Coronavirus: What’s Happening in Canada and Around the World on Wednesday

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Daily COVID-19 infections have reached record levels in the United States, across swathes of Europe and Australia as the new Omicron variant of the virus spirals out of control, keeping workers at home and overwhelming health centers. test.

Almost two years after China first reported a cluster of ‘viral pneumonia’ cases in the city of Wuhan, the steadily mutating coronavirus is wreaking havoc in many parts of the world, forcing governments to rethink quarantine and testing rules.

Although some studies have suggested that the Omicron variant is less lethal than some of its predecessors, the large number of people who test positive means hospitals in some countries may soon be overwhelmed, while businesses may struggle to keep operating. due to the quarantine of workers.

France, Britain, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Greece and Malta all had record numbers of new cases on Tuesday.

Several Canadian provinces – including Quebec, Manitoba and two Atlantic provinces – recorded record single-day COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, as health officials across the country grapple with stresses on the test and tracing systems.

The average daily number of COVID-19 cases in the United States has also reached an all-time high in the past seven days, according to a Reuters tally. The previous peak was in January of this year.

New daily infections in Australia hit nearly 18,300 on Wednesday, eclipsing the previous pandemic record of around 11,300 reached a day earlier.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has said his country needs a “shift in gears” to deal with overcrowded labs, with long queues for people walking and driving reported in a number of areas.

Bottlenecks for testing have also created in European countries, including Spain, where demand for free COVID-19 test kits provided by the Madrid regional government far exceeded supply on Tuesday, with long queues forming in front of pharmacies.

A number of governments were also increasingly concerned about the large number of people being forced into self-isolation because they had been in contact with someone with coronavirus.

People line up in cars for COVID-19 tests at a clinic in Sydney on Wednesday. Coronavirus cases are increasing across Australia as an outbreak of the Omicron variant spreads. (Mick Tsikas / AAP Image / The Associated Press)

“We just can’t take everyone off the road because they happen to be in a particular place at a particular time,” Australian Morrison told reporters.

Italy was due to relax some of its quarantine rules on Wednesday over fears the country would shut down soon given the number of people needing to self-isolate protectively, with cases doubling Tuesday from a day earlier to 78,313.

However, China has shown no slack in its zero tolerance policy for outbreaks, now 13 million people in Xi’an city under strict containment for a seventh day as new COVID-19 infections persist, with 151 cases reported Tuesday.

From Reuters and CBC News, latest update 7:15 a.m.ET


What’s happening across Canada

WATCH | Provinces on alert as Omicron spreads in long-term care homes:

Provinces on alert as Omicron spreads to long-term care homes

Long-term care homes in Ontario and Quebec are cracking down after hundreds of employees and residents test positive for COVID-19. Ontario has already taken action, suspending all general visits, while Quebec officials say they are monitoring the situation. 1:58

For more details on the situation in your province and territory – including recent hospitalizations and intensive care capacity, as well as local testing issues – click on the local coverage below.

In Atlantic Canada, Newfoundland and Labrador reported 194 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, a single-day record in the province. Prince Edward Island also recorded a record, with 118 new cases.

Health officials in New Scotland, who reported 561 new cases on Tuesday, laid out a plan for a return to school in the New Year. Education Minister Becky Druhan announced that students would be back in classrooms on January 10, a delay from the original return date of January 6.

In New Brunswick, health officials reported 306 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday.

In central Canada, Quebec Tuesday reported a single-day high of 12,833 COVID-19 cases, with 15 more deaths. The update came as Health Minister Christian Dubé announced measures that would allow some healthcare workers to stay at work despite testing positive for the virus. The province had no choice but to change its isolation protocols due to the meteoric spread of the Omicron variant, which created staff shortages, he said.

“We have no choice,” Dubé said in a briefing, calling the government’s plan a “better alternative” to not having care.

Ontario Tuesday reported 8,825 new cases of COVID-19 and seven more deaths. The update came as the province said it was temporarily suspending the entry of general visitors to long-term care homes starting Thursday, with two designated caregivers per resident exempt from the new rule. Rod Phillips, Ontario’s Minister of Long-Term Care, said on Tuesday there were 41 homes with outbreaks in the province, up from 37 the day before.

In the Prairie provinces, Manitoba recorded a daily record of 825 COVID-19 cases, with health officials reporting five more deaths. Saskatchewan, who had not released COVID-19 figures over the Christmas holidays, reported a total of 896 new COVID-19 cases and two deaths over a five-day period.

Alberta, meanwhile, reported a total of 8,250 cases during the same period, bringing the number of active cases in the province to more than 15,000.

“It is spreading so quickly and so far that managing individual cases will not substantially stop the spread,” said Dr Deena Hinshaw, the province’s chief medical officer of health.

Across the North, health officials in Nunavut reported 11 more cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday. There has been no official update from officials of the Northwest Territories Where yukonese.

In British Columbia, health officials on Tuesday reported 1,785 new cases of COVID-19, with details of deaths and hospitalizations expected on Wednesday.

-From CBC News and The Canadian Press, last updated 7:20 a.m. ET


What is happening in the world

Customers look at the COVID-19 test kits sold at a supermarket in Saint-Herblain, France. (Loïc Venance / AFP / Getty Images)

As of Wednesday morning, around 282.8 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported worldwide, according to the Johns Hopkins University COVID-19 tracker. The death toll worldwide stood at more than 5.4 million.

In Europe, France’s health ministry will report 208,000 new COVID-19 infections on Wednesday in the past 24 hours – a national and European record, Health Minister Olivier Veran told lawmakers. He said every second two French people test positive for COVID-19. France on Tuesday reported a new record of nearly 180,000 new confirmed cases in a 24-hour period.

In the Americas, New York City will stop quarantining entire classrooms exposed to the coronavirus and instead prioritize an accelerated testing program so that asymptomatic students who test negative can stay in school, officials said.

In Africa, South Africa on Tuesday reported 7,216 new cases of COVID-19 and 25 more deaths.

In the Middle East, Saudi Arabia reported 602 confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, with one additional death.

Daily infections in the United Arab Emirates, the tourism and commercial hub of the Gulf region, topped 2,000 for the first time since June.

In the Asia Pacific region, Thai authorities have warned residents they should prepare for a potential increase in coronavirus cases after classifying the country’s first cluster of the Omicron variant as a “super-spreader” incident.

-From Reuters, The Associated Press and CBC News, last updated 8:25 a.m. ET



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