Today’s coronavirus news: PM consults the opposition on how the House of Commons should resume its activities; Europe is the only region with an increase in COVID-19 last week, according to WHO
The latest coronavirus news in Canada and around the world Wednesday. This file will be updated throughout the day. Web links to longer stories if available.
6:25 am: What do you call someone who graduates last in their class in medical school? Doctor. It’s an old joke, but the point is, not all who reach rank have the same level of insight. On Monday, two doctors were blamed by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario for selling fragile vaccines, masks and even COVID testing exemptions. Doctors, get well.
As of Tuesday, there were four of these charlatans on the register, and there are clearly more. This is a blatant violation of good medical practice, and in this time of plague, it is clearly a gap that must be filled. Then how ?
Read the full Star’s Bruce Arthur review here.
6:24 am: An Ontario mayor who has pushed misinformation about COVID-19 could lose part of his salary following a scathing report from an integrity commissioner.
West Lincoln Mayor David Bylsma is one of a small group of politicians from the fiercely conservative communities of western Niagara who have adopted anti-vaccination or anti-containment rhetoric. He is the only one to face sanctions from the political authorities of which he is a member.
First, his own council stripped him of most of his powers, and now the regional council that his town hall gives him the right to sit on will consider suspending his salary.
Bylsma’s decision earlier this year to ask St. Catharines woman Emily Spanton via Facebook whether the COVID-19 vaccine had an impact on her period was “alarmingly invasive”, “arguably insulting” and “irresponsible The Niagara Region Integrity Commissioner found in an Oct. 8 report.
Read the full story of Torstar’s Grant LaFleche here.
6:22 a.m .: Coronavirus deaths in Russia hit a new daily high on Wednesday as the spike in infections prompted Cabinet to suggest declaring a week off to stem the contagion.
The government task force reported 1,028 coronavirus deaths in the past 24 hours, the highest number since the start of the pandemic. This brought the total death toll to 226,353 – by far the highest in Europe.
Amid a spike in infections and deaths, Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova suggested introducing a period of leave starting October 30 and extending until the following week, when four days out of seven are already public holidays. The proposal has not yet been authorized by Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The daily number of coronavirus deaths has been rising for weeks and topped 1,000 for the first time over the weekend amid slow vaccination rates, a lax public stance on precaution and reluctance government to tighten restrictions. About 45 million Russians, or 32% of the country’s nearly 146 million people, are fully immunized.
6:21 am: The Czech Republic has been hit by a sharp rise in coronavirus infections which have reached unprecedented levels since the end of April, the health ministry said on Wednesday.
The government was due to meet later today to approve new measures to curb the tide.
The daily increase in new cases reached 3,246 on Tuesday, more than double the cases a week ago from 1,507. It was the highest number since April 20.
New infections topped 100 per 100,000 people in seven days with 117 positive cases.
With the rapid rise in infections comes an increasing number of people requiring hospitalization and death.
6:20 am: The World Health Organization said there was a 7% increase in new coronavirus cases in Europe last week, the only region in the world where cases have increased.
In its weekly assessment of the pandemic released Tuesday evening, the United Nations health agency said there were around 2.7 million new cases of COVID-19 and more than 46,000 deaths last week, similar to figures reported the previous week. Britain, Russia and Turkey accounted for the largest number of cases.
The largest drop in COVID-19 cases was seen in Africa and the Western Pacific, where infections declined by around 18% and 16%, respectively. The death toll in Africa has also fallen by around a quarter, despite the continent’s severe vaccine shortage. Other regions, including the Americas and the Middle East, reported numbers similar to the previous week, the WHO said.
But for the third week in a row, coronavirus cases have jumped in Europe, with around 1.3 million new cases. More than half of countries in the region have reported an increase in their number of COVID-19, the WHO said.
Over the past week, Russia has repeatedly broken new daily records for COVID-19 cases and the number of infections in the UK has reached levels not seen since mid-July.
6:19 am: Statistics Canada is due to report this morning what the country’s headline inflation barometer recorded in September.
The consumer price index for August rose 4.1% from the same month a year earlier, marking the largest year-over-year increase since March 2003.
The pace of increases in August reflected the rebound in prices from lows seen a year earlier, increased consumer demand and supply chain bottlenecks that led to higher transportation costs. passed on to buyers.
RBC economists Nathan Janzen and Claire Fan say they expect an annual inflation rate of 4.2 percent in September, with housing and gasoline costs the main drivers.
They also write in a note that supply chain issues may be more persistent and over time fuel higher, longer-term inflation expectations for households and businesses.
Bank of Canada Governor Tiff Macklem said the central bank would act to curb inflation if the current spike in price hikes appeared to become more than one-time pressure points.
6:18 am: It’s a spooky Halloween season for retailers scrambling to stock their shelves in time for the holidays.
Geoff Waszek, owner of Candy’s Costume Shop in Toronto, said he was wary of placing orders in January, as is customary in the industry for Halloween, lest another lockdown could void the festivities .
Once he started ordering, Waszek said he needed to source inventory from a patchwork of suppliers struggling with supply chain issues.
U.S.-based HalloweenCostumes.com, which ships direct to Canadian consumers, said many of the products ordered wouldn’t arrive even after the holidays.
Spokeswoman Ashley Theis said the company will just have to use the overdue items as stock for next year.
Retailers said supply shortages made it difficult to recover after a dismal 2020, when many did not celebrate Halloween due to the high number of COVID-19. This year, however, Waszek says he’s happy to see how excited people are to celebrate the holidays again.
6:15 am: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will continue today to consult with opposition leaders on how the House of Commons should resume its work and what the priorities should be once it is back up and running.
He is expected to have separate phone conversations with Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh and Greens House Leader Elizabeth May.
On Tuesday, he exchanged ideas on the resumption of Parliament with the leader of the Bloc QuÃ©bÃ©cois Yves-FranÃ§ois Blanchet.
The first on the agenda is whether the House of Commons should resume the hybrid sittings adopted to get through the COVID-19 pandemic or return to normal in-person operations.
It will likely be a touchy subject with O’Toole following a decision on Tuesday by the all-party Home Economy Council to allow only fully vaccinated people to be admitted to the House of Commons.
The Liberals, the Bloc QuÃ©bÃ©cois and the NDP support all mandatory vaccinations and have declared that all their members have received two injections of approved vaccines; but O’Toole declined to say whether all of his 118 MPs are fully vaccinated and objected to making it mandatory.