The latest coronavirus news from Canada and around the world on Sunday. This file will be updated throughout the day. Web links to longer stories if available.
8:15 am: The Conservative party says a member of the Quebec Parliament tested positive for COVID-19.
Conservative whip Blake Richards says Richard Lehoux, who represents Beauce in the House of Commons, is only experiencing mild symptoms.
He says Lehoux is fully vaccinated against the virus.
The party says employees are aware of the situation and are following public health guidelines.
Richards says Lehoux’s diagnosis should serve as a reminder of the importance of physical distancing and wearing masks.
Richards did not say when Lehoux was diagnosed, but Conservatives concluded a two-day in-person caucus retreat on Thursday.
Parliament resumes on Monday, and Conservative leader Erin O’Toole has so far declined to say how many of her caucus members are vaccinated against COVID-19.
The 119 Conservative MPs have been authorized to enter the House on Monday when a vaccine mandate takes effect.
That day, deputies must appear in person if they want to vote for Speaker, a position for which some Conservatives plan to run.
All other federal party leaders with House seats have confirmed that their members are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
8:12 am: Dutch police arrested more than 30 people during riots in The Hague and other cities in the Netherlands that followed an “orgy of violence” the night before in a protest against coronavirus restrictions.
The violence by youth groups in The Hague and elsewhere on Saturday night was not as severe as on Friday night in Rotterdam, where police opened fire on rioters and arrested 51 people.
Police said Sunday they arrested 19 people in The Hague and used a water cannon to put out a fire on a street.
Two football matches in the country’s top professional league were briefly interrupted when fans, excluded from matches under a partial lockdown in force in the Netherlands for a week, stormed stadiums in the cities of Alkmaar and Almelo.
In The Hague, police said five officers were injured while trying to break up riots by a group of youths who set at least two fires in the streets and set off fireworks. Police said in a tweet that a rioter threw a stone at an ambulance taking a patient to a hospital.
In the southern cities of Roermond and Stein, police said they arrested a total of 13 people for setting fires and setting off fireworks, and in the fishing town of Urk, police arrested eight people for public order offenses, the police reported. Dutch broadcaster NOS.
Early Saturday, two protests against the COVID-19 measures unfolded peacefully in Amsterdam and the southern city of Breda. Thousands of people marched through Amsterdam to protest COVID-19 restrictions.
Tens of thousands of protesters also took to the streets of Vienna on Saturday after the Austrian government announced a nationwide lockdown starting Monday to contain rising coronavirus infections.
8:11 am: Yoshihiko Takeuchi, who ran a small restaurant on the island of Okinawa, only told a few friends that he had the coronavirus. When he did not respond to phone calls from public health workers for three days, the police went to his home and found him dead in his bed.
He was among the hundreds of people who died while subjected to “jitaku ryoyo,” or a policy that some COVID-19 patients “recover at home.”
In many countries, those with the virus stay home to isolate and recover, but critics say that in Japan, a country with one of the most affordable and accessible health care systems, people have been denied care. hospitable and politics amounts to “jitaku hochi” or “abandonment at home.”
Takeuchi’s sister and the daughter of another man who died at home from COVID-19 have started an online support group for the grieving family members of those victims.
Japan has seen the number of cases drop dramatically in the past two months and the government has drawn up a roadmap to improve its response to the pandemic. A plan adopted on November 12 aims to have beds for up to 37,000 patients nationwide by the end of November, up from 28,000.
That compares with more than 231,000 coronavirus patients who required hospitalization at the end of August, according to government data. Many had to recover at home.
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida also promised that healthcare workers would routinely visit COVID-19 patients with mild symptoms at home.
Public anger over inadequate treatment in the country with the highest number of beds per capita in the world is a factor driving such changes. Kishida’s predecessor, Yoshihide Suga, resigned after just one year in office, mainly due to widespread discontent with the government’s response to the pandemic.
8:10 am: Austrians were enjoying a final day at coffee shops and Christmas markets on Sunday before the government imposes a nationwide lockdown to combat a fourth rising wave of coronavirus infections.
The measures, which go into effect on Monday and are expected to last a maximum of 20 days but will be re-evaluated after 10, require people to stay home, in addition to basic reasons like shopping, going to the doctor and exercise.
Restaurants and most stores will close and major events will be canceled. Schools and daycare centers will remain open, but parents are encouraged to keep their children at home.
Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg also announced on Friday that Austria will introduce a vaccine mandate from February 1. The details of how the mandate will work are not yet clear.
In an interview published Sunday in the Kurier newspaper, Schallenberg said it is “sad” that the government has had to resort to a mandate to ensure that enough people are vaccinated.
Just under 66% of Austria’s 8.9 million inhabitants are fully vaccinated, one of the lowest rates in Western Europe.
On the impending lockdown, Schallenberg said he and other officials were hoping this summer that such restrictions would no longer be necessary, and that it was a difficult decision to impose a new lockdown on vaccinated people as well.
8:10 am: The British government is investigating whether racial bias embedded in some medical devices led to disproportionate diseases and deaths of Black and Asian people from COVID-19.
Health Secretary Sajid Javid said Sunday that the pandemic had highlighted disparities in health based on race and gender. He said that a third of the admissions to intensive care in Britain at the height of the pandemic were people of black and ethnic minority origin, more than double their proportion of the population.
Britain’s statistics office found that in the first year of the pandemic, until March 2021, black and South Asian people in the UK had higher death rates than their white compatriots, even after they were they took into account factors such as occupation and underlying health conditions.
One problem, Javid said, was research showing that pulse oximeters, which measure oxygen levels in the blood through the skin, don’t work as well on darker skin. He called it a “systemic” global problem.
“Now, I’m not saying this was deliberate by anyone, I think it’s just, it’s a potentially systemic problem, with medical devices and it can go even further with medical textbooks, for example,” Javid told Sky News.
Writing in the Sunday Times, he said that “the possibility that a bias, even an inadvertent one, could lead to a worse health outcome is totally unacceptable.”
He said he looked forward to working with his American counterpart, Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra, and officials from other countries, to eliminate bias in the health system.
He said a UK review, which will also look at gender bias, will report its findings in late January.
Britain has recorded more than 143,000 coronavirus deaths, the highest total in Europe after Russia.
8 am: Thousands of people gathered in the center of Brussels on Sunday to protest against the reinforced COVID-19 measures that the government has imposed to counter the latest increase in coronavirus cases.
Many of them also protested against the strong advice to get vaccinated and any move to impose mandatory vaccinations.
The protest march lined up behind a huge banner that read “Together for Freedom.” There were smoke bombs and firecrackers, but there was no violence during the first part of the march, which was to end in front of the European Union headquarters.
In recent days, there have been marches in many European nations as one government after another tightened the measures.
Dutch police arrested more than 30 people during riots in The Hague and other cities in the Netherlands on Saturday, following much worse violence the night before.