Manitoba’s battle with a third wave of COVID-19 is putting continued pressure on the province and its health-care system, with a senior health official stating Friday that public health orders were unlikely to loosen much for the time being.
On Friday, Manitoba reported 329 new cases and four additional deaths. Dozens of COVID-19 patients remained in intensive care units in other provinces in a bid to free up beds.
“Our day-to-day cases are getting a bit better, but our health-care system is still struggling,” said Dr. Jazz Atwal, deputy chief provincial public health officer, when speaking to the media on Friday.
“There are too many people in ICUs, both in Manitoba and outside of the province, struggling for their lives. Manitobans have the power to help stem the third wave. It is up to all of us to take steps to protect each other.”
The ongoing emergency has also led the province to send two cardiac patients out of province for treatment.
Amid the current challenges, Atwal said the province is unlikely to see a major loosening of COVID-19 restrictions when the current public health orders expire at the end of next week.
“I think we’re in a tough spot here still,” Atwal said. “If we do loosen something, I don’t expect it would be major changes to the [health] orders, to be quite frank. It’ll be subtle changes.”
In neighbouring Saskatchewan, health officials reported 89 new COVID-19 cases on Friday, while Alberta reported 244 new cases and seven additional deaths.
British Columbia reported 183 new cases and one additional death. It was the fourth day in a row that the province had a new daily case count below 200.
From The Canadian Press and CBC News, last updated at 7 p.m. ET
What’s happening across Canada
As of 7:15 p.m. ET, Canada had reported 1,389,508 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 26,575 considered active. A CBC News tally of deaths stood at 25,679.
More than 25.2 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered so far across the country, according to CBC’s vaccine tracker.
Canada will receive more than two million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine each week until the end of August, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said a briefing on Friday.
Canada’s chief public health officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, said trends continue to move in the right direction in Canada.
“Every week, we get closer to 75 per cent of eligible Canadians having received their first dose of vaccine protection against COVID-19,” Tam said, noting that provinces and territories have been working to accelerate programs to get people second doses.
“Getting that second dose is important, both for your own protection and for building immunity in your community.”
Quebec on Friday reported 279 new cases of COVID-19 and four additional deaths, according to a provincial dashboard.
In Ontario, the province reported 914 new cases of COVID-19 and 19 additional deaths. According to provincial figures, hospitalizations stood at 687, with 522 people in ICU due to COVID-19.
Across the North, Nunavut on Friday reported one new case of COVID-19, according to Premier Joe Savikataaq, bringing the number of active cases in the territory to 10.
Both the Northwest Territories and Yukon did not report any new cases on Friday.
Prince Edward Island reported two new cases on Thursday.
WATCH | Full vaccination most effective tool against variants, says specialist:
-From CBC News and The Canadian Press, last updated at 7:15 p.m. ET
What’s happening around the world
As of early Friday evening, more than 172.3 million cases of COVID-19 had been recorded around the world, according to Johns Hopkins University’s coronavirus tool. The reported global death toll stood at more than 3.7 million.
In the Asia-Pacific region, India reported another 132,364 coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, a declining trend with recoveries exceeding new cases this week, and prompting several state governments to ease some restrictions.
The latest update from the Health Ministry on Friday raised the nation’s total cases to more than 28.6 million, the second-highest in the world after the United States. The ministry said 2,713 more people died in the past 24 hours, driving the overall toll to 340,702. These numbers are certainly undercounts.
Myanmar on Friday reported its highest number of COVID-19 cases since health services and testing collapsed in the wake of the Feb. 1 coup, adding to concerns over a growing outbreak near the border with India.
The 212 cases reported from across the country are low compared to many of Myanmar’s neighbours, but still the highest in over four months.
WATCH | COVID-19 vaccine tourism becomes pandemic travel trend:
In the Americas, White House officials say U.S. producers of vaccine materials and ingredients will no longer have to prioritize orders from three companies working on COVID-19 shots. The change is expected to ease global shortages of key vaccine materials for overseas companies and governments.
Mexican officials said Friday they will use one million U.S. doses of the Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine to inoculate people along the border.
President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said the vaccinations along Mexico’s northern border with the United States is part of an effort to fully reopen border crossings, which are currently restricted to essential travel.
In the Middle East, The United Arab Emirates and Bahrain have made the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine available as a booster shot to those initially immunized with a vaccine developed by the China National Pharmaceutical Group, Sinopharm.
In Europe, Britain said that the G7 group of advanced economies agreed on Friday to speed up and share results from clinical trials on, for instance, vaccines to better tackle the COVID-19 pandemic and future threats to global health.
The G7 Therapeutics and Vaccines Clinical Trials charter sets out shared principles to accelerate the speed with which clinical trials generate evidence to enable timely and decisive action on findings, said Britain’s health ministry.
France is putting itself back on the menu as a destination for international tourists who are vaccinated, removing the need for coronavirus tests for vaccinated Europeans and allowing vaccinated tourists from most of the rest of the world, including the United States, to also come back but still with a negative test.
The relaxed rules will kick in from Wednesday, offering a boost for France’s tourism sector. Tourism will not be possible, however, from countries wrestling with virus surges and worrisome variants.
-From The Associated Press and Reuters, last updated at 7:05 p.m. ET