The “vast majority” of Canadians remain susceptible to COVID-19, Canada’s chief public health officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, said on Sunday, as the country’s most populous province reported another record number of new cases over a 24-hour period.
“This is why it is important for everyone to continue with individual precautions to protect ourselves, our families and our communities,” Tam said.
“COVID-19 is spreading among people of all ages, with high infection rates across all age groups. However, nationally, infection rates remain highest among those aged 80 years and older who are at highest risk for severe outcomes,” she said.
It’s “deeply concerning” that case numbers are rising in remote areas of the country where health services are “not adequately equipped to manage complex medical emergencies,” Tam added.
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There is still a “long road ahead” in the battle to contain the virus, Canada’s chief public health officer, Tam, said in her daily update on Saturday, but she added that an initial vaccine supply is expected to be available to Canadians early next year.
“There is some good news on the horizon,” she said. “An initial supply of vaccines is expected to become available in early 2021, and although supply will be limited at the outset, Canada is well positioned to provide access to safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines for all Canadians.
“We don’t have a COVID-19 vaccine just yet and we must be prepared to address a range of logistical and operational challenges,” Tam said.
“Canada must continue with the collective effort of individuals and public health authorities to sustain the response, while balancing the health, social and economic consequences.”
Procurement Minister Anita Anand said this week that information will be shared with Canadians once it’s certain, but that dates will depend on when Health Canada approves the vaccine and other factors such as shipment and storage necessities.
WATCH | Canada could approve vaccine in coming days:
What’s happening across Canada
As of 6 p.m. ET on Sunday, Canada’s COVID-19 case count stood at 415,182, with 73,379 of those cases considered active. A CBC News tally of deaths based on provincial reports, regional health information and CBC’s reporting stood at 12,665.
In British Columbia, Mark Donnelly, the former national anthem singer for the Vancouver Canucks, performed at an event on Saturday where hundreds of people protested the province’s pandemic restrictions.
Alberta reported 1,836 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, down from a record 1,879 cases added on Saturday. The province also announced 19 additional deaths.
WATCH | Alberta field hospitals could hold 750 COVID-19 patients:
Saskatchewan recorded 415 new cases and four additional deaths on Sunday.
Manitoba reported 383 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday. The province also recorded 14 deaths, eight of which were residents of long-term care homes.
In Sarto, Man., dozens of cars packed the Church of God parking lot in defiance of provincial rules and a court ruling prohibiting such gatherings.
WATCH | Winnipeg care home holds parades for coronavirus-recovered residents:
Ontario reported a new record high of 1,924 new cases. It’s the second-straight day that Ontario has broken a record in its daily case count. The province also recorded 15 additional COVID-19 related deaths, of which eight were residents of long-term care homes.
The figures come a day before Middlesex-London and Thunder Bay will move into the orange-restrict zone, while the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit will move into the yellow-protect zone.
Quebec reported 1,691 new cases, as well as 10 more deaths.
New Brunswick recorded four new cases, and announced plans to move some zones back to the less-restrictive yellow recovery phase.
Dr. Jennifer Russell, the province’s chief medical officer of health, said the Moncton and Fredericton zones are scheduled to move back to the yellow phase at midnight. However, Zone 2 (Saint John), where the bulk of the province’s COVID-19 cases are located, will have to stay in the orange phase.
Prince Edward Island also recorded four new cases, and announced new restrictions on gatherings and establishments. Premier Dennis King has asked all Islanders in the Capital Region between the ages of 20 and 29 to get tested even if they have no symptoms.
High schools in the Charlottetown area are moving to remote learning. This includes Colonel Gray, Charlottetown Rural and Bluefield High Schools, as well as students in grades 10 through 12 at École François-Buote.
Nova Scotia reported four new cases, plus one at a Dartmouth elementary school.
Newfoundland and Labrador reported four new cases, three of which are travel-related
In Nunavut, the hard-hit community of Arviat saw its caseload rise by two on Sunday, for a total of 46 active cases.
What’s happening around the world
As of Sunday, there were more than 66.7 million reported cases of COVID-19 worldwide, with more than 42.9 million of those listed as recovered or resolved, according to a tracking tool maintained by U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University. The global death toll stood at more than 1.5 million.
In Europe, infections in Russia hit a new record on Sunday, as the country’s authorities registered 29,039 new confirmed cases, the highest daily spike in the pandemic.
Russian authorities have rejected the idea of another nationwide lockdown or any widespread closures of businesses, despite confirmed infections and deaths this fall significantly exceeding those reported in the spring.
WATCH | Russia begins mass vaccination effort:
In Asia, South Korea says it will further toughen physical-distancing rules, as recent restrictions have failed to curb a viral resurgence that threatens the country’s health-care system.
Under new restrictions, which take effect Tuesday and run for three weeks, authorities will shut down karaoke rooms, fitness centres, indoor gyms and most of the cram schools in the Seoul metropolitan area.
Some high-risk facilities, such as nightclubs in the Seoul area, have already been shut down.
In Africa, Egypt’s Coptic Orthodox Church is suspending Sunday services for one month in the capital, Cairo, and the Mediterranean province of Alexandria because of a surge in coronavirus cases among the faithful and monks.
Egypt, the Arab world’s most populous country, has faced an increase in coronavirus cases, with authorities warning that a new wave of the pandemic lies ahead.
Overall, the country has reported more than 118,000 confirmed cases including 6,750 deaths but actual cases are thought to be much higher.
In the Americas, a top medical adviser to U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration said on Sunday he’s confident that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will approve the coronavirus vaccine from pharmaceutical company Pfizer this week.
FDA officials will meet to review the Pfizer vaccine on Thursday, and it could be authorized almost immediately.
“Based on the data I know I expect the FDA to make a positive decision, but of course, it’s their decision,” Moncef Slaoui, chief adviser to Operation Warp Speed, told CBS’s Face the Nation.
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