Coronavirus: What’s happening in Canada and around the world on Wednesday – CBC News

Hospitals in New Brunswick are feeling the strain of the Omicron wave, with four hospitals at or near capacity.

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The latest:

Hospitals in New Brunswick are feeling the strain of the Omicron wave, with four hospitals at or near capacity.

“Our hospitals are caring for higher volumes of COVID-positive inpatients than at any other point in the pandemic,” a statement from the Horizon Health network said Tuesday.

The hospital network said that the number of people in hospital combined with staff shortages is having an impact on how it delivers care. The province shifted to emergency and urgent hospital care only at the end of 2021 as it faced a mounting Omicron wave. 

On Wednesday, the province reported that 137 people were hospitalized with COVID-19, including eight people in intensive care. Six new deaths were also reported, along with 520 new cases.

Dr. Jennifer Russell, chief medical officer of health, said in a statement Tuesday that while hospitalizations are rising, they are trending below the province’s projections.

“The data indicates that New Brunswickers have reduced their contacts by about 30 per cent,” she said in a statement. “This has made a tremendous difference to our acute care system, which has been heavily impacted by employees who are absent due to Omicron and the increasing number of patients.”

Tight restrictions are still in place in the Atlantic province, and students are expected to continue with remote learning until Jan. 31.

In Prince Edward Island, students will be going back to in-person learning on Jan. 31 as previously planned, Premier Dennis King said Wednesday.

The province on Wednesday reported 14 COVID-19 hospitalizations, with two people in ICU. There were 255 new lab-confirmed cases.

Dr. Janice Fitzgerald, the chief medical officer of health in Newfoundland and Labrador, said Wednesday that there were 20 people hospitalized due to COVID-19. Of those, seven are in ICU, an increase of two from the previous day. The province also reported three deaths due to COVID-19 and 304 additional lab-confirmed cases. 

The update came as Premier Andrew Furey said the province is, “evaluating making a change to the Newfoundland and Labrador vaccine pass to reflect booster doses in the coming weeks.”

In Nova Scotia, health officials on Wednesday said the province had 91 people in designated COVID-19 hospital units, including 15 people in intensive care. The province also reported three additional deaths and 346 new lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19.

— From CBC News, last updated at 4 p.m. ET

What’s happening across Canada

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With lab-based testing capacity deeply strained and increasingly restricted, experts say true case counts are likely far higher than reported. Hospitalization data at the regional level is also evolving, with several provinces saying they will report figures that separate the number of people in hospital because of COVID-19 from those in hospital for another medical issue who also test positive for COVID-19.

For more information on what is happening in your community — including details on outbreaks, testing capacity and local restrictions — click through to the regional coverage below.

You can also read more from the Public Health Agency of Canada, which provides a detailed look at every region — including seven-day average test positivity rates — in its daily epidemiological updates.

In Central Canada, Ontario’s health minister on Wednesday reported a total of 4,016 hospitalizations, with 608 people in intensive care. The province, which saw 5,368 new lab-confirmed cases, also reported 89 additional deaths — though Christine Elliott’s office noted that the deaths occurred over the past 21 days.

608 people are in ICU with #COVID19. 83% of patients admitted to the ICU were admitted for COVID-19 and 17% were admitted for other reasons but have tested positive for COVID-19.

There are 5,368 new cases of COVID-19.


Quebec on Wednesday reported 3,270 hospitalizations, with 252 people in intensive care. The province reported 73 additional deaths and 4,150 new lab-confirmed cases, according to the COVID-19 situation report posted daily by health officials.

The update comes a day after Premier François Legault said that the province will ease some COVID-19 restrictions in the weeks ahead. The initial shift, which is set for Jan. 31, will allow restaurants to open dining rooms with limited capacity. Some sports will return, with further easing expected in early February.

Quebec’s health system, however, is still feeling the strain, Legault said, noting that it will take time to build the capacity the province needs.

Across the North, Nunavut on Wednesday reported 48 new cases of COVID-19 and no additional deaths, while Yukon reported 25 additional cases and no new deaths.

Health officials in the Northwest Territories had not yet provided updated information for the day.

In the Prairie provinces, Manitoba on Wednesday reported a total of 720 COVID-19 hospitalizations — down from the previous day’s pandemic high of 729. Of those, 49 people were in intensive care. Health officials also reported three new deaths and 637 additional lab-confirmed cases.

In Saskatchewan, the total number of COVID-19 hospitalizations stood at 315 on Wednesday, with 33 people in the province’s intensive care units. The province also reported six additional deaths and 1,194 lab-confirmed cases.

Alberta on Tuesday said hospitalizations stood at 1,377 — a pandemic high — with 111 people in intensive care. The province also reported 13 additional deaths and 2,772 additional cases.

In British Columbia, total COVID-19 hospitalizations stood at 985, health officials said Tuesday, with 144 in intensive care units. The province also reported one additional death and 1,446 additional lab-confirmed cases. 

— From CBC News and The Canadian Press, last updated at 2:20 p.m. ET

What’s happening around the world


The Australian Navy’s HMAS Adelaide docked at Vuna Wharf in Tonga’s capital Nukualofa to deliver aid following the Jan. 15 eruption of the nearby Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai underwater volcano. (Mary Lyn Fonua/Matangi Tonga/AFP/Getty Images)

As of early Wednesday afternoon, more than 360 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University’s coronavirus tracker. The reported global death toll stood at more than 5.6 million.

In the Asia-Pacific region, the Australian navy’s largest ship docked at disaster-stricken Tonga on Wednesday and was allowed to unload humanitarian supplies in the South Pacific nation despite crew members being infected with COVID-19, officials said.

Nearly two-dozen sailors aboard HMAS Adelaide were reported infected on Tuesday, raising fears the mission could bring the coronavirus to the small archipelago devastated by an undersea volcanic eruption and a tsunami on Jan. 15. Supplies were to be delivered without contact with the local population to avoid infections, the Australian government said in a statement.

Since the pandemic began, Tonga has reported just a single case of COVID-19 and has avoided any outbreaks. It’s one of the few countries in the world currently completely virus free. About 61 per cent of Tongans are fully vaccinated, according to Our World in Data.

South Korea’s daily new cases exceeded 13,000 for the first time, as the government seeks to revise its anti-virus response scheme to focus on Omicron.


Shoppers look at plants at a flower market ahead of the Lunar New Year in Hong Kong on Tuesday. Current physical distancing rules will be extended to cover Lunar New Year as the semi-autonomous region continues to see a number of COVID-19 infections linked to imported cases. (Anthony Kwan/Getty Images)

In Europe, Austria’s lockdown for people not fully vaccinated will end on Monday because the pressure on hospitals has eased, the government said.

Sweden will extend several restrictions for another two weeks, while neighbouring Denmark was expected to announce that it no longer considers COVID-19 as “a socially critical disease” as of next month and will remove most restrictions.

Romania on Wednesday recorded a huge jump in COVID-19 infections, hitting a pandemic high of nearly 35,000 daily cases, almost doubling the numbers from a day earlier. Deaths have also begun to climb.

Russia, meanwhile, has expanded a domestically developed coronavirus vaccine for children aged 12-17 to include more regions, amid the country’s biggest infection surge yet due to the spread of the highly contagious Omicron variant.

In Africa, Uganda wants to curb its borrowing and boost exports in sectors such as meat and dairy as the East African country lifts restrictions triggered by the pandemic, President Yoweri Museveni and government officials told Reuters.

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In the Middle East, Kuwait on Tuesday reported more than 5,742 additional cases and one additional death. 

In the Americas, the United States has shipped 400 million COVID-19 vaccine doses as part of its earlier pledge to donate about 1.2 billion doses to low-income countries, the White House said on Wednesday.

“Today, we will hit a major milestone in our global effort: 400 million vaccine doses shipped to 112 countries … for free, no strings attached,” White House COVID-19 co-ordinator Jeff Zients told reporters at a briefing.

U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration had previously said it would donate a second tranche of 500 million doses to the COVAX global vaccine sharing program, raising its total pledge to some 1.2 billion COVID vaccine doses, with the latest batch expected to start shipping this month.

Global health experts have said at least five billion to six billion doses are needed by poorer countries to help protect them against the coronavirus amid the ongoing pandemic.

Overall COVAX, backed by the World Health Organization and the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization, has delivered more than a billion doses to 144 countries and aims to achieve 70 per cent COVID-19 immunization coverage by mid-2022.

— From Reuters, CBC News and The Associated Press, last updated at 2:10 p.m. ET