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

The latest:

  • Ontario reports 7 additional deaths and 153 new COVID-19 cases, number of active cases across Canada below 5,000.
  • Travelling while fully vaccinated: Your questions answered about the new rules.
  • How summer school, tutoring are helping students catch up from pandemic-disrupted classes.
  • What the World Health Organization really said about mixing COVID-19 vaccines.
  • WHO says more transmissible delta variant has been detected in at least 111 countries.
  • All Manitoba supersites open for walk-in COVID-19 vaccinations during ‘vax-a-thon’ on Wednesday.
  • Have a coronavirus question or news tip for CBC News? Email: [email protected] or join us live in the comments now.

Tokyo reported the highest number of new COVID-19 cases in almost six months on Wednesday, with the Olympics due to open in the capital in just nine days.

The city government said there were 1,149 new cases, the highest daily tally since Jan. 22, adding to evidence that a new fifth wave of infections is under way, driven by more infectious virus variants and a low vaccination rate.

Amid rising cases, the government declared a renewed state of emergency for Tokyo and surrounding prefectures last week and Olympics organizers announced that no fans would be allowed at events in those areas.

“Once it’s on an increasing trend, it’s too late,” said Haruka Sakamoto, a physician and researcher at Keio University in Tokyo.

Health experts had warned that seasonal factors, increased mobility and the spread of variants would lead to a rebound this summer. Kyoto University professor Yuki Furuse earlier projected that new daily cases in Tokyo could rise to 1,000 in July and 2,000 in August, potentially maxing out hospital beds in the capital region.

The resurgence is “totally expected” given the spread of the contagious delta variant and the government’s decision to lift an earlier state of emergency on June 20, said infectious disease expert Kenji Shibuya, who is now running vaccination efforts in rural Fukushima prefecture.

The country’s vaccination push finally gained steam last month, but has recently ebbed among supply and logistical snags.

The delta variant now accounts for more than 30 per cent of cases in Tokyo, and the rate is climbing.

While Japan has weathered the pandemic better than many countries, the nation’s deaths crossed the grim milestone of 15,000 on Wednesday, according to the Jiji news agency. Total cases stood at about 820,000, based on official data.

-From Reuters, last updated at 7 a.m. ET

What’s happening across Canada

WATCH | COVID-19: What we know about mixing vaccines: 

Infectious diseases specialist Dr. Isaac Bogoch explains comments from the World Health Organization about COVID-19 vaccines taken out of context and what health experts know about mixing vaccines. 2:25

As of 11:30 a.m. ET on Wednesday, Canada had reported 1,421,679 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 4,891 considered active. The country’s COVID-19 death toll stood at 26,457. More than 43.5 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered so far across the country, according to a CBC News tally.

In Quebec on Wednesday, health officials reported no new deaths and 75 additional COVID-19 cases. 

Across the North on Wednesday, there were no new cases reported in Nunavut. Health officials in the Northwest Territories and Yukon hadn’t provided any updated information for the day.

Ontario on Wednesday reported 153 cases of COVID-19 and seven additional deaths. The province, which is still seeing cases at some long-term care homes, also announced changes around entry to long-term care homes on Wednesday.

According to an update, the province is lifting COVID-19 testing requirements for vaccinated visitors, caregivers and staff at long-term care homes as of Friday — provided they aren’t showing any symptoms. The new guidance from Ontario’s chief medical officer of health also recommends exempting fully vaccinated people from routine testing.

In Atlantic Canada on Wednesday, Nova Scotia was the first province to provide an update, saying there were no COVID-19 cases or deaths. Health officials in the other Atlantic provinces hadn’t provided updated information for the day.

In the Prairie provinces, Manitoba reported 25 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday and one additional death. The province is holding what Premier Brian Pallister called a “vax-a-thon” on Wednesday, in which vaccine supersites open to walk-in appointments.

Saskatchewan saw no additional deaths on Tuesday and 27 new cases of COVID-19. 

In Alberta on Tuesday, health officials reported three additional deaths and 35 new cases of COVID-19.

Across the North, there were no new cases reported in the Northwest Territories or Nunavut on Tuesday. Yukon, which has been dealing with an uptick of cases, saw four new confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday.

British Columbia health officials reported no new deaths and 33 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday.

-From CBC News and The Canadian Press, last updated at 11:30 a.m. ET

What’s happening around the world 

Medical staff members work at a department for patients suffering from COVID-19 inside Charles Nicole Hospital in Tunis, Tunisia, on Tuesday. (Jihed Abidellaoui/Reuters)

As of early Wednesday morning, more than 187.8 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported according to a tool from U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University, which has been collecting coronavirus data from nations around the world. The reported death toll stood at more than four million.

The World Health Organization reported that there were nearly three million coronavirus cases globally last week, a 10 per cent increase that was accompanied by a three per cent rise in deaths, reversing a nine-week trend of declining COVID-19 incidence.

In its weekly report issued on Wednesday, the UN health agency says the highest numbers of new cases were from Brazil, India, Indonesia and the United Kingdom. WHO says the easier-to-spread delta variant has now been identified in 111 countries since first being detected in India and it expects the variant to become globally dominant in the coming months.

WHO says more transmissible versions of the coronavirus could emerge and, “coupled with the relaxation and inappropriate use of public health and social measures and increased social mobility and mixing,” numerous countries would see higher cases, hospitalizations and deaths.

The organization acknowledged many countries are now facing “considerable pressure” to lift all remaining COVID-19 restrictions, but warned that “improper planning or assessment of the risk of transmission during any gathering or travel provides opportunity for the virus to spread.”

A health-care worker gives a dose of a COVID-19 vaccine on Tuesday at a drive-in vaccination centre in San Salvador, El Salvador. (Jose Cabezas/Reuters)

In the Americas, El Salvador’s congress voted overwhelmingly Tuesday to impose a 90-day ban on sporting events, concerts, festivals and other mass gatherings because of a surge in coronavirus cases. Face masks will be mandatory at any public event still allowed. Fines and closures will be assessed against any venue or organizer that violates the ban.

Officials reported 2,284 new cases in the first 10 days of July, 35 per cent more than in the same period of June. El Salvador has so far received enough coronavirus vaccine doses to cover about half of the country’s 6.5 million people. The country has registered 81,644 coronavirus infections and 2,457 COVID-19 deaths.

Guatemala declared a “state of prevention” for the entire country, limiting outdoor meetings and public demonstrations, after a dramatic spike in cases last week.

In the Asia-Pacific region, South Korea has confirmed 1,615 new COVID-19 patients, a new domestic record for daily cases, as authorities struggle to curb a viral resurgence that has placed its capital region under the toughest distancing rules. The newly reported cases Wednesday took the country’s total to 171,911 with 2,048 deaths.

Malaysia announced new measures to support its ailing public health system as the country saw another record daily rise in COVID-19 cases.

People wait in line to be tested for the coronavirus amid the spread of COVID-19 in Seri Kembangan, Malaysia. (Lim Huey Teng/Reuters)

In the Middle East, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett says his country can beat the highly contagious delta variant of the coronavirus without a national lockdown. He told reporters on Wednesday that a shutdown is a “last resort,” but that depends on people complying with new rules to wear masks indoors.

In Africa, Tunisia is struggling to contain its worst outbreak ever, with the virus infecting parliament speaker Rached Ghannouchi, while Morocco has planned to send 100 intensive care beds and a similar number of ventilators to help tackle the crisis.

In Europe, Russia reported 786 coronavirus-related deaths on Wednesday, the most confirmed in a single day since the beginning of the pandemic, and 23,827 new cases nationwide.

A medical worker administers a shot of Russia’s Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine at a vaccination centre in a huge exhibition place in Moscow on Tuesday. (Alexander Zemlianichenko/The Associated Press)

The country is facing a surge in cases that authorities have blamed on the more infectious delta variant and a slow rate of vaccinations.

Dozens of French police used tear gas to disperse a protest against President Emmanuel Macron’s plan to require a COVID-19 vaccine certificate or negative PCR test to gain entry to bars, restaurants and cinemas from next month. Macron this week announced sweeping measures to fight a rapid surge in new coronavirus infections, including the mandatory vaccination of health workers and new health pass rules for the wider public.

-From Reuters and The Associated Press, last updated at 11:35 a.m. ET

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