Coronavirus: What’s happening in Canada and around the world on Friday | CBC News

The latest:

Prince Edward Island has announced its first fatalities related to COVID-19. Two people, one between the ages of 60 and 79 and the other over 79, have died on the island, P.E.I.’s Chief Public Health Office said in a news release Friday afternoon.

“This is an extremely sad time for their family, friends, and loved ones,” Dr. Heather Morrison said in the release.

“I want to extend my sincere condolences to all those who are grieving the loss of these two individuals.”

Eight people were being treated for COVID-19 in P.E.I. hospitals Friday, with one in intensive care. The figures were the same as the day before.

‘When we open we want to … stay open’

Students on the island will also be learning at home until at least Jan. 24, officials said Thursday, citing increasing spread of COVID-19 on the island.

“When we open we want to do everything we can to stay open,” Premier Dennis King said at a COVID-19 briefing Thursday. “Because we know the starts and stops are even more challenging and troubling.” 

Students in Newfoundland and Labrador will be learning at home for at least another week, officials said Thursday, as New Brunswick moved to tighten restrictions even more in the face of serious strain on its hospital systems.

In N.L., officials said they are aiming to have students back in class as of Jan. 24 after beginning the new year with remote education.

“While I know it’s not perfect, it has allowed us to minimize learning loss during these difficult times,” said Education Minister Tom Osborne.

The province reported one COVID-19-related death Friday and said eight people were in hospital with the virus. Three were in ICUs.

Students in Nova Scotia will be back in classrooms as of Monday. Education Minister Becky Druhan said the province has a plan in place to deal with potential staffing shortages, including calling in administrators and educators who aren’t in classrooms. The president of the Nova Scotia Teachers Union expressed concern that the measures could lead to unplanned school closures. The union has previously said schools should stick with remote learning until there’s a substantial decrease in cases.

In Nova Scotia, there were 57 people in hospital with the virus Friday, down by two from the day before, and 10 people in ICUs, an increase of three from Thursday.

WATCH | Test shipment delays increase anxiety: 

Rapid test shipment delays increase anxiety around return to school

Provinces across Canada have made rapid tests a key part of their in-class learning strategies, but shipment delays are adding to the anxiety for students and parents. 2:02

Meanwhile, in New Brunswick, the premier announced a return to strict COVID-19 restrictions as the province struggles with severe strain on hospital systems.

The province said Friday there were 103 people with COVID-19 in hospitals, one fewer than the day before, and 11 people in ICUs, up by two from the previous day.

Modelling has shown that the number of people hospitalized could double by the end of the month if current levels of transmission continue. The chief medical officer of health said this could force doctors to make life-or-death decisions about their patients, “and that’s what we don’t want to see happen.”

-From CBC News with files from The Canadian Press, last updated at 6:49 p.m. ET

What’s happening across Canada

WATCH | Cross-border truckers must be vaccinated, Ottawa says

Cross-border truckers must be vaccinated, Ottawa says

The federal government says all truck drivers crossing into Canada must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, regardless of nationality, effective Saturday. Trucking associations on both sides of the border say that policy could hurt already strained supply chains, by taking even more drivers out of circulation. 2:00

With lab-based testing capacity deeply strained and increasingly restricted, experts say true case counts are likely far higher than reported. Hospitalization data at the regional level is also evolving, with several provinces saying they will report figures that separate the number of people in hospital because of COVID-19 from those in hospital for another medical issue who also test positive for COVID-19.

For more information on what is happening in your community — including details on outbreaks, testing capacity and local restrictions — click through to the regional coverage below.

You can also read more from the Public Health Agency of Canada, which provides a detailed look at every region — including seven-day average test positivity rates — in its daily epidemiological updates.

In Central Canada, Ontario on Friday reported a total of 3,814 people in hospital with COVID-19, an increase of 184 from a day earlier. The number of people in ICU stood at 527, the province’s health officials said.

The province’s dashboard also showed an additional 42 deaths and 10,964 additional lab-confirmed cases.

Late Friday, Minister of Emergency Preparedness Bill Blair said on Twitter that the military is being sent to help manage a COVID-19 outbreak in Attawapiskat First Nation.

In Quebec on Friday, health officials said COVID-19 hospitalizations had increased by 91 to 3,085 — with 275 people in intensive care units across the province.

The province’s health ministry also reported 68 additional deaths and 7,382 additional lab-confirmed cases.

The updates come after Premier François Legault announced that students will return to class on Monday. Legault also announced that the province’s 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew will be lifted as of Monday, saying experts have reported that cases have peaked and the “wave of hospitalizations is expected to peak in the coming days.”

In the North, leaders in Nunavut said Thursday that the tight restrictions put in place before the holidays have been so effective that the government can cancel travel restrictions as of Monday. The territory will also allow businesses to reopen and schools will resume in-person learning on Jan. 24. Seven new cases of COVID-19 were reported in the territory Friday.

Yukon reported 67 new cases Friday. The territory is tightening public health measures, including limiting all private and public gatherings to two households, up to a maximum of 10 people, beginning Tuesday.

There were 154 new cases recorded in Northwest Territories.

In the Prairie provinces, health officials in Manitoba said there were 18 more people in hospitals with COVID-19 Friday, for a total of 517. Forty-five of those patients were in ICUs. The province also reported five deaths and more than 1,200 new cases Friday.

The update comes as the province said Manitoba schools will no longer notify close contacts of people with COVID-19 infections when students return to class next week.

In Saskatchewan, Premier Scott Moe has tested positive for COVID-19 using a rapid antigen test. A statement from his office says he was not experiencing any symptoms. Moe said on Twitter that he felt fine, was self-isolating and was working from home for the next five days.

The province on Friday reported 131 hospitalizations due to COVID-19, an increase of eight since Thursday, with eight of those patients in ICUs.

Alberta on Friday had 822 patients in hospitals with COVID-19, an increase of 36 over the previous day, with 82 of those in ICUs. The province also reported five deaths and 6,163 cases.

In British Columbia, 646 people were in hospitals with COVID-19 Friday, an increase of 112 since Thursday. Ninety-five of those patients were in ICUs. B.C. also reported six deaths and 2,275 new cases Friday. The province also said that transmission of Omicron is on the decline, but hospitalizations haven’t yet peaked.

-From CBC News and The Canadian Press, last updated at 10:45 p.m. ET

What’s happening around the world

People light candles to commemorate those who have died from COVID-19 as Poland hit the sad milestone of 100,000 deaths related to the coronavirus, in Warsaw on Tuesday. Thirteen members of the prime minister’s COVID-19 medical advisory group resigned Friday, condemning policies that they said were not influenced by science. (Czarek Sokolowski/The Associated Press)

As of late Friday afternoon, roughly 322.4 million cases had been reported worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University’s coronavirus tracker. The reported global death toll stood at more than 5.5 million.

In Europe, 13 of the 17 members of Poland’s Medical Council advising the prime minister on COVID-19 resigned Friday, condemning what they said was a lack of scientific influence on policy.

Even with one of the world’s highest per capita death rates, Poland has introduced much more limited measures than many European countries to curb spread during the latest wave of infections.

The country has vaccinated 56.4 per cent of the population and vaccine hesitancy is widespread, particularly in the conservative rural areas that form the government’s heartland. Enforcement of the limited restrictions in place, such as wearing masks in enclosed spaces or limits on numbers in bars and restaurants, is very lax.

A bird’s-eye view of new graves is seen in Antoninow, Poland on Tuesday, in this photo taken by drone. (Kacper Pempel/Reuters)

The total number of COVID-19 deaths in Poland surpassed 100,000 this week.

In Britain, Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s office apologized to Queen Elizabeth after it emerged that staff had partied late into the night at Downing Street on the eve of Prince Philip’s funeral, at a time when mixing indoors was banned.

In the Americas, Uruguay has opened its borders to citizens and residents even if they are infected with COVID-19, a rare move amid surging cases worldwide, though passengers would need to travel in private vehicles across the border and be in a family “bubble.” The country’s government said the move was in “solidarity” with Uruguayans and residents who were infected with the virus abroad.

The U.S. Supreme Court blocked Joe Biden’s vaccination-or-testing mandate for large businesses, a policy the conservative justices deemed an improper imposition on the lives and health of Americans, while endorsing a separate federal vaccine requirement for health-care facilities.

In this photo supplied by Tennis Australia, defending champion Novak Djokovic practises in the Rod Laver Arena ahead of the Australian Open at Melbourne Park in Melbourne, Australia, on Tuesday. The question of whether the unvaccinated tennis star will be allowed to stay in the country is again before the courts. (Scott Barbour/Tennis Australia/The Associated Press)

In the Asia-Pacific region, unvaccinated tennis star Novak Djokovic asked an Australian court to block his deportation ahead of the Australian Open after the government cancelled his visa for the second time over COVID-19 entry regulations.

Hong Kong will suspend for a month transit flights from around 150 countries and territories considered high risk, deepening the global financial hub’s isolation.

In the Middle East, Israel has administered a fourth vaccine dose to more than 500,000 people, the Health Ministry said Friday. Israel began administering second boosters to the most vulnerable late last month and later began offering them to everyone over 60.

Authorities hope the additional boosters will blunt a wave of infections driven by the Omicron variant. Health Ministry figures show Israel currently has some 250,000 active cases. But only 317 patients are listed as seriously ill, far fewer than during previous waves.

Israel was among the first countries to roll out vaccines a year ago and began widely offering third doses last summer in a bid to contain the Delta variant. Nearly half the population has received at least one booster shot.

The country of nearly 9.5 million has reported 8,298 deaths from COVID-19 since the pandemic began

In Africa, health officials in South Africa on Thursday reported 5,920 new cases and 159 additional deaths.

-From Reuters and CBC News, last updated at 5:27 p.m. ET

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