P.E.I. introduces ‘circuit-breaker’ measures; Quebec marks COVID-19 anniversary | CBC News

The latest:

Prince Edward Island is bringing in some new circuit breaker restrictions, starting today, because of a spike in COVID-19 cases.

Most of the province’s previous cases have been linked to travel, but many of its 12 new COVID-19 cases in the past few days have no such connection.

The restrictions will be in effect until at least March 14, Dr. Heather Morrison, P.E.I.’s chief public health officer, said in a COVID-19 briefing Saturday.

They include no in-restaurant dining, no sports games or tournaments, a limit on gym capacity and restricting personal gatherings to household members plus 10 “consistent” people.

Ontario, meanwhile, is poised to cross the 300,000 case threshold on Sunday after the 1,185 new infections counted Saturday pushed the overall tally to 299,754.

The province has been logging roughly 1,000 new cases per day in recent weeks. Ontario is also approaching 7,000 total deaths linked to the virus, with 6,960 recorded as of Saturday.

Ontario is taking a regional approach to its pandemic response, and is set to push two public health units back into lockdown on Monday — Simcoe-Muskoka and Thunder Bay.

Meanwhile, restrictions will loosen Monday in the Niagara Region, Chatham-Kent; Middlesex-London; Southwestern; Haldimand-Norfolk; Huron Perth; and Grey Bruce public health regions.

To the east, Quebec marked one year on Saturday since detecting its first case of COVID-19.

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In that time, it has registered 287,003 cases of the virus, including 858 that were announced Saturday. A total of 10,385 deaths in the province have been attributed to the respiratory infection.


What’s happening across Canada

As of 7 a.m. ET on Sunday, Canada had reported 864,201 cases of COVID-19, with 30,864 cases considered active. A CBC News tally of deaths stood at 21,960.

In British Columbia, Fraser Health reported that an outbreak had been declared at Royal Columbian Hospital in New Westminster, where five patients in a medicine unit have tested positive for the novel coronavirus. 

Alberta Health Services CEO Dr. Verna Yiu is apologizing for the “frustration and worry” caused by the problematic launch of its online COVID-19 vaccine appointment booking system. The site repeatedly crashed and the 811 phone line jammed as Albertans tried for hours to book appointments.

The province registered 415 new cases and six additional deaths on Saturday.

Saskatchewan reported 162 new cases and five deaths.

First Nations in the province have continued to be hit hard by COVID-19 in the first two months of 2021, with Indigenous Services Canada saying there were 2,779 new cases on reserves in Saskatchewan so far this year — more than any other province in Canada.

Manitoba confirmed 90 new COVID-19 cases and four more deaths.

With numbers continuing to decline, the provincial government is considering a broad swath of relaxed COVID-19 rules that could increase outdoor gathering sizes, let families form a “bubble” with another household and see almost all establishments allowed to reopen, including in the retail and indoor recreation sectors.

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Ontario reported 1,185 new cases and 16 new deaths.

The province also announced Friday it is activating an “emergency brake” in Thunder Bay and Simcoe-Muskoka, sending the regions back into lockdown to “immediately interrupt transmission and contain community spread.”The two regions will move into the grey lockdown level of Ontario’s COVID-19 restriction plan effective 12:01 a.m. ET on Monday, March 1. 

Quebec reported 858 new cases and 13 new deaths.

Meanwhile, facilities like rinks, pools and cinemas in the province’s red zones are allowed to reopen. However, some cinema owners will keep their businesses closed, believing it makes no financial sense to reopen given the operating limits imposed by the Quebec government.

People walk in a Montreal cinema on Saturday as Quebec allowed the reopening of movie theatres, but not the selling of food and drinks, which includes popcorn. (Christinne Muschi/Reuters)

New Brunswick residents can now travel and visit people in different regions after a series of changes to the orange phase took effect at midnight. The province also registered two new cases as the active total continues to drop.

Newfoundland and Labrador reported four new cases and one additional death, bringing its total death toll to six.

Nova Scotia announced four new cases on Saturday as tighter restrictions came into force to stem a recent spike.

Restaurants and bars in the Halifax area must now stop serving food and drinks by 9 p.m. and must close by 10 p.m. Restrictions are also being placed on sports, arts and culture events.

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Prince Edward Island reported six new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday. The new cases, five men and one woman, are all in their 20s. Five are close contacts of previous cases.

Nunavut added six recoveries on Saturday. Active cases in the territory now stand at 20.

In the Northwest Territories, a Gahcho Kué mine worker who contracted COVID-19 is in critical condition, health authorities confirmed Friday. The territory has seen a total of four people hospitalized for complications related to COVID-19, with three connected to the Gahcho Kué mine. All but one have recovered.

What’s happening around the world

As of Sunday morning, more than 113.8 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported worldwide, with 64.3 million of them listed as recovered on a tracking site maintained by Johns Hopkins University. The global death toll stood at more than 2.5 million, according to the U.S.-based university. 

The Philippines received its first batch of COVID-19 vaccine Sunday, among the last in Southeast Asia to secure the critical doses despite having the second-highest number of coronavirus infections and deaths in the hard-hit region.

In this photo provided by the Presidential Communications Operations Office-Office of the Global Media Public Affairs, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, centre, looks at a vial containing the Sinovac vaccine from China as it arrives at the Villamor Air Base in Manila on Sunday. (Philippines government via The Associated Press)

A Chinese military transport aircraft carrying 600,000 doses of vaccine donated by China arrived in an air base in the capital. Vaccinations initially of health workers were scheduled to start in six Metropolitan Manila hospitals Monday.

Aside from the donated vaccine from Sinovac Biotech, the government has separately ordered 25 million doses from the China-based company. An initial 525,600 doses of COVID-19 vaccine from AstraZeneca were also scheduled to arrive Monday, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said.

The initial deliveries are a small fraction of at least 148 million doses the government has been negotiating to secure from Western and Asian companies to vaccinate about 70 million Filipinos for free in a massive campaign largely funded with foreign and domestic loans. The bulk of the vaccine shipments are expected to arrive later this year.

The United States is getting a third vaccine to prevent COVID-19, as the Food and Drug Administration on Saturday cleared a Johnson & Johnson shot that works with just one dose.

Health experts are anxiously awaiting a one-and-done option to help speed vaccinations, as they race against a virus that already has killed more than 510,000 people in the U.S.

The FDA said the Johnson & Johnson vaccine offers strong protection against what matters most: serious illness, hospitalizations and death. One dose was 85 per cent protective against the most severe COVID-19 illness, in a massive study that spanned three continents — protection that remained strong even in countries such as South Africa, where the variants of most concern are spreading.

Johnson & Johnson initially is providing a few million doses and shipments to states could begin as early as Monday. By the end of March, the company has said it expects to deliver 20 million doses to the U.S., and 100 million by summer.


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