The latest coronavirus news in Canada and around the world Sunday. This file will be updated throughout the day. Web links to longer stories if available.
8:18: The one-star reviews came like clockwork.
When it became known that the local Toronto restaurant posted on its Instagram page suggesting unvaccinated diners sit outside on the patio, its Google and Yelp pages were of course inundated with one-star reviews within hours. Some accused the restaurant of segregation while others were just one-star ratings with no comment. The restaurant’s Yelp page had a pop-up saying that “this business has recently gained public attention, which often means people come to this page to post their opinions on the news” and the review site has temporarily suspended new posts on the page.
With Premier Doug Ford saying no to vaccine passports – unlike other places like New York City which this week announced that proof of vaccination is required for indoor meals – businesses must decide whether to adopt vaccine policies for staff and clients. Few had predicted that these policies would turn their businesses into a lightning rod for the ongoing vaccine conversation. Or worse, that it would affect their online reviews, adding to the long list of headaches restaurants and their employees have faced throughout the pandemic. Online reviews can make or break a restaurant, and everyone from users to restaurant owners and review sites is on high alert.
Read the full story of the star’s Karon Liu.
7h45 Heather MacDougall, former interim chair of the University of Waterloo’s Department of History, is an expert on Canada’s vaccine policy evolution, but there’s one question she can’t answer yet – whether COVID-19 vaccines should be mandatory.
“The issue of compulsory vaccination with the COVID vaccine is premature because we really need to make sure that COVAX, the international vaccine supply group, has the supplies it needs to get to the countries that are really in pain right now. MacDougall said. . “And so we also obviously have to reach out to the people who haven’t had a hit or just a hit in this country.
“And frankly, until that’s done, it seems to me that thinking about making something mandatory and opening up this political box of worms is, as I said, premature. “
Historically, the issue of mandatory vaccination in Canada has sparked not only debate, but also violent protests and even politicization, as was the case in Montreal in the late 1800s in response to a mandatory smallpox vaccine instituted. by a predominantly English-speaking health council on the French-speaking community.
But it was epidemics like the current pandemic that helped usher in mandatory policies.
Read the full story of the star’s Patty Winsa.
7h00 : Iran, grappling with its worst coronavirus wave to date, reported more new infections and deaths across the country on Sunday than on any other day since the start of the pandemic.
Health authorities have recorded more than 39,600 new cases and 542 deaths from the virus. The death toll beats the previous record set in Iran’s deadliest coronavirus wave that hit the country last November, signaling that the current wave is likely to only get worse. The new historic records bring the total number of infections in Iran to more than 4.1 million and the death toll to more than 94,000 – the highest in the Middle East.
The crush of new cases, fueled by the fast-spreading delta variant, has overwhelmed hospitals with patients too many to treat. The country has never seen so many COVID-19 patients in critical condition, with 6,462 more serious cases reported on Sunday.
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has final say on all state matters, last week ordered officials to discuss the possibility of a total national shutdown. The government has been reluctant to enforce such a lockdown, fearing the damage it would do to an economy rocked by years of US sanctions.
6h15 : Despite a slow start, the European Union’s COVID-19 vaccination campaign has caught up with that of the United States, where the slowdown in the country’s much-vaunted campaign has contributed to the virus’s deadly return.
As of mid-February, less than 4% of people living in the EU27 were at least partially vaccinated against the coronavirus, compared to almost 12% in the United States, according to Our World in Data, an online scientific publication linked at the University of Oxford.
Now the EU has overtaken the United States by the same measure, with some 60% of residents in the block receiving at least one dose, compared to less than 58% of Americans.
In Italy, where around 63% of people aged 12 and over are fully protected, Prime Minister Mario Draghi won a victory lap last week.
“I said that I did not want to celebrate the successes, but it must be said that Italy inoculated more doses per 100 inhabitants than France, Germany, the United States”, he declared. when the country’s vaccine verification program goes into effect on Friday. .
6h00: The United States will remain on the sidelines for now as Canada welcomes fully vaccinated U.S. citizens and permanent residents.
Starting at midnight Sunday evening, non-essential American travelers who have received a full course of a Health Canada-approved COVID-19 vaccine will be re-allowed on Canadian soil.
To be eligible, travelers must live in the United States, have passed at least 14 days since their last dose, and show evidence of a negative molecular test for COVID-19 less than 72 hours old.
They should also use the ArriveCAN app or the online web portal to download their vaccination details.
The United States, for its part, is uncertain of when it might begin to ease its own restrictions on non-essential Canadian travelers at land crossings. Air, sea and rail travelers are exempt.
5:30 am: Zimbabwe’s Victoria Falls are usually teeming with tourists who come to marvel at the roar of the Zambezi River as it tumbles over 108 meters to the gorge below, sending a mist visible for miles.
‘The Smoke That Thunders’ – the English translation of what’s called the waterfall in the Sotho language – is still powerful, but the COVID-19 pandemic has reduced visitors to a trickle. Usually, Victoria Falls attract 350,000 tourists a year, but numbers are almost nil due to travel restrictions.
Hotel occupancy rates fell to single digits in 2020 and the first half of 2021, and some hotels have been forced to close, according to the Hospitality Association of Zimbabwe.
To promote Victoria Falls as a safe destination, the government of President Emmerson Mnangagwa has made vaccines available to the city’s 35,000 residents who share a name with the waterfall. It is estimated that 60% of people there have been vaccinated with Sinopharm or Sinovac vaccines, both from China.
Although tourists have not returned in large numbers, Victoria Falls has mostly been untouched by the current wave of COVID-19 that has swept through the rest of Zimbabwe and southern Africa, which health officials attribute to the level relatively high immunization rate of the city.
5 am: It all started with a virus and a one-year hiatus. It ends with a typhoon and, always, a virus. In between: pretty much everything.
The Tokyo Olympics, baptized with “2020” but organized in mid-2021 after being interrupted for a year by the coronavirus, ended Sunday evening as an often surreal mixed bag for Japan and for the world.
Hosted in the midst of a resurgent pandemic, rejected by many Japanese and plagued by months of administrative problems, these Games presented logistical and medical hurdles like no other, offered serious conversations about mental health – and, of sport, offered the two triumphs and some surprising failures.
From the start, expectations were mediocre at best, apocalyptic at worst. Even Thomas Bach, president of the International Olympic Committee, said he feared these could “become soulless Olympics”. But, he said on Friday, “what we’ve seen here is totally different.”
Learn more about the Associated Press here.