Today’s coronavirus news: Ontario’s vaccine verification app appears on app stores; Ontario reporting 417 new COVID-19 cases

The newest coronavirus information from Canada and world wide Thursday. This file will likely be up to date all through the day. Web hyperlinks to longer tales if obtainable.

2:41 p.m. Britain recorded greater than 45,000 day by day coronavirus cases on Thursday, with infections significantly prevalent amongst youngsters.

Government figures on Thursday present 45,066 folks examined optimistic for the coronavirus, the best since July 20.

Much of the current elevated cases within the U.Okay. is amongst youngsters after their return to highschool. The rollout of vaccines amongst older youngsters is extensively thought-about slower than hoped.

There’s additionally been an increase in hospital therapy for COVID-19, although the proportion is decrease than earlier waves of the pandemic after the rollout of vaccines.

The variety of folks dying with COVID-19 has held regular in current weeks, though considerations are rising that the rise in cases will result in extra deaths. Another 157 virus-related deaths have been reported Thursday, taking Britain’s confirmed whole to 138,237, Europe’s second-highest tally behind Russia.

2:40 p.m. U.S. President Joe Biden spoke out in opposition to misinformation surrounding COVID-19 vaccination mandates, encouraging the roughly 66 million unvaccinated Americans to get a shot.

“School board members, religious leaders and doctors across the country are fighting misinformation and educating people about the importance of vaccines,” Biden mentioned.

Speaking on the White House, Biden says employer necessities that their employees be vaccinated are efficient. He added: “Vaccination requirements should not be another issue that divides us.”

Biden has issued a federal vaccine mandate on companies with 100 or extra workers that will likely be applied within the coming weeks. He says the federal authorities, in addition to companies and group teams, should “continue to battle the misinformation that’s out there.”

He famous each Southwest Airlines and its pilots’ union dismissed claims that employee motion over a pending vaccine mandate on the firm was accountable for days of disruption on the airline.

2:10 p.m. (up to date) Ontario’s app for companies to confirm vaccination QR codes has appeared within the Apple and Google Play app shops. Premier Doug Ford and Dr. Kieran Moore will meet with reporters at Queen’s Park at 11 a.m. Friday to debate the app.

The verification software, which is already obtainable for companies to obtain totally free on the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store, will allow companies to scan Ontarians’ QR vaccination codes as of Oct. 22.

“To ensure the app was available to businesses and organizations in real time tomorrow, the verification app was added to app stores today,” the premier’s workplace mentioned Thursday.

2 p.m. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is sending Merck & Co.’s Covid-19 tablet to an advisory committee for assessment, utilizing a public discussion board to debate any security considerations forward of a possible authorization.

The FDA introduced the listening to for Nov. 30, saying it might weigh information on using the drug to deal with mild-to-moderate cases in high-risk adults, confirming an earlier report by Bloomberg News.

“We believe that, in this instance, a public discussion of these data with the agency’s advisory committee will help ensure clear understanding of the scientific data and information that the FDA is evaluating to make a decision about whether to authorize this treatment for emergency use,” Patrizia Cavazzoni, director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, mentioned in an announcement.

The company opted to not skip the advisory committee step, which it sometimes does when it’s racing to get a drug to market rapidly. Safety considerations have been raised by some specialists, and the committee will weigh in earlier than the FDA comes to a decision, one of many folks mentioned.

1:30 p.m. Grand River Hospital helps folks’s proper to protest obligatory COVID-19 vaccination for workers, however stands by the coverage as a result of immunization is crucial to guard sufferers from the lethal virus.

A crowd gathered exterior the Kitchener hospital on Wednesday night to protest its vaccination coverage which requires all workers to be immunized in opposition to COVID-19. Those who weren’t vaccinated by the Tuesday deadline have been put on unpaid depart and threat termination if they don’t adjust to the requirement.

“We support the right of our staff and their support networks to speak freely about their perspectives. Getting a vaccine is a personal choice,” a hospital assertion learn.

“However, as an organization that provides direct patient care to those in our community, we need to take every step available to protect patients, colleagues and our community from this deadly virus.”

1:15 p.m. Nova Scotia is proposing laws aimed toward prohibiting protests that block entry to hospitals and different health-care services.

The Progressive Conservative authorities says the Protecting Access to Health Services Act can even ban protests on the houses of sufferers who obtain care the place they stay.

The laws would set up a 50-metre “safe access bubble” round hospitals and different services reminiscent of docs’ workplaces, the place protests wouldn’t be permitted.

Premier Tim Houston mentioned at present in a information launch that whereas folks have a proper to protest, they can not be allowed to disrupt entry to well being care.

Quebec has adopted a legislation banning COVID-19-related protests exterior colleges and hospitals, whereas Alberta just lately introduced it was including hospitals, clinics and different health-care services to an inventory of important infrastructure protected underneath an anti-blockade legislation.

The Nova Scotia invoice features a tremendous for people of $5,000 and as much as six months in jail for a primary offence, and a tremendous of as much as $10,000 and as much as one yr in jail for individuals who violate the order a second time. The laws units fines for firms at $25,000 for a primary offence and a tremendous between $5,000 and $100,000 for a second or subsequent offence.

12:05 p.m. Quebec is reporting 644 new cases of COVID-19 Thursday and two extra deaths attributed to the coronavirus.

COVID-19-related hospitalizations remained unchanged in contrast with the day earlier than, at 298, and 76 folks have been in intensive care, an increase of 1.

Quebec’s public well being institute says 90 per cent of residents 12 and up have obtained not less than one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 86.8 per cent are thought-about adequately vaccinated.

Officials say 11,774 doses of vaccine have been administered up to now 24 hours.

Earlier Thursday, the federal government mentioned it might develop its health-care bonus system to nurses working in personal long-term care centres and in seniors residences.

Nurses prepared to work full time over the subsequent yr will obtain one-time bonuses of $15,000, as will new full-time hires. Nurses in personal seniors residences will obtain $7,500.

11:50 a.m. Nova Scotia is reporting 26 new cases of COVID-19 Thursday and 15 extra recoveries from the illness.

Health officers say group unfold is constant amongst unvaccinated folks between the ages of 20 and 40 the province’s central zone, which incorporates Halifax, and the place 23 of the new cases have been recognized.

Officials say two new cases are within the province’s western zone and one is within the jap zone.

They say 5 extra colleges within the Halifax space have been notified of COVID-19 exposures.

Nova Scotia has 198 energetic reported cases of COVID-19 and 12 folks in hospital with the illness, together with two in intensive care.

More than 740,000 Nova Scotians are absolutely vaccinated in opposition to the coronavirus.

11:40 a.m. (up to date) General Motors Canada says its workers have two months to get absolutely vaccinated in opposition to COVID-19.

In an announcement launched Thursday, the corporate mentioned that every one personnel, together with guests, at General Motors services throughout Canada will need to have two doses of a government-approved COVID-19 vaccine as of Dec. 12.

“We are joining many other companies, from multiple sectors, supporting public-health initiatives to increase vaccination rates and further reduce the impact of COVID-19 across Canada. Vaccination has been shown to be effective in reducing the transmission of the virus as well as reducing the health impacts if a vaccinated person does contract the virus,” the assertion mentioned.

Read the total story from the Star’s Jacob Lorinc

11:30 a.m. President Joe Biden is about to satisfy Pope Francis when he visits the Vatican later this month as a part of a five-day swing by Italy and the U.Okay. for international financial and local weather change conferences.

Biden plans to debate the coronavirus pandemic, the local weather disaster and poverty throughout his assembly with the pope, in line with the White House. The assembly will happen on Oct. 29, and Biden will then attend two-day summit of G-20 leaders in Rome, earlier than heading to Glasgow, Scotland for the U.N. local weather convention often known as COP26.

11:15 a.m. Some issues we’ve discovered for the reason that begin of the pandemic: journey guidelines and restrictions are fluid and might change on a dime. Those identical laws are sometimes obscure, and include caveats, tremendous print — and if misunderstood, might result in hefty fines.

If you’re planning a visit to the United States through the fourth wave, you possible have questions you haven’t been in a position to simply discover solutions to.

From testing to land border reopening, we reply your urgent #PandemicTravel questions.

Read the total story from the Star’s Ivy Mak

11:04 a.m. A bunch of prime vaccine specialists is assembly on Thursday and Friday to contemplate whether or not individuals who received the COVID-19 vaccines made by Moderna Inc. and Johnson & Johnson ought to obtain booster photographs.

The Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee will make suggestions to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which can finally determine whether or not to permit the boosters, and for whom. The FDA isn’t sure by the specialists’ recommendation, however often follows it.

The digital conferences are scheduled to be all-day affairs, operating from 8:30 a.m. to about 5 p.m. on each days. The FDA broadcasts them on-line through YouTube and different platforms.

10:17 a.m. Ontario is reporting 417 new COVID-19 cases; 271 cases are in people who are usually not absolutely vaccinated or have an unknown vaccination standing and 146 are in absolutely vaccinated people, Health Minister Christine Elliott tweeted.

In Ontario, 87.2 per cent of Ontarians 12+ have one dose and 82.6 per cent have two doses.

10:15 a.m. Toronto has reached 82 per cent of residents aged 12 and older getting absolutely vaccinated in opposition to COVID-19, the city is reporting.

9:30 a.m. Premier Doug Ford is stepping up his marketing campaign to have Prime Minister Justin Trudeau clamp down on exemptions for unvaccinated travellers, the Star has discovered.

Ford is anticipated to make use of a Friday press convention to announce new “guidelines” for arrivals to Ontario.

“The double-vaccinated who have a negative PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test are not the problem,” mentioned a senior Progressive Conservative official, talking confidentially as a way to focus on forthcoming coverage suggestions.

Read the total story from the Star’s Robert Benzie

9 a.m. Haiti, which has one of many lowest COVID-19 vaccination charges within the Western Hemisphere, will likely be returning 1000’s of unused doses donated by the U.S. to maintain them from expiring.

The COVAX Facility, which supplies free and backed vaccines to the poorest nations, confirmed in an emailed assertion Wednesday that the doses returned by Haiti will likely be redeployed elsewhere to “minimize any potential wastage.”

“Hundreds of thousands” of doses expiring in November will likely be despatched to COVAX with the understanding that Haiti will obtain a new batch sooner or later, Le Nouvelliste newspaper reported, citing well being ministry officers. The precise variety of vaccines being despatched again was not confirmed by the federal government or the COVAX Facility.

8:45 a.m. The Indonesian resort island of Bali reopened for worldwide vacationers to go to its retailers and white-sand seashores for the primary time in additional than a yr Thursday — in the event that they’re vaccinated, check adverse, hail from sure nations, quarantine and heed restrictions in public.

However, foreign visitors may be slow to arrive. No international flights to Bali were scheduled on the first day of the reopening and a tourism official forecast travel would pick up in November.

Bali’s airport will welcome new foreign arrivals from 19 countries that meet World Health Organization’s criteria such as having their COVID-19 cases under control, Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, the government minister who leads the COVID-19 response in Java and Bali, said in a statement late Wednesday.

He said all international flight passengers must have proof they’ve been vaccinated two times, test negative for the coronavirus upon arrival in Bali and undergo a 5-day quarantine at designated hotels at their own expense. They’ll also have to follow stringent rules at hotels, in restaurants and on beaches.

“We have to do this with caution because we need to stay alert,” Pandjaitan said.

President Joko Widodo credited Bali’s excessive vaccination charge for the choice to reopen. The nation’s COVID-19 caseload has additionally declined significantly; Indonesia has had round 1,000 cases a day up to now week after peaking round 56,000 day by day in July.

8:20 a.m. Former workers are accusing a Mississauga restaurant of failing to reveal a COVID-19 outbreak to workers close to the peak of the pandemic’s third wave in Peel.

In sworn affidavit statements, two former workers of Nafisa Middle Eastern Cuisine in Streetsville allege they weren’t advised for a number of days by restaurant administration about fellow workers testing optimistic for COVID-19 in May and that no extra security measures have been taken throughout an alleged outbreak.

The Mississauga News requested legal professionals representing Omar Nafisa, who’s a co-owner of the restaurant and his brother Adnan, who can also be named within the lawsuit, if their shoppers disputed claims contained within the former workers’ affidavits which query whether or not the institution took steps to guard its workers and the general public, as soon as they have been conscious of the COVID-19 cases amongst workers and their household.

7:55 a.m. Tofino General Hospital on Vancouver Island has joined the listing of 19 acute care, long-term care or assisted-living services in B.C. with a COVID-19 outbreak.

An announcement from the Health Ministry says there have been 605 new cases recognized, bringing the energetic case rely to five,172.

There have been 4 extra deaths within the province, together with three within the Northern Health space, the place the well being minister has mentioned the vaccination charge is decrease than the remainder of the province.

7:45 a.m. Neil Young and Crazy Horse are popping out with “Barn,” a new studio album they made whereas cooped up through the COVID-19 pandemic.

The legendary folks singer-songwriter says the 10-track launch will arrive on Dec. 10 after being written and recorded over the previous yr.

Young debuted the primary single, “Song of the Seasons,” on his Neil Young Archives web site on Wednesday.

He says the monitor, which additionally opens within the album, is the “oldest song on the record, written about this time last year” when he was staying in Canada.

“Song of the Seasons” immediately addresses the pandemic with lyrics that acknowledge bodily distancing by clear vinyl home windows and face masks.

Young advised his followers final month that he wished “Barn” was already obtainable however that delays within the vinyl urgent plant precipitated its launch to be postponed.

7:30 a.m. Hungary recorded its highest day by day variety of new COVID-19 cases in 5 months Thursday amid a spike in coronavirus deaths and hospitalizations.

Officials reported 1,141 new cases, the best day by day whole since May 14. The enhance pushed the variety of cases up to now this week to a 37 per cent soar over the identical interval final week. The nation of practically 10 million has 742 hospitalized COVID-19 sufferers, the best quantity since early June.

Pandemic containment measures in Hungary have been largely repealed since early July, and masks are usually not required in any public areas.

On Monday, the Hungarian Academy of Sciences advisable that masks be worn in enclosed areas, at occasions and on public transportation as a way to “curb the fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

As of Thursday, 66.6 per cent of Hungarian adults have been absolutely vaccinated, under the European Union common of 74.7 per cent, in line with the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control.

7:15 a.m. A California decide has partially blocked an order taking impact this week that requires state jail workers to be vaccinated in opposition to the coronavirus.

A Kern County decide issued a brief restraining order that forestalls enforcement of the vaccination mandate for unionized guards.

The mandate is because of take impact Friday and it’ll nonetheless apply to different employees at prisons which have well being care services The mandate is aimed toward stopping one other coronavirus outbreak like one which killed 28 inmates and a correctional officer at San Quentin State Prison final yr.

The California Correctional Peace Officers Association opposes the measure.

6:45 a.m.: China’s Foreign Ministry on Thursday warned in opposition to what it known as attainable “political manipulation” of a renewed probe by the World Health Organization into the origins of the coronavirus, whereas saying it might assist the worldwide physique’s efforts.

The WHO on Wednesday launched a proposed listing of 25 specialists to advise it on subsequent steps within the seek for the virus’ origins after its earlier efforts have been attacked for going too straightforward on China, the place the primary human cases have been detected in late 2019.

Beijing was accused of withholding uncooked information on early cases throughout a go to by a WHO workforce in February and has since resisted requires additional investigation, saying the U.S. and others have been politicizing the matter.

Foreign Ministry spoksperson Zhao Lijian mentioned China would “continue to support and participate in global scientific tracing and firmly oppose any forms of political manipulation.”

“We hope that every one events involved, together with the WHO secretariat and the advisory group, will successfully uphold an goal and accountable scientific perspective,” Zhao told reporters at a daily briefing.

The findings of the original WHO-led team were inconclusive, and the experts released a report concluding it was “extremely unlikely” that the coronavirus leaked from a Wuhan lab, prompting criticism from outside scientists that the theory had not been properly vetted. WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus later acknowledged it had been “premature” to dismiss the lab theory.

6:20 a.m.: On weekends when the Bills are playing a home game at Highmark Stadium, Mike Shatzel usually starts hearing plenty of Canadian accents at the bars and restaurants he runs in the Buffalo area.

But, for the last two seasons, the trickle of people heading into Cole’s, Allen Burger Venture and Thin Man Brewing have pretty much all been Western New York locals.

News that the Biden administration is set to open the U.S. land border after almost 18 months of COVID-related closure was more than welcome.

“We’ve missed you guys. It’ll be nice to have you back,” said Shatzel. “It’s great for everybody. Restaurants, hotels, malls, the Sabres and Bills. This is fantastic news.”

Wednesday’s announcement that the U.S. land borders with Mexico and Canada would open in November for fully vaccinated visitors sparked relief and near-giddiness for tourism and hospitality businesses in Buffalo, Detroit and other U.S. border cities that have long counted on Canadian visitors to bolster their bottom lines.

Read the full story by the Star’s Josh Rubin.

6:10 a.m.: Patsy Nunes was glad to get the AstraZeneca vaccine when she called around looking for appointments last April, and she’s glad to have it now.

She just wishes the U.S. officials were as happy about her two-dose combo as she is.

With one dose of AstraZeneca, and one dose of Pfizer, she and her husband are unsure about whether they’ll be able to visit her parents in North Carolina, even after land-border restrictions loosen next month.

With the news that the U.S. land border reopening plan doesn’t yet state that people who’ve gotten two different doses of COVID-19 vaccine can cross into the U.S., Nunes is wondering whether mixed-dose recipients like her will ever be recognized as seamlessly as those who had two of the same vaccine doses.

She also wonders whether a third dose could eventually be part of the solution.

Read the full story from the Star’s Alex McKeen.

6:05 a.m.: The Indonesian resort island of Bali reopened for international travelers to visit its shops and white-sand beaches for the first time in more than a year Thursday — if they’re vaccinated, test negative, hail from certain countries, quarantine and heed restrictions in public.

However, foreign visitors may be slow to arrive. No international flights to Bali were scheduled on the first day of the reopening and a tourism official forecast travel would pick up in November.

Bali’s airport will welcome new foreign arrivals from 19 countries that meet World Health Organization’s criteria such as having their COVID-19 cases under control, Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, the government minister who leads the COVID-19 response in Java and Bali, said in a statement late Wednesday.

He said all international flight passengers must have proof they’ve been vaccinated two times, test negative for the coronavirus upon arrival in Bali and undergo a 5-day quarantine at designated hotels at their own expense. They’ll also have to follow stringent rules at hotels, in restaurants and on beaches.

“We have to do this with caution because we need to stay alert,” Pandjaitan said.

5:45 a.m.: Premier Doug Ford will lift COVID-19 capacity limits in restaurants, bars, and gyms when he unveils additional benchmarks for further reopening Ontario’s economy.

Ford, who is expected to meet with reporters Friday, hopes to deliver encouraging news for restaurateurs and others — such as publicans and fitness centre owners — who are concerned about restrictions on their businesses.

The premier’s news conference will come days before his Progressive Conservative government unveils detailed steps for reopening next week.

It’s been about three months since Ontario entered the current “step three” of reopening.

“We’re calling it ‘pandemic plan 2.0’ — but it’s not just about reopening,” a senior government official told the Star on Wednesday, confirming a CBC report that broke the news.

Read the full story from the Star’s Robert Benzie and Rob Ferguson.

5:05 a.m.: A standardized vaccine passport that would pave Canadians’ way for easier domestic and international travel could be coming in a matter of weeks, with recent delays less about buy-in from provinces and more about the technology behind the system.

Ottawa first began working on a national vaccine passport this spring. Days before the federal election was called in August, Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino — who leads the federal department tasked with implementing a proof of vaccination system for international travel — said the government’s hope was to launch a vaccination credential program “as early as early fall.”

While it missed that target, the goal now is to have a vaccine passport available “within weeks,” a senior government source told the Star. If that deadline isn’t met, “it won’t be longer than a week or two after that,” the source said.

That timeline would align with the federal government’s requirement for all travellers on planes, interprovincial trains and some maritime vessels to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as of Oct. 30.

Read the full story from the Star’s Raisa Patel and Tonda MacCharles.

4:45 a.m.: Beleaguered business owners and families separated by COVID-19 are celebrating after the Biden administration says it will reopen U.S. land borders to non-essential travel next month, ending a 19-month freeze.

Travel across land borders from Canada and Mexico has been largely restricted to workers whose jobs are deemed essential. New rules will allow fully vaccinated foreign nationals to enter the U.S. regardless of the reason starting in early November.

The ban has had enormous economic, social and cultural impact, preventing cross-border shopping and family gatherings when relatives live on different sides of the border.

In Del Rio, Texas, Mexican visitors account for about 65 per cent of retail sales, said Blanca Larson, executive director of the chamber of commerce and visitors bureau in the city of 35,000 people.

Along the border, we’re like more of one community than two different communities,” she said.

Community events have also stalled even as cities away from U.S. borders have inched toward normalcy.

In Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., the Soo Eagles Junior A hockey team hasn’t had a home game against a Canadian opponent in 20 months. The players have been travelling to Canada since border restrictions were lifted there two months ago. Now the U.S. team can play host.

“I almost fell over when I read it,” said Ron Lavin, co-owner of the Eagles. “It’s been a long frustrating journey for people on a lot of fronts far more serious than hockey, but we’re just really pleased. It’s great for the city.”

4 a.m.: COVID-19 testing requirements for Canadians driving home from the United States could only prolong the hardships for the tiny coastal town of Point Roberts, Wash., community leaders say.

Point Roberts is disconnected from the rest of the state by water, requiring residents to drive through Metro Vancouver to get to Washington state’s mainland.

Brian Calder, president of the Point Roberts Chamber of Commerce, said that before COVID-19, the community would see about 1.5 million visitors each year, but half of them often spent an hour or less in the town getting cheaper gas, buying groceries or checking on their cabins or boats.

When the U.S. border reopens to vaccinated Canadians, there will be no testing requirement to go south, but Canada requires a negative COVID-19 test to return and Calder said that’s a problem for Point Roberts.

Point Roberts only offers testing on Wednesdays and Sundays, which he said would limit Canadian visitors.

He said he’s hoping the Canadian government lifts the testing regulation for the town.

“We’re a unique place in North America and we should be handled uniquely,” he said, citing a 87 per cent vaccination rate in the community. “We’ve been very proactive as a group. The last item we would like is to be conduits of COVID, however we’re not being listened to.”

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