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

The latest:

Canada’s fourth-wave battle shows cautious signs of progress in some regions, but parts of the Prairies are currently dealing with steep case COVID-19 counts and corresponding stresses on their health systems.

On Thursday, Manitoba reported 132 new cases — the largest single-day caseload since the end of the spring. Ninety-five of those cases are in people who were not fully vaccinated, according to the provincial dashboard. The province also reported one additional coronavirus death.

Manitoba reported 132 new COVID-19 cases and another death on Thursday. (Jane Barlow/Getty Images)

Meanwhile, neighbouring Saskatchewan is dealing with the highest rate of new daily COVID-19 cases in the last week of any province.

Saskatchewan reported 348 COVID-19 patients in hospital as of Thursday, 78 of them in intensive care. Most were unvaccinated.

The province said it has activated its emergency operations centre so it can redeploy more health-care workers to hospitals that are dealing with the COVID-19 crisis.

Premier Scott Moe said Thursday that finding additional front-line workers is a major challenge as hospitalizations continue to break new records almost daily.

He said Saskatchewan may make an official request to the federal government for help in the days ahead, but first the province must make sure it is utilizing all its available employees.

Premier Scott Moe announced Thursday that Saskatchewan is activating its emergency operations centre to lead its response to record levels of COVID-19. (Michael Bell/The Canadian Press)

On the other side Manitoba, Ontario reported 587 new cases Thursday and five additional deaths.

In that province, Dr. Kieran Moore, the chief medical officer of health, shared advice for how to stay protected during the second Thanksgiving of the COVID-19 era.

What’s happening across Canada

| COVID-19 boosters not needed for most people yet, says specialist: 

COVID-19 booster shots not needed for most people yet, says specialist

Canadians who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 might see longer immunity if their shots were spaced further apart than recommended by the vaccine makers, says Dr. Matthew Oughton, an infectious diseases specialist in Montreal who said most people don’t need booster shots at this time. (Evan Mitsui/CBC) 4:51

What’s happening around the world

As of early Thursday evening, more than 236.6 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University’s coronavirus-tracking tool. The reported global death toll stood at more than 4.8 million.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres appealed on Thursday for $8 billion US to help equitably vaccinate 40 per cent of people in all countries by the end of the year, as the World Health Organization (WHO) launched a plan that aims to inoculate 70 per cent of the world by mid-2022.

Guterres urged the Group of 20 rich countries to deliver on their “desire to get the world vaccinated” at a summit in Rome later this month.

“Not to have equitable distribution of vaccines is not only a question of being immoral, it is also a question of being stupid,” he said at a news conference, warning of the potential for new, vaccine-resistant variants to emerge if the virus continues to spread “like wildfire.”

| UN officials reiterate dangers of vaccine inequity: 

Vaccine inequity ‘immoral,’ ‘stupid,’ UN secretary general says

United Nations Secretary General António Guterres said not having equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines around the world is both ‘immoral’ and ‘stupid.’ At the same press conference, World Health Organization Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus called for the sharing of intellectual property so more COVID-19 vaccines can be produced. 2:30

So far, more than 6.3 billion doses of coronavirus vaccines have been administered globally. But more than half of the world has yet to receive at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, according to Our World in Data, and less than five per cent of Africans have been fully vaccinated, according to the continent’s top public health official.

In Europe, German officials say the nation has vaccinated about 3.5 million more people against the coronavirus than previously counted. That means almost 80 per cent of adults in Germany are fully vaccinated and about 84 per cent have received at least one shot, according to the disease control centre.

A grave digger wearing a protective suit stands during a a COVID-19 victim burial at a cemetery outside in Omsk, Russia, on Thursday. (The Associated Press)

Russia’s daily coronavirus infections soared Thursday to their highest level so far this year as authorities have struggled to control a surge in new cases amid a slow pace in vaccinations and few restrictions in place. The government’s coronavirus task force reported 27,550 new confirmed cases, a nearly 10 per cent rise from the previous day. The daily coronavirus death toll topped 900 for a second straight day.

In Africa, Sudan has received more than 500,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine produced by Pfizer, the first batch of a U.S. donation of 1.27 million doses through the COVAX vaccine-sharing initiative.

Aid workers check a shipment of COVID-19 vaccines sent to Sudan by the COVAX vaccine-sharing initiative, shortly after an Emirates plane landed at the airport in the capital Khartoum, on Wednesday. (Ebrahim Hamid/AFP/Getty Images)

In the Asia-Pacific region, Australian doctors warned a too-rapid easing of COVID-19 restrictions in Sydney could put pressure on health systems and risk lives, as the country’s biggest city prepares for an end to more than 100 days in lockdown next week.

Stay-at-home restrictions are due to be lifted on Monday after New South Wales state hit a targeted 70 per cent for full vaccination of its adult population. Authorities on Thursday bumped up permitted limits for home gatherings, weddings and funerals.

The Australian Medical Association, however, representing the country’s doctors, said opening “too fast or too early” will result in avoidable deaths and the reintroduction of lockdowns.

Syrian coronavirus patients receive treatment at the Sima hospital in the northwestern city of Idlib on Sept. 30. Soaring COVID-19 cases in recent weeks have pushed health facilities to maximum capacity, local officials say. (Omar Haj Kadour/AFP/Getty Images)

In the Middle East, rebel-held northwest Syria is facing an unprecedented coronavirus surge and aid agencies are calling on the world to help provide humanitarian and medical aid, increase hospital capacity and ensure people are vaccinated.

The surge, apparently caused by the more contagious delta variant, has overwhelmed hospitals with sick patients and is causing shortages of oxygen, according to local officials. The local rebel-run authority imposed a nighttime curfew as of Tuesday while schools and universities were closed and students are getting distant learning.

In the Americas, Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech have asked U.S. regulators to authorize emergency use of their COVID-19 vaccine for children aged five to 11, a group for whom no shot is currently allowed, Pfizer said Thursday.

The U.S. FDA has set a date of Oct. 26 for outside advisers to meet and discuss the Pfizer application. 

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