Ontario expected to take regional approach to relaxing public health measures | CBC News

The latest:

People in Ontario are expected to learn details on Monday of plans to gradually reopen the economy after a provincewide lockdown aimed at slowing the spread of infection.

A senior government source says regions will transition back to the province’s colour-coded restrictions system over the next three weeks, starting in health units where rates of COVID-19 are the lowest.

The source told The Canadian Press that Toronto, Peel Region and York Region will be the last to transition back into the framework, but any sudden increase in cases could cause the government to change its plans.

WATCH | CBC medical contributor answers your COVID-19 questions:

The CBC’S John Northcott puts your coronavirus-related questions to family physician and CBC medical contributor Dr. Peter Lin. 7:35

Colleges and universities in Quebec are set to allow more in-class learning, starting Monday.

The majority of classes have been held remotely since last spring, but the provincial government says ideally students should be able to attend classes at least once a week, to ward off feelings of isolation.

The province has said in-person attendance for theory classes should be at half capacity, with no limit on practical classes such as science labs, and everyone must maintain a 1.5-metre distance in addition to wearing a mask. The government has stressed the reopening is optional for institutions.

WATCH | Simple hacks to make your face mask more effective:

Canadian respirologist Dr. Samir Gupta explains the latest COVID-19 mask recommendations and demonstrates simple hacks to make yours more effective. 2:38

The Cargill meat-packing plant in Alberta, meanwhile, is seeing an uptick in COVID-19 cases. The processing facility was the site of the largest COVID-19 outbreak in Canada last year when the pandemic broke out.

Alberta Health says 11 cases have been linked to the plant since December.

The outbreak last spring saw nearly half the plant’s workforce, 950 staff, test positive for the virus. 

What’s happening across Canada

As of 10 a.m. p.m. ET on Sunday, Canada had reported 802,546 cases of COVID-19 — with 45,241 considered active. A CBC News tally of deaths stood at 20,724.

British Columbia is extending its pandemic restrictions indefinitely, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced Friday. The province’s current orders were set to expire at midnight.

Recent days have seen a slow downward trend in the number of new daily cases in B.C., and the number of patients in hospital with COVID-19 is now at its lowest level since Nov. 21.

Alberta reported 348 additional cases of COVID-19 on Saturday, compared with 396 new cases reported the previous day.

Saskatchewan reported 264 new cases and four more deaths on Saturday.

Manitoba registered 82 new COVID-19 cases and four new deaths. That’s the lowest one-day increase in cases the province has seen since Oct. 19, when 80 new cases were reported.

Ontario reported 1,489 new cases and 22 more deaths on Sunday. There are currently 926 patients hospitalized with the virus, of which 335 are in intensive care units. Of those patients, 233 are on ventilators.

People skate on the Rideau Canal in Ottawa on the first weekend of Winterlude on Saturday. (Justin Tang/The Canadian Press)

Quebec reported 1,204 new cases and 27 more deaths on Saturday.

New Brunswick announced two additional deaths related to COVID-19 in the Edmundston region, bringing the province to 20 deaths since the start of the pandemic. The province also announced 12 new infections.

Nova Scotia saw no new cases. The province — which is preparing to loosen some restrictions on Monday — now has seven known active cases of the virus.

WATCH | N.S. tries to attract remote-working Canadians:

Nova Scotia is attempting to use its improving COVID-19 situation as marketing leverage to attract Canadians to move to the province, under a simple premise: If you have to work from home, why not do it from here? 1:55

Newfoundland and Labrador reported three new cases as public health officials called for people who worked at or visited a Mount Pearl restaurant to get tested.

Nunavut reported three new cases, all in Arviat.

The hard-hit community has seen more than 250 cases since the start of the pandemic and one death, the result of a local outbreak. All 15 active cases in the territory are in the community.

What’s happening around the world

As of Sunday morning, more than 105.8 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported worldwide, with more than 58.9 million of those considered recovered or resolved, according to a tracking tool maintained by Johns Hopkins University. The global death toll stood at more than 2.3 million.

In Asia, Bangladesh launched a nationwide COVID-19 vaccination drive with the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine on Sunday, aiming to inoculate 3.5 million people in the first month.

A medical worker inoculates a man against COVID-19 at the Mugda General Hospital in Dhaka as a mass vaccination program began across Bangladesh on Sunday. (Rehman Asad/AFP via Getty Images)

The South Asian country is seeking to inoculate 80 per cent of its population of about 170 million, with each person getting two doses administered four weeks apart.

However, the government has nearly halved its target for the first month from six million people, as only a little over 328,000 people had registered for the vaccine by Saturday.

Bangladesh has officially reported 538,062 cases and 8,205 deaths. The daily rate of infections has eased sharply since a peak in July.

In Europe, Britain’s health authority reported 18,262 new infections and 828 new deaths on Saturday, raising the total caseload to 3,929,835 infections and death toll to 112,092 people.

Face coverings can be seen on the statues of former U.S. president Franklin Roosevelt, left, and former British prime minister Winston Churchill in the Mayfair area of London on Sunday as the third national lockdown, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, continues. (Alberto Pezzali/The Associated Press)

The U.K. government is ramping up vaccination efforts, aiming to finish inoculating people over the age of 50 by the end of May, said a government official in charge of the vaccination program on Saturday.

The country will vaccinate 15 million people with priorities by mid-February and plans to inoculate all adults with the first shot of the vaccine by autumn, said Health Secretary Matt Hancock. Latest official data shows that more than 11 million people in Britain have received the vaccine so far.

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