Coronavirus: What’s happening in Canada and around the world on Wednesday

The latest:

  • Ford, Lecce expected to make announcement about Ontario’s school reopening plan.
  • Why COVID-19 vaccination progress at home risks being undone by spread of variants abroad.
  • Record-setting trend in COVID-19 ICU admissions continues with 109 Manitobans now in critical care.
  • Alberta moves up timeline to give 2nd doses of COVID-19 vaccine.
  • COVID-19 cases have dropped 70% since peak of the third wave, Tam says.
  • Israel sees probable link between Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and myocarditis cases.
  • Have a coronavirus question or news tip for CBC News? Email: [email protected] or join us live in the comments now

Nova Scotia, which reported 12 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, is entering the first phase of its five-step COVID-19 reopening plan on Wednesday.

The first step reopens schools in most of the province and allows retail stores to operate at 25 per cent capacity and restaurant patios to reopen at maximum capacity. Schools in the Halifax and Sydney areas are set to open their doors on Thursday.

As of Tuesday, there were 369 known active cases in the province, with 38 people in hospital, including 15 in intensive care.

Nova Scotia’s five-step plan is based on vaccination rates and other health indicators, including case numbers and hospitalizations, but a spokesperson for hotel operators is urging the government to add a “little bit of clarity” around timelines.

Newfoundland and Labrador, which saw six new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, is expected to unveil its reopening plan later Wednesday.

Health officials in New Brunswick reported five new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday. There were no new cases reported in Prince Edward Island, which as of Tuesday had just four active cases of COVID-19.

-From The Canadian Press and CBC News, last updated at 7:05 a.m. ET


What’s happening across Canada

| Doctor’s innovation helps COVID-19 patients and nurses: 

A Nova Scotia doctor helped create a COVID-19 innovation that helps nurses and saves lives by making it easier to put patients in a prone position to improve breathing. 4:45

As of 8:40 a.m. ET on Wednesday, Canada had reported 1,383,214 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 31,164 considered active. A CBC News tally of deaths stood at 25,566. More than 24.1 million COVID-19 vaccine doses had been administered so far across the country, according to CBC’s vaccine tracker.

Quebec health officials reported five additional deaths and 208 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, as Premier François Legault announced that restaurants will be allowed to serve customers inside and gyms will be allowed to open their doors in Montreal and Laval as of June 7.

In Ontario, health officials reported 699 new cases of COVID-19 and nine additional deaths on Tuesday. Hospitalizations stood at 804, with 583 people in intensive care due to COVID-19.

Premier Doug Ford, Health Minister Christine Elliott and Education Minister Stephen Lecce are set to hold a briefing Wednesday at 1 p.m. ET.  A news release setting up the announcement did not offer any details about what to expect as people in the province await further details around the end of the stay-at-home order and whether students will return to classrooms from remote learning.

In Manitoba, where dozens of critical care patients have been transferred out of province for treatment, health officials on Tuesday reported 232 new cases of COVID-19 and three additional deaths.

Saskatchewan, meanwhile, reported one additional death and 86 new cases of COVID-19. The update came as Premier Scott Moe said that the province’s mandatory mask order could be lifted as early as July 11.

Health officials in Alberta, where the first step of reopening began on Tuesday, reported one new death and 209 new cases of COVID-19.

Across the North, there were no new cases reported in Yukon, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut on Tuesday.

British Columbia health officials reported no new deaths and 184 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday — the lowest daily case number the province has seen since last fall.

-From CBC News and The Canadian Press, last updated at 8:40 a.m. ET


What’s happening around the world

People wait to receive the second dose of the AstraZeneca-Oxford COVID-19 vaccine during a mass vaccination effort in Mexico City on Tuesday. (Henry Romero/Reuters)

As of early Wednesday morning, more than 171.1 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported around the world, according to a database from Johns Hopkins University that tracks the pandemic. The reported global death toll stood at more than 3.5 million.

In the Americas, U.S. President Joe Biden is set to update the nation on the vaccination rollout and his plans to get 70 per cent of adults partially vaccinated by Independence Day — essential to his goal of returning the nation to a pre-pandemic sense of normalcy this summer. 

Mexico says a clinical review of past deaths has led officials to raise the country’s confirmed COVID-19 death toll by 4,272, to a total of 227,840. The adjustment announced Tuesday is largely one of record keeping, because even government officials acknowledge the true death toll is far higher.

Because the country of 126 million people does so little testing, many Mexicans have died at home or never got a test. So the government searches death certificates for mentions of symptoms related to COVID-19. Those analyses of excess deaths related to COVID-19 now stand at over 348,750, which gives Mexico one of the highest per capita rates in the world.

In the Asia-Pacific region, Japan’s top medical adviser said hosting the Olympics during the current state of infections was “not normal,” in one of the strongest warnings about the planned Games.

Wu Hsieng-i, a retired doctor, collects a swab sample during a volunteer training program in Hsinchu on Wednesday as the Taiwanese government called for medical background specialists to assist amid an outbreak of COVID-19. (Sam Yeh/AFP/Getty Images)

Taiwan reported a rise in domestic infections after six days of falls, and unveiled details of a mass vaccination plan that aims to eventually cover 1.7 million people a week.

In the Middle East, Israel’s Health Ministry said it found the small number of heart inflammation cases observed mainly in young men who received Pfizer’s vaccine in Israel were likely linked to their vaccination.

In Africa, Egypt aims to vaccinate 40 per cent of its population against coronavirus by the end of 2021, the prime minister said in a televised address on Wednesday. By the end of Wednesday, 2.5 million people will have been vaccinated from a total of six million people who signed up on the government’s registration platform, Mostafa Madbouly said.

In Europe, Greece, Germany and five other European Union nations introduced a vaccination certificate system for travellers on Tuesday, weeks ahead of the July 1 rollout of the program across the 27-nation bloc.

An officer at the Bregana border crossing between Croatia and Slovenia scans an EU digital COVID-19 passport on Wednesday. (Denis Lovrovic/AFP/Getty Images)

The other countries starting early were Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Croatia and Poland, according to the European Commission.

The European Medicines Agency has recommended approving two additional manufacturing and finishing sites for the coronavirus vaccine made by Pfizer and BioNTech.

The EU drug regulator said Tuesday that the additional vaccine production and filling sites were at Pfizer’s factory in Puurs, Belgium. The EMA said its decision, based on a review of manufacturing data submitted by BioNTech, is expected to have “a significant and immediate impact” on the supply of the vaccine for the 27 countries in the EU made by Pfizer and BioNTech.

-From The Associated Press and Reuters, last updated at 9:10 a.m. ET


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