Coronavirus: What’s Happening in Canada and Around the World on Wednesday

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Ontario and New Brunswick are rolling out vaccination passport systems on Wednesday that require people eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine to present proof of vaccination before entering non-essential indoor spaces.

The programs will require people eligible for COVID-19 vaccines to show proof of vaccination at non-essential businesses where large numbers of people congregate, including restaurants, gyms, sporting events and clubs.

Ontario’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Kieran Moore, urged people to be patient as workers and businesses adjust to the new requirement. Top doctor said he hopes the new system will help increase vaccination rates, especially among 20- to 39-year-olds, who currently have the highest infection rate in Ontario.

Evidence of vaccination systems are increasingly common in Canada as governments strive to increase vaccination rates amid rising COVID-19 numbers. However, the systems are not without controversy – some see them as an infringement of individual rights, others argue that the systems impose undue burdens on businesses that have already been hit hard by pandemic shutdowns and ever-changing regulations.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford acknowledged divisions around vaccine mandates at a press conference on Wednesday, but said the province could not afford to shut down again or see another sudden increase in cases.

The vaccination certificate system is a temporary and exceptional measure, Ford said, as he again urged people to be patient as companies adjust.

WATCH | Ford says vaccine passports will help keep businesses open:

Ontario vaccine certificate ‘temporary and exceptional’, says Premier

Ontario Premier Doug Ford has acknowledged vaccine certificates are a “divisive issue,” but says they will help keep business open throughout the fourth wave of COVID-19. (Tijana Martin / The Canadian Press) 1:01

Ford said the province would not be using the program for “one more day” than necessary.

But when asked later in the press conference what metrics he would use to determine when the vaccine passport requirements would be lifted, he did not provide details. Instead, the premier said the decision, once made, would be made based on advice from the chief medical officer of health and the province’s science table.

Ontario reported 463 new cases of COVID-19 and seven additional deaths on Wednesday.

The systems put in place by authorities in Ontario and New Brunswick allow medical exemptions for people with documents from their health care provider.

However, experts in New Brunswick tell CBC that medical exemptions are rare because there is little or no reason why people cannot be physically vaccinated.

People line up at a mass vaccination and COVID-19 testing clinic at the Moncton Coliseum in Moncton, New Brunswick on Wednesday as new proof of vaccination rules take effect. (Christopher Katsarov / The Canadian Press)

Announcing the province’s new rules last week, New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs said the province’s original goal of vaccinating 75% of the eligible population is no longer enough with the news. highly transmissible variants. The target is now 90%.

Also beginning Wednesday, New Brunswickers are once again required to wear a mask in all indoor public spaces.

The province reported 76 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, a new record for daily cases. He also reported one additional death.

From CBC News and The Canadian Press, latest update 3:15 p.m. ET


What is happening in Canada

WATCH | Alberta Premier reshuffles Minister of Health as hospitals near capacity:

Kenney reshuffles Minister of Health as hospitals near capacity

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney has named former Labor Minister Jason Copping as new health minister after sidelining Tyler Shandro from the role of the province’s hospitals near full capacity and Kenney faces growing calls for his own resignation. 2:01


What is happening in the world

German Health Minister Jens Spahn issues a press statement in Berlin as the country changes its approach to financial support for unvaccinated people. (Odd Anderson / AFP / Getty Images)

As of Wednesday afternoon, more than 229.8 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University. The death toll worldwide was over 4.7 million.

In Europe, Germany will stop sickness benefits for unvaccinated people who must be quarantined due to COVID-19. Previously, Germans could claim income lost due to quarantine after returning from abroad or coming in contact with a positive case.

Health Minister Jens Spahn said the move was a matter of “fairness,” arguing that by the time the new rule goes into effect on November 1, anyone who wants a vaccine will have had the opportunity to ‘get one. Those who choose not to do so “will have to take responsibility for it, including the financial costs,” he said.

Germany has fully vaccinated 63.4% of its population. The government has said it wants to achieve a 75 percent vaccination rate to avoid a sharp increase in cases during the winter months.

In the Asia Pacific region, officials in northeast China’s Harbin city said nationwide health officials had been dispatched to the city to deal with what could be a coronavirus outbreak. The city of 9.5 million people reported three cases of infection on Wednesday, a day after discovering a first case of community transmission.

A medical worker takes a sample to be tested for COVID-19 on Wednesday in Harbin, northeast China’s Heilongjiang Province. (AFP / Getty Images)

After the initial discovery, authorities began mass testing and closed schools. The city has also ordered the closure of businesses such as mahjong parlors, cinemas and gymnasiums. City officials say residents must display a negative virus test to be able to leave only for essential trips. Otherwise, people are told to stay at home.

In the Middle East, As coronavirus infections plummet and vaccinations accelerate in the UAE, authorities have relaxed a long-standing mandate on face masks.

The Arabian Gulf Sheikh said on Wednesday that residents no longer need to wear masks when exercising outdoors or visiting the country’s beaches and swimming pools. Those who receive medical or cosmetic care can also forgo the mask. However, face masks will still be required in indoor spaces such as shopping malls and public transportation.

WATCH | Pfizer says COVID-19 vaccine shows promising results for children under 12:

Pfizer says COVID-19 vaccine shows promise for children under 12

Pfizer says its latest clinical trial data for its COVID-19 vaccine shows promising results in children under 12, raising hopes for many parents of unvaccinated children. 2:01

In the Americas, Brazil has reported 485 new deaths from COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, bringing the country’s total coronavirus toll to 591,440, the health ministry said on Tuesday. The ministry said it had revised downward from 573 the number of infections since the start of the pandemic, lowering the total number of cases to 21,247,094.

Meanwhile, United Airlines officials said 97% of its U.S. employees were fully vaccinated, with less than a week before United employees faced a deadline to get vaccinated or fired. The Chicago-based airline has 67,000 American employees.

In Africa, officials from the Africa region of the World Health Organization said this week that 14 countries on the continent have reached the goal of fully immunizing 10% of their population by the end of September. But the same health officials noted that a “crippling shortage of vaccine supply” remains a major problem for countries in Africa.

-From The Associated Press, Reuters and CBC News, last updated 3:15 p.m. ET


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