The latest coronavirus news in Canada and around the world Thursday. This file will be updated throughout the day. Web links to longer stories if available.
6h35 : Doug Ford’s government pledged $ 2.5 million to Facedrive, bracelets of social distancing and contact tracing devices designed to fight COVID, but employees say the technology “has never worked like it” should ”. How have so many alarms been missed?
The financial, executive and tech revelations have raised questions about the Ontario government’s business, apparatus and investment.
Read Richard Warnica’s full report on The Star here.
6h15 : China is working to contain a new COVID outbreak that has spread to nearly half of the country, with police in the capital imposing penalties on those who refuse to comply with the restrictions.
More than 200 people have been diagnosed since the last outbreak began ten days ago, as tourists visiting scenic spots in the northwest of the country contracted the virus and spread it further after returning home. A total of 34 infections, including 11 people without any symptoms, were reported on Thursday.
The virus has spread to 14 of the 31 provinces on the Chinese mainland. The largest outbreak since the first outbreak of Covid-19 in Wuhan occurred last August, when infections were discovered in 16 provinces.
The epidemic spread to western Sichuan province on Wednesday. Four infections were found in the northernmost city of Heihe, on the Russian border, which triggered the lockdown of its 1.58 million people. It is the third city in China to confine people to their homes during the current outbreak. Ejin County in Inner Mongolia and Lanzhou, the capital of northwestern Gansu Province, have also been placed under quarantine after new infections emerged.
6h11 : Indonesians view the holiday travel season with suspicion, worried about crucial tourism spending, but fear that an influx of visitors could spread the coronavirus as its pandemic situation appears to be easing.
After seeing infection and death rates skyrocket in July and August, officials said this week they were sticking to plans to allow travel with certain limitations. They expect nearly 20 million people to vacation in the popular islands of Java and Bali.
The archipelago nation with the world’s fourth-highest population has seen dramatic improvements since the devastating mid-year months, but its immunization rollout lags behind most others in Asia. from the South East. Experts are also wondering if the official figures tell the truth, saying there is evidence that many cases of COVID-19 go undetected and unreported, suggesting large-scale travel could cause a resurgence.
“There is some progression in terms of the number of cases and, of course, mortality, but what the government reports does not always represent or reflect the real situation in the communities,” said Dicky Budiman, Indonesian epidemiologist. and government academic advisor.
Indonesia is shifting to treating the coronavirus as an endemic disease rather than a disease that can be eliminated from the population. He seeks to balance the idea of living with COVID-19 with precautions to minimize the risk of another large outbreak.
6h11 : Ukraine is suffering from an upsurge in coronavirus infections, along with other parts of Eastern Europe and Russia. Although vaccines are plentiful, there is widespread reluctance to obtain them in many countries – although notable exceptions include the Baltic States, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovenia and Hungary.
The slowness of vaccinations in Eastern Europe is rooted in several factors, including public mistrust and past experience with other vaccines, said Catherine Smallwood, COVID-19 incident manager at WHO Europe.
“At the end of the day, we’re seeing low vaccine uptake across a whole swathe of countries in this part of the region,” she told The Associated Press. “The historical problems around vaccines come into play. In some countries, the whole issue of vaccines is politicized anyway. “
Russia on Thursday recorded 1,159 deaths in 24 hours – its largest daily death toll since the start of the pandemic – with only about a third of the country’s nearly 146 million people fully vaccinated. The Kremlin has ordered a nationwide period of non-work from this week until November 7.
In Ukraine, only 16% of the adult population is fully vaccinated – the second lowest share in Europe after the slightly above 7% rate in Armenia.
Ukrainian authorities are demanding that teachers, government employees and other workers be fully immunized by November 8 or face suspension of their pay. In addition, proof of vaccination or a negative test is now required to board planes, trains and long-distance buses.
6h10 : The Russian capital began a period of non-work on Thursday intended to stem coronavirus infections as daily new cases and deaths from COVID-19 hit record levels.
The government coronavirus task force reported 1,159 deaths in 24 hours, the largest daily tally since the start of the pandemic. This brought the official coronavirus death toll in the country to 235,057, by far the highest in Europe.
The number of new daily cases increased by 40,096, surpassing a previous record reached earlier this week.
In an attempt to contain the spread, Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered a period of non-work from October 30 to November 7, when most state organizations and private companies must cease operations. He encouraged the worst-affected regions to start it earlier, and some introduced the measure earlier this week.
Moscow followed on Thursday, closing most shops, kindergartens, schools, gymnasiums and entertainment venues and allowing restaurants and cafes to open only for take-out or delivery. Food stores, pharmacies and businesses operating key infrastructure remained open.
Access to museums, theaters, concert halls and other venues is limited to people with digital codes on their smartphones to prove they have been vaccinated or recovered from COVID-19, a practice that will remain in place after November 7. .
Putin also called on local authorities to close nightclubs and other entertainment venues and ordered unvaccinated people over the age of 60 to stay in their homes.
6h10 : New Zealand officials said on Thursday they will gradually ease their border quarantine requirements, which have been among the strictest in the world throughout the pandemic.
But while the changes will make it easier for New Zealanders stranded abroad to return home, authorities have given no date by which tourists could be welcomed again. This change is probably still months away.
COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said that from next month most people arriving in New Zealand are expected to spend seven days in a military-run quarantine hotel, half of the previous requirement.
He said some new arrivals from low-risk Pacific island countries may skip quarantine altogether and isolate themselves at home.
He said the new rules were an intermediate step before broader reopening measures that would be phased in once more than 90% of New Zealanders aged 12 and over are fully immunized. So far, 72% of eligible people have had both injections.
The change follows a growing outcry from New Zealanders who have tried to return home but have been unable to secure places in the quarantine system. Some have resorted to legal action.
6h05 : The case of unvaccinated workers challenging the COVID-19 vaccine mandate of a Toronto hospital network is expected to be in court today.
Last week, Ontario Superior Court Judge Sean Dunphy issued a temporary injunction that suspended the application of the hospital network’s deadline for staff immunizations.
The University Health Network had said any staff who did not receive the two injections by October 22 would lose their jobs.
The temporary injunction, which will expire this week unless an extension is granted, only applies to employees involved in the case.
Dunphy is due to hear arguments today on the tribunal’s jurisdiction in the matter.
The hospital network’s vaccination mandate goes beyond provincial policy, which requires health and education workers to be vaccinated against COVID-19 or tested regularly.
6h : The Ontario government has announced that it will introduce legislation today to reform standards in the province’s long-term care sector.
All the details of the bill will be presented this afternoon.
Long-Term Care Minister Rod Phillips said the legislation will aim to better protect residents of the area which has been hit hard by COVID-19 outbreaks and deaths during the pandemic.
The province says the legislation will cover the new accountability and enforcement measures and the rights of residents.
Phillips said the government’s commitment to provide an average of four hours of direct care per day to every resident by 2025 will be included in legislation.
The law would also give long-term care inspectors the power to lay charges on the spot.