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Today’s coronavirus news: COVID vaccine bookings start today for some people 50+ in Toronto, Peel

Today’s coronavirus news: COVID vaccine bookings start today for some people 50+ in Toronto, Peel
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The latest coronavirus news from Canada and around the world Friday. This file will be updated throughout the day. Web links to longer stories if available.

6:05 a.m.: Ambulances filled with breathless patients lined up in Brazil as nations around the world set new records Thursday for COVID-19 deaths and new coronavirus infections. The disease surged even in some countries that have kept the virus in check.

In the United States, Detroit leaders began making a plan to knock on every door to persuade people to get vaccine shots.

Brazil this week became just the third country, after the U.S. and Peru, to report a 24-hour tally of COVID-19 deaths that exceeded 4,000. India hit a peak of almost 127,000 new cases in 24 hours, and Iran set a new coronavirus infection record for the third straight day, reporting nearly 22,600 new cases.

In the state of Rio de Janeiro, emergency services are under their biggest strain since the pandemic began, with ambulances carrying patients of all ages to overcrowded hospitals struggling to care for everyone. Authorities say over 90% of the state’s intensive-care unit beds are taken by COVID-19 patients, and many cities are reporting people dying at home due to lack of available medical treatment.

“We’re already living the third wave. We have three times more calls," in comparison with previous waves, said Adriano Pereira, director of the mobile emergency care service in Duque de Caxias, an impoverished city outside Rio.

5:45 a.m.: Japan announced Friday that it will raise the coronavirus alert level in Tokyo to allow tougher measures to curb the rapid spread of a more contagious variant ahead of the Summer Olympics.

Japan s national vaccination drive has lagged and most people in the capital still have not been inoculated as infections have surged.

The raised status announced by Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga will allow Tokyo s governor to mandate shorter opening hours for bars and restaurants, along with punishments for violators and compensation for those who comply. The measures are to begin Monday and continue through May 11.

Many of Tokyo’s cases have been linked to nightlife and dining, though they have recently spread to offices, elderly care facilities and schools, experts say.

Suga also raised the alert level for Kyoto in western Japan and the southern island prefecture of Okinawa, where cases have surged in recent weeks. The new status there is to continue through May 5, the end of Japan s “Golden Week” holidays, to discourage travelling.

The alert status was raised on Monday for three other areas — Osaka, neighbouring Hyogo and Miyagi in the north. They have had sharp increases in daily cases since early March, soon after Japan scaled down a partial and non-binding state of emergency that began in January.

5:32 a.m.: Iraq s Health Ministry has warned of “dire consequences” ahead because citizens are not heeding coronavirus prevention measures, after the country reached a new high in daily infection rates.

Iraq recorded 8,331 new virus cases within a 24-hour period on Wednesday, the highest figure since the ministry began keeping records at the onset of the pandemic last year. That was double the number of new infections from last month, and well ahead of a previous peak of some 6,000 in March.

Death rates are still fairly low relative to new infections. At least 14,606 people have died, from a total of 903,439 cases.

The severe spike in case numbers prompted the Health Ministry to issue a grave warning in a statement on Thursday, saying the rise was due to laxity among Iraqis who flout preventative measures.

The statement said public commitment toward heeding virus prevention measures was “almost non-existent in most regions of Iraq," where citizens rarely wear face masks and continue to hold large gatherings.

Those who continue to flout prevention measures and instructions “are responsible for the increase in the number of infections,” the statement said. It called on tribal sheikhs, activists and influential figures to speak out and inform the public on the severity of the pandemic.

Iraq began administering vaccines in late March, but rollout has been slow owing to low demand. Many Iraqis are suspicious of the vaccine and few have booked appointments to receive a dose. Rumours of debilitating side-effects have also put many off.

The ministry urged citizens to inoculate, and said vaccination was the only way to control the outbreak.

5 a.m.: The definition of a COVID-19 outbreak in long-term-care homes changed on Wednesday, giving public health units more discretion to restrict outbreak measures to a specific area — such as an individual floor or ward — rather than the entire home. Residents of long-term-care homes, their families and geriatricians say the directive is a change in the right direction, but are concerned it doesn’t provide enough new freedoms.

Under the new definition, an outbreak at a home is declared when two or more residents, staff or visitors test positive for COVID-19 — rather than one, as stated in the old definition. The cases must be confirmed within a 14-day period, with an epidemiological link, where at least one person could have reasonably acquired their infection in the home.

“[The change] will allow for more social activities and visits in homes where there is no evidence that COVID-19 has been transmitted within the home and the risk to residents is low,” said Ministry of Long Term Care spokesperson Rob McMahon.

Nathan Stall, a geriatrician and epidemiologist at Sinai Health in Toronto, said the change is “appropriate”; even in the face of a surging third wave, long-term-care homes are seeing single-digit COVID-19 cases.

“This will help residents in terms of reducing some of those unnecessary or extremely stringent isolation precautions ... but there’s still a lot more we need to do, given the remarkable success of vaccines in long-term-care settings,” he said.

Nursing homes in Ontario have been especially hard hit by the pandemic; 3,755 residents and 11 staff died in due to COVID-19 since April 24, 2020. But vaccinations have dramatically reduced mortality rates.

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5 a.m.: Steam closets to help kill deadly germs on your clothes.

Sauna “barrels” for one or two people to relieve their sore muscles — while social distancing from others.

Enclosed outdoor pods that allow you to do office work outside without the worry of being around a co-worker who is sick.

These are among the innovations that major developer Concord Pacific will soon be rolling out in its buildings across Canada.

The new features are part of the company’s BioSpace system, which is aimed at delivering “cleaner and safer” indoor space and facilitating social distancing. Fewer touch points and managing air flow is also the name of the game.

Some of the innovations were being considered long before COVID-19 showed up, but the virus has brought a new “urgency,” says Terry Hui, president and CEO of Concord Pacific Group, the parent company of Concord Adex, which developed CityPlace, a major housing community near Lake Shore Boulevard West.

4 a.m.: The latest numbers on COVID-19 vaccinations in Canada as of 4 a.m. ET on Friday, April 9, 2021.

In Canada, the provinces are reporting 259,623 new vaccinations administered for a total of 7,251,427 doses given. Nationwide, 762,766 people or 2.0 per cent of the population has been fully vaccinated. The provinces have administered doses at a rate of 19,133.418 per 100,000.

There were 120,390 new vaccines delivered to the provinces and territories for a total of 10,257,040 doses delivered so far. The provinces and territories have used 70.7 per cent of their available vaccine supply.

Please note that Newfoundland and Labrador, P.E.I., Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and the territories typically do not report on a daily basis.

Newfoundland and Labrador is reporting 23,284 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 92,235 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 176.145 per 1,000. In the province, 1.85 per cent (9,699) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Newfoundland and Labrador for a total of 129,060 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 25 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 71.47 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

P.E.I. is reporting 9,225 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 30,937 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 195.027 per 1,000. In the province, 5.20 per cent (8,241) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were zero new vaccines delivered to P.E.I. for a total of 39,585 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 25 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 78.15 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Nova Scotia is reporting 23,186 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 129,809 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 133.015 per 1,000. In the province, 3.12 per cent (30,400) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were 3,600 new vaccines delivered to Nova Scotia for a total of 200,250 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 21 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 64.82 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

New Brunswick is reporting 35,004 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 135,802 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 174.096 per 1,000. In the province, 1.84 per cent (14,334) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were zero new vaccines delivered to New Brunswick for a total of 190,485 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 24 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 71.29 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Quebec is reporting 48,736 new vaccinations administered for a total of 1,685,046 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 196.928 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Quebec for a total of 2,358,095 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 28 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 71.46 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Ontario is reporting 108,563 new vaccinations administered for a total of 2,834,784 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 192.986 per 1,000. In the province, 2.22 per cent (326,360) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Ontario for a total of 4,022,875 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 27 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 70.47 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Manitoba is reporting 12,379 new vaccinations administered for a total of 234,509 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 170.304 per 1,000. In the province, 4.79 per cent (66,012) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were 2,340 new vaccines delivered to Manitoba for a total of 409,470 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 30 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 57.27 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Saskatchewan is reporting 10,437 new vaccinations administered for a total of 244,646 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 207.476 per 1,000. In the province, 3.34 per cent (39,430) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Saskatchewan for a total of 284,995 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 24 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 85.84 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Alberta is reporting 23,986 new vaccinations administered for a total of 779,817 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 177.149 per 1,000. In the province, 3.26 per cent (143,625) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Alberta for a total of 1,078,215 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 24 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 72.32 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

British Columbia is reporting 38,905 new vaccinations administered for a total of 985,001 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 191.949 per 1,000. In the province, 1.71 per cent (87,564) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were 114,450 new vaccines delivered to British Columbia for a total of 1,403,510 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 27 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 70.18 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Yukon is reporting zero new vaccinations administered for a total of 37,969 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 909.851 per 1,000. In the territory, 33.10 per cent (13,812) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Yukon for a total of 51,400 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 120 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 73.87 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

The Northwest Territories are reporting zero new vaccinations administered for a total of 38,574 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 854.939 per 1,000. In the territory, 32.07 per cent (14,471) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were zero new vaccines delivered to the Northwest Territories for a total of 51,600 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 110 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 74.76 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Nunavut is reporting zero new vaccinations administered for a total of 22,298 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 575.789 per 1,000. In the territory, 22.77 per cent (8,818) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Nunavut for a total of 37,500 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 97 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 59.46 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

*Notes on data: The figures are compiled by the COVID-19 Open Data Working Group based on the latest publicly available data and are subject to change. Note that some provinces report weekly, while others report same-day or figures from the previous day. Vaccine doses administered is not equivalent to the number of people inoculated as the approved vaccines require two doses per person. The vaccines are currently not being administered to children under 18 and those with certain health conditions. In some cases the number of doses administered may appear to exceed the number of doses distributed as some provinces have been drawing extra doses per vial.

4 a.m.: As COVID-19 vaccine supplies ramp up across the country, most provinces and territories have released details of who can expect to receive a shot in the coming weeks.

The military commander handling logistics for Canada s vaccine distribution program says there will be enough vaccine delivered to give a first dose before Canada Day to every adult who wants one.

Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin says that s if provinces follow the advice to delay second doses up to four months.

He also cautions that it is dependent on having no production delays again.

Health Canada anticipates a total of 36.5 million doses from Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and the AstraZeneca vaccine from the Serum Institute of India by June 30.

Canadian provinces suspended use of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine in people under age 55 on Monday, acting on an advisory committee s concerns about a possible link between the shot and rare blood clots.

4 a.m.: Some residents of Toronto and Peel Region who are aged 50 and older can book their COVID-19 vaccine appointments starting today.

Toronto says people who live in hot spot neighbourhoods can book an appointment to get their shot, while Peel has opened the bookings for anyone in the age group.

Toronto says doses for that age group may be available as soon as this week and it will begin to administer the vaccine to those residents on Monday.

The Ontario government said earlier this week that people aged 60 and over were permitted to book their vaccine appointments in every region.

The province said Thursday that it had administered 108,563 more doses of COVID-19 vaccines since the previous day s report.
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