Nova Scotia’s premier warned of “early signs of community spread” of COVID-19 on Wednesday, saying he’s “very concerned” with rising case numbers in the province.
Health officials on Thursday reported 38 new cases of COVID-19 — the highest figure the province has seen since late April last year. With the update, the number of active cases in the province rose to 111.
Premier Iain Rankin’s government recently stepped up restrictions on most non-essential travel for a period of at least four weeks as it tries to stave off an increase of COVID-19 cases.
New Brunswick, meanwhile, reported seven new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday and one additional death.
-From CBC News and The Canadian Press, last updated at 11:30 a.m. ET
What’s happening across Canada
WATCH | B.C. health-care workers share heartache as hospitalizations increase:
As of 11:10 a.m. ET on Thursday, Canada had reported 1,152,442 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 88,151 considered active. A CBC News tally of deaths stood at 23,810.
Hard-hit Ontario reported 3,682 new cases of COVID-19 and 40 additional deaths on Wednesday. Hospitalizations in the province — which is facing a massive strain on the health-care system — stood at 2,350, while the number of patients in the province’s intensive care units with COVID-19 related illness stood at 806.
Premier Doug Ford, who is isolating after a staff member tested positive for COVID-19, held a news conference from isolation on Thursday.
The premier, who offered an apology over how his government handled some recent COVID-19 restrictions, pledged a paid sick-leave program for Ontario workers, saying people forced into quarantine should not have to worry about their jobs or income. But when that would happen or what form it would take were not immediately clear.
Public health experts, labour groups and local officials have been calling for sick-leave support for much of the pandemic.
Across the North, Nunavut was the first territory to report updated information Thursday, saying it has three new cases. Premier Joe Savikataaq said in a tweet that there were 36 active cases in Nunavut, with all but two of them in Iqaluit.
In Quebec, health officials on Thursday reported 1,248 new cases of COVID-19 and seven additional deaths. Hospitalizations stood at 711, with 174 people in intensive care, according to a provincial dashboard.
In the Prairie provinces on Wednesday, Manitoba reported 164 new cases of COVID-19 and one additional death.
Saskatchewan, meanwhile, reported 231 new cases and four additional deaths. Hospitalizations in the province stood at 185, with 49 in intensive care.
In Alberta, health officials reported 1,699 new COVID-19 cases and a test positivity rate of 9.5 per cent.
British Columbia reported 862 new cases of COVID-19 and seven additional deaths on Wednesday. Hospitalizations stood at 483, with 164 in intensive care.
-From CBC News and The Canadian Press, last updated at 11:35 a.m. ET
What’s happening around the world
WATCH | India seeing deadly surge in COVID-19 cases:
As of early Thursday morning, more than 143.9 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University’s case tracking tool. The reported global death toll stood at more than three million.
In the Asia-Pacific region, Australia will reduce the number of flights arriving from India because of the growing wave of COVID-19 cases in the world’s second-most populous country.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he had agreed with state and territory leaders that the numbers of Australian citizens and permanent residents returning in chartered flights would be reduced by 30 per cent. The government would soon announce a 30 per cent reduction in scheduled commercial flights from India as well, he said.
Laos locked down its capital and closed its international borders to most traffic Thursday after identifying a COVID-19 cluster connected to its bigger neighbour Thailand.
In Europe, a plan by German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government to mandate standard restrictions in areas where the coronavirus is spreading too quickly has cleared its final legislative hurdle.
Parliament’s upper house, where Germany’s 16 state governments are represented, could have held up the plan by seeking renegotiations, but let it pass on Thursday. It now goes to President Frank-Walter Steinmeier to be signed.
The Norwegian government said Thursday that it will “lend” all of its 216,000 AstraZeneca vaccine doses to Sweden and Iceland as long as Norway has use of the vaccine on pause. Health Minister Bent Hoeie said that if the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine is resumed, “we will get back the doses we lend as soon as we request it” and Iceland and Sweden “send back the doses from their first deliveries from AstraZeneca.”
In Africa, intensive care units in Tunisian public and private hospitals are at the limit of their capacity as COVID-19 cases surge, an official in an independent scientific committee that advises the government told Reuters on Thursday. Amenallah Messadi added that a surge in cases driven by the B117 variant had pushed the health system to the brink of collapse.
In the Americas, U.S. President Joe Biden announced tax credits for certain businesses that pay employees who take time off to get vaccines.
In the Middle East, Syria’s government has received its first delivery of COVID-19 vaccines through the global COVAX initiative, with almost 200,000 doses of the AstraZeneca shot, UN officials said.
-From The Associated Press and Reuters, last updated at 11:30 a.m. ET
Have questions about this story? We’re answering as many as we can in the comments.