Medical health officials in British Columbia said those seeking relief from a severe heat wave in the Lower Mainland this weekend should not be denied access to cooling centres over physical distancing or crowding concerns.
Health authorities — including Fraser Health, Vancouver Coastal Health and Interior Health — also said in an advisory issued on Friday that the risks from the high temperatures exceed those from COVID-19.
“If people are wearing a mask and have difficulty breathing, they should remove the mask, whether they are indoors or outside, as wearing a mask may impact thermal regulation during heat events,” the advisory read.
On Friday, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix said in a joint statement that many pop-up vaccination sites will be moved indoors to cooler locations this weekend.
The town of Lytton in B.C.’s southern Interior was the hottest spot in Canada on Saturday with the temperature hitting 42.9 C. Environment Canada warns of a dangerous, prolonged heat wave across most of the province and parts of Alberta, expected to last until at least Tuesday.
In Manitoba, restaurants, gyms and hair salons reopened with some restrictions on Saturday.
The moves come after the province surpassed its target of having 70 per cent of Manitobans receiving one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 25 per cent getting two.
Dr. Jazz Atwal, deputy chief provincial public health officer, said that although some parts of Manitoba have fallen short of those targets, the province doesn’t want to impose restrictions based on regions.
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The provincial government is still urging residents “to continue to follow the fundamentals and adhere to public health orders.”
Officials in the province aim to have at least 75 per cent of eligible people immunized with a first dose by August.
What’s happening across Canada
As of 7 a.m. ET on Sunday, Canada had reported 1,412,868 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 8,924 considered active. A CBC News tally of deaths stood at 26,214. More than 34 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered so far across the country, according to CBC’s vaccine tracker.
Saskatchewan tallied 61 new COVID-19 infections and one additional death on Saturday. The province also said 70 per cent of residents 12 and older have now received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose.
As of 8 a.m. on Saturday, Ontario youth between the ages of 12 and 17 who live in designated hot spots for the delta COVID-19 variant can book accelerated second vaccine dose appointments.
Quebec on Monday will move to the lowest alert level of the province’s colour-coded COVID-19 alert system, which allows for more relaxed restrictions on social gatherings and group sports.
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New Brunswick Public Health says 76,000 doses were given out in the past week, the highest seven-day rolling average since the pandemic began.
Nova Scotia reported 11 new cases on Saturday, all in the central health zone.
Prince Edward Island Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Heather Morrison said the province is rolling ahead with a plan to open up to Atlantic Canada this coming Sunday.
In the Northwest Territories, a non-resident has tested positive in Hay River. Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Kami Kandola said the case is linked to out-of-territory travel and that there are currently no public health risk exposures.
What’s happening around the world
As of Sunday morning, more than 180.7 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported worldwide, according to the latest numbers from Johns Hopkins University’s coronavirus tracker. The reported global death toll stood at more than 3.9 million.
In India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday delivered a radio address to stress the need to vaccinate country’s rural population and fight vaccine hesitancy.
India has administered more than 321 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine so far. It aims to fully vaccinate 300 million people or administer 600 million doses by July.
“Throughout the year, eminent scientists worked round the clock, so we must have confidence in science, scientists, and explain to rumour-mongers about the efficacy of the vaccine,” Modi added.
India’s daily COVID-19 infections rose by 50,040 on Sunday, official data showed, as concerns grew about the detection of the highly infectious delta variant in some states.
Officials in Thailand on Sunday announced a ban on indoor dining and gatherings of more than 20 people in Bangkok after a sharp rise in COVID-19 cases.
Construction sites and work camps are closed in Bangkok and southern Thailand. The measures will remain for 30 days.
Thailand reported 3,995 new confirmed cases and 42 additional deaths from COVID-19.
Malaysia will indefinitely extend a near-total lockdown that’s been in place for a month. Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin on Sunday said the lockdown won’t be eased unless daily new cases fall below 4,000, the vaccination rate reaches 10 per cent and demand is reduced for intensive care in hospitals.
The national Bernama news agency quoted Muhyiddin as saying he hopes this will happen by mid-July. The lockdown was set to expire Monday.
In Europe, the United Kingdom has recorded its most new coronavirus infections since early February, as the National Health Service runs a “grab a jab” initiative to further drive up vaccination rates.
Government figures on Saturday showed that another 18,270 people tested positive for the novel coronavirus across the U.K. Over the past week, nearly 100,000 have tested positive, around a 50 per cent increase from the week before.
Daily cases have risen fairly sharply over the past few weeks as a result of the delta variant, which was first identified in India and is considered more transmissible than the previous dominant strain. It accounts for nearly all the new cases in the U.K.