Coronavirus: What’s happening in Canada and around the world on Tuesday

December 21, 2021
Coronavirus: What's happening in Canada and around the world on Tuesday


The latest:

Tighter public health restrictions on gatherings and capacity for both vaccinated and unvaccinated Manitobans have come into force.

Health Minister Audrey Gordon has said the rules are necessary to try to curb the spread of the Omicron variant and prevent more pressure on overburdened hospitals.

Private indoor gatherings with vaccinated people are limited to household members plus 10 other people. Gatherings that include anyone who is unvaccinated are limited to one household plus five guests.

Gyms, movie theatres and restaurants — where people have already been required to be vaccinated — are limited to half capacity. Churches that require proof of vaccination will be limited to half capacity, while those that do not require vaccination status will be limited to 25 people or 25 per cent capacity, whichever is less.

Health officials in Manitoba on Monday reported 809 cases of COVID-19 and six deaths over a period of three days including the weekend.

COVID-19 case numbers have been rising in Canada, sparking concern from officials over health-care systems, which are facing mounting backlogs and staffing issues.

-From The Canadian Press and CBC News, last updated at 7:05 a.m. ET

What’s happening across Canada

WATCH | Dr. Theresa Tam talks about Omicron — and how it’s spreading: 

Dr. Theresa Tam warns more restrictions needed to slow Omicron’s spread

Canada’s chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam tells Andrew Chang that slowing down the spread of the Omicron variant will require additional restrictions, better masks and improved access to vaccines. 5:42

For more details on how COVID-19 is impacting your community — including hospital data and the latest on restrictions — check out the coverage from CBC newsrooms around the country.

In Atlantic Canada, Nova Scotia health officials on Monday reported 485 new cases of COVID-19 — another single-day high. In neighbouring New Brunswick, 118 new cases of COVID-19 were reported on Monday

Prince Edward Island saw 21 new cases on Monday, bringing the number of active cases to 89.

In Newfoundland and Labrador, health officials reported 27 additional cases of COVID-19.

In Quebec, Health Minister Christian Dubé announced sweeping new restrictions on Monday aimed at slowing the spread of the new variant. The province on Monday reported 4,571 new cases of COVID-19 — a single-day high — and three additional deaths.

The new restrictions, which came into effect Monday night, include the closure of schools, bars and movie theatres.

“The epidemiological situation is critical,” the health minister said. “Our health system is already in crisis … and things aren’t getting better. Hospitalizations and intensive care unit admissions are on the rise.”

Meanwhile, in Ontario, health officials reported 3,784 additional cases of COVID-19 on Monday and no new deaths. The update came as adults in the province scrambled to get booster shot appointments as booster eligibility expanded. The Ontario government said more than 186,000 third-dose appointments were booked through its portal as of 3 p.m. yesterday, but many residents said they had trouble finding shots in their regions in the coming days.

In the North, health officials on Monday reported 29 new cases of COVID-19 in Yukon over the weekend. There were no new cases reported in Nunavut or the Northwest Territories.

In the Prairies, Saskatchewan saw 59 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, as health officials expanded access to booster doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.

In Alberta, 1,925 COVID-19 cases were reported over three days, health officials said Monday, along with six additional deaths.

In British Columbia, health officials on Monday reported 2,550 new cases of COVID-19 and three additional deaths over three days.

-From The Canadian Press and CBC News, last updated at 7:10 a.m. ET

What’s happening around the world

Katherine Thompson, an emergency medical technician working as a contractor with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, gives a person a Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine booster shot on Monday in Federal Way, Wash. (Ted S. Warren/The Associated Press)

As of early Tuesday morning, more than 275.5 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported worldwide, according ot Johns Hopkins University’s case-tracking tool. The reported global death toll stood at more than 5.3 million.

In the Americas, U.S. President Joe Biden plans to increase support for hospitals, improve access to COVID-19 tests and expand the availability of vaccines that can reduce the risks from the Omicron variant. The government will purchase 500 million rapid at-home tests to be delivered for free to Americans who request them.

Biden will stress in a Tuesday speech the importance of getting vaccinated to protect from a wave of infections tied to Omicron as Christmas approaches. Biden’s top medical adviser, Dr. Anthony Fauci, says the president will issue “a stark warning of what the winter will look like” for unvaccinated Americans.

Meanwhile, Panama has detected its first Omicron case, while neighbouring Costa Rica detected three more confirmed cases.

In the Asia-Pacific region, Thailand on Tuesday decided to immediately reimpose a mandatory quarantine for visitors and suspend a “test-and-go” scheme for fully vaccinated arrivals as concerns grow over the spread of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus, the government said. The decision is a blow to efforts to revive Thailand’s battered tourism sector ahead of the peak holiday season.

About 200,000 people who have registered for the “test-and-go” scheme, known as Thailand Pass, but have not yet entered Thailand will be allowed to come, a spokesperson said. They will be subject to a coronavirus test on arrival and a second test seven days later at the expense of the government.

In Africa, Kenya on Monday reported 1,020 new cases of COVID-19 and no additional deaths. In South Africa, which raised the alarm about the new Omicron variant, health officials on Monday reported 8,515 new cases and 105 additional deaths.

In Europe, the European Union’s drugs regulator gave the green light to a fifth COVID-19 vaccine for use in the 27-nation bloc, granting conditional marketing authorization to the two-dose vaccine made by U.S. biotech company Novavax.

The European Medicines Agency decision to recommend granting conditional marketing authorization for the vaccine for people aged 18 and over, which must be confirmed by the EU’s executive commission, comes as many European nations are battling surges in infections and amid concerns about the spread of the new Omicron variant.

In the Middle East, Iran on Tuesday reported 2,413 new cases of COVID-19 and 43 additional deaths.

-From The Associated Press, Reuters and CBC News, last updated at 7 a.m. ET


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