the shootout to earn the Minnesota Whitecaps a come-front-behind 6-5 win over the Toronto Six in National Women's Hockey League action Sunday. Minnesota (2-0) trailed 5-1 during the second period. Mikyla Grant-Mentis had the lone shootout goal for Toronto (0-1-1). Mack, Sydney Baldwin, Haylea Schmid, Audra Richards and Meaghan Pezon scored in regulation time for Minnesota. Breanne Wilson-Bennett scored twice for Toronto. Grant-Mentis, Lindsay Eastwood and Emily Fluke had the other goals. Eastwood opened the scoring at 8:03 of the first period on the man advantage. Grant made it a 2-0 contest at 10:06 before Wilson-Bennett added another power-play goal at 14:16. Baldwin replied on the power play at 17:36 for Minnesota but Wilson-Bennett restored Toronto's three-goal lead with another power-play goal at 7:29 of the second. Fluke made it 5-1 at 18:59 before Schmid and Mack scored 49 seconds apart before the end of the period to cut Toronto's advantage to 5-3. Richards made it 5-4 with a short-handed goal at 13:00 of the third period before Pezon tied the contest on the power play at 14:24. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 24, 2021. The Canadian Press
B.C. quietly updated the number of variant cases of coronavirus detected in the province on Friday, confirming six cases of the variant first reported in the U.K. and three cases of the variant from South Africa. Variants identified in the United Kingdom, South Africa and Brazil are transmitting much more easily than the original strain, with data on the U.K. variant suggesting it is 50 per cent more transmissible from person to person than the common strain of SARS-CoV-2. Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry acknowledged the presence of the variants in B.C. during Friday's news conference, which focused on the province's plan to rollout vaccines to the general population. She said all cases of the variant from the U.K. are travel-related, but none of the variants first detected in South Africa have been linked to travel. "Those are concerning. If we start to see rapid increase again, there's potential for these variants to [take hold], so this is just a way of saying we all have to be really careful right now," she said. The updated numbers were not provided during Friday's press conference, but were listed in the B.C. Centre for Disease Control's written COVID-19 situation report on Friday. As of Thursday, there had been four instances in B.C. of the variant from the U.K. and one of the variant from South Africa. B.C. laboratories are currently working on fast-tracking how they test for new, more infectious coronavirus mutations, and laboratories at the B.C. Centre for Disease Control are ramping up their capacity to identify cases of the new mutations. But Andrew Longhurst, a doctoral student at Simon Fraser University and a health policy researcher, said that if some cases are not travel-related, it suggests variants could be spreading in the community unchecked — a situation he says should be addressed urgently. Watch | What are coronavirus variants and how are they tracked in B.C.? "I'm quite unclear as to why we're not taking more urgent action and why the discovery of new cases of these variants are not being communicated clearly or directly," he said. Longhurst said health officials should be candid about the fact that the current plan to rollout vaccines doesn't mean the province won't experience high numbers of cases throughout the spring if more infectious variants begin spreading widely in the community. "I'm optimistic about the vaccine rollout — but the bottom line is the timeline of the vaccinations doesn't line up with the emergence of the variants and how rapidly they're likely to spread in communities," he said. Calls for 'managed quarantine' Currently, only five per cent of samples in Canada are tested for coronavirus variants. There have been dozens of cases of variants confirmed in Canada in recent weeks, with several having no link to travel. On Saturday, genome sequencing confirmed that the coronavirus variant from the U.K. was present at a long-term care home in Barrie, Ont., where all but 2 of 129 residents have tested positive for the virus. As of Saturday, there had been 32 deaths at the home. "You only have to look at the news from other jurisdictions to know what is likely to happen if these variants take hold," said Longhurst. "I'm quite alarmed and I think we have a chance of having a very challenging spring ahead of us." Longhurst said B.C. should consider moving to a system used by jurisdictions that have more successfully contained the virus, citing the example of Australia, where international travellers are quarantined in a hotel and regularly tested, including for variants. "It is so critical right now that we act urgently and at least do the low hanging fruit that, if we are going to allow uncontrolled travel nationally and internationally, we have to move to a system of managed quarantine," he said. "We're kind of in the 11th hour now. We know that the self-isolation protocols that we're using in central and western provinces is too leaky." Currently, the province says people travelling to B.C. from another province or territory within Canada should only come for essential reasons. International travellers returning to B.C. are required by law to self-quarantine for 14 days and complete a federal application. All air passengers five years of age or older are required to test negative for COVID-19 before travelling from another country to Canada and must still complete the mandatory 14-day quarantine. On Thursday Premier John Horgan said B.C. will not ban visitors from other provinces because a review of legal options showed it would not be possible right now. Foreign Affairs Minister Marc Garneau has said the federal government won't rule out invoking the federal Emergencies Act to limit travel as parts of the country continue to experience high infection rates of COVID-19.
President Joe Biden is poised to repeal his predecessor Donald Trump's ban on transgender people enlisting in the U.S. military, a person familiar with the matter said. The source, who spoke to Reuters anonymously because the action is not yet public, said Biden could lift the ban as soon as Monday. The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Jonathan Omiachi is getting ready for a move, one he hopes will help grow his small butcher business based in Victoria, N.L., a rural community near Carbonear on the Avalon Peninsula. He's moving Omiachi Meat Shop to a bigger space, right next to his current location, and plans to hire help to ramp up production. Omiachi was born and raised in Nigeria, studied business administration in Malaysia, and then made his way to Newfoundland for the one thing people on the Rock like to complain about the most: the weather. "I love the cold," he told CBC Radio's On The Go. "I was reading on the coldest place in Canada, and it did come up that Newfoundland was cold — not the coldest, but cold. And for me, I don't like heat at all. So I decided to choose Newfoundland." Omiachi continued his business studies in St. John's, and eventually got married and moved with his wife to Victoria, where he got the perfect job for a man who hates the heat. "I did work for the Department of Transportation and Works driving the snowplow. It was really good. Everyone will look at me and be like, 'He's a black man from Nigeria and he's driving a truck where there was never a plow in Nigeria.' I said, 'You know what? You've got to start from somewhere,'" he laughed. The one everyone is really, really talking about is the salt and vinegar sausages. - Jonathan Omiachi In Nigeria, Omiachi was responsible for killing and butchering the animals his family raised for food. At one point they had 300 hens, and it was his job to take care of them. "I did all the butchering myself, and then we plucked them by hand.… Over the year we eat the chicken, and we have the beef, and we have the goat, and we have the sheep, and all that." 'Everyone loves local' Now he is concentrating on growing Omiachi Meat Shop in Victoria, which he started after noticing a lack of options for people to buy locally raised meat. "In Newfoundland here, most of the products are coming from the mainland," he said. "I decided, 'You know what? I'll give it a chance,' because everyone loves local, everyone likes to support local. Even though I'm not from Newfoundland … I'm here for a while now so I am also a local." He learned how to use a meat saw, a tool he didn't have growing up, and how to present meat for the public. He's also taken his love of cooking — he had a hard time deciding between opening a restaurant or a meat shop — and created products that have become popular with his customers. "I do salami, baloney, pepperoni, meatballs. I do have different flavours in sausages. The one everyone is really, really talking about is the salt and vinegar sausages. I'm the only one so far making salt and vinegar sausages. And I do also have sour cream and onion sausages and hamburger patties as well." Omiachi hopes to be open in his new space in February. He also plans to expand his business in St. John's. He already loads up a trailer and makes a trip into the city every couple of weeks with preorders for customers in the area. Once he's up and running in his new building, Omiachi said, he'll be able to produce more product, and bring extra to sell to people passing by. He hopes to set up at the St. John's Farmers Market as well. Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit is investigating whether an outbreak at a long-term care home in the town of Bradford West Gwillimbury is due to the variant first detected in the United Kingdom. At a news conference on Sunday, the health unit said a person linked to the Bradford Valley Care Community has tested positive for the variant. This person has had close contact with another person who is a part of the outbreak at that home, it said. Dr. Charles Gardner, medical officer of health for the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit, said the Public Health Ontario Laboratory told the health unit about the positive case late Saturday. "Given this situation, we are working together in partnership with the residence to implement additional measures to contain the spread while pursuing the necessary tests to determine if it is the U.K. variant of COVID-19 that is the cause of this outbreak," Gardner said in a new release. The health unit said it is investigating "all other connections" to the person who tested positive. Gardner said the person worked in a retail setting in Simcoe County that offered curbside pickup, and two COVID-19 cases are linked to this setting. The news comes after the health unit said the variant is behind a deadly outbreak at Roberta Place Long Term Care in Barrie, Ont., on Saturday. Genome sequencing on six COVID-19 samples from the home have been identified as the highly contagious variant. An outbreak at Roberta Place, first declared on Jan. 8, has resulted in the deaths of 40 residents and one essential caregiver as of Sunday. There are 127 resident and 86 staff cases of COVID-19 at Roberta Place. Six residents are also in hospital with COVID-19. The outbreak at Bradford Valley Care Community, meanwhile, was declared on Jan. 14. As of Sunday, six residents out of 230 and three staff out of 260 have tested positive for COVID-19. The health unit said more testing will be done to determine whether the outbreak is due to the variant. It added that the outbreak is "well under control at this time with a relatively low case count," but the possibility that it may be due to the variant must be assessed and managed. Dr. Andrea Moser, chief medical officer for Sienna Senior Living, which owns and operates the facility, said in a news release on Sunday that staff members at the home are working to contain the outbreak. "We are being extremely vigilant in our monitoring for signs and symptoms of COVID-19 and are taking all of the necessary steps to protect the safety of our residents and team members," Moser said. "We are working proactively with public health and community partners, as fighting the virus will require everyone's expertise and teamwork." Staff at home implementing measures to control outbreak Moser said case and contact measures are being undertaken, including: Extending the length of isolation for cases and close contacts. More readily identifying close contacts. Quarantining all household contacts of confirmed or probable cases as quickly as possible. The health unit said its staff vaccinated most of the residents in Bradford Valley Care Community on Jan. 15 as a protective measure against COVID-19. As of Jan. 16, all residents of long-term care homes in Simcoe Muskoka have been offered their first dose of immunization against COVID-19, the health unit added. Moser said about 60 per cent of staff members and 96 per cent of residents at Bradford Valley Care Community have received the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. "We appreciate all the efforts from our partners in the community with the rollout of the vaccine and will continue working closely with them as additional doses are available for deployment," she said.
On ‘The West Block’ Premier of Alberta Jason Kenney says U.S. President Joe Biden’s move to axe the Keystone XL pipeline is a show of ‘disrespect’ to Canada.
GREEN BAY, Wis. — Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ road magic have them heading home to the Super Bowl, the first team to play in one on their home field. Brady owns six Super Bowl rings with New England and now heads to his 10th NFL championship game with his new team. With help from a stifling pass rush and a curious late call on fourth and goal by the Packers, Brady and the Bucs beat top-seeded Green Bay 31-26 for the NFC title Sunday. The Bucs (14-5) earned their franchise-record eighth consecutive road victory to reach the Super Bowl for the first time since their 2002 championship season. They were helped by a strange decision by Packers coach Matt LaFleur with just over two minutes remaining and down by five points. On fourth-and-goal, he elected to kick a field goal. Tampa Bay then ran out the clock on the Packers (14-4). The Bucs will face either the Kansas City Chiefs or Buffalo Bills at Tampa’s Raymond James Stadium on Feb. 7. Green Bay trailed 31-23 and had first-and-goal from the 8 in the last few minutes. But after Aaron Rodgers threw three straight incompletions, the Packers settled for Mason Crosby’s 26-yard field goal with 2:05 left. The Packers had all three timeouts left and were hoping their defence could force a punt. The Bucs foiled that plan, draining the rest of the clock, helped by a pass interference penalty on Kevin King. Led by Shaquil Barrett and Jason Pierre-Paul combining for five sacks, Tampa Bay snapped Green Bay’s seven-game winning streak. The Packers lost in the NFC championship game for the fourth time in the last seven seasons. Green Bay hasn’t reached the Super Bowl since its 2010 championship season. Rodgers went 33 of 48 for 346 yards with three touchdowns and one interception, but fell to 1-4 in conference championship games as a starting quarterback. The Bucs built a 28-10 lead early in the third quarter thanks to Brady’s three touchdown passes, including a 39-yarder to Scotty Miller with 1 second left until halftime. Brady went 20 of 36 for 280 yards. The Packers rallied as Brady threw interceptions on three straight drives for just the second time in his career. Green Bay cut the lead to 28-23 late in the third quarter on Rodgers’ touchdown passes to Robert Tonyan and Davante Adams. INJURY REPORT Packers RB Aaron Jones hurt his chest and Bucs safety Jordan Whitehead injured his shoulder on a third-quarter play that resulted in a Jones fumble. Packers defensive lineman Tyler Lancaster (ankle) and linebacker Krys Barnes (thumb) left in the second half. The Bucs played the entire game without wide receiver Antonio Brown (knee) and safety Antoine Winfield Jr. (ankle). UP NEXT The Bucs return home to play in the Super Bowl. The Packers’ season is over. ___ Follow Steve Megargee at https://twitter.com/stevemegargee ___ More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL Steve Megargee, The Associated Press
Australia on Monday approved the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for use but warned AstraZeneca's international production problems mean the country would need to distribute a locally manufactured shot earlier than planned. The country's medical regulator was one of the first in the world to complete a comprehensive approval of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Monday, noting it was a year since the first local coronavirus case was detected. Vaccination of priority groups with the Pfizer vaccine is expected to begin in late February at 80,000 doses per week, Health Minister Greg Hunt told reporters.
Meggy Fernandes voted for Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil's 2018 presidential election, attracted by the far-right former army captain's promise to shake up a hidebound political establishment mired in endless graft scandals. But after watching him jettison his anti-corruption pledges, strike pacts with the politicians he vowed to shun, and, most importantly, botch Brazil's coronavirus response, Fernandes, 66, now says she was wrong to place her faith in Bolsonaro. "I'm so revolted by my vote," she said in a supermarket carpark in Rio de Janeiro, at an unusual pro-impeachment rally convened by right-wing groups.
The Ontario government has decided that a provincial jail in Milton, Ont. will not accept new prisoners while it continues to fight a major COVID-19 outbreak. The solicitor-general's ministry said in a statement on Sunday that it will also put Maplehurst Correctional Complex into a "full lockdown" to curb spread of the virus. Greg Flood, spokesperson for the ministry, said the ministry will divert new admissions to other facilities with the help of police. Ninety inmates and 26 staff have tested positive for COVID-19 at the provincial jail, as of Sunday. "Given the evolving situation at MHCC the ministry is moving forward with a full lockdown of the facility to ensure isolation of inmates and reduce potential spread," Flood said. This decision comes after the union that represents correctional officers called for a halt to new admissions last week. Peter Figliola, president of Local 234 of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union, said a suspension of new admissions is a positive move. "Diverting new admissions to other facilities not only prevents new admissions from being exposed to the current outbreak, it also allows us to free up areas so that we can cohort individuals and keep healthy inmates from being exposed," Figliola said. Figliola said the union has also called for staff to be assigned to only one area of the institution to prevent further spread of the virus. "These steps coupled with staff being given proper PPE over the course of their shift should help us stop the spread and get this outbreak under control," he said. Inmates who test positive for COVID-19 are put under "droplet precautions" and isolated from the rest of the inmates while they receive medical care, the ministry says. The ministry said, over the last number of months, it has made the following changes across all provincial correctional facilities: Testing all newly admitted inmates, with their consent. Housing all newly admitted inmates in a separate area from the general population for 14 days. Masks provided to inmates, if required. Providing personal protective equipment for all staff. Requiring all staff and visitors to always wear masks. Requiring temperature checks for staff and visitors. Working with local public health units to test inmates and staff as appropriate. Increased cleaning measures. The ministry said it is temporarily suspending any transfers of prisoners from Maplehurst to court and back again and will continue to use video and audio courts as required. Voluntary staff and inmate testing is continuing and staff who are confirmed positive have gone into isolation, Flood said. "We are also working to ensure that staff who may have been exposed are taking appropriate steps to isolate and reduce the risk of potential spread." "The ministry continues to work with its justice partners to reduce the number of individuals coming into custody across Ontario," Flood said. "These decisions are based on a number of factors to ensure community safety remains paramount."
The latest news on COVID-19 developments in Canada (all times Eastern): 6:20 p.m. Alberta's chief medical officer of health reported 24 new COVID-19 deaths and 463 new cases in the province today. Dr. Deena Hinshaw said in a series of tweets that while the number of new cases and hospitalizations is down -- signs she called "encouraging" -- she asked people to "keep the momentum going" and follow public health guidance. Hinshaw said there are 652 people in Alberta hospitals with COVID-19, 111 of whom are in intensive care. --- 4:05 p.m. Saskatchewan is reporting three new deaths from COVID-19 and 260 new cases today. The province's daily pandemic update says two of the people who died were in their 60s -- one in the Far North East zone and the other in the Regina zone. The third death was a person over 80 in the Regina zone. The update says 33,039 vaccine doses have been administered in Saskatchewan as of yesterday, which is 101 per cent of the doses the province received. It explains the overage is due to efficiencies in drawing extra doses from the vaccine vials. --- 2:45 p.m. Public health officials in Manitoba are reporting three additional deaths in people with COVID-19 today. All three were in their 80s or older, and their deaths are linked with outbreaks at care homes and a health facility. The province says that as of this morning, 222 new cases of the virus have been identified. In total, 799 people have died from COVID-19 in Manitoba. Officials say one previously announced death has been deleted from the total case and death counts, noting it was added to the tally in error. --- 2:05 p.m. The Nunavut government is reporting a surge of new COVID-19 cases. The territory says in a news release there are 13 new infections, all in the Hudson Bay community of Arviat. The community of about 2,800 had been the centre of Nunavut's largest COVID-19 outbreak and at one point had 222 cases. But the territory went weeks without any new diagnoses until new cases were identified on both Friday and Saturday. Nunavut's Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. Michael Patterson, says in a news release that public health restrictions in Arviat are being tightened. Patterson says all of the people with COVID-19 are asymptomatic, doing well and are isolating, and that contact tracing is underway to determine how the cases are linked. --- 1:20 p.m. Public health officials in New Brunswick are reporting 20 new cases of COVID-19 in the province today. There are now 334 active cases in the province and there are five people in hospital including two in intensive care. There have been 1,124 cases and 13 virus-related deaths in New Brunswick since the pandemic began. The Edmundston region is under a lockdown as of midnight, while the Fredericton, Saint John and Moncton regions are in the red level of the province's pandemic recovery plan. The rest of the province is at the orange level. --- 1:05 p.m. Public health officials in Newfoundland and Labrador are reporting no new confirmed cases of COVID-19 today. The province currently has five active cases and one person is in hospital. Since the start of the pandemic, the province has had 398 cases and four virus-related deaths. --- 12:45 p.m. Public health officials in Nova Scotia are reporting one new case of COVID-19 today. The case is in the province's Central Zone and involves a Dalhousie University student from Nova Scotia who lives off-campus, and is self-isolating now as required. Nova Scotia has 19 active cases of COVID-19. There have been 1,571 diagnoses and 65 COVID-related deaths in the province since the pandemic began. --- 11:55 a.m. Federal public Safety Minister Bill Blair says the Canadian military is sending troops to help with vaccine distribution in 32 remote Indigenous communities in northern Ontario. Blair announced the move to help the Nishnawbe Aski Nation on Twitter this morning following a request for help from the Ontario government. The Canadian military last week helped with inoculations in the community of Nain in Newfoundland and Labrador, including transporting people to and from vaccination sites. Military commanders have said the Armed Forces is ready to help where required. --- 11:15 a.m. Quebec is reporting 1,457 new cases of COVID-19 as well as 41 additional deaths linked to the virus. Twelve of the deaths occurred in the last 24 hours, while the rest happened earlier or at an unknown date. Hospitalizations declined for the fifth straight day, down by 56 to 1,327. Of those, 219 patients were in intensive care, which is an increase of three. --- 11 a.m. Ontario is reporting 2,417 new cases of COVID-19 today and 50 deaths linked to the virus. The new case count is up slightly from yesterday's total of 2,359. Public health officials in southwestern Ontario say a male teen who worked in a London-area long-term care home is among those who have recently died after contracting the virus. A spokesman for the Middlesex-London Health Unit says they can't provide the exact age or any other details about him, but added he is the youngest person in the county to have died of COVID-19. --- This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 24, 2021. The Canadian Press Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version said there were 102 deaths in Ontario over the past 24 hours. There were, in fact, 50 deaths.