New EU export restrictions unlikely to affect Canadian supplies of COVID-19

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New EU export restrictions unlikely to affect Canadian supplies of COVID-19


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TORONTO – Concerns about possible disruptions to Canada’s COVID-19 vaccine supply emerged on Wednesday as the Prime Minister downplayed any immediate threat to shipments expected in the coming weeks.

To protect its own supplies, the European Union, one of Canada’s largest vaccine suppliers, has put in place export measures to alleviate domestic supply problems amid a surge in new cases.

“The global COVID-19 vaccine supply shortage persists and is increasing even with production delays,” the EU said.

Melita Gabric, ambassador-designate for the 27-nation bloc, said the aim was to ensure that vaccine producers in Europe honor their contracts with the EU.

European sources have said Canadian shipments require export clearance, but these should be granted as long as they do not pose a threat to domestic supply.

Further supply problems were sparked by India after halting exports of its Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, citing its own shortages, Reuters news agency reported.

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Conservative health critic Michelle Rempel Garner said the Liberal government needs to put in place a concrete plan to help provinces in the event of a supply disruption. Verbal assurances weren’t enough, she said.

“We still have no guarantees from the Prime Minister on this issue,” Rempell said.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told the House of Commons that he, too, was concerned about possible disruptions in supply, but said he and his government would pressure the European Commission at “the highest levels” to get it. ensure that supplies would continue to flow, as would be the case for India.

In the meantime, public health authorities on Wednesday reported thousands of new cases of COVID-19 on average and 31 deaths per day. disease.

“Amid increasing numbers of cases, changing trends in severity and an increasing proportion of cases involving variants of concern in high-impact areas of Canada, we must remain vigilant,” said Dr. Theresa Tam, the country’s senior public health official, in a statement. .

The overall infection rate in Canada since the pandemic began a year ago is approaching one million, authorities have reported. To date, the virus has killed 22,735 people.

More than 2,140 people were in hospitals with COVID-19, 591 of whom required intensive care.

Ontario reported 1,571 more cases and 10 related deaths on Wednesday, while Quebec recorded 783 new infections, and eight more people died from the disease. One million doses of vaccine have been administered in the province.

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Saskatchewan has announced that it will now extend its vaccination program to anyone over 65. Additionally, people aged 50 and over in the Far North can reserve vaccines, as can priority health workers, the Saskatchewan Health Authority said.

Up to 200 members of the Canadian Armed Forces would be deployed to 23 remote Indigenous communities in Manitoba to assist with their vaccination efforts, Defense Minister Harjit Sajjan said. The initiative is due to start next week and run through June.

The situation was better in Newfoundland and Labrador, which reported only one new case. Starting at midnight Saturday, the province will allow households to have a so-called “regular 20” group of consistent contacts.

Given the financial cost of the anti-pandemic restrictions, thousands of hotels, restaurants and other businesses have urged Ottawa to extend emergency aid beyond June 5. Federal subsidies for wages and rents must remain in place until the end of the year, the Coalition of Hardest Hit Businesses have said.

“Our businesses were the first affected by the pandemic, the hardest hit by the closures and will be the last to recover,” said Beth Potter, president of the Tourism Industry Association of Canada, in a statement. Coalition.

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