People in Alberta, Quebec and Nova Scotia will see some COVID-19 restrictions lifted Monday, while students in more than a dozen public health regions in Ontario who had been learning remotely will venture back into the classroom.
Quebec is again allowing non-essential businesses, including personal care businesses like hair salons, to open their doors.
The province, which over the weekend surpassed 10,000 deaths since the pandemic began, will keep a curfew in place — but “red zone” communities will see their curfew start earlier than communities with fewer cases.
Restaurants and theatres will also be allowed to open in “orange zone” communities as of Monday, though those businesses will stay closed to customers in harder-hit areas for now.
The gradual reopening comes as Quebec reported 1,081 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday and 32 additional deaths. Hospitalizations continued to trend downward, with 963 COVID-19 patients in hospital and 158 in intensive care units, according to a provincial dashboard updated on Sunday.
In Ontario, students in 13 public health units will head back into their classrooms on Monday, with students in Toronto, Peel and York regions expected to resume next week.
Premier Doug Ford is expected to offer some detail around how his government will handle a gradual reopening later Monday. The province’s current state of emergency is set to expire on Tuesday.
Ontario reported 1,489 cases and 22 deaths on Sunday, bringing the provincial death toll to 6,505. Hospitalizations decreased to 926, with 335 patients in intensive care, according to the province.
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In Atlantic Canada, Nova Scotia is allowing retail businesses and fitness facilities to operate at 75 per cent capacity. The province, which is loosening restrictions in a range of sectors as of Monday, reported just one new case of COVID-19 on Sunday.
Businesses and organizations holding events like weddings, funerals, sporting matches and festivals in Nova Scotia will be allowed to increase the number of people in attendance, but the number of people allowed to get together informally and inside a home is holding at 10.
Meanwhile, in Alberta, restaurants will be allowed to reopen for in-person dining. Sports and entertainment-related activities can resume in schools, and youth will be able to participate in lessons and practices for team-based minor sports and athletics.
Not every restriction is rolling back, though, as indoor gatherings are still banned, and outdoor get-togethers remain capped at 10.
As of early Monday morning, Canada had reported 804,260 cases of COVID-19 — with 44,727 considered active. A CBC News tally of deaths stood at 20,767.
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Here’s a look at what’s happening across the country:
-From CBC News and The Canadian Press, last updated at 7 a.m. ET
What’s happening around the world
As of early Monday morning, more than 106.1 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported worldwide, with almost 59.2 million of those cases listed as recovered or resolved by Johns Hopkins University, which maintains a case tracking tool. The global death toll stood at more than 2.3 million.
In Africa, South Africa has suspended plans to inoculate its front-line health-care workers with the AstraZeneca vaccine after a small clinical trial suggested that it isn’t effective in preventing mild to moderate illness from the variant dominant in the country.
South Africa received its first one million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine last week and was expected to begin giving jabs to health-care workers in mid-February. The disappointing early results indicate that an inoculation drive using the AstraZeneca vaccine may not be useful.
The trial results, which aren’t yet peer reviewed, suggested the AstraZeneca vaccine “provides minimal protection against mild-moderate COVID-19 infection” among young adults exposed to the South Africa variant.
Oxford University and the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg said in a statement that protection against more severe forms of the disease could not be assessed in the trial because those participating were at low risk. The variant appears more infectious and is driving a deadly resurgence, accounting for more than 90 per cent of COVID-19 cases, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said Sunday night.
In the Asia-Pacific region, South Korea’s daily tally of newly confirmed coronavirus cases has fallen below 300 for the first time in more than two months as authorities slightly ease tough physical distancing rules in the country.
South Korea’s virus caseload has gradually slowed in recent weeks amid stringent physical distancing rules. On Monday, officials began allowing restaurants, coffee shops, indoor gyms and other facilities outside the densely populous Seoul metropolitan region to stay open an hour longer. Authorities say they’ll maintain a ban on social gatherings of five or more people throughout the Lunar New Year holidays.
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China appears to have stamped out its latest coronavirus outbreaks centred on the northeast, reporting no new cases of local infection in its latest daily report.
The National Health Commission said Monday that 14 newly confirmed cases had been brought from outside the country but no new cases were registered in the provinces of Heilongjiang and Jilin that have seen China’s latest clusters. While China has relaxed some physical distancing rules, extensive testing, electronic monitoring and periodic lockdowns remain in place.
In the Americas, Chicago schools could gradually start to reopen for in-person learning this week under a tentative agreement with the teachers union on a COVID-19 safety plan.
Corpses in Bolivia have begun to pile up as a fierce second wave of the coronavirus has overwhelmed funeral homes and cemeteries.
In the Middle East, the United Arab Emirates will temporarily only vaccinate residents and citizens who are elderly or who have certain health conditions.
In Europe, schools, shops, hairdressing salons and museums are reopening in Austria after the country’s third lockdown, but concerns linger about infection rates and the spread of new coronavirus variants.
The relaxation of measures taking effect Monday is far from complete. People going to the hairdresser will need to show a negative test result that’s at most 48 hours old. In shops, customers have to wear full protective masks rather than just fabric face coverings. Restaurants and hotels remain closed, and authorities say they won’t reopen this month.
Slovenia will reopen ski resorts and some shops, and has eased restrictions on people entering the country after coming under pressure over its handling of the pandemic.
The Netherlands on Saturday surpassed a million confirmed coronavirus infections since the start of the pandemic.
Britain, meanwhile, said it will not introduce COVID-19 vaccine passports, but people will be able to seek proof from their doctor if needed for travel to other countries.
–From The Associated Press and Reuters, last updated at 6:45 a.m. ET