Nova Scotia topped its previous high daily confirmed COVID-19 case tally for the fourth consecutive day, reporting 227 new cases on Friday, as the province moved to impose tighter border restrictions.
Officials in the province, which also recorded one related death Friday, said Nova Scotia’s border will close to people coming from Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador as of Monday at 8 a.m. AT (7 a.m. ET).
The border will also be closed to anyone moving to Nova Scotia; certain groups of people will still be permitted to enter the province, including permanent residents returning to Nova Scotia and those who work outside the province.
As well, Premier Iain Rankin announced that schools will remain closed for at least the rest of the month.
Manitoba, meanwhile, is set to announce stricter public health orders of its own at 6 p.m. CT (7 p.m. ET). “They are necessary in order for us to make sure that we do not allow ourselves to impose an additional burden on our health-care system that is not one we can sustain,” Premier Brian Pallister said.
The new measures, which Pallister said are being introduced out of “an abundance of caution,” will come into effect immediately after Friday evening’s news conference.
The province reported 502 new COVID-19 cases and one related death on Friday as hospitals added intensive care unit (ICU) beds amid a recent influx of patients due to COVID-19.
“These numbers are alarming,” acting deputy chief public health officer Dr. Jazz Atwal said at a news conference.
The provincial government is also offering a new paid sick leave program for people affected by COVID-19; the program will provide employers with up to $600 per worker for up to five full days, which do not have to be taken consecutively.
WATCH | Manitoba unveils pandemic sick leave plan:
What’s happening across Canada
As of 1 p.m. ET on Friday, Canada had reported 1,270,152 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 80,831 considered active. A CBC News tally of deaths stood at 24,517.
Ontario on Friday reported 3,166 new cases of COVID-19 and 23 additional deaths.The Ministry of Health said because of a technical issue with the laboratory data feed, the case count issued Friday may be under-reported. The province said 1,924 people were hospitalized because of the novel coronavirus, with 858 in intensive care.
In Quebec, health officials reported 919 new cases of COVID-19 and five additional deaths. Health Minister Christian Dubé noted this week that declines in case counts, hospitalizations and test positivity rates were pushing his province “in the right direction.”
Newfoundland and Labrador reported seven new cases of COVID-19 on Friday — six of them related to travel within Canada, according to a release from the Department of Health. New Brunswick health officials, meanwhile, reported eight new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, including two travel-related cases of New Brunswickers who are isolating outside the province.
The Saskatchewan government said all residents 12 and older will be eligible for a first shot of the COVID-19 vaccine by May 20.
The eligible age is set to drop to 32 tomorrow and will go down every second day until May 20. The province also plans to expand its pharmacy vaccination pilot rollout as more doses become available.
Officials said they will also be relaxing some of the COVID-19 restrictions in the Regina area on May 17. They said restaurants and licensed establishments will be able to reopen for in-person dining under the same guidelines as the rest of the province.
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said about 2,000 Alberta truckers are now eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine when they deliver goods in Montana. Kenney said it’s part of an agreement with the U.S. state to help Canadian workers and maintain the cross-border flow of materials during the pandemic.
Montana will supply the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to drivers at a rest stop in Conrad, Mont., about 80 kilometres south of the Canada-U.S. border. Kenney said about 800 trucks cross into Montana every day.
Nunavut reported one new case of COVID-19 on Friday.
What’s happening around the world
As of early Friday afternoon, 156.2 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported worldwide, according to a tracking tool maintained by Johns Hopkins University. The global death toll stood at more than 3.2 million.
With coronavirus cases surging to record levels, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is facing growing pressure to impose a harsh nationwide lockdown amid a debate about whether restrictions imposed by individual states are enough.
Many medical experts, opposition leaders and some of the Supreme Court judges have suggested the lockdown seems to be the only option with the virus raging in cities and towns, where hospitals are forced to turn patients away while relatives scramble to find oxygen.
On Friday, India reported a new high of 414,188 confirmed cases in the past 24 hours. Its tally has risen to more than 21.4 million since the pandemic began with faint hopes of the curve going down quickly. The Health Ministry also reported 3,915 additional deaths, bringing the total to 234,083. Experts believe both figures are an undercount.
The official daily death count has stayed over 3,000 for the past 10 days.
Speaking at a briefing on Friday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau outlined the aid Canada has already offered India — including funding through the Canadian Red Cross and a shipment of much-needed medical supplies.
“What we’ve seen happening in India is heartbreaking and I know we all want to help,” Trudeau said, noting that there will be more help to come for the hard-hit country.
In the Asia-Pacific region, Japan’s government is set to extend a state of emergency in Tokyo and three other areas by about three weeks until the end of May to curb a surge in novel coronavirus cases just months before the start of the Tokyo Olympics.
In the Americas, drugmaker Pfizer has begun the process to earn full U.S. regulatory approval for its COVID-19 vaccine for people aged 16 and older. That gives Pfizer and German partner BioNTech a shot at winning the first full approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The two companies say they’ve started a “rolling submission” of data from their studies of the two-dose vaccine, first giving the FDA data from laboratory and human testing.
In the Middle East, all public and private sector workers wishing to attend a workplace in Saudi Arabia will be required to take a COVID-19 vaccination, the human resources ministry said, without specifying when this would be implemented.
In Europe, the medicines agency said it has begun an accelerated authorization process for an experimental coronavirus treatment made by GlaxoSmithKline and Vir BioTechnology. In a statement on Friday, the EU drug regulator said it had started a rolling review of sotrovimab, based on early results from an ongoing study into whether the treatment can prevent hospitalization or death in people who don’t yet have severe COVID-19.
But the EMA said it had not yet received the complete data and cautioned that “it is too early to draw any conclusions about the benefit-risk balance of the medication.” An emergency use authorization for sotrovimab has also been submitted to regulators in the U.S. and Canada.
In Africa, Ghana received 350,000 doses of the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine, which will enable it to start offering second doses of the shot after it nearly ran out, the health ministry said.
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