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Today’s coronavirus news: Stay-at-home order now in effect across Ontario; Feds look at using border data to find travellers applying for sickness benefit; WHO team arrives in Wuhan

Today’s coronavirus news: Stay-at-home order now in effect across Ontario; Feds look at using border data to find travellers applying for sickness benefit; WHO team arrives in Wuhan
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The latest coronavirus news from Canada and around the world Thursday. This file will be updated throughout the day. Web links to longer stories if available.

5:05 a.m. Germany’s disease control agency has reported the highest single-day death toll from COVID-19.

The Robert Koch Institute said Thursday that 1,244 deaths from coronavirus were confirmed in Germany until midnight, taking the total number to 43,881 since the start of the pandemic.

Data showed there were also 25,164 new cases confirmed in Germany by midnight.

German officials are considering tougher restrictions to curb the continued rise in infections in the country.

The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases in Germany has risen over the past two weeks from 23.36 new cases per 100,000 people on Dec. 30 to 26.03 new cases per 100,000 people on Jan. 13.

5:02 a.m. Turkey became the latest country to roll out its COVID-19 vaccination program, starting with health care workers in hospitals across the country.

Thursday’s start of the nationwide inoculation program came a day after Turkish authorities gave the go-ahead for the emergency use of the vaccine produced by China’s Sinovac Biotech Ltd. Turkey’s health minister and members of the country’s scientific advisory council received the first shots live on television shortly after the regulator s approval.

People over the age of 65 will be the next in line to be administered the vaccine in two doses.

4:59 a.m. A stay-at-home order is now in effect across Ontario.

The directive requires residents to stay home except for essential outings, such as accessing health care, shopping for groceries, or outdoor exercise.

The province has said there s no set definition for what is "essential" because everyone has their own unique circumstances and regional considerations.

There s no limit on how many times people can leave their homes per day, or on how long they can be out.

Premier Doug Ford has urged people to use their "best judgment" in deciding whether to go out.

But critics say the measure, which was announced on Tuesday as the province enacted a second state of emergency, is vague, particularly given law enforcement officers ability to fine those not in compliance.

The order is part of Ontario s effort to combat soaring rates of COVID-19 that officials have warned could soon overwhelm the health system.

4:54 a.m. Lebanese authorities began enforcing an 11-day nationwide shutdown and round the clock curfew Thursday, hoping to limit the spread of coronavirus infections spinning out of control after the holiday period.

For the first time, residents were required to request a one-hour permit to be allowed to leave the house for “emergencies,” including going to the bakery, pharmacist, doctor, hospital or airport.

Authorities came under pressure to take a tougher approach after the country s hospitals ran out of beds with daily infections reaching an all-time high of 5,440 cases last week in the country of nearly 6 million people.

The dramatic surge in infections began in late December. As most governments around the world tightened lockdowns, Lebanon relaxed health measures over the holidays, allowing restaurants and nightclubs to reopen with barely any restrictions in place. An estimated 80,000 expats flowed back into the country to celebrate Christmas and New Years with loved ones, many of them expats who skipped visiting in the summer due to the devastating Aug. 4 explosion at Beirut port.

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4:51 a.m. A global team of researchers arrived Thursday in the Chinese city where the coronavirus pandemic was first detected to conduct a politically sensitive investigation into its origins amid uncertainty about whether Beijing might try to prevent embarrassing discoveries.

The 10-member team sent to Wuhan by the World Health Organization was approved by President Xi Jinping s government after months of diplomatic wrangling that prompted an unusual public complaint by the head of WHO.

Scientists suspect the virus that has killed more than 1.9 million people since late 2019 jumped to humans from bats or other animals, most likely in China s southwest. The ruling Communist Party, stung by complaints it allowed the disease to spread, says the virus came from abroad, possibly on imported seafood, but international scientists reject that.

Two members of the team did not land in Wuhan on Thursday because they had tested positive for coronavirus antibodies and were being retested in Singapore, WHO said in a statement on Twitter.

The rest of the team arrived at the Wuhan airport and walked through a makeshift clear plastic tunnel into the airport. The researchers, who wore face masks, were greeted by airport staff in full protective gear, including masks, goggles and full body suits.

They will undergo a two-week quarantine as well as a throat swab test and an antibody test for COVID-19, according to CGTN, the English-language channel of state broadcaster CCTV. They are to start working with Chinese experts via video conference while in quarantine.

Thursday 4 a.m. A federal official says the government is considering using data on incoming travellers to prevent vacationers from claiming a benefit for people who must quarantine or isolate due to COVID-19.

The government promised earlier this week to introduce legislation to prevent anyone who returns to Canada after a vacation or another non-essential trip from receiving the $500-a-week benefit during the mandatory 14-day quarantine period.

The source says officials are drafting the legislation and expect it to include information-sharing mechanisms among agencies and departments to identify anyone looking to flout the rules.

The latest death occurred on Tuesday, North York General Hospital spokesperson Andrea Piunno confirmed Thursday night.

North York General Hospital has been assisting the nursing home with outbreak management.

In a written statement, Piunno said no new COVID-19 cases have been reported among residents at the facility since Jan. 4.

News of the latest death at Tendercare came on the same day that Ontario’s COVID-19 death toll among residents of long-term-care homes passed 3,000 people.
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