The latest coronavirus news from Canada and around the world Monday. This file will be updated throughout the day. Web links to longer stories if available.
Ontario has administered 16,712 vaccine doses since its last daily update , which is another low reported daily vaccine doses given since September 13. In total, 21,404,362 vaccines have been given as of 8 p.m. the previous night.
According to the Star's vaccine tracker , 11,094,649 people in Ontario have received at least one shot. That works out to approximately 85.1 per cent of the eligible population 12 years and older, and the equivalent of 74.6 per cent of the total population, including those not yet eligible for the vaccine.
1:30 p.m. The Manitoba government has expanded its eligibility criteria for people wishing to get a third dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
The province says it has added residents and staff of First Nations personal care homes.
It says plans are being made to include all personal care home residents in Manitoba.
Third doses currently are available to people who are immunocompromised due to a medical condition or treatment.
Third doses are also available for travel purposes or for those who have received one or two doses of a vaccine that is not approved by Health Canada.
At this time, third doses are not recommended as boosters for the general population.
1:10 p.m. Starting Monday, Saskatchewan residents can download a digital QR code from their eHealth account showing proof of vaccination.
The government says in a news release that the code — which can be downloaded or printed — replaces the COVID-19 vaccination record that was made available in August but did not include a digital format.
The province announced last week that proof of vaccination will be required at non-essential businesses — including restaurants, casinos, movie theatres and indoor sports venues — beginning Oct. 1.
It won’t be required for civil services, retail or grocery stores, places of worship, hotels or at non-ticketed amateur sporting events.
Businesses can verify the QR codes on mobile devices using a special app.
12:35 p.m. Teachers and parents are harshly criticizing the York Region District School Board for implementing a hybrid learning model, in which students in-class and online are being taught simultaneously by one teacher. The model was introduced despite mounting concerns that it will hurt student learning and leave educators scrambling.
The added stress is also taking an emotional toll on teachers, with some saying they're ending their work days in tears.
"I've never seen teacher morale so low," said Sarah Gibson-Neve, a kindergarten teacher under the YRDSB, who has 25 students in-class and four students online.
12:17 p.m: COVID-19 has now killed about as many Americans as the 1918-19 Spanish flu pandemic did — approximately 675,000. And like the worldwide scourge of a century ago, the coronavirus may never entirely disappear from our midst.
Instead, scientists hope the virus that causes COVID-19 becomes a mild seasonal bug as human immunity strengthens through vaccination and repeated infection. That would take time.
"We hope it will be like getting a cold, but there's no guarantee," said Emory University biologist Rustom Antia, who suggests an optimistic scenario in which this could happen over a few years.
For now, the pandemic still has the United States and other parts of the world firmly in its jaws.
The delta-fueled surge in new infections may have peaked, but U.S. deaths still are running at over 1,900 a day on average, the highest level since early March, and the country’s overall toll stood at close to 674,000 as of Monday morning, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University, though the real number is believed to be higher.
Winter may bring a new surge, though it will be less deadly than last year’s, according to one influential model. The University of Washington model projects an additional 100,000 or so Americans will die of COVID-19 by Jan. 1 , which would bring the overall U.S. toll to 776,000.
12:10 p.m.: New York City will begin conducting weekly, random COVID-19 tests of unvaccinated students in the nation's largest school district in an attempt to more quickly spot outbreaks in classrooms.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio made the announcement Monday, a day after the city's teachers' union sent de Blasio a letter calling for weekly testing instead of biweekly testing in the district with about a million students.
The mayor also announced also a change in quarantine rules for schools, no longer requiring unvaccinated students to quarantine at home if they were masked and at least 3 feet away from someone who tested positive for the coronavirus.
De Blasio said the changes followed U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines and would keep students from missing vital classroom time.
The changes come after the first full week of the school year in which nearly 900 classrooms, including those in charter schools, were fully or partially closed in the city's 1,876 schools because of reports positive COVID – 19 cases. One school entirely closed for 10 days after a cluster of cases.
11:50 a.m.: The Toronto Maple Leafs and Toronto Raptors are planning to play in front of full-capacity crowds at Scotiabank Arena this season, but are waiting for official clearance from the province.
Tickets are on sale to the general public now for Maple Leafs exhibition games with the requirement that all potential attendees be fully vaccinated from COVID-19 and a proviso for refunds if full capacity is not allowed.
"With a fully vaccinated venue, it is our belief that we can safely host a full capacity event," said MLSE spokesperson Dave Haggith. "With tickets on sale, we are planning for eventual full capacity in 2021 and our ticketing rollout has built-in flexibility so we are ready for potential scenarios."
There are exceptions for non-vaccinated children 11 and under.
The teams – which both begin regular-season play in October — hope to hear this week about crowd size.
11:35 a.m.: Quebec is reporting 679 new cases of COVID-19 today and one additional death attributed to the virus.
Health authorities say hospitalizations rose by three to 280, while the number of patients in intensive care climbed by five to 92.
The Health Department says of the latest reported infections, 457 were among people who were either unvaccinated or who had only received a first dose within the past two weeks.
The province administered 8,489 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine on Sunday.
According to the province’s public health institute, about 88.9 per cent of Quebecers aged 12 and older have received at least one dose, while 84.4 per cent are considered fully vaccinated with two shots.
10:52 a.m.: A case of COVID-19 has been identified in a long-term care facility in Halifax where the city had one of its largest outbreaks of the disease during the early months of the pandemic.
Northwood CEO Janet Simm says a staff member was identified as a positive COVID case last week through the facility’s routine screening.
Simm says Northwood completed its contact tracing protocol and residents where the staff member worked will remain in their unit.
Recent tests done on both staff and residents have come back negative.
She was not able to confirm whether or not the staff member was fully vaccinated against the disease due to privacy reasons, though more than 88 per cent of the facilities more than 400 staff are fully vaccinated.
10:40 a.m.: President Joe Biden will ease foreign travel restrictions into the U.S. beginning in November, when his administration will require all foreign nationals flying into the country to be fully vaccinated.
All foreign travellers flying to the U.S. will need to demonstrate proof of vaccination before boarding, as well as proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within three days of flight, said White House COVID-19 coordinator Jeff Zients, who announced the new policy on Monday. Biden will also tighten testing rules for unvaccinated American citizens, who will need to be tested within a day before departure to the U.S., as well as on their return.
Fully vaccinated passengers will not be required to quarantine, Zeints said.
The new policy replaces a patchwork of travel restrictions first instituted by President Donald Trump last year and tightened by Biden last year that restricted travel by non-citizens to the United Kingdom, European Union, China, India and other countries.
Biden will also require airlines to collect contact information from international travelers to facilitate contact tracing, Zients said.
10:20 a.m.: Ontario is reporting 610 new cases of COVID-19 today and two more deaths linked to the virus.
Health Minister Christine Elliott says that 458 of those new cases are in people who are not fully vaccinated or have an unknown vaccination status.
Elliott says that 233 people are hospitalized with the novel coronavirus.
She says that 177 people are in intensive care because of COVID-19.
The Ministry of Health says that more than 10 per cent of hospitals did not submit data to the daily report and that it anticipates the number of hospitalized patients will increase Tuesday.
21,404,362 vaccine doses have been administered. Nearly 85.1 per cent of Ontarians 12+ have one dose and nearly 79.1 per cent have two doses.
10:05 a.m.: Canadian snowbirds will be watching closely this week, suitcases at the ready and RVs full of fuel, to see if the United States finally eases the travel restrictions preventing them from driving south for the winter.
Some aren’t waiting for the White House, opting for the perfectly legal option of flying to the U.S. instead — and many are planning on getting a COVID-19 booster shot as soon as they get there, said Toronto travel insurance broker Martin Firestone.
“The feeling I’m getting from my clientele is, ‘I will go down south as I always had planned to, but I will get my third booster shot down there and probably get it a lot quicker than I ever would waiting here,'” Firestone said in an interview.
“People who are heading south are going to go get that booster down in the States, I can assure you of that.”
On Friday, the U.S. Federal Drug Administration turned a few heads when it rejected the idea of a third shot for Americans aged 16 or older. The agency did, however, endorse a plan to make boosters available to people aged 65 or older, or at high risk of severe illness.
With Canada still a long way from formally deciding whether to offer boosters, many with U.S. travel plans simply don’t want to wait for the federal health authorities and the individual provinces to make up their minds, Firestone said.
9:30 a.m.: Toronto schools are now allowed to offer extracurricular clubs and sports, both outdoors and indoors, after public health lifted a temporary ban it imposed at the start of the month — a ban that caused an uproar among parents, students and coaches .
In a release, the Toronto District School Board said that Toronto Public Health is "now recommending the gradual return of extracurriculars as schools establish routines and cohorts, and are confident in health and safety protocols. This is very encouraging news as we know how important these activities are to students' mental and physical health and overall school experience."
Toronto was the lone holdout across Greater Toronto when school began two and a half weeks ago , with public health saying it wanted schools to first sort out the usual reorganization of classes, on top of reintroducing COVID-19 safety protocols after last year's lengthy school shutdown.
Public health now says extracurriculars are allowed to gradually return with students who are 12 and up, given they are eligible for vaccines, and high-contact sports such as football, field hockey and basketball will be allowed outdoors, and students do not have to be masked. Outdoor, interschool games are permitted.
7:52 a.m.: India, the world’s largest vaccine producer, says it will resume exports and donations of surplus coronavirus vaccines in October after halting them during a devastating surge in domestic infections in April.
The health ministry said Monday that surplus vaccines will be used to “fulfill its commitment towards the world for the collective fight against COVID-19.”
India began exporting vaccines in January but stopped after it was hit by a massive wave of cases. The halt in exports left many developing countries without adequate supplies.
India donated or sold 66 million vaccine doses to nearly 100 countries before it halted exports.
7:30 a.m.: Already grappling with divisions in his own country over vaccine mandates and questions about the ethics and efficacy of booster shots, President Joe Biden is facing another front of discord: a split among world leaders over how to eradicate the coronavirus globally, as the highly infectious delta variant leaves a trail of death in its wake.
At a virtual summit Wednesday, while the annual United Nations General Assembly meeting is underway, Biden will try to persuade other vaccine-producing countries to balance their domestic needs with a renewed focus on manufacturing and distributing doses to poor nations in desperate need of them.
COVAX, the U.N.-backed vaccine program, is so far behind schedule that not even 10% of the population in poor nations is fully vaccinated, experts said.
The push, which White House officials say seeks to inject urgency into vaccine diplomacy, will test Biden's doctrine of furthering American interests by building global coalitions. Coming on the heels of the United States' calamitous withdrawal from Afghanistan last month that drew condemnation from allies and adversaries alike, the effort to rally world leaders will be closely watched by public health experts and advocates who say Biden is not living up to his pledges to make the United States the "arsenal of vaccines" for the world.
7:05 a.m.: Pfizer said Monday its COVID-19 vaccine works for children ages 5 to 11 and that it will seek U.S. authorization for this age group soon — a key step toward beginning vaccinations for youngsters.
The vaccine made by Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech already is available for anyone 12 and older. But with kids now back in school and the extra-contagious delta variant causing a huge jump in pediatric infections, many parents are anxiously awaiting vaccinations for their younger children.
For elementary school-aged kids, Pfizer tested a much lower dose — a third of the amount that's in each shot given now. Yet after their second dose, children ages 5 to 11 developed coronavirus-fighting antibody levels just as strong as teenagers and young adults, Dr. Bill Gruber, a Pfizer senior vice president, told The Associated Press.
The kid dosage also proved safe, with similar or fewer temporary side effects — such as sore arms, fever or achiness — that teens experience, he said.
"I think we really hit the sweet spot," said Gruber, who's also a pediatrician.
Gruber said the companies aim to apply to the Food and Drug Administration by the end of the month for emergency use in this age group, followed shortly afterward with applications to European and British regulators.
5:48 a.m.: Alberta's COVID-19 vaccine passport system comes into force today.
The program allows businesses and venues to operate without capacity limits and other public health measures if they require proof of vaccination or a negative test result from anyone entering.
It applies at restaurants, nightclubs, casinos, concerts and fitness facilities, and is not mandatory.
When it was announced by Premier Jason Kenney last week, it also applied to retail stores and libraries, but they were removed from the list of eligible businesses over the weekend.
Kenney had previously opposed a vaccine passport over what he said were privacy concerns, but said last week it has become a necessary measure to protect Alberta's hospitals that face the prospect of being overwhelmed in the pandemic's fourth wave.
Starting Sunday, Albertans were able to download cards with the dates they'd received their vaccinations, and a Health Ministry spokeswoman says work continues on a more secure QR code that will be available in the coming weeks.
5:47 a.m.: As the federal election gets underway today, a traditional form of viewing appears to be missing.
The COVID-19 pandemic has limited the number of viewing parties across the country.
Large indoor gatherings are less appealing — if not off-limits — due to the virus and the higher-than-average number of mail-in ballots means final results may not be announced tonight.
Some organizations have taken their viewing parties online.
A community centre in Calgary, for instance, is holding a "family-friendly" virtual party in an effort to allow interested viewers a chance to come together, while limiting the spread of COVID-19.
Party leaders made last-minute appeals in whirlwind tours of swing ridings on Sunday, in an effort to convince voters to buy into their version of what this vote is all about.
Polls are open today from 9:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Monday 5:43 a.m.: The average U.S. daily death toll from COVID-19 over the past seven days surpassed 2,000 this weekend, the first time since March 1 that deaths have been so high, according to a New York Times database.
Texas and Florida, two of the hardest-hit states in the country, account for more than 30% of those deaths: Florida, where 56% of the population is vaccinated, averages about 353 deaths a day, and Texas, where 50% of the population is vaccinated, averages about 286 deaths a day. In the United States as a whole, 54% of all people are vaccinated.
Hot spots continue to speckle the map of the country, many of them in line with low vaccination rates but others in areas where vaccinations are among the highest. Vermont, for example, has a vaccination rate of 69% and reported more coronavirus cases in the past week than in any other seven-day period, thought it still has the fewest cases in the country.
Read Sunday's coronavirus news .
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- No travel ban to South Korea
- Saudi Arabia reports 2 deaths, 12 new MERS coronavirus cases
- Silicon Valley leaders slam ‘discriminatory’ travel laws in letter to Congress
- PRRD’s foreign investment Negative List out next month
- [ALVIVI COURT CASE] Sex Bloggers Buka Puasa With Bak Kut Teh During Ramadan
- S Korea reports 5th death from MERS
- The Trump administration violated 2 court orders after the first travel ban, inspector general says
- 13 new MERS deaths in S. Arabia
- Hospitals urged to report new coronavirus cases
- PH can generate P210 B more FDIs by easing rules vs foreign contractors
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