News Update: 2nd May 2021

Canadians certainly have their mind on travel this week. While Ontario looks to ban international students in an attempt to curb its rising COVID numbers, others are floating the idea of “vaccine passports” for the future. The idea here is to somehow certify that Canadians are vaccinated, allowing them greater freedom from travel restrictions in the future. 

Canada has recorded 1.23 million COVID cases as of today, with 1.12 million recoveries and over 24,000 deaths. The all-time high that Canada reached for COVID transmission in the middle of April has fallen off somewhat, but in many areas COVID continues to spread at an alarming rate, particularly in the larger cities of Ontario and Quebec.

In Ontario, the fight against the surging numbers continues. Vaccinations are opening up for anyone over the age of 18 in “hotspot” areas of Ontario in an attempt to combat the spread at its sources. In Quebec, protests in Montreal were staged at the Olympic Stadium. The crowds were protesting the lockdown measures in place, including curfews and the suggestion of vaccine passports. The protest forced the vaccine deployment at the Olympic Stadium to be cancelled, and may serve to extend lockdowns in Quebec due to the high chance of transmission between participants.

In British Columbia, the RCMP has been deployed to maintain its ban on interior non-essential travel between regions of the province. BC has been managing to flatten the curve on new emerging variants in the province. Alberta has meanwhile recorded its third day of surpassing 2000 COVID cases. The cases are particularly bad at oil sands facilities in the north of the province. 

Saskatchewan and Manitoba reported over 200 cases on Saturday. Both prairie provinces have also had their own lockdown protests as well. 

Cases in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland and Labrador continue to rise to higher levels. This includes over a hundred new cases in Nova Scotia, with new cases remaining fairly low in the rest of the Maritimes. Though this is a high level for Nova Scotia compared to previous months, the Maritimes in general still have a low spread rate of COVID. There is a hope that stricter lockdowns now could lead to re-openings in Summer.

Canada has distributed over 13 million doses of COVID, though this only means that about 1.12M Canadians are fully vaccinated. Canada is about at the world average for vaccination rates - a good start, but far behind a country like America, who has managed to fully vaccinate about a third of its population, and giving vaccines to about two thirds. While Canadians may chafe at the idea of more lockdown, it is vital to continue to practice proper social distancing and mask wearing until vaccine deployment reaches a greater percentage of the population.