Tue. Jan 18th, 2022


Check here for the latest news and stories on COVID-19 as it happens

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The rapid spread of the COVID-19 variant Omicron across Canada and the world brings more restrictions, concerns — and breakthroughs daily.

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Check here for the latest news and stories on the outbreak as it happens.

11:18 a.m.

BREAKING!

New modelling by the federal government suggests daily hospitalizations will surge in Canada in the coming weeks, driven by extremely high levels of transmission of the Omicron variant of COVID-19, Chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam said.

Though the rate of hospitalizations is lower with Omicron the model shows that new daily hospital admissions will far exceed previous peaks due to the sheer number of cases.

The model also suggests that Omicron will peak in Canada this month at between 170,000 and 300,000 actual daily cases.

— Canadian Press

11:03 a.m.

Sorry ham lovers.

Prices of pork hams spiked 54 per cent yesterday, the biggest one-day jump in 10 years as Omicron outbreaks kept workers from U.S. slaughterhouses.

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Absenteeism at meat plants has roughly doubled in recent days.

The reason that this has hit ham prices so hard is because the skilled workers needed to slice the meat off the bone have had to be deployed elsewhere.

— Bloomberg

10:37 a.m.

Omicron causes less severe disease than the delta strain even in those who are not vaccinated, a study from South Africa’s Western Cape province shows.

The findings add to growing evidence that while more infectious, omicron may be less virulent than some of its predecessors. Data from South Africa, the first country to have a major outbreak caused by the strain, has so far shown lower hospitalization and death rates.

— Bloomberg

9:28 a.m.

Wait what?

First Ottawa said all truckers crossing the border would have to be vaccinated, Americans and Canadians; then yesterday the Canadian border agency revised that to just U.S. truckers; 24 hours later it’s back to all truckers again, raising fears that supply shortages in this country are going to get worse.

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Ottawa said the border agency’s pullback was an error and the original restrictions stand.

There was no explanation for how the error occurred or why it took nearly 24 hours to correct the mistake, reports the National Post’s Ryan Tumilty .

Truckers up to this point in the pandemic have been exempt from most COVID regulations because they are considered essential workers. Starting tomorrow, truckers coming back to Canada from the U.S. will have to be vaccinated or face quarantine and testing requirements.

American truckers who aren’t vaccinated will be turned back.

On Jan. 22 similar rules come into force on the U.S. side of the border, where all Canadian truckers will be required to be vaccinated to enter.

It could be the makings of one massive supply chain bottleneck.

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The Canadian Trucking Association estimates that up to 22,000 Canadian truckers (10-20 per cent) and 16,000 American (40 per cent) that travel into Canada, will be sidelined by the upcoming rules.

— National Post

Truckers have been exempt from most travel rules for the majority of the pandemic, because they are an essential service, but that exemption is now ending.
Truckers have been exempt from most travel rules for the majority of the pandemic, because they are an essential service, but that exemption is now ending. Photo by HYUNGWON KANG/REUTERS/FILE

8:30 a.m.

Ontario is rolling out a fourth dose of the COVID-19 vaccine for immunocompromised residents starting today.

Ontario’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Kieran Moore, says appointments for moderately to severely immunocompromised people will be made available through the provincial vaccine contact centre at 8 a.m.

— Canadian Press

Additional reporting by Canadian Press, Reuters and Bloomberg

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