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

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In the West Bank, the city of Bethlehem faces its second Christmas Eve affected by the pandemic, with small crowds and a gray, gloomy weather slowing down celebrations on Friday at the traditional birthplace of Jesus.

The ban on almost all incoming air traffic by Israel, the main point of entry for foreign visitors heading to the occupied West Bank, keeps many international travelers away this year. The ban is intended to help control the spread of the highly contagious variant of the Omicron coronavirus.

Before the pandemic, thousands of Christian pilgrims from around the world visited the city for Christmas, providing a little holiday spirit and a boost to the city.

The lack of foreign visitors makes Bethlehem count on the small Christian community of the Holy Land to lift the spirits.

Bethlehem Mayor Anton Salman said the city was optimistic that this Christmas would be better than last year, when local residents stayed home due to blockade restrictions.

“Last year, our festival was virtual, but this year it will be face to face with popular participation,” said Salman.

Christian pilgrims visit the Church of the Nativity on Friday, revered as the birthplace of Jesus Christ, with security forces on guard duty during the Christmas celebrations in the biblical city of Bethlehem. (Abbas Momani / AFP / Getty Images)

In the manger square of Bethlehem, scout bands marched, playing drums and holding flags before the arrival in Jerusalem of the Latin patriarch Pierbattista Pizzaballa, the highest Roman Catholic clergyman in the Holy Land. Pizzaballa was scheduled to celebrate midnight Mass in the nearby Church of the Nativity, which houses the grotto where Christians believe Jesus was born.

– From The Associated Press, last updated at 5:55 am ET


What is happening in Canada

For more details on how COVID-19 is affecting your community, including hospital data and the latest restrictions, check out CBC news coverage across the country.

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Canada reported more than 20,000 new cases of COVID-19 for the first time on Thursday, the culmination of a record day that saw several provinces confirm new infection highs.

According to the CBC News coronavirus tracker, the country recorded 20,699 infections, eclipsing the previous record of 14,465 set the day before.

New single-day highs were observed on Thursday in British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island.

This graph shows the latest increase in COVID-19 cases in Canada, as well as hospitalizations, which may not increase until weeks after the cases do. (Adam Ciolfi and Wendy Martinez / CBC News)

Quebec recorded a whopping 9,397 new cases, while Ontario 5,790 new cases were registered.

Ontario’s count of cases overshadowed the previous high of 4,812, which fell in mid-April, while Quebec’s previous high of 6,361 was on Wednesday.

Dr. Kieran Moore, Ontario’s medical director of health, said this week that a record number of daily cases were expected and would likely continue for several weeks.

In the western provinces, BC reported 2,046 new cases on Thursday, a new high after the province closed bars, nightclubs and gyms on Wednesday and banned meetings such as weddings. This is the third day in a row that the number of COVID-19 cases in the province has reached new highs. On Wednesday, a report by an independent COVID-19 modeling group said hospitalizations due to BC’s fifth Omicron-powered wave will reach unprecedented heights by mid-January.

Alberta reported 1,625 new cases on Thursday. The provincial health medical director said Albertans should use quick tests to confirm if they have COVID-19 if they have symptoms, instead of booking PCR tests. He noted that laboratory capacity has been strained in Quebec and Ontario, where Omicron is increasing the number of cases.

Saskatchewan reported on Thursday 194 new cases and an additional death.

A new death and 556 new cases were reported on Thursday Manitoba. The province warned that it has reached its capacity to process the tests and there is now a four-day wait for the results. The current case count is lower due to the delay, the government said.

In New Brunswick, Officials announced 257 new cases and two more deaths on Thursday. The provincial health medical director is asking people to keep their meetings small.

Nova Scotia it also reported a new high on Thursday, with 689 new cases.

Prince Edward Island new pandemic restrictions went into effect Friday morning. Wedding and funeral receptions, as well as vigils and visits will no longer be allowed. Organized meetings, such as worship services, weddings and funerals, concerts and shows will be limited to 50 people, and schools will not return to face-to-face learning until at least January 10th. The move comes after the province reported a record 35. new cases.

Newfoundland and Labrador has returned to the level of alert COVID-19 3 from Thursday morning, the change caused by a rapid increase in cases, the appearance of the Omicron variant and outbreaks found in three of the regional health authorities in the province. At level 3, people are asked to stay home as long as possible and keep a household bubble of up to 20 people. The province reported 100 new cases on Thursday, the highest number since February.

Yukon reported nine new cases on Thursday.

Nunavut is tightening public health restrictions on COVID-19 in Iqaluit, including restricting travel in and out of the capital for essential purposes only.

The territory says that from today at noon the swimming pool, the theater and the hairdressing salons and nails of the city must close. Restaurants are limited to take-away food. Meetings inside the homes are limited to five people plus household members.

He Northwest Territories has canceled its travel bubble with Nunavut, citing concerns about the spread of the COVID-19 community in neighboring territory. The cancellation went into effect Thursday at 5 p.m.

“Updated [public health order] it will now treat all residents traveling to or through Nunavut as if they were travelers from outside the NWT, “a new statement from the NWT’s Office of the Chief Public Health Officer said.

-From CBC News and The Canadian Press, last updated at 7:57 am ET


What is happening around the world

As of Friday, more than 278.1 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University’s case-tracking tool. The overall death toll was nearly 5.4 million.

In Australia, the federal government reduced the waiting time for people to receive booster injections. From January 4, the country will offer booster injections to all those over the age of 18 who have received their second vaccination four months earlier. The interval would be reduced to three months by the end of the month, said Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt. The measure comes when Omicron’s cases in Australia reached 9,100 on Friday, more than the previous day’s record of 8,200.

In India, judges of the Allahabad High Court in Uttar Pradesh, the country’s most populous state, urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government to suspend political rallies and election campaigns in the regions on the occasion of elections in Uttar Pradesh. early next year. Despite the rising number of infections due to the Omicron variant, political parties, including the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party of Modi, have held rallies and rallies where crowds continue to ignore pandemic protocols. The judges said that if possible, the elections scheduled for February 2022 should be postponed for a couple of months.

In South Africa, people with no symptoms of COVID-19 will not have to be tested or isolated if they have been in contact with a positive case, the government said on Friday. The country’s health ministry said people should no longer isolate themselves, but should monitor their symptoms for five to seven days and avoid attending large meetings. The South African experience is being closely monitored, as it was one of the first to identify the Omicron variant.

– From The Associated Press and Reuters, last updated at 7:07 am ET

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