Several provinces have again reached new highs in COVID-19 cases, reporting on the first day of 2022 that the highly transmissible variant of Omicron continued to increase infections across Canada.
Ontario Saturday reported 18,445 cases – an increase from the 16,713 new cases reported on New Years Eve.
Infectious disease experts have been saying for several days that the actual number of new cases is likely much higher than those reported each day, as many Ontario public health units have reached their detection capacity.
The provincial public health department said 12 more people had died from the virus and 85 more were hospitalized.
Quebec reported 17,122 new cases, marking the fifth consecutive day that a record number of new infections have been reported in the province. It also recorded eight more deaths.
Outdoor New Years celebrations in the province were banned from 10 p.m. ET because a curfew, lasting until 5 a.m., went into effect Friday. The curfew is the second in Quebec for the pandemic. A previous curfew, announced in early January 2021, had been in place for nearly five months.
New restrictions also include a ban on almost all indoor gatherings and the closure of restaurant dining rooms. Indoor gatherings involving more than one domestic bubble have been banned.
Records were also set on Saturday at Nunavut, which reported 50 new cases, and Newfoundland and Labrador, which recorded 442 new infections.
The increase in the number of cases will affect health care services in St. John’s. Eastern Health says elective services will be temporarily reduced starting Tuesday to allow for a greater focus on booster vaccination clinics and COVID-19 testing. The health authority says it plans to focus on urgent or emerging acute care services in the city.
However, prenatal appointments will continue, as will those for cancer treatment. The medical imaging program will prioritize exams, and these patients will only be contacted if their appointment has been canceled, Eastern Health said in a press release published on Friday. All non-urgent appointments have been canceled, he said.
Scaling up vaccination efforts is one of the country’s top priorities as 2021 approaches 2022, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in his year-end statement on Friday.
Trudeau said Canadians will need to continue working together to end the pandemic, adding that the “strength, determination and compassion” they have shown over the past year “will continue to inspire and guide us. during the new year ”.
What’s happening across Canada
On the last day of 2021, almost all provinces reported a record daily number of new COVID-19 cases.
British Columbia was no exception, reporting 3,795 new cases of COVID-19 and three more deaths on Friday. Dr Bonnie Henry, the province’s public health official, said earlier in the week that the actual number of cases is likely higher because British Columbia has reached its maximum capacity for screening and contact tracing.
The province also announced that it was limiting visits to long-term care facilities to essential visitors and would speed up its recall program.
In the Prairies, Manitoba Friday reported a single-day high of 1,494 new cases, as well as five new deaths.Saskatchewan reported 735 new cases on Friday, another daily record. (Alberta did not announce new numbers; he will resume regular reporting on Tuesday.)
In Atlantic Canada, Prince Edward Island reported a record 175 new cases on Friday. New Brunswick also reported a daily record of 682 new infections – a number according to Health Minister Dorothy Shephard could reach 1,000 a day within a week.
Shephard also said the province could see more than 160 COVID-19 patients in hospitals by mid-January, a scenario, she warned, “that would overwhelm health care providers very quickly.”
New Scotland reported 618 new cases on Friday. Starting next week, the province will speed up its approach based on the decreasing age for recalls to include those 30 and over.
In the North, the Northwest Territories, who is delaying return to school, reported 42 new cases on Friday. yukonese reported 26 new cases and one additional death.
British Columbia, Manitoba, Alberta and New Brunswick became the last provinces on Friday to reduce the number of days people receiving two doses of the vaccine must self-isolate if they contract COVID-19. The isolation period has been reduced from 10 days to five days for these people.
Ontario and Saskatchewan both announced Thursday that they are reducing the isolation period to five days for people doubly vaccinated with positive test results.
For Ontario and Saskatchewan, the changes were immediate. For British Columbia and Manitoba, the new measures begin on January 1. Alberta’s change goes into effect on January 3, and New Brunswick is expected to implement the measure on January 4.
What is happening in the world
Around 288.5 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported worldwide as of Saturday, according to the Johns Hopkins University coronavirus tracker. The death toll worldwide stood at more than 5.4 million.
In Asia, China ended the last week of 2021 with its highest number of local COVID-19 cases for a seven-day period since it contained the country’s first outbreak almost two years ago.
The National Health Commission on Saturday reported 175 new community infections with clinical symptoms confirmed for December 31, bringing the total number of local symptomatic cases in China over the past week to 1,151, mostly due to an outbreak. in the industrial and technological center of northwest Xi’an.
Xi’an has been in containment for 10 days on Saturday.
In the Middle East, the United Arab Emirates will ban unvaccinated citizens from traveling abroad from January 10, the country’s official news agency WAM reported on Saturday, citing the Foreign Ministry and the National Crisis Management Authority. and disasters.
The report says fully vaccinated citizens would also need a booster to be able to travel. The ban would not apply to people benefiting from medical or humanitarian exemptions.
In Europe, Pope Francis delivered a New Year’s message on Saturday in which he acknowledged that the coronavirus pandemic has left many people scared and struggling amid economic inequality.
“We are still living in uncertain and difficult times due to the pandemic,” said Francis. “Many are afraid of the future and burdened with social problems, personal problems, dangers resulting from the ecological crisis, injustices and global economic imbalances.”
Thousands of residents and tourists to Rome, wearing face masks to protect themselves against the spread of the coronavirus, gathered in St. Peter’s Square on a balmy, sunny day to hear the Pope lay out his recipe for peace in the world, applauding his appearance.
In Africa, companies working in Morocco’s key tourism sector say the country’s strict restrictions on COVID-19, including a total ban on flights, undermine its competitiveness against competing destinations.
Morocco closed its borders at the end of November and will not reopen them until the end of January. It has also banned New Year’s celebrations and is enforcing its vaccine pass requirements more strictly in response to the Omicron variant of the coronavirus.
“These restrictions are unjustified and they have made Morocco lose tourists to Mediterranean competitors like Egypt and Turkey,” said Lahcen Zelmat, head of the Moroccan hotel federation.
Morocco is the most vaccinated country in Africa, having now administered two injections to 23 million people, out of a total population of 36 million. Almost three million people have also received booster shots.