Today’s Coronavirus News: Increased Capacity Limits at Ontario Cinemas, Spectator Sports Facilities, and Other Spaces

The latest coronavirus news from Canada and around the world on Saturday. This file will be updated throughout the day. Web links to longer stories if available.

7:56 am: Capacity limits no longer apply to some Ontario locations that require customers to show proof of vaccination.

Cinemas, theaters, concert venues and spectator sports, and horse and car racing tracks may open at full capacity starting this morning.

The province says there have been few outbreaks in the selected settings and that most other public health measures, such as masks, remain in place.

Physical distance requirements are rising along with capacity limits, with a few exceptions, such as indoor meeting and event spaces, which must still maintain two meters between people.

The provincial government says it is making the changes based on high vaccination rates, stable public health indicators and vaccination certificate policy.

Capacity rules are still in effect in other places that require proof of vaccination, such as gyms and restaurants.

7:55 am: When Russian regulators approved the country’s own coronavirus vaccine, it was a moment of national pride, and the Pavlov family were among those who rushed to receive the injection. But the international health authorities have not yet given their go-ahead to the Sputnik V shot.

So when the Rostov-on-Don family wanted to visit the West, they looked for a vaccine that would allow them to travel freely, a search that led them to Serbia, where hundreds of Russian nationals have flocked in recent weeks to receive Western -COVID shots- 19 approved.

Serbia, which is not a member of the European Union, is a convenient option for Russians seeking vaccines because they can enter the allied Balkan nation visa-free and because it offers a wide variety of vaccines manufactured in the West. Tours organized for Russians have exploded and can be seen in the capital Belgrade, in hotels, restaurants, bars, and vaccination clinics.

Saturday 7:52 am: Bars in Sao Paulo are packed again for late-night happy hours, lawmakers in the capital of Brasilia have all but eliminated video sessions via Zoom, and the beaches of Rio de Janeiro are packed. Calls for strict social distancing seem like just a memory.

Brazil appears to intend to return to pre-pandemic normality, even as its death toll exceeds 600,000, according to official data from the Health Ministry on Friday. The relief in both COVID-19 cases and deaths has been particularly welcome given warnings from experts that the Delta variant would produce another wave of destruction in the country with the second-highest number of casualties. So far, that has not materialized.

The country’s average daily death toll has hovered around 500 for a month, a sharp drop from more than 3,000 in April. Almost 45% of the population is fully vaccinated and a booster vaccine is being administered to the elderly. A higher percentage of Brazilians are at least partially vaccinated compared to Americans or Germans, according to Our World in Data, an online research site.

The upgrade has encouraged mayors and governors to admit fans to soccer games and to allow bars and restaurants to stay open until the wee hours of the morning. Some are even contemplating the end of the masks’ mandates, which people are often already ignorant of.

Read the coronavirus news on Friday.

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