Alberta Premier Jason Kenney says he will impose curfews if necessary to try to bring surging COVID-19 cases under control in particularly hard-hit parts of the province.
The province is imposing new restrictions on targeted areas with high case counts, including Edmonton, Calgary, Fort McMurray and others. All junior and senior schools will move to online learning. Indoor fitness centres will close. The closures will be in place for at least two weeks.
“Where needed, we will implement a curfew where case rates are significantly high, specifically if cases are 1,000 or more per 100,000 population, and in cases where the municipal government requests it,” Kenney said during a briefing.
On a day that saw a new high for daily cases, Kenney pleaded with all Albertans to follow public health guidelines. “Ultimately, Albertans have to step up to the plate in the next few weeks,” he said during a briefing.
The province announced 2,048 new COVID-19 cases and three more deaths. More than 60 per cent of the active cases can be traced to variants of concern.
What’s happening across Canada
As of 7:30 p.m. ET on Thursday, Canada had reported 1,211,089 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 83,452 considered active. A CBC tally of deaths stood at 24,169.
Both Quebec and Ontario plan to make COVID-19 vaccination available to all adults over the next several weeks.
Quebec is promising that every adult in the province will be eligible for a shot in the next two weeks.
Ontario says all people over the age of 18 will be able to register to get a shot by May 24.
Beginning tomorrow in Quebec, people aged 50-59 will be able to make an appointment to get a vaccine. The province will then lower the age of eligibility by five years, every two days.
WATCH | Dubé details Quebec’s vaccine expansion plan:
On May 3, Ontario plans to expand eligibility to adults over the age of 50, adults 18 and up in hot spot communities, those with health conditions deemed “high risk” and some people who cannot work from home. The age group will then be lowered by 10 years every week thereafter.
The province said it will also allocate 50 per cent of all available doses to 114 hot-spot communities for the weeks of May 3 and May 10. It is currently allocating 25 per cent of doses for those postal codes.
Quebec on Thursday reported 1,042 new cases of COVID-19 and 10 additional deaths. According to the province, COVID-19 hospitalizations stood at 623, with 165 people in intensive care.
Ontario on Thursday reported 3,871 new cases of COVID-19 and 41 additional deaths. COVID-19 hospitalizations stood at 2,248, with 884 people in ICU as a result of COVID-related illness.
WATCH | All adults in Ontario should be able to register for a first vaccine dose by the end of May:
Across the North, Nunavut reported 12 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, bringing the number of active cases in the territory to 61. Premier Joe Savikataaq said that 55 of the cases were in Iqaluit. Health officials in Yukon and the Northwest Territories reported no new cases for the day.
In Atlantic Canada, Nova Scotia on Thursday reported 70 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the number of active caes in the province to 538.
In a tweet, Premier Iain Rankin said he has faith that the province can drive cases back down.
We can do this. We did it before. We did it by supporting one another, respecting one another and showing kindness. I have faith in all of you that we can do it again.<a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/COVID19NS?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#COVID19NS</a> <a href=”https://t.co/64CZck3zIW”>https://t.co/64CZck3zIW</a>
Newfoundland and Labrador reported two new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, while New Brunswick reported 10 new cases.
Prince Edward Island had no new cases.
In the Prairie provinces on Thursday, Manitoba reported 230 new cases of COVID-19 and two additional deaths. The province announced another deal with North Dakota to get more of its residents vaccinated. Teachers and education workers will now be eligible to go across the border to get a shot.
The Manitoba government has also added four more areas to its list of higher-risk COVID-19 zones where all adult residents can be vaccinated. Anyone 18 or over who lives in the Brandon East End and Powerview-Pine Falls health districts, as well as the Inkster West and Fort Garry South neighbourhoods of Winnipeg, can now book a vaccine appointment.
Saskatchewan reported 205 new cases and one additional death on Thursday. About 40 per cent of eligible adults in the province have received a first dose of vaccine, and supply is expected to increase beginning next week.
British Columbia is dealing with an outbreak of COVID-19 at the Site-C dam project in the northeast part of the province. Thirty-four lab-confirmed cases have been identified. Of those, 13 are active, and 100 workers are isolating at home or on site.
The province reported 874 new cases of COVID-19 and one additional death on Thursday. The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 in British Columbia has dropped to 503, but a record high of 178 people are in intensive care.
With the increased vaccine supply expected to arrive starting next week, B.C. expects all adults to be able to receive a first dose by the end of June.
-From CBC News and The Canadian Press, last updated at 8 p.m. ET
What’s happening around the world
As of late Thursday afternoon, nearly 150 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported worldwide, according to a tool from Johns Hopkins University used to track COVID-19 cases. The reported global death toll stood at more than 3.1 million.
In the Americas, Brazil on Thursday became the second country to officially top 400,000 COVID-19 deaths, after losing another 100,000 lives in just one month. The country’s Health Ministry registered more than 4,000 deaths on two days early in the month, and its seven-day average topped out at above 3,100.
In Europe, German pharmaceutical company BioNTech says it expects to receive the results of trials of its coronavirus vaccine in younger children by September.
BioNTech, which developed the first widely approved COVID-19 shot with U.S. partner Pfizer, has already submitted data from trials in children ages 12 to 15 to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and plans to do so for the European Medicines Agency, which regulates drugs for use in the 27-country European Union.
The company said it expects results from trials in children ages 5 to 12 “as early as July” and in those younger than five in September.
France will reopen cafe and restaurant terraces May 19, along with museums, cinemas, theatres and concert halls under certain conditions. The country is slowly starting to step out of its partial lockdown despite high numbers of infections and hospitalizations.
In the Asia-Pacific region, India’s total COVID-19 cases passed 18 million on Thursday after another global high number of daily infections, as gravediggers worked around the clock to bury victims and hundreds more were cremated in makeshift pyres in parks and parking lots.
India reported 379,257 new infections and 3,645 new deaths on Thursday, health ministry data showed, the highest number of fatalities in a single day since the start of the pandemic.
WATCH | So many cases, no vaccines in India:
There is vaccine in neighbouring Pakistan, and after weeks of hesitation, people there are now rushing to get a shot. Many Pakistanis had avoided registering for free vaccines since the government started offering them in March. But Minister for Planning and Development Asad Umar said Thursday that more than 100,000 shots were administered for a second consecutive day.
In Africa, a top public health official said the continent is “watching with total disbelief” what is happening in India as it struggles with a devastating resurgence in COVID-19 cases.
Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director John Nkengasong warned that the African continent, which has roughly the same population as India and fragile health-care systems, “must be very, very prepared” because it could see the same scenario now unfolding in the South Asian country.
“We need to regroup urgently,” Nkengasong told reporters Thursday. “We do not have enough health-care workers. We do not have enough oxygen,” he said.
Africa’s vaccine situation is also closely linked to India, which is the source of the AstraZeneca vaccines distributed by the global COVAX project to get doses to low- and middle-income countries.
In the Middle East, Israel’s Teva Pharmaceutical Industries is not likely to reach deals with COVID vaccine makers to co-produce the vaccines, although discussions are still ongoing, chief executive Kare Schultz told Reuters.
-From The Associated Press and Reuters, last updated at 5:15 p.m. ET
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