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

The latest:

COVID-19 hospitalizations are ticking down in Canada’s two most populous provinces, which are easing some restrictions as of Monday.

The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 in Ontario has steadily declined from 4,016 on Wednesday to 3,019 on Sunday, amounting to a drop of 997 patients over four days.

The province reported that 587 patients were in intensive care due to the illness, down by 10 from Saturday.

Quebec marked its seventh straight day of declining hospitalizations linked to the virus. The province reported 2,895 patients in hospital with the illness on Sunday, down by 80 from the day before.

People wearing face masks are seen in Montreal on Saturday. Quebec on Sunday marked its seventh straight day of declining hospitalizations linked to the virus. (Jean-Claude Taliana/Radio-Canada)

The province’s Health Ministry said intensive care cases rose by two to 233 after trending down over the past week.

Ontario will lift some public health restrictions on Monday. Movie theatres, gyms, museums and indoor restaurant dining will be allowed to reopen at half capacity.

The province’s three-step plan to stop the spread of COVID-19, which went into effect Jan. 5, will see restrictions lifted in phases until March 14.

Restaurant dining rooms in Quebec will be allowed to reopen at half capacity starting Monday. They’ve been closed since New Year’s Eve. Up to four people from four different addresses or a maximum of two family bubbles will be allowed to share a table. However, restaurants will have to stop serving alcohol at 11 p.m. and will have to close at midnight.

The same numbers will apply to indoor private gatherings, which will be permitted after being banned since Dec. 31, 2021.

An employee cleans gym equipment in Bowmanville, Ont., on Friday. Movie theatres, gyms, museums and indoor restaurant dining will be allowed to reopen at half capacity in Ontario starting Monday. (Doug Ives/The Canadian Press)

Extracurricular sports will also return in elementary schools, high schools, CEGEPs and universities on Monday. Participants over the age of 13 will have to show their vaccine passport.

Organized sports outside of school will be allowed only for those under the age of 18. A maximum of 25 participants will be allowed. While practices will be permitted, competitive matches are still on hold.

Entertainment venues and movie theatres will be allowed to open at 50 per cent capacity the following Monday.  


What’s happening across Canada

With lab-based testing capacity deeply strained and increasingly restricted, experts say true case counts are likely far higher than reported. Hospitalization data at the regional level is also evolving, with several provinces saying they will report figures that separate the number of people in hospital because of COVID-19 from those in hospital for another medical issue who also test positive for COVID-19.

For more information on what is happening in your community — including details on outbreaks, testing capacity and local restrictions — click through to the regional coverage below.

You can also read more from the Public Health Agency of Canada, which provides a detailed look at every region — including seven-day average test positivity rates — in its daily epidemiological updates.

| COVID-19 deaths, hospitalizations hit record highs in Canada: 

COVID-19 deaths, hospitalizations hit record highs in Canada

Across Canada, the number of COVID-19 deaths and hospitalizations have climbed to record highs. But it appears the Omicron wave is waning with fewer overall infections, giving some experts optimism for the coming months. 3:43

In British Columbia, an updated provincial health order now requires children age 12 to have only one dose of a vaccine to enter an event or setting where proof of vaccination is required.

In the Prairies, the premier of Saskatchewan is vowing to end the province’s proof of vaccine policy in the “not-too-distant future”; current public health orders in Manitoba were extended for at least another week; and wastewater tests in Alberta suggests cases are declining in Calgary and Edmonton.

In the Atlantic, 23 people are hospitalized because of COVID-19 in Newfoundland and Labrador on Sunday, setting a new record high for the province; Nova Scotia reported 92 people in hospital in designated COVID-19 units, up by five from the day before; and schools in both in both Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick are set to reopen on Monday.

In the North, some schools in the Northwest Territories will be allowed to return to in-person classes on Monday. Meanwhile, documents obtained by CBC News showed a third of rapid tests shipped to Yukon were distributed to mines, sparking criticism.


What’s happening around the world

As of Sunday, more than 373 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University’s case-tracking tool. The reported global death toll stood at more than 5.65 million.

In Asia, officials said Sunday they had sealed off several residential communities north of Beijing after two cases of COVID-19 were found. The Chinese capital is on high alert as it prepares to host the Winter Olympics opening Friday.

PHOTOS | Beijing seals off more residential areas amid COVID-19 fears ahead of Olympics: 

In Europe, Russia’s daily count of new coronavirus infections surged to more than 121,000 on Sunday, an eightfold increase compared with the beginning of the month as the highly contagious Omicron variant spreads.

In the Americas, Brazilian health regulator Anvisa approved the sale of COVID-19 self-tests — already widely used in Europe and the United States — in the country’s drugstores.

In Africa, fans of the continent’s premier soccer tournament — which only allows fully vaccinated people to attend — can get vaccinated, tested and receive their immunization passes for the quarterfinal match between Egypt and Morocco outside the stadium in Yaoundé, Cameroon.

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