Coronavirus: What’s happening in Canada and around the world on May 9

The latest:

Manitoba is shifting students from kindergarten to Grade 12 in Winnipeg and Brandon to remote learning amid a spike in COVID-19 cases, officials said on Sunday.

The move takes effect Wednesday and will last until May 30, said Chief Provincial Public Health Officer Dr. Brent Roussin.

Schools outside those cities will still be able to open for in-person learning but with additional restrictions.

Manitoba, with Canada’s second-highest caseload when accounting for population, tallied 531 new cases and three additional deaths on Sunday.

WATCH | Manitoba doctors write open letter urging compliance with COVID-19 rules:

Some of Manitoba’s top doctors have written an open letter that pleads with the public to obey COVID-19 public health orders to prevent hospitals from being overwhelmed. 7:52

New measures in the province came into effect the same day as the school announcement.

For the next three weeks, bans will include in-person restaurant dining; certain businesses, ranging from gyms to salons; and indoor activities including church services and sports.

Also on Sunday, federal Health Minister Patty Hajdu said the first vaccine offered remains the best, but added Health Canada continues to adapt its analysis of different types and would stop use if necessary.

“Health Canada continues to evolve their analysis based on the data that’s accumulating in Canada, based on the data that’s accumulating internationally,” Hajdu said in an interview that aired Sunday on Rosemary Barton Live.

WATCH | Is the federal government prepared for a 4th wave?:

Health Minister Patty Hajdu talks to CBC’s chief political correspondent, Rosemary Barton, about how the government and citizens need to work together to prevent a fourth wave of COVID-19 and the role vaccines play in slowing the spread. 9:23

“We wouldn’t hesitate to cease or pause the use of a product if it was shown to not have value, safety or effectiveness.”

The “first is best” approach has been a constant refrain from Canada’s political leadership this year, but the mantra was shaken this week after the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) indicated there may be “preferred” vaccines.

What’s happening across Canada 

As of 5:45 p.m. ET on Sunday, Canada had reported 1,286,672 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 80,789 considered active. A CBC News tally of deaths stood at 24,626.

In British Columbia, Fraser Health officials have declared an outbreak at a poultry-processing plant in Surrey. 

Officials said in a news release that 29 staff at Sunrise Poultry Processors Ltd. have tested positive for COVID-19, and the facility has been ordered to close for 10 days beginning Friday.

Alberta recorded 1,633 new COVID-19 cases and two additional deaths on Sunday. The province this week had the highest per-capita case rate in both Canada and the United States.

WATCH | Alberta sending mixed messages on restrictions, says physician:

Dr. Joe Vipond, an ER doctor in Calgary, says he has sympathy for Albertans who are confused over mixed messages from the government on whether lockdowns stop the spread of COVID-19. He says it’s been damaging to the province. 6:01

Saskatchewan announced 177 new cases but no deaths, as well as 210 recoveries.

Meanwhile, the province is targeting May 30 for the first step of its COVID-19 “Re-opening Roadmap,” which would allow: 

  • Restaurants and bars to open with a maximum of six to a table, distanced between other tables.
  • Places of worship to hold services with 30 per cent capacity, or a maximum of 150 people, and group fitness classes to resume with three-metre distances between participants. 
  • Gathering limits to rise, although current protocols for schools and post-secondary institutions will remain in place, and the provincewide mask mandate will stay in effect.

Premier Scott Moe said the province is moving forward with the plan because so many people have been getting vaccinated and residents are following public health orders.

Ontario registered 3,216 new infections and a third-wave high of 47 deaths.

Hospitalizations and intensive care unit admissions continue to slowly decline, with 1,640 people in hospital with the illness and 848 in ICUs.

Of that number, 580 people require ventilators to breathe, according to Ontario’s Health Ministry.

WATCH | Ontario opens vaccine access to all adults in some hot-spot pharmacies:

Ontarians living in hot-spot communities now have more options when it comes to COVID-19 vaccines. The province has expanded the number of pharmacies administering the shots and has increased both the types of shots they can give and to whom. 2:52

Quebec confirmed 960 new cases and six more deaths.

Cases have been falling overall in the province, but strict public health measures are returning to the Eastern Townships on Monday as authorities respond to a recent spike in COVID-19 cases.

The new restrictions will include closing restaurant dining rooms, gyms and bars. They also forbid gatherings of people from different households on private property, inside or outside.

A person waits outside a COVID-19 testing clinic in Montreal on Sunday. (Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press)

New Brunswick added six new infections on Sunday. There are now 141 active cases in the province.

Nova Scotia added 165 new cases as the province continues to grapple with a surge.

Premier Iain Rankin announced Friday that schools will remain closed for at least the rest of the month, and new border restrictions will come into effect at 8 a.m. on Monday.

WATCH | Nova Scotia tightens border and imposes new restrictions:

Nova Scotia is reporting another record high number of new COVID-19 cases and is bringing in new border and shopping restrictions to try to slow the spread. 1:47

Newfoundland and Labrador‘s active case count remains at 67 after the province reported five new infections and five recoveries. N.L. has logged 44 cases in the past week, which Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Janice Fitzgerald attributed to out-of-province travel.

In Nunavut, residents of the Iqaluit Elders’ Home are being being moved out of the facility after staff members were exposed to COVID-19 and ordered to isolate, according to Nunavut’s Department of Health.

The territory’s active caseload dropped on Sunday, after it reported five new infections and seven recoveries.

What’s happening around the world

As of Sunday, 157.7 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported worldwide, according to a tracking tool maintained by Johns Hopkins University. The global death toll stood at more than 3.2 million.

In Asia, new infections are still rising at a record pace in India, exacerbated by a slowdown in vaccinations, oxygen shortages and overwhelmed hospitals.

WATCH | How India’s pandemic epicentre has changed this doctor:

Dr. Gautam Harigovind, on the front lines with a Doctors Without Borders team in Mumbai, discusses making decisions about prioritizing which patients get care as the country’s caseload continues to soar. 8:14

In Europe, impromptu street celebrations erupted across Spain as the clock struck midnight on Saturday, when a six-month-long national state of emergency to contain the spread of the coronavirus ended and many nighttime curfews were lifted.

In the Americas, U.S. states asked Washington this week to withhold staggering amounts of COVID-19 vaccines amid plummeting demand for the shots, contributing to a growing U.S.stockpile of doses.

In Africa, a number of countries — including Chad, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Eritrea and Tanzania — have yet to receive vaccine shipments, prompting worries of further outbreaks and the emergence of new variants.

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