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

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The latest:

Saskatchewan has joined neighbouring Alberta in announcing the province has reached its COVID-19 vaccination target to prepare for the third and final stage of its reopening plan, which will see the majority of public health measures lifted. 

The provincial government said Saturday that Step 3 of the plan can begin on July 11 now that 70 per cent of Saskatchewan residents aged 18 and older had their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

“Saskatchewan people are doing a great job protecting themselves and those around them while making sure we can reopen safely by getting vaccinated,” Premier Scott Moe said in a news release.

He also urged people to keep getting vaccinations and follow through with second shots.

Under Step 3, the only remaining restrictions will be on event and gathering sizes, while a mandatory indoor masking order will also remain in place.

Those remaining restrictions may be lifted when the province reaches a 70 per cent first-dose vaccination rate for all residents aged 12 and up, the province says. The first-dose vaccination rate for all eligible people — those 12 and up — is now 68 per cent.

More restrictions loosen Sunday

Per the province’s reopening plan, Step 3 will come three weeks after Step 2, which begins Sunday.

That step removes capacity limits for businesses as long as two-metre physical distancing can be maintained. Table capacity in restaurants are removed, but there must still be two metres between tables or a physical barrier. Dance floors and buffets must remain closed.

Other restrictions being relaxed on Sunday include changes to the number of people allowed at gatherings. Limits on the number of people allowed in places of worship, however, are not changing and remain capped at 30 per cent of capacity or 150 people — whichever is less.

This comes the same week that Alberta announced it will lift almost all COVID-19 public health restrictions on July 1.

The province met the vaccine threshold required for the final stage of its three-step reopening plan on Thursday, with more than 70 per cent of eligible Albertans having received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.


What’s happening across Canada

As of 9 a.m. ET on Sunday, Canada had reported 1,408,157 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 12,253 considered active. A CBC News tally of deaths stood at 26,054. More than 31.8 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered so far across the country, according to CBC’s vaccine tracker.

In Atlantic Canada on Saturday, New Brunswick reported five new cases of COVID-19, but vaccination rates continue to rise. More than 76 per cent of eligible residents have now had at least one shot.

WATCH | New Brunswick gig workers fear COVID-19 reopening’s impact on income:

App couriers are seeing a slowdown with their side-hustle as the province moves into Phase 2. 1:47

Nova Scotia saw six new cases on Saturday as mobile testing expands in Cape Breton and West Hants this weekend.

In Newfoundland and Labrador, which did not report any new cases, 75 per cent of eligible residents have now had at least one shot of a COVID-19 vaccine, a benchmark that has been cited as one that needed to be met as part of the province’s reopening plan. 

In Prince Edward Island, which also did not report any new cases Saturday, more than 7,000 people have signed up for a P.E.I. Pass, which allows travellers with proof of vaccination from outside the province to enter P.E.I. without self-isolating.

Ontario reported 355 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday and an additional 13 deaths.

The province is moving up appointments for second vaccine doses for a number of groups in the coming weeks. As of Monday, anyone who got a first shot of either Pfizer of Moderna between April 19 and May 9 should be able to look for a followup appointment.

Quebec confirmed 160 new cases and nine additional deaths on Saturday. 

Public health officials are again offering a walk-in vaccination clinic outside Montreal’s Bell Centre on Sunday in an effort to draw hockey fans in attendance for Canadiens playoff games.

WATCH | Walk-in clinic aims to vaccinate Habs fans:

Health workers are sweetening the deal this weekend by throwing in a free hot dog for people who get their shot. 1:21

In the Prairies, Manitoba reported 151 new COVID-19 cases and three more deaths on Saturday. Saskatchewan logged 55 new cases, and Alberta saw 127 new cases and six new deaths.

In British Columbia, which does not report updated figures over the weekend, more than 75 per cent of eligible residents have received at least one vaccine dose.

In the North, Yukon health officials reported 29 new cases on Saturday. Dr. Brendan Hanley, the territory’s chief medical officer says 31 of Yukon’s 87 active cases are believed to be caused by the gamma variant of the virus, which was first identified in Brazil.

Nunavut and the Northwest Territories did not report any new cases on Saturday.


What’s happening around the world

As of Sunday morning, a database of COVID-19 cases showed more than 178.2 million cases reported worldwide. The Johns Hopkins University tracker put the reported global death toll at more than 3.8 million.

In Asia, the U.S. sent 2.5 million doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to Taiwan on Sunday, tripling an earlier pledge.

Taiwan, which had been relatively unscathed by the virus, has been caught off guard by a surge in new cases since May and is now scrambling to get vaccines. It has ordered 5.05 million doses directly from Moderna but, so far, received only 390,000, including a second shipment that arrived Friday.

Taiwan’s Health Minister Chen Shih-chung, left, and Brent Christensen, the top U.S. official in Taiwan, hold up thank-you cards as they welcome a China Airlines cargo plane carrying COVID-19 vaccines from Memphis that arrived at the airport outside Taipei on Sunday. (Taiwan Centers for Disease Control/The Associated Press)

In Europe, London soccer stadiums have been transformed into “super pop-up” vaccination sites as Britain tries to get younger adults to be inoculated against COVID-19.

Hundreds of people lined up Sunday at Tottenham Hotspur’s north London stadium, following similar events Saturday at venues including Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge stadium in west London, and east London’s Olympic Stadium, home to West Ham United.

In Africa, Uganda is one of several countries that have reported their highest number of new weekly cases since the pandemic began, the World Health Organization Regional Office for Africa says. 

President Yowreri Museveni has introduced sweeping new anti-coronavirus measures including a ban on all vehicular movement except for essential workers.

One of Uganda’s Tokyo 2020 Olympic squad tested positive for the coronavirus on arrival in Japan on Saturday, the first time an infection has been confirmed in an overseas team, NHK reported.

In the Americas, anti-government protesters took to the streets in cities across Brazil as the nation’s confirmed death toll from COVID-19 soared past half a million.

Thousands gathered Saturday in Rio de Janeiro to decry President Jair Bolsonaro’s pandemic response, waving flags reading “Get out Bolsonaro.” Other marchers hoisted posters reading: “500,000 deaths. It’s his fault.” Similar marches took place in at least 22 of Brazil’s 26 states.

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