Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the question about booster shots for COVID-19 is not whether Canada has enough — but when people should get them. Trudeau says the country has plenty of vaccine doses for boosters. He says he’s consulting with the National Advisory Committee on Immunization for guidance about who should get them and when. As some provinces prepare to expand eligibility for third-dose COVID-19 vaccines, experts say it’s still unclear when the general population will need a top-up jab.
Will Mandatory Testing Soon Apply To US Trips?
Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino says no decision has been made on expanding mandatory COVID-19 testing requirements for US air and land border travellers. Ottawa announced on Tuesday that all other air travellers entering Canada would need to be tested upon arrival at the airport and isolate until they get their results. That restriction applies even if they are fully vaccinated against the virus. The measure was announced as the federal government tries to stop the spread of the Omicron variant of COVID-19. Mendicino says they are awaiting further guidance on whether to expand the restrictions.
Not All Airports Can Do The New COVID testing:
The federal health minister acknowledges not all Canadian airports will have the ability to immediately begin fulfilling government orders to test all arriving air travellers for COVID-19. Ottawa announced Tuesday that air travellers entering Canada from all countries except the US must be tested upon arrival at the airport and then isolate until they get their results. Jean-Yves Duclos says the rollout of new rules will depend on an airport’s capacity as Canada works to block any more cases of the Omicron variant from coming in.
Expanded Booster Eligibility is Coming:
Health Minister Christine Elliott says the province is looking at lowering age eligibility for COVID-19 vaccine booster shots. She says news on that front may be announced in the coming days. Currently, only those 70 or older, as well as those in certain high-risk groups, are eligible for the third vaccine dose.
Parliament Discusses The Omicron Variant:
The Omicron COVID variant and vaccine equity took up debate time between federal party leaders in the House of Commons yesterday. NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh repeated his call for the government to support a waiver on intellectual property protections so that developing countries can produce their own vaccines. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau defended the government’s approach. The Liberals favour contributing to the world supply of vaccines called COVAX. South Africa and India have drafted a waiver that calls for patents on COVID-19 vaccines to be suspended.
South Africa Sees A Major Spike In Cases:
South Africa’s new cases of COVID-19 have nearly doubled in just one day. The numbers signal a dramatic surge in the country where scientists detected the Omicron variant last week. New confirmed cases rose to 8,561 — up from 4,373 a day earlier.
LeBron James Tests Positive:
LeBron James, fresh off a suspension, is now sidelined by the NBA’s health and safety protocols after testing positive for COVID. The Lakers player, who has said he is fully vaccinated, took a lateral flow test that returned a positive COVID-19 result on Tuesday. A second PCR test came back negative, but a third test came back positive, according to reports. ESPN reports he’ll miss the next several games.
🤔Something is REAL 🐠 🐟 🎣 🐟🐠 going on
— LeBron James (@KingJames) December 1, 2021
Israel Suspects Current Vaccines Already protect Against Omicron:
Israel’s health minister said there’s optimism in the fight against the emerging Omicron variant, saying people who have received two doses of the Pfizer vaccine and a booster are “most likely protected” against it. “There is already room for optimism, and there are initial indications that those who are vaccinated with a vaccine still valid or with a booster will also be protected from this variant,” Nitzan Horowitz said Tuesday. “The vaccine is really crucial right now. Anyone who is exposed to the variant without a vaccine will put themselves at unnecessary risk,” he added.
Thousands Of Businesses Received Aid They Weren’t Eligible For:
Ontario’s auditor general says thousands of businesses received COVID-19 provincial aid they weren’t eligible for. Auditor general Bonnie Lysyk’s annual report estimates 200 million dollars in provincial pandemic supports went to businesses that didn’t meet the province’s criteria for eligibility. Her audit found lack of good consultation, improper tracking of funds, and poorly designed eligibility criteria allowed ineligible businesses to receive the money.
Annual Report Shows Need for Improved Transparency, and More Focus on Financial Sustainability and Service Delivery for Ontarians : News Release #onpoli https://t.co/USAcl0PhqA pic.twitter.com/XeVJuZKVue
— Auditor General ON (@OntarioAuditor) December 1, 2021
AG Notes The Number Of OPP Officers Taking Mental Health Leaves:
Ontario’s auditor general says medical leave taken by OPP officers with post-traumatic stress disorder is contributing to police understaffing across the province. More than one-thousand front-line constable positions were vacant – about a quarter of all such positions in the OPP. Auditor general Bonnie Lysyk says the increasing number of OPP officers taking leaves for PTSD and other mental health injuries is symptomatic of an ongoing issue related to officers’ mental health and stress. She says the staffing shortages led to 28 per cent fewer hours of patrols, and 26 municipalities received less than half of the hours of policing services they needed.
Government Shutdown Looms In Dispute Over Vaccine Mandates:
The US federal government could be heading for a temporary shutdown with Republicans poised to stall a must-pass funding bill to force debate on rolling back a federal mandate for COVID-19 vaccines. Conservative members of the GOP in both chambers want Congress to take a stand against the vaccine mandates, even if it means shutting down federal offices over the weekend. But not all Republicans are on board. One GOP senator has voiced concern that the public would blame the party for even a short shutdown.
Waterloo Region / WDG Numbers:
Waterloo Region Public Health says there were 49 new cases yesterday and no new deaths. There are still 11 people hospitalized. 238 cases are considered active.
Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health reported 7 new cases yesterday. There are still 3 people hospitalized with 77 active cases.
— Region of Waterloo Public Health (@ROWPublicHealth) December 1, 2021
Contains files from The Canadian Press