The latest coronavirus news from Canada and around the world Tuesday. This file will be updated throughout the day. Web links to longer stories if available.
2:27 p.m Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam says she expects Canadians who got Oxford-AstraZeneca in the first round of vaccinations will be able to choose which vaccine they get for their second dose.
Tam's comments Tuesday come hours after a small Spanish study on mixing and matching vaccines reported that giving a Pfizer-BioNTech for the second dose after AstraZeneca is safe and produced a stronger immune response than a second dose of AstraZeneca.
The National Advisory Committee on Immunization is still awaiting further data from another mixing and matching study underway in the United Kingdom, but Tam said advice on second doses should be ready before most people are due to get their second vaccination.
"It is likely that people in Canada who've received one dose of AstraZeneca will have a choice for their second dose," she said at a news conference from Ottawa.
2:25 p.m. Newfoundland and Labrador is reporting six new cases of COVID-19.
Health officials say all six cases are linked to travel or to previously identified infections.
Public health says there are now 83 active reported cases of COVID-19 in the province, including three linked to a small school in the western part of Newfoundland.
As of this afternoon, 47 per cent of residents aged 12 and over had received at least one dose of the vaccine.
2:07 p.m. Health officials in New Brunswick have announced the 42nd COVID-19 death in the province.
Chief medical officer of health Dr. Jennifer Russell says the person in their 70s was a resident of the Pavillon Beau-Lieu special care home in Grand Falls and died in hospital in Edmundston.
Officials reported 10 new cases of COVID-19 in the province today — nine in the Fredericton region and one in the Bathurst area.
2:05 p.m Manitoba is reporting 335 new COVID-19 cases and one death.
The five-day test positivity rate is 13 per cent provincially and 14.4 per cent in Winnipeg.
2 p.m. The premier of Prince Edward Island says while no date has been set to reopen the Atlantic travel bubble, his province is ready to start welcoming some visitors again starting June 8.
“Building on what we have learned from last year, we feel comfortable from a health perspective to begin processing family connections and reunifications as well as Canadian seasonal residents of P.E.I. for entry to the province beginning on June 8,” Dennis King said Tuesday.
The premier said anyone wishing to travel to the province will require preapproval and a plan to isolate for 14 days upon arrival. The Island is currently closed to non-essential travel.
“New this year, there will be added health and safety precautions,” he said. “Individuals will need proof of a negative test within 72 hours before entering the province and they will be tested upon arrival at all points of entry for a COVID-19 test,” he said.
King said the same rules will apply regardless of whether a visitor has had one or two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine.
“By the week of June 8, 90,000 Islanders will have received at least one dose of vaccine,” he said. “These are careful steps forward, but they are forward steps.”
It’s still unclear when the Atlantic travel bubble will reopen, inside which residents of the region can cross provincial boundaries without having to isolate.
1:55 p.m. “(Customers) shop with their masks on. They are hot. They can’t wait to get out of the store. We can’t always meet their needs quickly. They are losing patience. They let themselves shout, because I believe that in their heads, we are just petty cashiers.”
These are the words Martine Poirier, a cashier at the Réno-Dépôt in Pointe-Claire, used to describe the atmosphere in the store, where she said she has heard shouting every day since the start of the pandemic.
She has worked at the hardware store for 27 years and is not the only one to feel the wrath of unhappy customers because of lineups, shortages of certain products and a lack of employees on the floor.
While working with the public can bring its own share of tensions, the situation has gotten worse over the past year, according to testimonies collected by La Presse.
1:45 p.m. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is suggesting that three-quarters of Canadians will need to be vaccinated against COVID-19 before the Canada-U.S. border can be reopened.
Trudeau acknowledges that discussions about the border are ongoing, but he’s tamping down any expectations that travel restrictions could be lifted soon.
Discretionary travel between Canada and the United States has been prohibited since March 2020, a restriction that will be extended into June before the end of the week.
Trudeau says Canada is still not out of the current third wave of COVID-19 and has much more work to do before it’s safe for travel to resume.
1:31 p.m. The City of Toronto announced Tuesday it would be able to offer 120,000 new vaccine appointments at city-run clinics after concerns about a lack of vaccine foe the new eligible 18+ cohort.
A press release said the province has assured the city of pending vaccine shipments, allowing them to create 40,000 new appointments per week for three weeks starting June 14.
Those appointments can be booked by calling 1-833-943-3800 or going to.ca/covid-19 and clicking the dark blue “Book a Vaccine” button.
1 p.m. Canadian business leaders are calling on the federal government to lay out a clear and predictable plan for reopening the economy as the country’s vaccination rollout gains speed.
In an open letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the leaders of 61 industry groups say a roadmap for easing restrictions would instil public confidence in a safe and gradual return to a more normal life.
They urge Ottawa to work closely with the premiers to develop a consistent pan-Canadian approach to reopening communities, schools and businesses.
The letter points to the reopening plans of some jurisdictions, such as the U.K.’s four-stage roadmap out of lockdown or Saskatchewan’s detailed three-step “reopening roadmap,” as blueprints.
12:45 p.m. The National Advisory Committee on Immunization is confirming they believe it is safe and effective to offer the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to adolescents.
Health Canada authorized Pfizer for kids between 12 and 15 years old on May 5, after the company completed a clinical trial which found it was safe and 100 per cent effective at preventing kids in that age group from getting COVID-19.
NACI’s advice comes after most provinces have already added the age group to their vaccination plans.
Manitoba began allowing kids that age to book appointments this week and Ontario plans to open up vaccinations to youth under 18 by the end of the month.
Most other provinces are working on expanding to that age group as well.
12:38 p.m. Ontario expanded vaccine eligibility to everyone over the age of 18, leaving many scrambling to book appointments Tuesday morning. The province reports more than 183,000 vaccine appointments were booked within the first two hours of expanded eligibility starting at 8 a.m.
People 18 and older in hot spot communities have been eligible to book a vaccine since early May, but on Tuesday the province expanded eligibility to all adults.
The province announced the expanded eligibility on Monday, with 2.2 million doses set to arrive a week earlier than expected.
Read the full story from the Star’s Cheyenne Bholla
12:20 p.m. Canada’s chief public health officer says COVID-19 disease activity continues to decline but there are areas of the country experiencing very high infection rates.
Dr. Theresa Tam says over the past seven days, an average of 5,700 cases were reported daily and 3,600 people were treated in hospital each day, including over 1,300 in intensive care.
She says there were an average of 43 deaths reported daily.
But nevertheless, she says Canada is making steady progress with a 25 per cent decrease in reported active cases since the peak of the third wave in April.
12:15 p.m. The Manitoba government says it issued 70 tickets for COVID-19 public health order infractions last week.
Most were given to individuals for exceeding gathering limits outdoors or in private homes.
The province says 22 of the tickets were related to anti-lockdown rallies in early May in Winkler and Winnipeg, in addition to tickets issued the previous week after those rallies.
12:05 p.m. Ontario health units are asking for patience and warning of limited COVID-19 vaccine appointments after all adults in the province became eligible for shots Tuesday.
A spokeswoman for the premier’s office says more than 183,000 vaccine appointments were booked within the first two hours of expanded eligibility.
People aged 18 and older became eligible for shots starting at 8 a.m.
Health units across the province warned that appointments might not be available right away amid skyrocketing demand.
The City of Ottawa announced that community clinics were fully booked as of 11 a.m., saying more appointments would become available when the city receives more supply.
In Hamilton, the city acknowledged residents’ frustration while trying to book shots, saying there may be “limited or no appointments” at some of the city’s mass clinics.
Lambton Public Health in southwestern Ontario asked for patience in a social media post and urged people to check back again for new appointments.
“While we’ve opened vaccine eligibility, there may be a delay in getting your vaccine appointment,” the health unit said Tuesday. “Additional clinics will open as more vaccine is confirmed, so check back daily.”
Lambton County also announced on Tuesday that the largest vaccination clinic in the region, an arena in Point Edward, Ont., would start taking vaccine appointments for youth aged 12 and older, or those turning 12 this year.
“We want to encourage families with children 12 years of age and older to book their vaccination appointments together,” Dr. Sudit Ranade, the region’s top doctor, said in a statement. “So, we are opening our mass immunization clinic at the Point Edward Arena to all eligible groups to receive Pfizer, which is currently the only COVID-19 vaccine authorized for use in 12-15-year-olds by Health Canada.”
Mayors of the largest cities in the Hamilton and Toronto areas had called for greater vaccine supply on Monday in order to keep up with the expected surge in demand. That came after the province shifted back to allocating vaccines on a per capita basis following two weeks of sending half its supply to hot spots.
11:55 a.m. (will be updated) Prime Minister Justin says Canada will receive 9 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine in June. Trudeau urged the Canadian public to continue following public health measures and warned of the prospect of a fourth wave.
The federal government will pump more than $190 million into the expansion of a Mississauga medical facility to boost Canada’s capacity to make specialized vaccines in the coming years, the Star learned Monday.
11:50 a.m. The United Arab Emirates announced Tuesday that it will begin offering booster shots to those who received the Chinese state-backed Sinopharm vaccine six months after vaccination.
The brief statement comes after some in the UAE received a third shot amid concerns of a low antibody response from the vaccine. Last month, China’s top disease control official, in a rare acknowledgement, said current vaccines offer low protection against the coronavirus.
China has distributed hundreds of millions of doses of domestically made vaccines abroad and is relying on them for its own mass immunization campaign. The state-owned company has not reported detailed late-stage test results for scientists to independently analyze.
“As part of the state’s proactive strategy to provide maximum protection for society, the door has been opened for the public to receive an additional supportive dose of Sinopharm vaccine for people who have received the vaccine previously and who have completed more than six months on the second dose,” said Dr. Farida al-Hosani, an Emirati health spokeswoman, during a statement broadcast on state television.
The UAE initially said the vaccine was 86% effective in the first public release of information on the shot’s efficacy. But in the time since, it has offered no study data to support its figures.
The capital of Abu Dhabi extensively used Sinopharm, while the neighboring emirate of Dubai began offering Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-Astrazeneca. In recent weeks, Abu Dhabi also began to offer the Pfizer shot as well.
The World Health Organization recently gave the shot emergency approval, potentially paving the way for millions of the doses to reach needy countries through a U.N.-backed program rolling out coronavirus vaccines.
The UAE boasts it is among the world’s fastest vaccination campaigns per capita. The country had heavily relied on the Sinopharm shot to vaccinate its vast foreign labor force.
11:40 a.m. Prince Edward Island is reporting two new cases of COVID-19 Tuesday.
Health officials say the two cases are travel related and involve a person in their 20s and someone in their 40s.
The province has 10 active reported cases of COVID-19.
Prince Edward Island has reported a total of 194 infections and no deaths linked to the virus.
11:25 a.m. Quebec is reporting 549 new cases of COVID-19 Tuesday and nine more deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus, including four within the past 24 hours.
Health officials say hospitalizations dropped by 17 to 484, and 118 people were in intensive care, a rise of two.
Officials say 70,122 doses of vaccine were administered within the past 24 hours, for a total of 4,469,055.
Health Minister Christian Dubé says 75 per cent of adults in the province have received at least one dose of vaccine or have a vaccination appointment.
11 a.m. How, when and where will you get your COVID-19 vaccine?
Those questions are front and centre for Ontario residents as the 34 local public health units have been tasked with devising their own plans to roll out vaccines in their regions.
As of Tuesday, May 18 the province has opened bookings for those turning 18 and older in 2021, ahead of schedule, due to an influx of vaccine supply.
Over 2.2 million doses of vaccine are arriving this week. Individual public health units can determine whether to offer the Pfizer vaccine to those 12 and older at mobile clinics, pop-up clinics and walk in appointments were the shot is offered.
COVID-19 vaccinations now open to those 18 and older, plus everything else you need to know about getting a COVID vaccine
10:46 a.m. Nunavut is reporting six new cases of COVID-19 Tuesday.
There are 64 active cases of COVID-19 in Nunavut, 63 in Iqaluit and one in Kinngait.
An outbreak was declared in Iqaluit on April 15 and has swelled to 235 cases to date.
Iqaluit remains under a strict lockdown, with all non-essential businesses, schools and workplaces closed.
On Monday, Nunavut’s chief public health officer said the territory had requested enough doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to vaccinate all of the territory’s population aged 12 to 17, about 4,300 people.
Two Iqaluit residents with COVID-19 are in an Ottawa hospital.
10:33 a.m. Canada has reached 25,000 COVID-19 deaths. Ontario is reporting 17 new fatalities related to the virus Tuesday, taking the national toll to 25,000. The country’s first COVID-19 death was reported on March 9, 2020.
10:16 a.m. (updated) Ontario is reporting another 1,616 COVID-19 cases and 17 more deaths, bringing the national toll to 25,000, according to its latest report released Tuesday morning.
The seven-day average is at 2,287 cases daily, or 110 weekly per 100,000. Ontario’s seven-day average for deaths is at 23.4 daily.
The province says 22,915 tests were completed the previous day, with a 7.9 per cent positivity rate, the lowest for a Tuesday since March 30.
There are 1,484 people currently hospitalized with COVID-19 in the province, including 764 patients in intensive care. There are 559 people on ventilators.
Read the full story from the Star’s Cheyenne Bholla
9:50 a.m. India’s total virus cases since the pandemic began swept past 25 million as the country registered more than 260,000 new cases and a record 4,329 fatalities in the last 24 hours.
The numbers reported Tuesday follow a trend of falling cases after infections dipped below 300,000 for the first time in weeks a day earlier.
Active cases in the country also decreased by more than 165,000 on Tuesday — the biggest dip in weeks. But deaths have continued to rise and hospitals are still swamped by patients.
India has recorded nearly 280,000 virus deaths since the pandemic began. Both the number of deaths and total reported cases are thought to be vast undercounts.
The government on Monday announced that 17 new labs will help track variants, boosting India’s genome sequencing abilities as concern grows over a potentially worrisome variant first detected here. The variant may spread more easily but the country has lagged behind in doing the testing needed to track it and understand it better.
The variant first identified in India has prompted global concern — most notably in Britain, where it has more than doubled in a week, defying a sharp nationwide downward trend in infections.
9:45 a.m. The federal Liberal government on Monday named Brig.-Gen. Krista Brodie to replace Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin who stepped down three days ago as commander of a complex federal vaccine delivery operation that is at a pivotal point.
Brodie becomes vice president of vaccine logistics and operations, the title Fortin held. While she was on the file initially, she had returned to the military as it faced the sexual misconduct crisis this spring.
“Brigadier-General Brodie has played a pivotal role in the vaccine rollout as part of the initial deployment to the agency in November. Following a brief return to the Canadian Armed Forces in February as the commander of military personnel generation group, Brigadier-General Brodie’s appointment allows for a seamless transition as she resumes her leadership role with PHAC,” said Iain Stewart, the civil servant who is president of the Public Health Agency of Canada.
Read the full story from the Star’s Tonda MacCharles
9:30 a.m. The only Canadian vaccine maker with a contract to sell doses to the federal government has posted a promising midpoint look at trial results as researchers work to secure Health Canada approval by as early as this summer.
Data for the second phase of human testing suggests the vaccine candidate, made by Quebec-based Medicago, prompted volunteers to produce as much as 10 times the neutralizing antibodies, which fight off COVID-19, as those who had actually been infected by the virus. No serious adverse reactions were observed, the company said.
The research was posted online in an article that still has to be peer-reviewed, or vetted by other experts, but the “promising results” suggest the finishing line is approaching, says one of the scientists involved.
Read the full story from the Star’s Alex Boyd
8:50 a.m. From the latest scientific thinking on how young is too young for vaccination to the ongoing struggles with remote learning, parents want to know what’s best for children. The pandemic has been hard on everyone, but there are particular challenges having a great impact on younger Canadians and their families.
Questions abound: Is it safe to vaccinate my child? Should I send my kids to school? How do I know my daycare is safe? Is my child coping?
Subscriber event: Star journalists and experts answer your questions Tuesday at 1 p.m.
8:40 a.m. Vaccination against COVID-19 is the first step toward safety for Arefin Chowdhury and his young family at Rebecca Towers in Hamilton.
He, his mother and wife received their first doses at 235 Rebecca St. over the weekend along with dozen of others amid a rising case count.
“Obviously, we’re feeling safer now and we wanted to get vaccinated as soon as possible,” Chowdhury, 34, said Monday.
They’re among 86 tenants at Rebecca Towers who received vaccinations over the weekend.
Public health transported 58 in buses to the FirstOntario Centre vaccination clinic on York Boulevard, while 28 received shots in their units.
Chowdhury and his wife — who welcomed a daughter to this world in late April just as he and his mother fell ill — were among those who opted for needles at home.
Rebecca Towers is the largest outbreak of the pandemic’s local third wave.
On Monday, the total case count was 110 cases, of which 14 were still considered active.
8:30 a.m. Last week was another busy one for COVID-19 rule enforcement in Mississauga.
A city report showed 27 COVID-19-related tickets and fines were issued in Mississauga May 10 to 16, mostly for alleged gatherings at private residences.
13 $880 tickets were issued related to alleged gatherings at private residences, the report showed, with 11 of those fines handed out at separate incidents Friday, May 14.
That same day, a Part 3 Summons tickets was given to an alleged private gathering, which can carry fines of $10,000 and up.
Several $880 tickets were issued in connection with an alleged Mississauga car meet, the report also showed, with seven being given out Saturday, May 15. That’s the third time in less than a month that an alleged car meet has generated multiple tickets for alleged COVID-19 rule violations.
8:15 a.m. Quebec Premier François Legault is scheduled to announce the province’s reopening plan Tuesday.
Earlier this month, Legault said he was impressed with Saskatchewan’s “Re-Opening Roadmap” and asked Health Minister Christian Dubé to develop a similar plan.
Saskatchewan’s three-step plans calls for a gradual reopening with various restrictions lifted after 70 per cent of people above certain age thresholds are vaccinated. It lifts most restrictions three weeks after 70 per cent of all adults in the province receive their first vaccines doses.
Quebec has set a goal of vaccinating 75 per cent of all adults in the province by the June 24 Fête nationale holiday. So far, 49 per cent of Quebec adults have received at least one dose of vaccine.
Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante has said she wants bars and restaurants to be able to open patios in early June.
The reopening plan comes one day after Quebec reported 551 new COVID-19 cases, the lowest number of daily new cases reported in the province since September.
8:10 a.m. Ontario golfers could be permitted to hit the links before the pandemic stay-at-home order is lifted June 2, says Health Minister Christine Elliott.
She said Monday that golf courses, tennis and basketball courts and other outdoor amenities will be allowed to open as soon as Dr. David Williams, the chief medical officer of health, deems it safe.
“It may be very soon. It may be June 2 or perhaps even before that, but today is not the day to open everything up,” said Elliott in opposing a legislative motion by the New Democrats to reopen outdoor sports.
Read the full story from the Star’s Robert Benzie
8 a.m. At this time of year in years past, Japanese tourists would begin to pour into this country’s smallest province, moths to the flame of Canada’s most famous redhead.
They’re drawn to P.E.I.’s northern shore, to the small town of Cavendish, where sits the legendary Green Gables; to soak up the house, the Lovers’ Lane, the Haunted Woods — the ostensible stomping grounds of the island province’s most famous export, one Anne Shirley.
There is no real Anne Shirley, of course — with an “e” or otherwise. There is no real Green Gables and there is no Avonlea. They’re all part of the idyllic rural world of the Anne of Green Gables books created in the early 1900s by author Lucy Maud Montgomery.
That’s never stopped the tourists though. Every year, by the thousands they come, a pilgrimage ignited by the first Japanese translations of the books in the postwar 1950s — which thereupon entered schools’ curriculums — then stoked and fanned by a Japanese animated series in the ’70s, a movie in the ’80s and the periodic cinematic revisits since then.
Read the full story from the Star’s Steve McKinley
7:40 a.m. Ontario is opening COVID-19 vaccinations to anyone 18 and older one week ahead of schedule, thanks to a larger-than-expected shipment of vaccine doses in time for the long weekend.
Chief medical officer Dr. David Williams said those who will turn 18 this year can also register for shots starting Tuesday at 8 a.m.
However, Williams also cautioned Ontarians to continue with public health measures — such physical distancing and masking — with warmer weather coming for the Victoria Day.
“We do not need a new surge,” he told a briefing Monday as the province reported the seven-day average of cases has fallen to 2,352, down from just over 3,000 a week ago, with an average test positivity rate still high at 6.8 per cent. A month ago, the number of new daily cases peaked at 4,800.
Read the full story from the Star’s Rob Ferguson
7:30 a.m. Your kids’ favourite summer camp will look a little bit different this year – but at least there’s a good chance it will be open.
Premier Doug Ford announced camps would be “opening up” while speaking at a mass COVID-19 vaccination clinic on Sunday, but was light on details. On Monday, Health Minister Christine Elliott told reporters the province was “looking at both day camps and overnight camps.”
“We know that this is an issue that many families are concerned about and, of course, the operators of those camps are concerned about,” said Elliott.
“We’re watching all of these issues very closely. But again, it’s a question of what the clinical data tells us and when it will be safe to reopen them.”
Read the full story from the Star’s Omar Mosleh
7:15 a.m. At a time when concern is growing over new, more contagious COVID-19 variants from India, Toronto will not likely have enough vaccines for all the additional residents becoming eligible to get one this week, Mayor John Tory said Monday.
“I think it’s fairly clear that the capacity in terms of vaccine availability ... will likely not match the number of people seeking to get a vaccination,” Tory told reporters after a morning news conference.
He made the comments shortly after Premier Doug Ford’s government announced that, starting Tuesday at 8 a.m., all Ontarians aged 18 or older this year can make vaccine appointments through the provincial booking system.
General eligibility had been restricted to people ages 40 and older.
Read the full story from the Star’s David Rider and Francine Kopun
6:35 a.m.: The federal government will pump more than $190 million into the expansion of a Mississauga medical facility to boost Canada’s capacity to make specialized vaccines in the coming years, the Star has learned.
The money is meant to cover roughly half the cost of a $400-million project to expand facilities owned by Resilience Biotechnologies, which makes a range of drugs under contract for other companies.
The Mississauga facilities should be able to crank out up to 640 million doses of mRNA vaccines per year after the expansion is finished in 2024, said a government source who shared the information on the condition they aren’t named.
Those vaccines are the same type made by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna for COVID-19, which Canada has had to purchase from other countries because of a lack of domestic manufacturing capacity when the pandemic hit.
Read the full story from the Star’s Alex Ballingall here.
6:34 a.m.: The head of the World Health Organization is calling on some of the world’s top COVID-19 vaccine makers to do more to get doses to needy people around the world, especially in the developing world — and more quickly.
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus appealed in particular to U.S.-based Moderna to accelerate its planned timetable for doses of its vaccine to be available to the U.N.-backed COVAX program, which aims to get vaccines to low- and middle-income countries.
“Moderna has signed a deal for 500 million doses with COVAX, but the majority has been promised only for 2021,” Tedros said Monday. “We need Moderna to bring hundreds of millions of this forward into 2021 due to the acute moment of this pandemic.”
The WHO chief also said COVAX was working toward a deal with U.S.-based Johnson & Johnson that could get doses to the program by the second half of this year, “but this has not been finalized and we do not know when they will arrive.”
Tedros said “we appreciate the work of AstraZeneca” — the British-Swedish manufacturer that has been the main pillar so far of COVAX and the source of the vast majority of doses in the program that has now deployed some 65 million doses.
U.S.-based Pfizer, along with German partner BioNTech, has committed to 40 million doses this year to COVAX, “but the majority of this would be in the second half of 2021,” he said.
Tedros cited figures from UNICEF, which is helping the deployment, that COVAX is facing a “huge shortfall” of 190 million doses in its planned rollout because of tight supplies and a surge in cases.
6:34 a.m.: Vaccinated people no longer have to wear masks or social distance in New York starting Wednesday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Monday.
The governor said the state is adopting the guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released last week.
“Let’s get back to life,” Cuomo said. “If you are vaccinated, you are safe, no masks, no social distancing.”
Cuomo urged people who are unvaccinated and immunocompromised to continue to wear a mask and social distance.
6:33 a.m.: Germany’s health minister says the country will open up coronavirus vaccinations to everyone starting on June 7. Health Minister Jens Spahn told reporters on Monday that the current system of prioritization in which the most vulnerable groups are to be vaccinated first will no longer be valid then.
The minister said, “this does not mean that everyone will get an appointment within days, but ... everyone who wants to get vaccinated will get an offer.”
Spahn said that the vaccination campaign has picked up speed in recent weeks and that by the end of May about 40 per cent of all people in Germany will have received at least one shot. He said 70 per cent of those above the age of 60 have received one shot, about one-quarter of them are fully vaccinated. All in all, 40 million doses of coronavirus vaccines have been given and around nine million people are fully vaccinated, in this country of 83 million.
After months of lockdown, the infection rate has been dropping in Germany and some states are slowly starting to open up outdoor dining and various shopping possibilities.
6:32 a.m.: Health officials say they have quarantined the residents of two highrise buildings in the western German town of Velbert after several people tested positive with the coronavirus variant first detected to India.
Officials from the county of Mettmann said “there are currently several infections with the Indian virus variant in Velbert.”
They said several families who were in close touch with each other were affected and that everyone was being tested. Local broadcaster WDR reported about 200 people in the two buildings were affected. They have been quarantined, are getting tested and the Red Cross is providing food and other help.
So far, the COVID-19 variant that was first detected in India has not been found a lot in Germany, but is said to be more contagious than other variants currently more prevalent in Germany.
6:32 a.m.: California won’t lift its mask requirement until June 15 to give the public and businesses time to prepare and ensure coronavirus cases stay low, the state health director said Monday, a decision that runs counter to many other states including Oregon and Washington that quickly aligned with last week’s new federal guidelines.
“This four-week period will give Californians time to prepare for this change, while we continue the relentless focus on delivering vaccines particularly to underserved communities and those that were hard hit throughout this pandemic,” Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly said.
The timing reflects California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s earlier announcement that if cases remain low, the state will drop nearly all COVID-19 restrictions on June 15.
6:31 a.m.: India’s total virus cases since the pandemic began swept past 25 million on Tuesday as the country registered more than 260,000 new cases and a record 4,329 fatalities in the past 24 hours.
The numbers continue a trend of falling cases after infections dipped below 300,000 for the first time in weeks on Monday. Active cases in the country also decreased by more than 165,000 on Tuesday — the biggest dip in weeks.
But deaths have continued to rise and hospitals are still swamped by patients.
India has recorded nearly 280,000 virus deaths since the pandemic began. Experts warn that both the number of deaths and total reported cases are likely vast undercounts.
Infections in India have surged since February in a disastrous turn blamed on more contagious variants as well as government decisions to allow massive crowds to gather for religious festivals and political rallies.
In the last month, cases have more than tripled and reported deaths have gone up six times — but testing has only increased by 1.6 times, according to Bhramar Mukherjee, a biostatistician at the University of Michigan tracking India’s battle with the virus. With infections outrunning testing capabilities, there are fears that many cases are going undetected.
6:30 a.m.: A Phase 2 trial of Canada’s first homegrown COVID-19 vaccine is showing promising antibody results.
Medicago executive vice-president Nathalie Landry says the Quebec-based company’s vaccine produced 10 times the antibodies in adults compared with those who have had COVID-19.
The results are not yet peer-reviewed but Landry says her team is “quietly confident” the vaccine will also prove to be very effective at preventing COVID-19 infections.
Medicago’s vaccine uses a cousin of the tobacco plant to grow a particle that resembles the virus that causes COVID-19 but contains none of the genetic material.
Canada pre-purchased 20-million doses of Medicago’s vaccine but most Canadians will be vaccinated before the shot is approved.
6:30 a.m.: Anyone 18 and older living in Ontario is eligible to book a COVID-19 vaccine appointment starting today.
Appointments can be booked through the provincial online portal, call centre or local health units’ booking systems.
People who are turning 18 this year can book Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines.
Eligibility opens at 8 a.m.
The provincial government is expanding eligibility ahead of schedule after expected doses arrived early.
Mayors in large Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area cities have called for more vaccines to keep up with an expected surge in demand for appointments today.
On the web: https://covid-19.ontario.ca/book-vaccine/
4 a.m.: The latest numbers on COVID-19 vaccinations in Canada as of 4:00 a.m. ET on Tuesday May 18, 2021.
In Canada, the provinces are reporting 389,655 new vaccinations administered for a total of 18,805,191 doses given. Nationwide, 1,424,266 people or 3.8 per cent of the population has been fully vaccinated. The provinces have administered doses at a rate of 49,618.865 per 100,000.
There were no new vaccines delivered to the provinces and territories for a total of 20,376,264 doses delivered so far. The provinces and territories have used 92.29 per cent of their available vaccine supply.
4 a.m.: The latest numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Canada as of 4:00 a.m. ET on Tuesday May 18, 2021.
There are 1,334,104 confirmed cases in Canada (67,639 active, 1,241,482 resolved, 24,983 deaths). The total case count includes 13 confirmed cases among repatriated travellers.
There were 4,586 new cases Monday. The rate of active cases is 177.97 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 39,905 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 5,701.
There were 35 new reported deaths Monday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 301 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 43. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.11 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 65.74 per 100,000 people.
There have been 33,592,273 tests completed.