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

The latest:

Students in Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick are heading back to their classrooms on Monday — a move that comes amid a broader easing of restrictions in the two Atlantic provinces.

P.E.I. Premier Dennis King said earlier this month that teachers, administrators, parents and children have been “champions” through the period of remote learning, which had “brought its own challenges.” But as he announced the plan to shift back to in-person learning, the premier said it was time to get students back to classrooms.

New Brunswick started to ease up its rules late last week. Businesses that had been closed, including salons, dining rooms and gyms, were allowed to reopen with capacity limits as of 11:59 p.m. last Friday. Rules around gatherings, sports and recreation also eased up as part of a broader shift to a lower alert level.

Health officials in New Brunswick on Sunday reported a total of 164 COVID-19 hospitalizations — up by five from a day earlier, with 13 people in intensive care units. The province also saw five additional deaths.

Prince Edward Island‘s shift in restrictions begins Monday, with businesses that had been closed allowed to open with capacity limits.

Health officials in P.E.I. are expected to provide updated COVID-19 information later Monday.

In Nova Scotia, health officials on Sunday issued a statement saying 92 patients were being treated for COVID-19 in designated hospital wards, with 15 people in ICU. The province also said 256 people were in hospital related to COVID-19, including people who contracted the virus in hospital and those who were positive on arrival but admitted for other reasons. The province is expected to provide updated information about deaths and lab-confirmed cases later Monday.

Newfoundland and Labrador on Sunday said COVID-19 hospitalizations had hit a pandemic high of 23, with eight people in ICU. There were no additional deaths reported in the province, which saw 210 additional lab-confirmed cases.

-From CBC News, last updated at 7:25 a.m. ET


What’s happening across Canada

| Quebec, Ontario begin loosening Omicron restrictions: 

Quebec, Ontario begin loosening Omicron restrictions

Ontario and Quebec have started loosening restrictions brought in because of the Omicron variant as hospitalizations slowly recede. But with hospitals still under extraordinary pressure, doctors are wary of a bounce back. 1:57

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.

In Central Canada, Canada’s two most populous provinces are embarking on a gradual loosening of restrictions put in place to try and stem the spread of the highly transmissible Omicron variant.

Quebec is easing some COVID-19 restrictions on Monday, including allowing restaurants to open with limited capacity and a return of small private indoor gatherings. 

The province on Sunday reported 2,895 COVID-19 cases in hospital — down by 80 from a day earlier — including 233 people in intensive care units. Health officials in Quebec also reported 11 additional deaths and 2,838 additional lab-confirmed cases.

Ontario is also moving forward with a plan to ease some restrictions. As of Monday, restaurants, gyms and theatres in the province will welcome patrons back today for the first time in nearly a month. Larger venues will also reopen, with capacity limited to 50 per cent or 500 people — whichever is fewer.

It’s the first step in the province’s plan to gradually ease public health restrictions meant to curb the spread of COVID-19.

Health officials in Ontario on Sunday reported a total of 3,019 COVID-19 hospitalizations — down by 420 from a day earlier — with 587 people in ICUs. The province also reported a total of 58 deaths and 3,960 lab-confirmed cases.

In the Prairie provinces, health officials in Saskatchewan on Sunday reported a total of 349 COVID-19 hospitalizations — up by nine from a day earlier — with 39 people in ICU. The province also reported one additional death and 1,331 additional lab-confirmed cases.

Health officials in Manitoba and Alberta are expected to provide updated COVID-19 information later Monday. 

Health officials in British Columbia, Yukon, Nunavut and the Northwest Territories are also expected to provide updated information on the state of the pandemic in those regions later Monday.

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


What’s happening around the world

Staff dressed in COVID-19 safety gear direct people as they make their way through the first steps of customs, COVID-19 testing and accreditations upon arriving at the airport for the Beijing Winter Olympics on Monday. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press)

As of early Monday morning, more than 375 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported worldwide, according to a case-tracking database maintained by U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University. The reported global death toll stood at more than 5.6 million.

In the Asia-Pacific region, China has detected 119 COVID-19 cases among athletes and personnel involved in the Beijing Winter Olympics over the past four days, with authorities imposing a “closed loop” bubble to keep participants, staff and media separated from the public.

Tokyo has launched a mass inoculation drive for COVID-19 booster shots at a temporary centre operated by the military as Japan tries to speed up delayed third jabs to counter surging infections.

Japan began administering booster shots to medical workers in December, but has only provided such inoculations to 2.7 per cent of the population after delaying a decision to cut the interval between the first two coronavirus shots and a booster to six months from the initial eight.  On a smaller scale, people 65 and older can get booster shots elsewhere.

In the Middle East, health officials in Iran on Monday said 30 additional people had died from COVID-19 in the last 24 hours. The country also reported 28,995 additional cases.

In Qatar, the Ministry of Health said Sunday it had approved the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for children aged 5-11.

A medical staff member prepares to treat a patient with COVID-19 at an ICU of an hospital in Krasnodar, in southern Russia, late last week. (Vitaliy Timkin/The Associated Press)

In Europe, Russia reported a record daily number of COVID-19 cases on Monday as the Omicron variant spread across the country, authorities said. New daily cases jumped to 124,070, up from 121,228 a day earlier. The government coronavirus task force also reported 621 deaths in the last 24 hours.

The German government has failed to hit its goal of vaccinating 80 per cent of the population against COVID-19 before the end of January, roughly a month before lawmakers are expected to vote on a draft law on mandatory vaccinations.

In the Americas, Mexico on Sunday reported 131 more fatalities from COVID-19, raising the overall death toll since the pandemic began to 305,893.

In Africa, health officials in South Africa on Sunday reported 3,342 new cases of COVID-19 and 117 additional deaths.

-From The Associated Press, Reuters and CBC News, last updated at 9:55 a.m. ET

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