KEY FACTS

7:49 a.m. Ontario begins reopening its economy Wednesday starting with three public health units

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

1:30 p.m.: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi says his country “will do its best” to help Canada get COVID-19 vaccines but stopped short of making any specific guarantee that India would ship doses to Canada.

Canada is also not among 25 countries cleared by the Indian government to receive exported doses of AstraZeneca’s vaccine this month, though federal officials indicated last week Canada’s shipments weren’t expected to start arriving until at least April.

The Serum Institute of India has a contract with AstraZeneca to make at least one billion vaccine doses, and Health Canada is currently reviewing the manufacturing processes at the facility as it works to greenlight the AstraZeneca vaccine for use on Canadians.

Modi says on Twitter that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called him today and the pair discussed vaccines, climate change and the global economic recovery.

12:30 p.m.: Clinical trials have begun for another Canadian-made COVID-19 vaccine candidate.

The Canadian Center for Vaccinology says the first of 108 healthy adult volunteers received injections Wednesday morning in Halifax. The placebo-controlled study will administer two doses to each volunteer, 28 days apart.

Dubbed COVAC-2, the vaccine hopeful was developed by the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon.

It’s the first of two subunit vaccines by VIDO to enter clinical testing. Subunit vaccines contain purified viral proteins that are not infectious, and employ technology already used in vaccines for hepatitis, diphtheria, and whooping cough.

VIDO says the product doesn’t need ultra-cold storage temperatures like synthetic messenger RNA or mRNA products. The two Health Canada-approved vaccines by Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech each require special distribution and storage procedures that have complicated their rollout.

It follows the launch last month of clinical trials for a prospective vaccine by Calgary’s Providence Therapeutics, and last year’s launch of trials for a vaccine hopeful by Quebec City’s Medicago.

VIDO’s vaccine antigen – a molecule that triggers an immune response – was produced at Quebec-based Biodextris using a cell line from the National Research Council of Canada.

Development help also came from partners around the world including Seppic in France and the Vaccine Formulation Institute in Switzerland.

At the same time, VIDO is building a manufacturing facility on the USask campus that could produce up to 40 million vaccine doses, but it wasn’t certain if that would include VIDO’s product.

Construction is expected to be completed late this year.

12:30 p.m. A new U.S. government study finds that wearing two masks can be better than one in protecting against coronavirus spread.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Wednesday reported the results of a lab experiment. The researchers found that particles were blocked twice as much when two masks were worn.

The CDC is updating its guidance to address wearing two masks. It says that a cloth mask worn over a surgical mask can tighten the gaps around the mask’s edges that can let virus particles in.

The researchers found that wearing one mask — surgical or cloth — blocked around 40% of the particles coming in during an experiment. When a cloth mask was worn on top of a surgical mask, about 80% were blocked.

Some Americans have already started doubling up. Experts believe that’s at least partly out of concern about new strains of coronavirus that possibly spread more easily. The U.S. has registered 2.7 million confirmed cases and more than 468,000 confirmed deaths, the highest numbers in the world.

12:24 p.m. Nova Scotia is reporting one new case of COVID-19 Wednesday and now has nine active cases.

Health officials say the new case is in the Halifax area and is related to a previously reported case.

One person is currently in hospital and is in intensive care.

The province has administered 20,013 doses of COVID-19 vaccine, while 5,900 people have received their second dose as required.

11:43 a.m.: Quebec is reporting 989 new cases of COVID-19 today and 34 more deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus, including eight within the previous 24 hours.

Health officials said hospitalizations dropped by 22, to 918, and 148 people were in intensive care, a rise of three.

The province says it administered 3,174 doses of vaccine Tuesday, for a total of 266,590.

More than half of the new cases reported today were in Montreal, with 499, and the neighbouring territory of Monteregie was the only other region in the province to report more than 100 new cases, with 137.

Public Security Minister Genevieve Guilbault said today that some of the added restrictions the government is considering for spring break week include roadblocks on the boundary with Ontario.

Quebec has reported a total of 272,726 COVID-19 infections and 10,112 deaths linked to the virus.

10:45 a.m.: Drugmaker AstraZeneca says it will work with German firm IDT Biologika to increase shipments of its COVID-19 vaccine to the European Union this spring following a heated dispute with the bloc over delayed vaccine deliveries.

The Anglo-Swedish company said Wednesday that the two companies were “exploring options” to accelerate production of the vaccine in the second quarter of this year. AstraZeneca is already involved in the production of vaccines with IDT.

In the longer term, AstraZeneca also plans a joint investment to expand IDT Biologika’s plant in Dessau, Germany, by building up to five 2,000-litre bioreactors capable of making tens of millions of doses of vaccine each month, the companies said. The additional capacity is expected to be operational by the end of 2022. IDT Biologika said the extent of AstraZeneca’s participation in the project is subject to future negotiations.

10:35 a.m.: Ontario is reporting 15 more long-term-care resident death for a total of 3,683 since the pandemic began.

There are five fewer long-term-care homes in outbreak for a total of 200 or 31.9 per cent of the LTC homes in the province.

10:30 a.m.: Ontario is also reporting 13,486 more vaccine doses have been administered since its last daily update for a total of 412,119 as of 8 p.m. Tuesday.

The province reports that 125,725 people are fully vaccinated which means they’ve got both shots.

10:16 a.m.: Ontario is reporting 1,072 more cases and 41 more deaths.

The seven-day average is down to 1,353 cases daily or 65 weekly per 100,000, and down to 41.6 deaths per day

Labs reported more than 52,504 tests completed for a 2.5 per cent positivity rate.

Locally, there are 393 new cases in Toronto, 196 in Peel and 125 in York Region.

10 a.m.: Keep your distance!

The health unit for the popular Prince Edward County wine district is serving notice it wants most tourists to stay away when the Belleville area reopens for business Wednesday as Premier Doug Ford lifts COVID-19 stay-at-home orders on three eastern Ontario regions with low infection rates.

Medical officer Dr. Piotr Oglaza issued an order banning bookings for rooms, restaurants and personal care services such as haircuts or spa treatments from people living in parts of the province remaining under full restrictions.

The doctor cited the “immediate risk of an outbreak” from the virus and its more contagious variants, which are spreading in the GTA and elsewhere, if outsiders start flooding in to sip pinot noir and dine gourmet-style.

“It’s a good example of the preventative action that is going to be needed,” said Ontario Hospital Association president Anthony Dale.

Read the full story from the Star’s Rob Ferguson

9:34 a.m. The United States, Russia and China were each given an extra entry to the Olympic women’s gymnastics competition in Tokyo on Wednesday after the coronavirus pandemic forced a shake-up in qualifying.

The International Gymnastics Federation said it was cancelling its all-around World Cup series of events because of the pandemic.

Those events were supposed to offer countries one extra spot for the postponed Tokyo Games, helping the top nations to compensate after Olympic teams were reduced in size from five athletes to four.

FIG is going back to 2019 world championship results to determine those places. That means the United States, Russia and China get one extra women’s spot each, and that Russia, China and Japan each receive an extra men’s spot. All of those countries had already qualified a four-person team for the men’s and women’s competitions.

Of the four planned all-around World Cup events, only one has taken place, in Milwaukee last year. Events in Germany and Britain were cancelled, leaving the series below the minimum number of three events required to be a valid Olympic qualifier.

9:26 a.m. A spokeswoman for Elections Newfoundland and Labrador says her office will provide voters in self-isolation an alternative way to cast a ballot in this Saturday’s provincial election.

In an email this morning, Adrienne Luther says the option will be provided to people self-isolating in connection with an ongoing outbreak of COVID-19 in St. John’s, N.L.

Luther did not say what the option will be but said more details will be released Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the provincial Progressive Conservatives have confirmed the son of one of their candidates has tested positive for COVID-19.

In a release Tuesday night, Damian Follett, a candidate in the Mount Scio district in St. John’s, confirmed his entire family is isolating after his son received a positive test.

Health officials this week confirmed community spread in the capital region, but they have said voting in Saturday’s election is no riskier than going to the grocery store.

8:21 a.m. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is urging provinces not to leave COVID-19 rapid tests languishing on their shelves while vaccinations are being administered.

Some provinces have yet to deploy the rapid tests, four million of which were delivered to them by the federal government in November.

“There’s real need for this testing,” Trudeau told a news conference on Tuesday.

“Tests must be deployed. They can’t be allowed to expire.”

After pledging again that every Canadian who wants a COVID-19 vaccination will get one by the end of September, Trudeau said rapid testing and contact tracing must be used in addition to the mass vaccination campaign underway.

So far, Canada has sent 19.6 million rapid tests to the provinces and territories, Trudeau said.

Read the full story from the Star’s Kieran Leavitt

8 a.m. If your fragile hopes that 2021 would be better than 2020 have come crashing down so far this year, Chinese astrologers say there is reason for optimism for the coming Lunar New Year.

That’s because the sheer chaos of the previous Year of the Rat won’t happen again for another 60 years.

Astrologers have pointed out that the first Opium War, the American Revolution and a famine in India that killed as many as 10 million people all happened during the so-called “Year of the Gengzi,” which occurs once every 60 years and brings with it natural disasters, wars and general calamity.

“One month has passed in the year 2020 … and our country is plagued by epidemics; since ancient times, it has been said that there must be chaos in the Gengzi Year,” read a widely shared article last year from Bazi, a website about Chinese traditional culture.

Read the full story from the Star’s Joanna Chiu

7:49 a.m. Ontario will begin to gradually reopen its economy Wednesday starting with three public health units.

Health units in Hastings Prince Edward; Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox and Addington; and Renfrew County will move into the least-restrictive green category today.

That means the province’s lockdown and stay-at-home orders will lift in the regions and restaurants and non-essential businesses can reopen.

On Feb. 15, all remaining regions except three hot spots in the Greater Toronto Area are set to move to the restrictions framework.

The category they are placed in will depend on their local case rates.

6:05 a.m.: The Chicago Teachers Union has approved a deal with the nation’s third-largest school district to get students back to class during the coronavirus pandemic, union officials announced early Wednesday.

The vote by the union’s roughly 25,000 members ends the possibility of an immediate teacher lockout or strike. The agreement follows months of negotiations — which had intensified in recent weeks — with plans that included more teacher vaccinations and metrics to allow school closures when COVID-19 infections spikes.

The union said 13,681 members voted to approve the agreement and 6,585 voted against it. In a statement, the union described the agreement as the “absolute limit to which CPS was willing to go at the bargaining table to guarantee a minimum number of guardrails for any semblance of safety in schools.”

Union President Jesse Sharkey also criticized the agreement in an email to members that was released by the union.

6 a.m.: Sri Lanka will begin giving permission for Muslims who die of COVID-19 to be buried, the prime minister said Wednesday, following an outcry over a previous ban.

Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa gave the assurance in response to a question from a lawmaker in Parliament.

Sri Lanka has required the cremation of all people who die from COVID-19, saying the virus in human remains could contaminate underground water.

Muslims and non-Muslims have protested the rule over the past year, calling it unscientific and insensitive of Muslim religious beliefs. The United Nations and the United States have also raised concerns with the government.

The World Health Organization and Sri Lankan doctors’ groups have said COVID-19 victims can either be buried or cremated.

5:36 a.m.: Ghana’s parliament has been suspended for at least three weeks following a surge in COVID-19 cases among parliament members and staff.

Speaker Alban Bagbin announced the suspension late Tuesday, saying that at least 17 members of parliament and 151 staffers have tested positive for the coronavirus. He has urged lawmakers and other parliament staffers to get tested.

Meetings, however, will continue of the parliament appointments committee to nominate ministry posts for the administration of President Nana Akufo-Addo, who was re-elected in December.

Ghana’s Health Services confirmed that there have been 73,003 cases, including 482 deaths, in the West African nation since the outbreak began last year.

5 a.m.: There’s a footnote buried on page 188 of Ontario’s 2020 budget that’s doing a lot of heavy lifting for the province when it comes to explaining its spending on social services.

“Expense sensitivities for Ontario Works and the Ontario Disability Support Program do not reflect the impact of COVID-19,” the footnote reads.

The single sentence helps to obscure how, in the midst of the pandemic and record unemployment, Ontario appears to be spending less on social assistance than it did before the coronavirus struck the province. That’s thanks to savings from a reduced social assistance caseload, money clawed back from welfare and ODSP recipients who also received the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, and increased federal cash transfers.

Those savings are not disclosed in the budget, which suggests the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services — which doles out social assistance — actually increased spending by $824 million in the 2020-21 fiscal year.

Read more on this story from the Star’s Brendan Kennedy.

4:22 a.m.: South Africa will give the unapproved Johnson & Johnson vaccine to its front-line health workers beginning next week as a study to see what protection it provides from COVID-19, particularly against the variant dominant there, the health minister said Wednesday.

Zweli Mkhize said South Africa has scrapped plans to use the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine because it “does not prevent mild to moderate disease” of the variant.

The one-shot J&J vaccine is still being tested internationally and has not been approved in any country.

But Mkhize, in a nationally broadcast address, declared that the vaccine is safe, relying on tests of 44,000 people done in South Africa, the United States and Latin America.

4:16 a.m.: A Montreal cardiologist with a background in epidemiology says even with community spread of COVID-19 in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador can have a safe election on Saturday.

McGill University professor Dr. Christopher Labos says it’s not the election itself that’s a concern but the possibility of people gathering in large numbers.

Labos said Tuesday if venues are ventilated and if voters are masked and keep their distance from one another, then everything should be fine.

Newfoundlanders and Labradorians will be heading to the polls days after health officials confirmed community spread of COVID-19 in the capital’s metro region.

And although officials announced stricter health measures in St. John’s, shutting gyms, cinemas and bars, the chief electoral officer said Tuesday that voting day was still a go.

4:01 a.m.: Premier Jason Kenney is expected to discuss a plan today to recognize Alberta’s hundreds of thousands of critical workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Opposition NDP says Kenney needs to recognize it’s time to use hundreds of millions of dollars in available federal funding to top up wages.

NDP Leader Rachel Notley says the United Conservative government has used $30 million out of the $347-million maximum in eligible federal funding for essential workers under a deal brokered last year between Ottawa and the provinces.

The federal government promised to provide up to $3 billion if the provinces contributed $1 billion.

Notley says not only is the pay being denied to workers in high-risk jobs, but Alberta is also missing out on the effect the extra spending would have in stimulating the economy.

Kenney has said the government doesn’t plan to leave $317 million on the table.

4 a.m.: Researchers studying Canadian history have not been able to access Library and Archive Canada’s collections during COVID-19 lockdowns — a situation that forced some to put off their research or revise it to use only materials available online.

Chad Gaffield, a history professor at the University of Ottawa, says the collections of Library and Archives Canada are the foundations of understanding Canada’s history and without them research in the field is impossible.

Before the lockdown in Ontario, researchers could make appointments at Library and Archives Canada building in Ottawa to view documents in its reading room but the building doors have now been closed for weeks.

4 a.m.: The latest numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Canada as of 4 a.m. ET on Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2021.

There are 810,797 confirmed cases in Canada.

_ Canada: 810,797 confirmed cases (39,179 active, 750,709 resolved, 20,909 deaths).The total case count includes 13 confirmed cases among repatriated travellers.

There were 2,677 new cases Tuesday. The rate of active cases is 103.09 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 24,380 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 3,483.

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There were 74 new reported deaths Tuesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 696 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 99. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.26 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 55.02 per 100,000 people.

There have been zero tests completed.

_ Newfoundland and Labrador: 457 confirmed cases (60 active, 393 resolved, four deaths).

There were 30 new cases Tuesday. The rate of active cases is 11.49 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 49 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is seven.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 0.77 per 100,000 people.

There have been zero tests completed.

_ Prince Edward Island: 114 confirmed cases (four active, 110 resolved, zero deaths).

There was one new case Tuesday. The rate of active cases is 2.51 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there has been one new case. 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 zero tests completed.

_ Nova Scotia: 1,587 confirmed cases (nine active, 1,513 resolved, 65 deaths).

There was one new case Tuesday. The rate of active cases is 0.92 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there has been five new case. 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 6.64 per 100,000 people.

There have been zero tests completed.

_ New Brunswick: 1,361 confirmed cases (184 active, 1,156 resolved, 21 deaths).

There were 15 new cases Tuesday. The rate of active cases is 23.55 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 73 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 10.

There was one new reported death Tuesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of three new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is zero. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.05 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 2.69 per 100,000 people.

There have been zero tests completed.

_ Quebec: 271,737 confirmed cases (11,007 active, 250,652 resolved, 10,078 deaths).

There were 826 new cases Tuesday. The rate of active cases is 128.37 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 7,211 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 1,030.

There were 32 new reported deaths Tuesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 216 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 31. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.36 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 117.53 per 100,000 people.

There have been zero tests completed.

_ Ontario: 280,494 confirmed cases (13,948 active, 259,991 resolved, 6,555 deaths).

There were 1,022 new cases Tuesday. The rate of active cases is 94.67 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 9,569 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 1,367.

There were 17 new reported deaths Tuesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 317 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 45. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.31 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 44.49 per 100,000 people.

There have been zero tests completed.

_ Manitoba: 30,360 confirmed cases (1,597 active, 27,910 resolved, 853 deaths).

There were 71 new cases Tuesday. The rate of active cases is 115.79 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 627 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 90.

There were three new reported deaths Tuesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 21 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is three. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.22 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 61.84 per 100,000 people.

There have been zero tests completed.

_ Saskatchewan: 25,654 confirmed cases (2,026 active, 23,282 resolved, 346 deaths).

There were 80 new cases Tuesday. The rate of active cases is 171.89 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 1,418 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 203.

There were five new reported deaths Tuesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 32 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is five. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.39 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 29.35 per 100,000 people.

There have been zero tests completed.

_ Alberta: 127,231 confirmed cases (5,831 active, 119,678 resolved, 1,722 deaths).

There were 195 new cases Tuesday. The rate of active cases is 131.87 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 2,400 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 343.

There were 12 new reported deaths Tuesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 62 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is nine. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.2 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 38.94 per 100,000 people.

There have been zero tests completed.

_ British Columbia: 71,387 confirmed cases (4,506 active, 65,618 resolved, 1,263 deaths).

There were 435 new cases Tuesday. The rate of active cases is 87.53 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 3,021 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 432.

There were four new reported deaths Tuesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 45 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is six. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.12 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 24.54 per 100,000 people.

There have been zero tests completed.

_ Yukon: 70 confirmed cases (zero active, 69 resolved, one deaths).

There were zero new cases Tuesday. 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 2.38 per 100,000 people.

There have been zero tests completed.

_ Northwest Territories: 33 confirmed cases (two active, 31 resolved, zero deaths).

There was one new case Tuesday. The rate of active cases is 4.43 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there has been one new case. 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 zero tests completed.

_ Nunavut: 299 confirmed cases (five active, 293 resolved, one deaths).

There were zero new cases Tuesday. The rate of active cases is 12.71 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 2.54 per 100,000 people.

There have been zero tests completed.

4 a.m.: The latest numbers on COVID-19 vaccinations in Canada as of 4 a.m. ET on Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2021.

In Canada, the provinces are reporting 25,230 new vaccinations administered for a total of 1,123,563 doses given. The provinces have administered doses at a rate of 2,964.603 per 100,000.

There were 4,000 new vaccines delivered to the provinces and territories for a total of 1,278,015 doses delivered so far. The provinces and territories have used 87.91 per cent of their available vaccine supply.

Newfoundland is reporting 2,516 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 12,596 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 24.055 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Newfoundland for a total of 17,475 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 3.3 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 72.08 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

P.E.I. is reporting 972 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 8,828 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 55.652 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to P.E.I. for a total of 10,200 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 6.4 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 86.55 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Nova Scotia is reporting 3,661 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 18,826 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 19.291 per 1,000. There were 4,000 new vaccines delivered to Nova Scotia for a total of 34,800 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 3.6 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 54.1 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

New Brunswick is reporting 1,366 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 18,643 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 23.90 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to New Brunswick for a total of 25,850 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 3.3 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 72.12 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Quebec is reporting 3,406 new vaccinations administered for a total of 262,594 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 30.689 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Quebec for a total of 294,825 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 3.4 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 89.07 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Ontario is reporting 12,462 new vaccinations administered for a total of 398,633 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 27.138 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Ontario for a total of 437,975 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 3.0 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 91.02 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Manitoba is reporting 1,186 new vaccinations administered for a total of 49,373 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 35.855 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Manitoba for a total of 66,090 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 4.8 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 74.71 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Saskatchewan is reporting 1,534 new vaccinations administered for a total of 44,521 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 37.757 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Saskatchewan for a total of 44,575 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 3.8 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 99.88 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Alberta is reporting 3,968 new vaccinations administered for a total of 124,325 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 28.243 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Alberta for a total of 132,475 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 3.0 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 93.85 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

British Columbia is reporting 1,089 new vaccinations administered for a total of 155,585 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 30.319 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to British Columbia for a total of 172,950 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 3.4 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 89.96 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Yukon is reporting 175 new vaccinations administered for a total of 11,234 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 269.20 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Yukon for a total of 14,400 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 35 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 78.01 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

The Northwest Territories are reporting 225 new vaccinations administered for a total of 12,466 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 276.292 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to the Northwest Territories for a total of 14,400 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 32 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 86.57 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Nunavut is reporting 87 new vaccinations administered for a total of 5,939 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 153.36 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Nunavut for a total of 12,000 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 31 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 49.49 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

1:25 a.m.: Mendy Moskowits, a member of the ultra-Orthodox Belz Hassidic sect in Jerusalem, doesn’t understand the uproar toward believers like him.

In recent weeks, ultra-Orthodox Jews have defied coronavirus restrictions by holding big funerals for beloved rabbis who died of COVID-19, celebrating large weddings, and continuing to send their children to schools. The gatherings have led to clashes with police and an unprecedented wave of public anger toward the religious community.

Moskowits, like many other ultra-Orthodox faithful, says Israeli society doesn’t understand their way of life and has turned his community into a scapegoat.

“The media gives us, in my opinion, a very bad misrepresentation,” he said.

The ultra-Orthodox community makes up about 12% of Israel’s 9.3 million people. But it has wielded outsize influence, using its kingmaker status in parliament to secure benefits and generous government subsidies.

Ultra-Orthodox men are exempt from compulsory military service and often collect welfare payments while continuing to study full time in seminaries throughout adulthood. Their schools enjoy broad autonomy and focus almost entirely on religion while shunning basic subjects like math and science.

12:13 a.m.: Three sons of Cambodian leader Hun Sen were inoculated against COVID-19 on Wednesday as the country began distributing vaccines donated from its closest ally, China.

Hun Manet, the head of the army and Hun Sen’s eldest son, urged all Cambodians to be vaccinated and thanked China for the donation.

“I trust this vaccine and that is why I have been vaccinated with it,” Hun Manet said.

China is donating 1 million doses of the Chinese-made Sinopharm vaccine, enough for half a million people, and the first shipment of 600,000 doses arrived in Cambodia on Sunday.

Hun Sen’s two sons-in-law, government ministers and other officials were vaccinated at a state-run hospital.

Hun Sen himself backtracked on receiving the vaccine because he is 68.

In China, the Sinopharm vaccine was approved only for people ages 18-59 because that is the population studied in clinical trials. While there is not yet data on its effectiveness for other age groups, other countries have discretion to use it in older people.

China is Cambodia’s biggest investor and its closest political partner, while Hun Sen is shunned by some Western nations who consider his government to be repressive. Cambodia in turn backs Beijing’s geopolitical positions in international forums on issues such as China’s territorial claims in the South China Sea.

Click here to read more of Tuesday’s COVID-19 coverage.



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