Federal ministers and public health officials to give COVID-19 update

Federal ministers and public health officials are set Tuesday to give an update on Canada’s fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, a day after Ontario announced strict new lockdown measures that will go into effect across the province on Dec. 26.

Health Minister Patty Hajdu, Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic LeBlanc, Public Safety Minister Bill Blair, Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam and Deputy Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Howard Njoo are expected to attend the briefing at 12 p.m. ET.

As of 11:30 a.m. ET on Tuesday, Canada had recorded a total of 519,699 cases of COVID-19, and a CBC News tally of deaths stood at 14,381. Ontario and Quebec each recorded more than 2,000 new cases today.

Vaccine rollout is also underway, with provinces administering early doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to people from priority groups.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said Canada can expect to receive up to 249,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine by the end of the year.

Canada is also awaiting the anticipated approval of the Moderna vaccine, with Trudeau saying the country could receive up to 168,000 doses by year’s end.

Health Canada said late last week it was awaiting additional data from the company and the department’s review of the candidate would conclude in the “coming weeks.”

On Monday, new restrictions on travel from the United Kingdom also went into effect, in response to news of a new variant of COVID-19, which research suggests is significantly more transmissible than the strain currently dominant in Canada.

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