Today’s coronavirus news: Ontario to lower eligibility age for AstraZeneca vaccine to 40; province reports 4,250 new cases and 18 deaths; Ottawa promises to send health-care workers to aid Ontario

The latest coronavirus news from Canada and around the world Sunday. This file will be updated throughout the day. Web links to longer stories if available.8:20 p.m.: A group of masked protesters marched through the streets of Montreal on Sunday to denounce a curfew that many described as unscientific and harmful to society’s most vulnerable.The group stretched across several city blocks as they marched through the Plateau Mont-Royal waving signs, chanting anti-curfew slogans and occasionally booing the police who escorted them on bicycles.Unlike some previous protesters, the ones gathered on Sunday said they supported wearing masks and adopting other health measures to contain the COVID-19 pandemic, but are against the 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew in place in parts of the province.Read the full story here. 8:20 p.m.: RCMP say they’ve arrested a person suspected of tampering with a fence that surrounds an Alberta church closed by authorities amid allegations it refused to follow COVID-19 health orders.A section of the perimeter fence was pulled down during a demonstration outside GraceLife Church in Parkland County, east of Edmonton, on April 11. RCMP immediately intervened and put the fence back up.Police say in a news release that around 10 a.m. Sunday, officers located a person outside the church who they allege was one of the people involved with mischief and obstruction to the fence last week. The person was arrested without incident and is accused of mischief under $5,000 and obstruction.Alberta Health Services has said it will remove the fences when the church shows it will comply with public health measures meant to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus.7:15 p.m.: Ontario has announced that, beginning Tuesday, it will lower the eligibility age for the AstraZeneca vaccine to 40. It was until now available only to people 55 and older in Ontario. A spokesperson for Health Minister Christine Elliott said the shot will be offered at pharmacies and “primary care settings.” Alexandra Hilkene said the province has made the call based on “current supply” of the vaccine.The current rules limiting the vaccine to those aged 55 and older were in line with the recommendations of the National Advisory Council on Immunization. But the federal health minister said Sunday that Health Canada has licensed it for use in anyone over the age of 18 and provinces were free to make their own decisions about who can have the shot.Patty Hajdu noted that the national council is currently reviewing its guidance, with an updated recommendation expected in the near future.More details to come.6:45 p.m.: Tim Ingram took his son Max, a golf-obsessed six-year-old, to Whistle Bear Golf Club for a few swings under the floodlights as the time ticked down towards Ontario’s latest stay-at-home orders — which, as of 12:01 a.m. Saturday, banned golf in the province.The younger Ingram, who strapped on a headlamp, stayed up way past his bedtime to play at Whistle Bear, where three of the holes were illuminated so golfers could play until midnight.Max and Tim, like golfers across Ontario, have had to put their on-course plans on pause. But the feeling from golfers is less of anger and more of confusion and sadness. Premier Doug Ford announced Friday that the province would close outdoor recreational amenities, such as golf courses, among other measures as part of an extended provincewide stay-at-home order. Following the announcement, a Change.org petition seeking to allow outdoor activities gathered more than 15,000 signatures in 24 hours. The province has already walked back the closure of playgrounds, and Mike Kelly, the executive director of Golf Ontario, is hoping golf will be next. Read the full story here.6:20 p.m. (updated): Mired in an ongoing crisis, Premier Doug Ford’s government is moving to shut down the legislature at Queen’s Park this week as critics and experts call for strengthened protections from COVID-19.On Sunday, the Opposition NDP sent a news release saying it had been notified the government plans to close up shop as of Wednesday, ending the ability to pass new laws, including support for workers.In the statement, NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said her MPPs will “refuse to co-operate” until the Ford government fully rescinds controversial new policing powers and provides paid sick days for essential workers while shutting down all non-essential workplaces.She was joined by leaders of the Liberal and Green parties in saying the legislature should remain in session.An email from the office of Ontario government house leader Paul Calandra on Sunday blamed the NDP and other opposition parties for the proposed Queen’s Park shutdown and accused them of grandstanding, saying they had called for a way to hold a virtual parliament — something Horwath’s office said was not a new request and didn’t imply stopping government business.Read the full story here.4:50 p.m.: Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer says her state could be seeing a dr

Today’s coronavirus news: Ontario to lower eligibility age for AstraZeneca vaccine to 40; province reports 4,250 new cases and 18 deaths; Ottawa promises to send health-care workers to aid Ontario

The latest coronavirus news from Canada and around the world Sunday. This file will be updated throughout the day. Web links to longer stories if available.

8:20 p.m.: A group of masked protesters marched through the streets of Montreal on Sunday to denounce a curfew that many described as unscientific and harmful to society’s most vulnerable.

The group stretched across several city blocks as they marched through the Plateau Mont-Royal waving signs, chanting anti-curfew slogans and occasionally booing the police who escorted them on bicycles.

Unlike some previous protesters, the ones gathered on Sunday said they supported wearing masks and adopting other health measures to contain the COVID-19 pandemic, but are against the 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew in place in parts of the province.

Read the full story here.

8:20 p.m.: RCMP say they’ve arrested a person suspected of tampering with a fence that surrounds an Alberta church closed by authorities amid allegations it refused to follow COVID-19 health orders.

A section of the perimeter fence was pulled down during a demonstration outside GraceLife Church in Parkland County, east of Edmonton, on April 11. RCMP immediately intervened and put the fence back up.

Police say in a news release that around 10 a.m. Sunday, officers located a person outside the church who they allege was one of the people involved with mischief and obstruction to the fence last week. The person was arrested without incident and is accused of mischief under $5,000 and obstruction.

Alberta Health Services has said it will remove the fences when the church shows it will comply with public health measures meant to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus.

7:15 p.m.: Ontario has announced that, beginning Tuesday, it will lower the eligibility age for the AstraZeneca vaccine to 40. It was until now available only to people 55 and older in Ontario.

A spokesperson for Health Minister Christine Elliott said the shot will be offered at pharmacies and “primary care settings.”

Alexandra Hilkene said the province has made the call based on “current supply” of the vaccine.

The current rules limiting the vaccine to those aged 55 and older were in line with the recommendations of the National Advisory Council on Immunization. But the federal health minister said Sunday that Health Canada has licensed it for use in anyone over the age of 18 and provinces were free to make their own decisions about who can have the shot.

Patty Hajdu noted that the national council is currently reviewing its guidance, with an updated recommendation expected in the near future.

More details to come.

6:45 p.m.: Tim Ingram took his son Max, a golf-obsessed six-year-old, to Whistle Bear Golf Club for a few swings under the floodlights as the time ticked down towards Ontario’s latest stay-at-home orders — which, as of 12:01 a.m. Saturday, banned golf in the province.

The younger Ingram, who strapped on a headlamp, stayed up way past his bedtime to play at Whistle Bear, where three of the holes were illuminated so golfers could play until midnight.

Max and Tim, like golfers across Ontario, have had to put their on-course plans on pause. But the feeling from golfers is less of anger and more of confusion and sadness.

Premier Doug Ford announced Friday that the province would close outdoor recreational amenities, such as golf courses, among other measures as part of an extended provincewide stay-at-home order.

Following the announcement, a Change.org petition seeking to allow outdoor activities gathered more than 15,000 signatures in 24 hours. The province has already walked back the closure of playgrounds, and Mike Kelly, the executive director of Golf Ontario, is hoping golf will be next.

Read the full story here.

6:20 p.m. (updated): Mired in an ongoing crisis, Premier Doug Ford’s government is moving to shut down the legislature at Queen’s Park this week as critics and experts call for strengthened protections from COVID-19.

On Sunday, the Opposition NDP sent a news release saying it had been notified the government plans to close up shop as of Wednesday, ending the ability to pass new laws, including support for workers.

In the statement, NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said her MPPs will “refuse to co-operate” until the Ford government fully rescinds controversial new policing powers and provides paid sick days for essential workers while shutting down all non-essential workplaces.

She was joined by leaders of the Liberal and Green parties in saying the legislature should remain in session.

An email from the office of Ontario government house leader Paul Calandra on Sunday blamed the NDP and other opposition parties for the proposed Queen’s Park shutdown and accused them of grandstanding, saying they had called for a way to hold a virtual parliament — something Horwath’s office said was not a new request and didn’t imply stopping government business.

Read the full story here.

4:50 p.m.: Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer says her state could be seeing a drop in infections after leading the nation’s COVID-19 daily case rate for weeks.

Whitmer has extended a pandemic order that limits business capacity and requires masks in public, but the Democrat has avoided further restrictions in place during previous surges, including suspending indoor restaurant dining.

She told NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday that cases could be beginning to slow down. She didn’t discuss specific data and Michigan doesn’t release coronavirus-related data on Sundays. Health officials said Friday that the seven-day average positivity rate had dropped in recent days to 17.1 per cent, but remained above a December peak of 14.4 per cent.

3:11 p.m.: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says his government will mobilize federal health care workers to deploy in Ontario, specifically the GTA, saying other provinces and territories are also willing to help.

“To the health care workers who are relentlessly fighting this virus, thank you. I know you’re exhausted and that hasn’t stopped you from working harder than ever before,” Trudeau said. “We all need to get you more support in critical areas. Know that we’re doing whatever we can to help.”

Trudeau said they will also boost rapid testing for hot spots in Ontario, especially for essential workers.

And he repeated his offer to deploy the Canadian Red Cross to help with vaccinations, which was rejected by Premier Doug Ford earlier this week.

2:20 p.m.: Half of all adults in the U.S. have received at least one COVID-19 shot, the government announced Sunday, marking another milestone in the nation’s largest-ever vaccination campaign but leaving more work to do to convince skeptical Americans to roll up their sleeves.

Almost 130 million people 18 or older have received at least one dose of a vaccine, or 50.4 per cent of the total adult population, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported. Almost 84 million adults, or about 32.5 per cent of the population, have been fully vaccinated.

The United States will likely move to resume Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine this coming week, possibly with restrictions or broader warnings after reports of some very rare blood clot cases, the government’s top infectious diseases expert said Sunday.

Dr. Anthony Fauci said he expects a decision when advisers to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention meet Friday to discuss the pause in J&J’s single-dose vaccine.

The J&J vaccine has been in limbo after the CDC and the Food and Drug Administration said last week they needed more evidence to decide if a handful of unusual blood clots were linked to the shot and, if so, how big the risk is.

The reports are rare: six cases out of more than seven million U.S. inoculations with J&J vaccine. The clots were found in six women between the ages of 18 and 48. One person died.

2:07 p.m.: Manitoba is reporting 170 new COVID-19 cases today and one additional death.

The province’s daily pandemic update says three cases have been removed due to data correction, bringing Manitoba’s total number of infections since the beginning of the pandemic to 36,159.

The person who died was a man in his 70s from southwestern Manitoba.

The province’s five day test-positivity rate is 5.6 per cent.

There are 132 people in hospital in Manitoba with COVID-19, with 33 of those in intensive care.

1:40 p.m.: UPDATE Mired in ongoing crisis, Premier Doug Ford’s government is moving to shut down the legislature at Queen’s Park this week as critics and experts call for strengthened protections from COVID-19.

On Saturday, the NDP sent a release saying it had been notified the government plans to close up shop as of Wednesday, ending the ability to pass new laws, including support for workers.

In the statement, official opposition leader Andrea Horwath said her MPPs will “refuse to co-operate” until the Ford government fully rescinds controversial new policing powers and provides paid sick days for essential workers while shutting down all non-essential workplaces.

“People are laying in crowded hospital hallways, struggling to breathe, and many thousands more will join them if we don’t replace Doug Ford’s plan,” Horwath’s statement said. “Black, Indigenous and racialized people know check stops and carding will target them, because it always has. Businesses are already on the brink and more will go under without help. People’s lives are on the line. Together, we have to fight to save Ontario.”

The Ford government did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Read more of this story by Jennifer Pagliaro.

1:34 p.m.: French President Emmanuel Macron says he foresees at least some tourists returning to Paris this summer if they have gotten vaccinated or have proof of testing negative for the coronavirus as France moves to progressively lift infection-control restrictions.

“We are building a certificate to facilitate travel after these restrictions between the different European countries with testing and vaccination,” Macron said in an interview that aired Sunday on the CBS News show “Face the Nation.”

Macron spoke as the French government is preparing to impose tough, new entry restrictions on travellers from four countries — Argentina, Chile, South Africa and Brazil — in hopes of keeping out especially contagious virus variants. The number of countries on the list could grow, France’s foreign minister said Saturday.

The restrictions include mandatory 10-day quarantines with police checks to ensure people arriving in France observe the requirement. Travellers from all four countries will be restricted to French nationals and their families, EU citizens and others with a permanent home in France.

12:45 p.m.: Prince Edward Island is reporting three new cases of COVID-19 today.

Chief public health officer Dr. Heather Morrison says the new cases include a child under 10 years old who has been hospitalized, an individual in their 30s and a person in their 50s.

All three cases are related to travel outside of Atlantic Canada.

The Island currently has 10 active cases.

12:42 p.m.: In another sign of the crisis enveloping the Ford government, Ontario NDP leader Andrea Horwath issued a statement saying the premier had approached the NDP seeking to suspend the legislature later this week. Horwath says the NDP won’t agree unless they agree to legislate paid sick days.

12:40 p.m.: Nova Scotia is reporting seven new cases of COVID-19 today.

Four of the cases are in the Halifax area, with two close contacts of previously reported cases, one related to international travel and the other under investigation.

The three other infections are in the eastern health zone and are related to travel outside of Atlantic Canada.

Nova Scotia has 49 active cases of COVID-19.

12:25 p.m.: New Brunswick is reporting 10 new cases of COVID-19 today.

Nine of the cases are in the Edmundston region with six confirmed as contacts of previously confirmed patients and the other three under investigation.

The remaining case is in the Saint John area and is related to travel.

12 p.m.: Many seniors have been members of a Vaughan-based organization that supports newcomers since it was founded in 2005. A few participants told the Star they attend the exercise, dance and music classes weekly, if not several times a week.

“We knew that we can’t let these seniors disconnect themselves from the groups where they have friends and affiliations,” he said.

When the pandemic hit in March 2020, founder Noor Din thought of a way to continue the scheduled seniors programming that is usually a highlight of many of their days.

Within a month, Human Endeavour provided tablets for its community members so that classes could carry on virtually. And in the process, bridged a technology gap for hundreds of seniors in the GTA.

Read more of this story by Angelyn Francis.

11:44 a.m.: Severely ill COVID-19 patients are being hospitalized in Ontario in higher numbers than ever, as the province and health-care sector scramble to increase capacity through transfering patients to other hospitals, cancelling non-essential procedures and setting up field units.

As COVID-19 cases continue to soar — 4,250 new infections were reported Sunday, with 741 patients in intensive care — the provincial government has promised to add between 700 and 1,000 additional ICU beds.

“It’s fine to add a bed, but not so much if you don’t have people that can care for the person in the bed,” says Vicki McKenna, president of the Ontario Nurses Association.

She says there is already a shortage of nurses in hospital ICUs and adding more beds will only exacerbate the problem.

“The nurses are going to be further stretched than they already are, and that takes a physical and emotional toll on people when they are placed in these situations,” she says.

The nurses McKenna speaks with compare the situation to a battlefield. They are used to having patients die, but the duration of the crisis and their inability to connect with friends and family due to infection risk has pushed nurses to the brink.

“I am worried about staffing,” says Raman Rai, manager of ICU at Humber River. “Every single day, every single shift, we wish we had more ICU-trained nurses.”

The hospital has redeployed nurses from other units as well as nursing students to support ICU staff, but those with critical-care certificates are in short supply.

11:10 a.m.: Quebec is reporting 1,344 new cases of COVID-19 today, along with nine new deaths related to the virus.

The province says two of the most recent deaths occurred in the past 24 hours, while the other seven took place between April 11 and 16.

Hospitalizations in the province declined slightly, falling by nine to 683.

The number of patients in intensive care units remained stable at 175.

10:49 a.m.: The United States will likely move to resume Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine this coming week, possibly with restrictions or broader warnings after reports of some very rare blood clot cases, the government’s top infectious diseases expert said Sunday.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, in a series of news show interviews, said he expects a decision when advisers to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention meet Friday to discuss the pause in J&J’s single-dose vaccine.

“I would be very surprised if we don’t have a resumption in some form by Friday,” he said. “I don’t really anticipate that they’re going to want it stretch it out a bit longer.”

Fauci, who is President Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser, said he believed that federal regulators could bring the shots back with restrictions based on age or gender or with a blanket warning, so that it is administered in a way “a little bit different than we were before the pause.”

The J&J vaccine has been in limbo after the CDC and the Food and Drug Administration said last week they needed more evidence to decide if a handful of unusual blood clots were linked to the shot — and if so, how big the risk is.

10:20 a.m.: Ontario is reporting another 4,250 COVID-19 cases and 18 more deaths on Saturday morning.

Locally, Health Minister Christine Elliott says locally, there are 1,392 new cases in Toronto, 714 in Peel, 483 in York Region, 279 in Durham and 239 in Ottawa.

There are 2,107 people currently hospitalized with COVID-19 in the province, including 741 patients in intensive care. There are 506 people on ventilators.

Ontario has administered 86,565 vaccine doses since its last daily update, with 3,837,881 vaccines given in total as of 8 p.m. the previous night. The province says 345,310 people have completed their vaccinations, which means they’ve had both doses.

9:13 a.m.: France is imposing entry restrictions on travellers from four countries — Argentina, Chile, South Africa and Brazil — in hopes of keeping out especially contagious coronavirus variants, the government has announced.

The restrictions include mandatory 10-day quarantines with police checks to ensure people arriving in France observe the requirement. Travellers from all four countries will be restricted to French nationals and their families, EU citizens and others with a permanent home in France.

France previously suspended all flights from Brazil. The suspension will be lifted next Saturday, after 10 days, and the new restrictions “progressively” put in place by then, the government said. The flight suspension for Brazil will be lifted followed by “drastic measures” for entering France from all four countries, plus the French territory of Guiana, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said.

The four countries “are the most dangerous in terms of the number of variants that exist and in the evolution of the pandemic in these countries,” Le Drian said Saturday on the France 3 television station.

The list of countries subject to tougher border checks could be extended, he said.

8:32 a.m.: Iran’s daily coronavirus death toll climbed over 400 for the first time in months on Sunday, as the country, which has long had the region’s largest outbreak, battles a post-holiday infection surge.

Iranian health authorities recorded 405 fatalities from the virus, pushing the total death toll to 66,732. Officials increasingly have warned about the impact of trends seen nationwide during the Persian New Year, or Nowruz. The two-week holiday last month brought increased travel, relaxed restrictions and large gatherings without precautions.

After COVID-19 cases broke record after record earlier this month, the Health Ministry reported 21,644 infections on Sunday, bringing the total count over 2.2 million. Hospitals are rapidly filling across the country, particularly in the capital. Authorities reported 130 deaths in Tehran alone, according to Mohsen Hashemi, head of the Tehran municipal council. The single-day death toll nationwide reached a peak of over 480 last November.

The coronavirus pandemic has hammered Iran for months, but the government has signalled it can’t sustain the punishing lockdowns seen in the U.S. and Europe without risking economic catastrophe, especially for the nation’s poorest. Its ailing economy has struggled under harsh U.S. sanctions, reimposed when former President Donald Trump abandoned the 2015 landmark nuclear deal that granted the country sanctions relief in exchange for curbs on its nuclear program.

8 a.m.: It’s a fight that has all the trappings of a culture-war showdown: claims of persecution, crowds tearing down fences, shoutouts from reality stars, a pastor sent to jail.

A cavernous church on the outskirts of Edmonton has played host to a months-long battle between public health officers and those breaking pandemic rules in the name of religious freedom.

But in recent days, the tone of protest has turned darker. Dozens of the people who showed up to pray and carry a giant cross in protest of the forced closure of GraceLife Church this past weekend also ripped down barricades and trespassed on a neighbouring First Nation, some vandalizing a vehicle and hurling racial epithets at residents. The next day, a crowd at a rally where the case of the church was at times raised shouted for Alberta’s top doctor to be locked up.

Even Premier Jason Kenney, who has repeatedly lamented the need to impose COVID-19 restrictions on his province, appears fed up. He lambasted “unhinged conspiracy theorists,” hours after the protest outside the legislature in Edmonton turned ugly Monday.

There’s no question that, heading into a second pandemic year, lockdown measures are being met with pockets of pushback from coast to coast, as business owners in Old Montreal, reeling from the aftermath of Sunday’s riots, can attest.

Read more of this story by Alex Boyd and Kieran Leavitt.

8 a.m.: Wealth is usually a cushion in times of crisis. The more you have, the softer the blows you need to absorb.

But for the super rich during this pandemic, their wealth has been more like a propeller, lifting them to even greater heights.

Since March 2020, Canada’s billionaires — of which there are about four dozen — have collectively increased their wealth by more than $78 billion. As a group, that’s about a 40-per-cent jump in a single year. For them, COVID-19 has been a boon, not a crisis.

The fact that this massive increase in billionaire wealth has come in the midst of record unemployment, small business closures and unprecedented levels of government debt has invigorated and renewed calls for Canada to implement some kind of wealth tax.

Read more of this story from Brendan Kennedy.

7:01 a.m.: This might make Canadians jealous of their American cousins for the first time in a while: the lineup Friday outside a downtown Washington D.C. Apple Store was longer than at one of the city’s largest COVID-19 mass-vaccination sites.

Getting the shot at the nearby Walter E. Washington Convention Center — all D.C. residents over 16 are now eligible — took people only about 20 minutes, with some recipients displaying their ‘I Got Vaccinated’ stickers or telltale Band-Aids as they emerged.

Access to the vaccine in the United States is growing by the day. But the country that just months ago was the international poster child for how not to respond to a pandemic still doesn’t seem to be in a celebratory — or charitable — mood.

7 a.m.: When Breshna Kayoumi steps inside her Toronto apartment, she takes pains to spray herself down with an antiseptic, to clean away any germs she could carry in from the outside world.

She crosses the doorway and lands immediately in a living space that her family of seven juggles as a place for online school work, for sharing meals and for their four-year-old to play. There aren’t many other options; Kayoumi, her husband and their five kids have spent the last year-plus of the pandemic stuffed together in the three-bedroom unit.

“It’s just not enough,” she said.

Like Kayoumi, hundreds of thousands of Canadian households live in too-small homes, and as governments have asked people to stay at home in light of COVID-19, they’ve faced the pandemic in spaces that barely contain them — and increase their risk of virus spread.

Across Canada, nearly 750,000 households reported living in overcrowded homes in 2018, more than a third of which were in Toronto.

Read more of this story from Victoria Gibson.

6:22 a.m.: Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga asked the U.S. drug maker Pfizer Inc. for additional supplies of the COVID-19 vaccine to speed up his country’s inoculation drive, which lags behind many other nations.

Suga, after holding talks with President Joe Biden at the White House, wrapped up his Washington visit on Saturday with a phone call to Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla.

Taro Kono, a Cabinet minister tasked with vaccinations, told a Japanese television talk show Sunday that the two sides have “practically reached an agreement” over the vaccines.

Suga requested Bourla provide additional supplies that would cover all eligible recipients by September, as well as to ensure the stable and prompt delivery of the ongoing vaccine shipments, Japanese officials said Sunday. No details were released.

According to the officials, Bourla told Suga that Pfizer planned to closely co-ordinate with the Japanese government to discuss the requests.

Japan, with its domestic vaccine development still in the early stages, has to rely on imports and has signed agreements with Pfizer, AstraZeneca and Moderna. The Pfizer vaccine is the only one Japan has approved so far.

Japan’s government says it has secured 314 million doses, enough to cover its entire population by the end of this year. That includes 144 million doses from Pfizer.

6:21 a.m.: Germany is paying tribute Sunday to the nearly 80,000 people it has lost to the coronavirus, even as the country struggles to get a grip on another rise in infections.

President Frank-Walter Steinmeier will lead a memorial event with other top officials at Berlin’s Konzerthaus concert hall. His office says it is also dedicated to the bereaved “who could not accompany their relatives when they died and for whom important and comforting rituals of mourning were not possible.”

Germany’s confirmed death toll from COVID-19 stood at 79,914 on Sunday, an increase of 67 over the previous day. That is the fifth-highest total in Europe, after the U.K., Italy, Russia and France.

Germany had a comparatively small number of deaths in the pandemic’s first phase, but saw much higher infection levels in the fall and winter. In January, more than 1,000 deaths per day were reported at times in the country of 83 million people.

Infections have increased again over the past two months as a more contagious coronavirus variant first detected in Britain took hold. Germany has reported 3.14 million cases since the pandemic began.

5:05 a.m.: As COVID-19 vaccine supplies ramp up across the country, most provinces and territories have released details of who can expect to receive a shot in the coming weeks.

The military commander handling logistics for Canada’s vaccine distribution program says there will be enough vaccine delivered to give a first dose before Canada Day to every adult who wants one.

Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin says that’s if provinces follow the advice to delay second doses up to four months.

He also cautions that it is dependent on having no production delays again.

Health Canada anticipates a total of 36.5 million doses from Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and the AstraZeneca vaccine from the Serum Institute of India by June 30.

Canadian provinces have suspended use of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine in people under age 55, acting on an advisory committee’s concerns about a possible link between the shot and rare blood clots.

Dr. Heather Morrison, P.E.I.’s chief medical officer of health, said the risk of developing a serious problem after being immunized is “very, very low.”

She said people who received the AstraZeneca vaccine should look for symptoms such as shortness of breath, chest pain, leg swelling, persistent abdominal pain, sudden onset of severe or persistent headache or blurred vision and skin bruising elsewhere than the site of vaccination, developing four to 20 days after vaccination.

There are approximately 31 million Canadians over 16, and no vaccines are approved for anyone younger than 16.

Here’s a list of the inoculation plans throughout Canada:

Newfoundland and Labrador

Health officials say vaccinations have begun for first responders. Pre-registration for COVID-19 vaccines has opened for people aged 70 or older and for home-support workers.

Last month Newfoundland and Labrador extended the interval between the first and second doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to four months.

Public health officials said the change would help them vaccinate 40,000 more people with a single dose by the end of March. Liberal Leader and incumbent Premier Andrew Furey called the decision a game changer for the province’s vaccination prospects.

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Nova Scotia

All Nova Scotians who want a vaccination should be able to get their first shot by late June, chief medical officer of health Dr. Robert Strang announced on April 9. The original target was September.

Strang also said that as of April 9, Nova Scotians 65 years of age and older became eligible to receive their first dose.

As well, the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine is still available for those 55 to 64 years old.

The province is also planning to use mobile van clinics to vaccinate about 900 people who work at or use homeless shelters in the Halifax area.

Public health is partnering with pharmacists and doctors to provide the vaccines at 25 locations.

Nova Scotia, meanwhile, has added front-line police officers to the list of people eligible for vaccination during the second phase of the province’s rollout plan, joining groups such as long-haul truck drivers and hospital workers over the age of 60.

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Prince Edward Island

Health officials in Prince Edward Island say they will shift their focus to getting a first dose of COVID-19 vaccine to all adults by July 1, even if it means delaying the second shot for some.

P.E.I., meantime, has joined other provinces in suspending administering the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine to people under age 55 due to concerns about a possible link between the shot and rare blood clots.

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New Brunswick

New Brunswick health officials say people 70 and older, a caregiver or a family member acting on their behalf can now make an appointment for a vaccine at a pharmacy.

Health-care professionals who have close contact with patients, and people with complex medical conditions are also eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.

The province says all residents of long-term care homes have been offered at least one dose of vaccine.

As of March 19, all residents of First Nations communities aged 16 or older were given access to their first dose of vaccine.

Workers who regularly travel across the border, including regular commuters, truckers and rotational workers are also eligible to receive vaccines.

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Quebec

Quebec has expanded access to COVID-19 vaccines to Montrealers who are essential workers or who have chronic illnesses.

Essential workers such as teachers and first responders can now book an appointment after providing proof of employment.

Quebecers between the ages of 55 and 79 can now receive an Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine at walk-in clinics.

Quebec has also opened vaccination appointments for anyone over the age of 60 across the province.

Officials announced on April 8 the first 13 companies that will operate clinics in their workplaces, with each site able to vaccinate up to 25,000 people between May and August.

Participating companies include National Bank, Bell, and Groupe CH, owner of the Montreal Canadiens NHL team. The clinics will be located in eight different health regions and should be operational by May 1.

Montreal’s airport authority will partner with Air Canada and Bombardier to create a vaccination hub that will operate two sites at the departure level of the airport terminal and in a nearby Bombardier hangar.

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Ontario

Ontario is doubling the number of pharmacies involved in the provincial vaccine effort.

The province says some 1,400 pharmacies in COVID-19 hot spots are now offering the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine.

It says that will help vaccinate those 55 or older, who are currently the only ones cleared to receive the AstraZeneca shot.

The province says it hopes to add another 100 pharmacies to the vaccine effort by the end of the month.

Some residents of Toronto and Peel Region aged 50 and older can now book their COVID-19 vaccine appointments.

Toronto says people who live in hot spot neighbourhoods can book an appointment to get their shot, while Peel has opened the bookings for anyone in the age group.

The Ontario government said beginning April 5, people aged 60 and over could book their vaccine appointments in every region.

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Manitoba

Manitoba is vaccinating people aged 57 and older in the general population, and First Nations people aged 37 and older. Health officials plan to continue reducing the age minimum age, bit by bit, over the coming months.

Dr. Joss Reimer, medical lead of the province’s vaccine task force, has said all adults in the province could have a first dose of by the end of June if supplies are steady.

There are supersites in cities where people can get vaccines, and pop-up clinics have begun in rural and northern Manitoba communities for people who are eligible.

Immunization teams have also been going to congregate living facilities, such as group homes, to provide vaccines.

In the coming days Manitoba will prioritize firefighters and police officers for vaccines, as well as all adults living in high-risk areas, which have yet to be defined. Officials are promising details next Wednesday.

Health officials say the province has capacity to deliver 20,000 doses each day, but are currently hindered by limited supply. They say all vaccines that arrive in the province are used within 10 days.

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Saskatchewan

The Saskatchewan Health Authority is booking vaccinations for residents 48 and older. The minimum age drops to 40 for people living in the Far North.

Additional health-care workers are now eligible for shots: staff in private doctors’ offices, private digital imaging clinics, community labs and the Saskatchewan cancer agency.

The province has also expanded the vaccine delivery plan for people in more vulnerable groups to include all pregnant women and 16- and 17-year-olds who are considered clinically extremely vulnerable.

The province has opened drive-thru vaccination clinics in communities across the province. In Regina, the drive-thru is available for people between the ages of 46 and 54.

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Alberta

Albertans born in 2005 or earlier with high-risk underlying health conditions are eligible for shots.

As of April 12, the next phase of health-care workers could book appointments: physicians, nurses, pharmacists, dentists, their office staff, lab workers, practicum students in clinical areas, as well as health workers on First Nations reserves and Metis settlements.

Previously, shots have been available to front-line health workers, staff and residents in supportive living facilities, Albertans born in 1956 or earlier and First Nations, Inuit and Metis people born in 1971 or earlier.

More than 250 pharmacies are now offering immunizations. And starting April 19, 10 physicians clinics across the province began providing shots as part of a pilot project, which could be expanded in May.

Additional AstraZeneca vaccine appointments for those aged 55 to 64 are also available through Alberta Health Services in Edmonton and Calgary.

Alberta has also said it is extending the time between the first dose and the second to four months.

Health Minister Tyler Shandro has said the province expects to offer all Albertans 18 and over a first dose of vaccine by the end of June.

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British Columbia

B-C is lowering the eligibility age for people to register for COVID-19 vaccinations.

The new schedule means that as of Apr. 19 all people age 40 and older can sign up.

Once registered, users receive a confirmation code. They then wait for an email, text or call telling them they are eligible and can then book their vaccine appointment using that code.

B.C.’s age-based program runs parallel to its pharmacy-based vaccine drive for residents between the ages of 55 and 65 who are eligible for the Oxford-AstraZeneca shot. That program began for people living in the Lower Mainland but has now been made provincewide.

The pharmacy program was developed after provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry placed a pause on use of the AstraZeneca vaccine for anyone under 55 on the advice of the National Advisory Committee on Immunization over concerns about rare blood clots.

Adults living and working in Whistler started receiving their COVID-19 vaccinations on Apr. 12.

Firefighters, police and paramedics, meanwhile, are being vaccinated with the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines alongside staff at schools and childcare centres.

Henry says certain neighbourhoods will also be targeted.

The government says more than 1.2 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in B.C.

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Nunavut

Nunavut has opened vaccinations to anyone 18 and older.

The territory expects to finish its vaccine rollout of first and second doses by the end of April.

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Northwest Territories

The Northwest Territories is also providing vaccine to those 18 and older and expects to finish its rollout by the end of April.

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Yukon

The Yukon government says nearly 46 per cent of the territory’s residents have now been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Priority for vaccinations has been given to residents and staff in long-term care homes, group homes and shelters, as well as health-care workers and personal support workers. People over the age of 80 who are not living in long-term care, and those living in rural and remote communities, including Indigenous Peoples, are also on the priority list for shots.

4:01 a.m.: British Columbia’s finance minister says her professional training as a family therapist helped her develop the New Democrat government’s first budget during the COVID-19 pandemic, which she will table Tuesday.

Selina Robinson said her skills as a good listener and relationship builder were valuable and necessary to help put together a budget during the ongoing period of pandemic upheaval.

Robinson released a fiscal update last December stating the pandemic’s impact on B.C.’s economy remained uncertain, but the budget deficit was projected at $13.6 billion.

The last budget, tabled in February 2020 just as B.C.’s first COVID-19 cases were being diagnosed, forecast three years of modest surpluses, including a surplus of $227 million for 2020-21.

4 a.m.: The latest numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Canada as of 4:00 a.m. ET on Sunday April 18, 2021.

There are 1,113,907 confirmed cases in Canada.

Canada: 1,113,907 confirmed cases (86,763 active, 1,003,553 resolved, 23,591 deaths).*The total case count includes 13 confirmed cases among repatriated travellers.

There were 7,842 new cases Saturday. The rate of active cases is 228.29 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 60,088 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 8,584.

There were 50 new reported deaths Saturday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 295 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 42. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.11 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 62.07 per 100,000 people.

There have been 29,803,243 tests completed.

Newfoundland and Labrador: 1,039 confirmed cases (22 active, 1,011 resolved, six deaths).

There were zero new cases Saturday. The rate of active cases is 4.21 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 10 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is one.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 1.15 per 100,000 people.

There have been 233,208 tests completed.

Prince Edward Island: 167 confirmed cases (seven active, 160 resolved, zero deaths).

There were zero new cases Saturday. The rate of active cases is 4.39 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of five new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is one.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is zero per 100,000 people.

There have been 133,877 tests completed.

Nova Scotia: 1,800 confirmed cases (44 active, 1,689 resolved, 67 deaths).

There were eight new cases Saturday. The rate of active cases is 4.49 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 37 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is five.

There were zero new reported deaths Saturday. Over the past seven days there has been one new reported death. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is zero. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.01 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 6.84 per 100,000 people.

There have been 461,926 tests completed.

New Brunswick: 1,778 confirmed cases (151 active, 1,594 resolved, 33 deaths).

There were 11 new cases Saturday. The rate of active cases is 19.32 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 65 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is nine.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 4.22 per 100,000 people.

There have been 282,492 tests completed.

Quebec: 335,608 confirmed cases (13,768 active, 311,047 resolved, 10,793 deaths).

There were 1,537 new cases Saturday. The rate of active cases is 160.57 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 10,760 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 1,537.

There were eight new reported deaths Saturday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 56 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is eight. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.09 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 125.87 per 100,000 people.

There have been 7,774,650 tests completed.

Ontario: 412,745 confirmed cases (40,694 active, 364,353 resolved, 7,698 deaths).

There were 4,362 new cases Saturday. The rate of active cases is 276.19 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 30,593 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 4,370.

There were 34 new reported deaths Saturday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 167 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 24. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.16 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 52.25 per 100,000 people.

There have been 13,271,395 tests completed.

Manitoba: 35,992 confirmed cases (1,630 active, 33,404 resolved, 958 deaths).

There were 183 new cases Saturday. The rate of active cases is 118.18 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 891 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 127.

There were three new reported deaths Saturday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of nine new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is one. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.09 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 69.46 per 100,000 people.

There have been 626,901 tests completed.

Saskatchewan: 37,873 confirmed cases (2,859 active, 34,550 resolved, 464 deaths).

There were 249 new cases Saturday. The rate of active cases is 242.56 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 1,889 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 270.

There were two new reported deaths Saturday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 11 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is two. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.13 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 39.37 per 100,000 people.

There have been 719,971 tests completed.

Alberta: 169,279 confirmed cases (17,307 active, 149,935 resolved, 2,037 deaths).

There were 1,486 new cases Saturday. The rate of active cases is 391.39 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 9,560 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 1,366.

There were three new reported deaths Saturday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 25 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is four. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.08 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 46.07 per 100,000 people.

There have been 3,913,177 tests completed.

British Columbia: 117,080 confirmed cases (10,259 active, 105,291 resolved, 1,530 deaths).

There were zero new cases Saturday. The rate of active cases is 199.29 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 6,257 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 894.

There were zero new reported deaths Saturday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 26 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is four. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.07 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 29.72 per 100,000 people.

There have been 2,349,763 tests completed.

Yukon: 76 confirmed cases (two active, 73 resolved, one deaths).

There were zero new cases Saturday. The rate of active cases is 4.76 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of two new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 2.38 per 100,000 people.

There have been 8,740 tests completed.

Northwest Territories: 43 confirmed cases (one active, 42 resolved, zero deaths).

There were zero new cases Saturday. The rate of active cases is 2.21 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of zero new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is zero per 100,000 people.

There have been 16,904 tests completed.

Nunavut: 414 confirmed cases (19 active, 391 resolved, four deaths).

There were six new cases Saturday. The rate of active cases is 48.28 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 19 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is three.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 10.16 per 100,000 people.

There have been 10,163 tests completed.

Click here for yesterday’s coronavirus news.

Source : Toronto Star More