Coronavirus: What’s happening in Canada and around the world Thursday


The latest:

Kindergarten to Grade 12 students across most of Alberta will head back to class next week, officials said Wednesday. Meanwhile, in Nova Scotia, students learned they won’t be back in classrooms at all to finish the school year.

Alberta Education Minister Adriana LaGrange said students in the Municipality of Wood Buffalo, which includes Fort McMurray, won’t head back right away. They’re expected to continue with remote learning until at least the end of May.

But in the rest of the province, students and teachers will be back, LaGrange said, citing a successful “reset” that she said “helped to alleviate the operational pressures tied to the rise of COVID-19 cases in our communities.”

Twelve per cent of all Alberta teachers and students had been self-isolating due to COVID-19 exposure and over 6,000 positive cases had been identified before the break; now, only 2.2 per cent are isolating and cases sit at just over 1,000.

Alberta on Wednesday reported 908 new cases of COVID-19 and six additional deaths. According to the province, hospitalizations stood at 685, with 185 people in intensive care.

In Nova Scotia, Premier Iain Rankin announced on Wednesday that students in public and private schools in that province will not be heading back to classrooms this academic year.

The update on schools came as Rankin announced that the restrictions in place in the province would remain in place until at least June 9.

“We are making progress with decreasing our case numbers, but that progress is slower than we would like,” Rankin said in a statement.

Nova Scotia health officials reported 83 new cases of COVID-19 and two additional deaths on Wednesday.

It’s not yet clear whether students in Ontario, who have been in remote learning since returning from a delayed spring break, will return to class before the end of the school year.

-From CBC News and The Canadian Press, last updated at 7:05 a.m. ET

What’s happening in Canada around the world

WATCH | The disagreements and frustrations of Ontario’s 3rd wave: 

Three prominent Ontario doctors, including those who advise the government, talk to The National’s Andrew Chang about the disagreements and frustrations surrounding the province’s third wave and why the crisis experts predicted wasn’t avoided. 8:55

As of early Thursday morning, Canada had reported 1,342,388 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 61,608 considered active. A CBC News tally of deaths stood at 25,066. 

In Atlantic Canada on Wednesday, New Brunswick reported eight new cases of COVID-19, while Prince Edward Island reported five new cases and Newfoundland and Labrador reported three new cases.

In Quebec on Wednesday, health officials reported 584 new cases of COVID-19 and eight additional deaths.

Ontario, meanwhile, reported 1,588 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday and 19 additional deaths. Hospitalizations stood at 1,401, with 735 people in ICU due to COVID-related illness.

In the Prairie provinces on Wednesday, Manitoba reported 402 new cases and four additional deaths, while Saskatchewan reported 141 new cases and no additional deaths.

Across the North, there were four new cases of COVID-19 in Nunavut on Wednesday and one new case in the Northwest Territories. There were no new cases reported in Yukon.

Health officials in British Columbia reported 521 new cases of on Wednesday and eight additional deaths.

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

What’s happening around the world

A soldier, right, gives instructions as people wait to receive the second dose of China’s Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine at a pagoda in Phnom Penh on Thursday as part of the Cambodian government’s campaign to halt the rising number of cases of the virus. (Tang Chhin Sothy/AFP/Getty Images)

As of early Thursday morning, more than 164.9 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported worldwide, a tracking dashboard from U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University said. The reported global death toll stood at more than 3.4 million.

In Europe, Spain will allow people under age 60 who have received a first dose of AstraZeneca’s vaccine to receive their second inoculation either with the AstraZeneca drug or with Pfizer’s vaccine.

The European Union commissioner for health said on Thursday she was looking toward the summer with optimism as COVID-19 vaccinations in the bloc picked up speed.

“Over 20 million vaccinations are taking place every week in the EU, compared to a few hundred thousand per week in January,” Stella Kyriakides told a news conference after a video conference of EU health ministers.

In Africa, the UN Security Council is calling for accelerated availability of coronavirus vaccines for Africa, expressing concern the continent has received only about two per cent of all vaccines administered globally. The council acknowledged ongoing discussions on waiving intellectual property protections for COVID-19 vaccines aimed at providing vaccinations to Africans and all others in need.

Medical health workers leave a house as they visit door-to-door to deliver the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine to people who live far from health facilities in Siaya, Kenya, earlier this week. (Brian Ongoro/AFP/Getty Images)

Egypt will extend measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus, including early closing hours for shops, until the end of May.

In the Americas, Brazil’s health minister said he had spoken with Moderna about buying its vaccine, as the country scrambles for shots from producers passed over last year.

WATCH | New York City, surrounding areas prepare for post-COVID-19 reopening: 

New York City and surrounding areas are preparing for a major reopening as COVID-19 restrictions, including curfews and capacity limits, start being lifted. 2:01

In the Asia-Pacific region, Taiwan’s worst outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic grew Thursday, with a worrisome 63 new cases not having a clear connection to existing cases.

The island raised its alert level this week, banning indoor gatherings of more than five people and outdoor gatherings of more than 10 people. Schools are shut for two weeks, and many people are working from home.

In the Middle East, Dubai Airports’ chief executive urged wealthy nations to better help poorer states in accessing COVID-19 vaccines, saying global travel was unlikely to reach previous heights without most people being vaccinated.

From The Associated Press and Reuters, last updated at 8 a.m. ET

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