Half of Canada’s population has received at least 1 dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

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Canada's deputy chief public health officer is urging people to follow health protocols this Victoria Day weekend to avoid a post-holiday spike in COVID-19 cases.

Canada's deputy chief public health officer is urging people to follow health protocols this Victoria Day weekend to avoid a post-holiday spike in COVID-19 cases.

"COVID-19 resurgences have followed social gatherings during past holidays and long weekends," Dr. Howard Njoo said during a news conference on Friday.

He said the number of vaccine doses administered across Canada has doubled since mid-April, while cases of infection have declined by 25 per cent over the past seven days.

"With the important work we have left to do, this long weekend is not the time to let our guard down," Njoo added.

People across Ontario are getting ready to spend more time outdoors this holiday weekend now that the province has eased some of its COVID-19 restrictions. Golf courses and other outdoor recreational facilities, including tennis and basketball courts, can reopen.

Manitoba is struggling to keep up with a rapidly rising number of COVID-19 infections and scrambling to increase its ability to treat patients. More surgeries are being cancelled, and staff from other departments are being moved.

The province is asking the federal government for additional health-care workers. Premier Brian Pallister is asking for 50 critical care nurses and 20 respiratory therapists, along with up to 50 contact tracers.

Manitoba has had to send five patients to northern Ontario for treatment, and it may have to send more.

Starting early next week, Yukon will begin lifting some of its COVID-19 restrictions because of the territory's high uptake in vaccinations, with about 76 per cent of eligible residents receiving their first dose.

Gatherings of up to 200 people, indoors and outdoors, will be allowed, as long as there is physical distancing.

From May 25, fully vaccinated people will not need to isolate for two weeks when visiting Yukon. Rules will also be eased for bars, restaurants and places of worship.


What's happening in Canada around the world

As of 10:45 a.m. ET on Saturday, Canada had reported 1,353,915 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 57,224 considered active. A CBC News tally of deaths stood at 25,182.

Ontario reported 1,794 new cases and 20 new deaths on Saturday. Hospitalizations due to COVID-19 continue to decline, with 1,207 patients hospitalized across the province, including 706 in the ICU, according to provincial data.

Quebec reported 752 new cases and nine new deaths. The government is making a push to vaccinate people between the ages of 12 and 17, in time for a return to school under normal conditions next fall.

Nova Scotia reported 84 new COVID-19 cases and two related deaths on Friday. New Brunswick reported 15 new COVID-19 cases, while the province's chief medical officer of health, Dr. Jennifer Russell, announced that a second person in the province has died from a rare blood clot associated with the AstraZeneca-Oxford COVID-19 vaccine.

Newfoundland and Labrador reported 10 new COVID-19 cases on Friday, while Prince Edward Island reported one new case.

Manitoba reported 594 new COVID-19 cases and three related deaths on Friday. This comes one day after Dr. Brent Roussin, the chief provincial public health officer, announced that Manitobans will be prohibited from gathering outdoors with people from outside their household and that only one person per household will be permitted to enter a business at a given time.

Saskatchewan reported 173 new cases of COVID-19 and two related deaths on Friday.

Alberta recorded 732 new COVID-19 cases and two related deaths on Friday, while British Columbia reported 420 new cases and six related deaths.

In the North, Nunavut on Friday reported one new case of COVID-19.


What's happening around the world

As of Saturday morning, more than 166.1 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported worldwide, a tracking dashboard from U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University said. The reported global death toll stood at more than 3.4 million.

The Swiss government has flown $8 million in equipment and medical supplies to combat COVID-19 to help Nepal, which is struggling with a failing health system and acute shortages of hospital beds, medication and oxygen for patients.

The aid was handed over to Nepalese Health Minister Hridayesh Tripathi at Kathmandu's airport on Saturday. The Swiss Embassy in Nepal said the shipment contained 40 ventilators, oxygen concentrators, 1.1 million coronavirus test kits, face masks, gloves and protective suits.

Nepal has been appealing for help from the international community since the COVID-19 situation worsened sharply this month. A lockdown has been imposed in most parts of the country since last month to curb the spiking cases.

Nepal has recorded nearly 500,000 COVID-19 confirmed cases, and 6,024 people have died.

In Sri Lanka, officials halted passenger trains and buses for four days as part of a fresh travel ban imposed across the country in an effort to curb an escalating number of COVID-19 infections and deaths.

A solider directs a motorist at a checkpoint on Saturday during restrictions imposed to curb the spread of COVID-19, in Colombo, Sri Lanka. (Eranga Jayawardena/The Associated Press)

The ban is effective from Friday night until Tuesday morning. However, it will not apply to those engaged in essential services such as the health, food and power sectors, as well as those seeking medical treatment.

The move comes as the island's key medical associations demand that the government lock down the country for two weeks. The associations say the actual number of coronavirus infections is more than three times the number detected.

Sri Lanka has already banned public gatherings, parties and weddings, and closed schools and universities.

In the United States, Oregon officials are betting that the desire to win $1 million in a lottery will boost the percentage of Oregonians who are vaccinated against COVID-19.

With only half of the people living in Oregon either fully or partially vaccinated, Oregon Lottery officials approved a plan on Friday to hold a lottery. Those who have been vaccinated by June 27 will be eligible.

"It's never been easier to get a vaccine, so don't miss your shot to enter," Gov. Kate Brown said.

She told reporters this is an effort to raise the percentage of adult Oregonians who get vaccinated to 70 per cent in order to fully reopen the state.

If Oregonians have received at least a first dose of Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson, they are automatically entered to win through the state's vaccine database.

Other states are also trying the tactic, including New York, Maryland and Ohio.

With files from The Canadian Press, Reuters and The Associated Press

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