The latest coronavirus news in Canada and around the world Friday. This file will be updated throughout the day. Web links to longer stories if available.
5h45 President Joe Biden watched an audience of government scientists and presented his latest COVID-19 plan as an opportunity to finally end divisions over the virus, calling the politicization of the issue a “sad commentary and sad “.
And then he added a political dig.
Some people “on the other team,” he said Thursday, were threatening to block government spending and endanger the nation’s credit despite vaccination demands.
“Go figure it out,” he added.
It was a brief aside in a speech by Biden that otherwise struck a largely bipartisan tone. But it served as new evidence that after holding him to the chin for months, Biden and his allies are increasingly willing to fight back, making Republicans the real obstacle to the country’s recovery from the pandemic.
Read more from The Associated Press.
5h40 Germany’s health minister said on Friday that more than 1% of the population is currently infected with the coronavirus, and he called on citizens to get vaccinated if they have not yet done so.
The country has confirmed 74,352 new daily cases of COVID-19 and 390 additional deaths, according to figures released by the federal disease control agency. According to calculations by the Robert Koch Institute, some 925,800 people in Germany are considered to be actively infected with the virus.
Health Minister Jens Spahn noted that the number of unvaccinated residents who are infected and seriously ill is much higher than their share of the overall population.
“If all German adults were vaccinated, we wouldn’t be in this predicament,” he told reporters in Berlin.
About 68.8% of Germans are fully immunized, while the government has set a minimum target of 75%. For the first time since the summer, more than 1 million doses were administered in a single day on Wednesday.
5:30 The National Immunization Advisory Committee is expected to release new guidance this morning on the use of COVID-19 vaccine boosters as public health grapples with the threat of the Omicron variant.
The new variant was revealed at the end of last week and triggered stricter border measures around the world as the World Health Organization warns that the high number of mutations could indicate that it is more transmissible than the previous strains.
The government has made an urgent request to the advisory committee for new guidance on eligibility criteria for recalls to protect Canadians from the new version of the virus.
“We know that Canadians are increasingly wondering if they should … receive reminders, and this issue is obviously more important now with the new variant,” said Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos in a statement. press conference Tuesday.
“We are explicitly asking NACI to quickly come up with a revised view on where, how and to whom these reminders should be administered. “
Yet cases of Omicron have already arisen across the country. Although most involve recent travel, one case, reported in Alberta, involved home transmission.
5h25. Ontario is opening COVID-19 booster shots to people over 50 in time for Christmas socialization – and to avoid the new Omicron variant that appears to be spreading faster than the dominant Delta strain.
People 50 and older can start booking and receiving their boosters from December 13, as long as they have 168 days after their second dose, Chief Medical Officer Dr Kieran Moore said Thursday.
“We want to be able to deliver the third dose in a timely manner before immunity wears off, especially as we see an increase in cases related to Delta and the potential threat from Omicron,” a- He added as Ontario reported 959 new infections, the highest daily tally since June.
Learn more about the Star’s Rob Ferguson.
5h20 As for President Joe Biden’s announcement Thursday of new COVID measures in the face of the Omicron variant that has created a tidal wave of global anxiety over the past week, many readers of the Toronto Star will be wondering. : what does this mean for Canadians?
So let’s start with this: All Canadians planning to fly to the United States for a visit this winter will need to show proof of a negative COVID antigen test performed within one day of arrival (rather than within three days as was previously required).
That’s about it, unless you’ve booked a flight with a stopover in Botswana, or one of the other southern African countries from which travel to the United States is now prohibited (although you would have wanted to rethink that anyway, since Canada has banned travel for those who have visited the same countries, and more).
Learn more about the Star’s Edward Keenan.
5h15 The Omicron variant of COVID-19 is officially in the GTA with cases confirmed Thursday in Halton and Durham regions and others under investigation.
A staff member at the East Toronto Detention Center who lives in Durham has been confirmed to be infected with the Omicron variant. In addition, four inmates at Scarborough Prison have tested positive for COVID-19 but it was not yet known, Toronto Public Health said, whether they are also infected with the variant causing global health concerns.
This raises the specter of a large-scale epidemic in addition to the smaller travel-related ones now appearing in the Toronto area.
Few details have been provided on the Durham resident except that they are “linked” to the detention center, which has seen large-scale COVID-19 outbreaks in the past. The Star, however, has confirmed that the infected person is working there.
Learn more about David Rider and Alyshah Hasham from The Star.
4h45 President Joe Biden decided to turn the tables on the COVID-19 pandemic on Thursday with a 10-point winter offensive against the Omicron variant that further complicates flights between Canada and the United States on the eve of the holiday season .
Starting Monday, Canadians and all other foreign visitors traveling to the United States by air will be required to take a COVID-19 test no later than one day before their departure.
Biden is reducing the testing window – currently three days for fully vaccinated travelers – as part of a series of public health measures aimed at slowing and limiting the spread of a highly mutated variant about which there is more questions than answers.
“All inbound international travelers must be tested within one day of departure, regardless of immunization status or nationality,” Biden said when describing the plan at the National Institutes of Health headquarters in Bethesda, just north of DC. .
“This tighter testing schedule provides an additional degree of protection and scientists continue to study the Omicron variant. “