Today’s Coronavirus News: Ontario and BC Limit Lifting Capacity as Cases Relieve

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

6:15 am: Employees of 45 of Ontario’s largest school boards have filed medical exemptions for the COVID-19 vaccine at a rate 42 times higher on average than the exemption rate the province’s top doctor says would be expected in the population. general.

A Star analysis of immunization data at these boards has found that 521 staff members have provided a documented medical reason for not being fully vaccinated out of a total of 247,335 people covered by the boards’ vaccination disclosure policies. That works out to a rate of about one in 475 people.

But the rate of legitimate medical exemptions granted in the province, based on the true incidence of adverse reactions to the vaccine, should be between one and five in 100,000, or 0.005 percent at the high end, according to Ontario’s medical director of health. . Dr. Kieran Moore.

Read more from May Warren and Kenyon Wallace from Star.

6 am: Ontario is lifting capacity limits today at restaurants, gyms, casinos, and a few other places where proof of COVID-19 vaccination is required.

If museums and galleries, places of worship, and personal care settings choose to require proof of vaccination, they can also lift capacity limits starting today.

Prime Minister Doug Ford announced the development on Friday when he unveiled plans to handle the pandemic in the long term.

The province aims to remove all public health measures aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19 by the end of March, including mask mandates.

The proof of vaccination requirements will begin to be phased out early next year, provided the trends do not become worrisome, starting with restaurants, bars, gyms and casinos in January.

Ford describes its approach to loosening restrictions as “super cautious.”

05:30 am: Children as young as 3 years old will begin receiving COVID-19 vaccines in China, where 76% of the population has been fully vaccinated and the authorities maintain a zero tolerance policy towards outbreaks.

Local governments at the municipal and provincial levels in at least five provinces issued notices in recent days announcing that children ages 3 to 11 should be vaccinated.

The expansion of the vaccination campaign comes as parts of China take new law enforcement measures to try to stamp out the small outbreaks. Gansu, a northwestern province that relies heavily on tourism, closed all tourist sites on Monday after finding new cases of COVID-19. Residents in parts of Inner Mongolia have been ordered to remain indoors due to an outbreak there.

The National Health Commission reported that 35 new cases of local transmission had been detected in the last 24 hours, four of them in Gansu. Another 19 cases were found in the Inner Mongolia region and others spread throughout the country.

5 am: British Columbia is poised to lift meeting capacity restrictions across much of the province today.

Many British Columbia residents will now be allowed to attend events such as hockey games, concerts, and weddings with no limit on the number.

But the measure is not universal, as capacity will be limited to 50 percent in areas where vaccination rates are low.

That includes parts of the Fraser, North and Inland Sanitary Regions.

Attendees of all events hosted in British Columbia will be required to wear face covers and show proof of COVID-19 vaccination.

Many business owners welcome the end of capacity limits, but say not everyone is ready for pre-pandemic-type parties while they still need to wear masks, especially older people awaiting booster shots and families with children under the age of 12 years that still cannot be vaccinated. .

4:45 am: In a pair of Cape Town warehouses turned into a maze of sterile rooms with air locks, young scientists are assembling and calibrating the equipment needed to reverse engineer a coronavirus vaccine that has yet to reach South Africa and the majority. of the poorest people in the world.

The energy in the gleaming labs matches the urgency of their mission to reduce vaccine disparities. By working to replicate Moderna’s injection of COVID-19, scientists are succeeding in ending an industry that has highly prioritized rich countries over poor ones in both sales and manufacturing.

And they are doing so with the unusual backing of the World Health Organization, which is coordinating a vaccine research, training and production center in South Africa alongside a related supply chain for critical raw materials. It’s a last-resort effort to make fixes for people who don’t have it, and the intellectual property implications are still murky.

“We are doing this for Africa right now, and that drives us,” said Emile Hendricks, a 22-year-old biotechnologist at Afrigen Biologics and Vaccines, the company trying to reproduce the Modern take. “We can no longer trust these great superpowers to come and save us.”

Some experts see reverse engineering – recreating vaccines from bits of publicly available information – as one of the few remaining ways to correct the pandemic’s power imbalances. So far, only 0.7% of vaccines have gone to low-income countries, while nearly half have gone to rich countries, according to an analysis by the People’s Vaccine Alliance.

4:30 am: People in Tokyo can eat and drink in bars and restaurants later in the evening starting Monday, as officials ease social distancing rules and the country’s daily coronavirus cases hit their lowest levels in more than a year. .

Crowds have returned to bars and trains since Japan lifted its moderate state of emergency on September 30. But Tokyo officials had asked food and beverage companies to hold their early closures until Sunday as a precaution against a quick resurgence.

After seeing daily jumps of nearly 6,000 cases in mid-August, Tokyo now reports fewer than 50 new coronavirus infections a day. The 17 new cases reported on Monday were the lowest since June 2020.

4 am: The first day of school was a nightmare for Aubrey, Maria Camden’s seven-year-old daughter, who ended up in an anxiety attack behind her Paw Patrol mask.

Camden and her two daughters moved from Coquitlam, BC, to Toronto over the summer, and although 10-year-old Baileigh was hoping to meet new friends after several months of learning online, the flood of change was more difficult for Aubrey.

Six weeks into the new school year, Camden said Aubrey is better adjusting to a routine. But some days are still challenging for both girls.

“Overall, it’s been a struggle, even things like getting the kids up on time,” Camden said. “It is the change that they have had to endure and they are making it work, but it has been difficult.”

Nikki Martyn, director of the early childhood studies program at the University of Guelph-Humber, said that many young students face problems getting back to school after the COVID-19 pandemic forced them to learn from home, where parents were close and rigid schedules were often replaced by unstructured days.

Martyn said older students with more in-person experience are generally doing better than many in kindergarten or first grade, whose academic careers through September were mostly spent at the dining room table, in front of a computer screen. .

Read more from The Canadian Press.

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