Coronavirus: What’s happening in Canada and around the world on Saturday

The latest:

New COVID-19 restrictions took effect in Manitoba on Saturday as the province reported 357 new cases and three additional deaths.

A ban on social gatherings that was due to expire on Saturday will now continue for another two weeks, and hundreds of Manitoba schools will remain in remote learning until at least June 7.

In addition, a new public health order compels businesses in the province to allow employees to work from home, whenever possible.

Despite high infection rates in Manitoba, Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer, said at a briefing on Friday that the country’s third wave is being beat back as vaccination numbers increase.

She noted “strong and steady” declines in disease trends, with average case counts at less than half of what they were at the peak of the third wave in mid-April.

However, Tam said now is not the time to loosen public health measures. She also pointed out that hospitalizations due to the illness are still too high in Manitoba.

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What’s happening across Canada

As of 2 p.m. ET on Saturday, Canada had reported 1,376,149 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 38,574 considered active. A CBC News tally of deaths stood at 25,469.

Alberta could move to Stage 2 of its reopening plan as early as June 10 after it was announced Friday that more than 60 per cent of eligible Albertans had received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

The relaxation of public health orders would see theatres, cinemas, museums and galleries reopen at one-third of their capacity, with restaurants permitted to seat up to six people indoors from different households. Outdoor social gatherings of up to 20 people would be permitted while concerts and festivals could go ahead with up to 150 people under Stage 2.

The move on June 10 is conditional on the province being below 500 hospitalizations and declining.

WATCH | How these Alta. parents plan to keep their children COVID-19 safe:

As Alberta plans to reopen, these parents and caretakers of kids under the vaccination age are making plans to keep their children safe. 1:45

In Saskatchewan, anyone 70 years of age or older is eligible for their second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine starting Saturday. People are also eligible if they received their first dose before March 15, or if they have cancer or received an organ transplant.

Ontario registered 1,057 new COVID-19 cases and 15 additional deaths on Saturday.

Pharmacists in the province who expected to spend the weekend racing to administer 45,000 doses of the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine set to expire have been given a reprieve from Health Canada after the federal department extended the expiry date from May 31 to July 1, according to a spokesperson for Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott.

The doses, which sat in storage for a few weeks while Ontario re-evaluated the safety of the vaccine, were held up by quality checks and only reached pharmacies on Friday.

A health-care worker administers a COVID-19 vaccine shot at a drive-thru clinic in Kingston, Ont., on Friday. (Lars Hagberg/The Associated Press)

Quebec confirmed 410 new cases and seven more deaths on Saturday.

In Montreal, 2,500 fans will get to watch the Montreal Canadiens face off against the Toronto Maple Leafs in person, as the Bell Centre welcomes back fans for the first time this year.

New Brunswick recorded 10 cases on Saturday. Health officials also announced that more than 60 per cent of residents in the province have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Nova Scotia‘s death toll rose by four to 84 on Saturday — the highest number of daily deaths since May 15, 2020, when four deaths were also reported.

WATCH | N.S. announces reopening plan that includes some schools:

Calling it ‘a Nova Scotia success story,’ Premier Iain Rankin announced a five-phase reopening plan for the province on Friday that begins to lift COVID-19 restrictions and includes reopening schools outside of Halifax and Sydney. 3:19

Newfoundland and Labrador logged nine new cases, but none of them are connected to the cluster in central Newfoundland. The number of confirmed cases in the cluster remains at 60.

In the Northwest Territories, performers are set to take the stage for a sold-out concert in Yellowknife, the first indoor show since the start of the pandemic.

What’s happening around the world

As of Saturday, more than 169.5 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported worldwide, according to a database from Johns Hopkins University in the United States. The reported global death toll stood at more than 3.5 million.

In the Americas, Mexico expects to have 12.5 million AstraZeneca vaccine doses bottled within its borders by June, the foreign minister said, as the country seeks to ramp up its inoculation program.

WATCH | Latin America cries out for vaccines as coronavirus surges:

Latin America is seeing a dramatic rise in COVID-19 infections and needs vaccines and other supports to help swamped health systems, says the Pan American Health Organization. 1:06

In Asia, Vietnam has discovered a new coronavirus variant that’s a hybrid of strains first found in India and the U.K., the health minister said, noting that the new variant has spread to 30 of Vietnam’s 63 municipalities and provinces — and could be responsible for a recent surge in confirmed cases.

In Europe, Denmark has begun incinerating four million mink that had been culled to curb COVID-19 mutations but whose carcasses began to resurface from mass burial sites, prompting renewed health concerns.

In Africa, 32 members of parliament in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, or about five per cent of the total, have died from COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic, the vice-president of the National Assembly said.

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