Border Restrictions Are About To Be Eased – Full COVID-19 Update

Border Restrictions Are About To Be Eased – Full COVID-19 Update

The federal government will soon lift quarantine measures for fully vaccinated Canadians and permanent residents returning to this country. Starting in July, travellers who received shots at least two weeks before arrival will still have to take a COVID-19 test on arrival. They have to remain in isolation until the test comes back negative. Health Minister Patty Hajdu says the government will be watching very carefully as case counts change and vaccination rates rise.

Tam Not Advising to Reopen The Border Right Now:

Chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam says she is looking at ensuring Canada gets close to 75 per cent of eligible people fully vaccinated before advising the loosening of border restrictions. She expects Canada to hit its first goalpost of having 75 per cent of eligible people with one dose, and 20 per cent with two, by the beginning of July. But getting the second dose to 75 per cent of eligible people will take longer.

New Modeling Data Will Be Released Today:

New COVID-19 projections for Ontario are set to be released this afternoon as the province prepares for reopening. Patios and some retail shopping will be allowed starting Friday under the first step of the reopening plan, which is taking effect a few days early now that some health indicators are showing progress. More restrictions are expected to ease in three weeks if the improvements continue. But officials are nonetheless urging caution in light of a more infections virus variant.

Business Owners Highly Critical of Ford’s Lockdowns:

Ontario’s reopening plan is being lambasted by some of the country’s top retail and cinema executives. They argue the plan that will keep them shuttered until later this summer will further gut businesses after enduring one of the world’s longest lockdowns. Indigo Books and Music CEO Heather Reisman says retailers are dying and every additional day they are forced to stay closed hurts. She says there’s no medical reason for all Ontario retail to have to open with capacity restrictions in line with what other provinces have rolled out. Ontario movie theatres will not be able to open until Step 3 of the reopening plan, a situation Cineplex president Ellis Jacob calls insane.

Vaccination Update:

Public health officials across the country say more than 401,000 Canadians rolled up their sleeves for a COVID-19 vaccine Wednesday. More than 27.2-million doses have been given so far. About 72 per cent of people aged 12 and up have received one dose and nine per cent of the population, over 3.4-million people, have been fully vaccinated. Ottawa has announced that starting early next month, fully vaccinated Canadian travellers will be exempt from staying in a government-approved quarantine hotel upon their return to Canada.

America Makes A Massive Donation Of Shots to Lower Income Countries:

The US will buy 500-million more doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to share through the COVAX alliance for donation to 92 lower income countries and the African Union over the next year. It’s believed 200-million doses would be shared this year, with the balance to be donated in the first half of 2022.

Millions of Vaccines Are On The Way:

The federal government’s vision of a one-dose summer may be realized. Procurement Minister Anita Anand says Canada will have enough vaccine delivered for 80 per cent of eligible Canadians to be fully vaccinated by the end of July. Anand says there are now confirmed deliveries of 55-million doses by the end of July — more than two-thirds from Pfizer-BioNTech. Currently, Canada has given one dose to 23.8 million people and both doses to 3.3 million people.

Road Tests Resuming:

The province says it’s investing more than $16-million dollars to help reduce a backlog in driver road tests resulting from COVID-19 restrictions. In-vehicle passenger road testing is to resume with safety protocols in place at all DriveTest centres across Ontario on Monday. The provincial government says it will hire 167 additional temporary driver examiners, expand road testing hours, and introduce weekend road tests at locations where the demand is highest. Road tests will be available by appointment only but the province says it won’t be able to prioritize customers with cancelled appointments due to high demand.

The Calgary Stampede Will Be In Person Next Month:

The Calgary Stampede will be in person this year, but the parade to introduce it will not. Officials say the July 9th parade to kick off the 10-day celebration of the cowboy way of life will be virtual. This year’s parade marshal will be Katari Right Hand, a 17-year-old fancy dancer from the Siksika First Nation east of Calgary.

Nova Scotia Loosens Restrictions:

Nova Scotia has announced a plan to gradually ease COVID-19 restrictions on hospital visits in alignment with the province’s re-opening plan. As of yesterday, two family members or support people can visit patients in intensive care, critically ill patients in the emergency department and women in labour and after birth. Other restrictions will be eased in two- to four-week intervals, depending on the vaccine rollout, COVID-19 caseloads and the capacity of the health-care system to manage new cases.

Manitoba Running a Vaccination Lottery:

Manitobans who roll up their sleeves for a COVID-19 vaccine will be eligible to win nearly two-million dollars in cash and scholarships. Premier Brian Pallister says anyone aged 12 and up who has been immunized will be automatically entered in the draws. He says it’s important to encourage people to get a dose as the province continues to see significant pressure from the pandemic on the health-care system.

Yukon Vaccination Challenge:

Yukon’s chief medical officer of health says the territory needs to improve its uptake of second doses of COVID-19 vaccines, if further restrictions are to be lifted. Doctor Brendan Hanley says 79 per cent of eligible adults have received a first dose, but only 71 per cent have received a second dose. Yukon is currently dealing with eight active cases of the virus, three of which originated from an outbreak at the Victoria Gold mine.

Canada Numbers:

Canadian health officials reported nearly 1,400 new confirmed COVID-19 infections Wednesday, and 52 new deaths. Both numbers were higher than the day before and brings the total number of confirmed COVID cases over the past 15 months to over 1.35-million. Ontario reported another dip in new infections with 411, but it also reported 33 of the nation’s new deaths. However, the Ministry of Health noted 11 of the deaths actually occurred in April and May.

Ontario Numbers:

Ontario’s COVID-19 infections are trending downward, with the province reporting 411 new cases yesterday. That number is the lowest since September 25, when it was 409. Health Minister Christine Elliott said there were 97 new cases in Toronto, 72 in Peel Region and 35 in Waterloo. The province also reported 33 more deaths linked to the virus but a spokeswoman for the Ministry of Health says that 11 of the deaths occurred in April and May.

Waterloo Region / WDG Numbers:

Waterloo Region Public Health announced 57 new COVID-19 cases yesterday, along with 2 new deaths. The number of active cases dropped to 342. Hospitalizations shot up by 7 to a total of 34 patients. 20 are in the ICU. Almost 70% of adults in the Region have now received their first dose of vaccine but only 7% is fully vaccinated.

Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health announced 8 new cases yesterday, although only 5 of them were new. Active cases now sit at 115. There are 13 people hospitalized with 4 of those in the ICU.

Contains files from The Canadian Press

Photo Credit: CPAC via YouTube screenshot

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