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

The latest:

Manitoba students who are currently studying from home will learn later Thursday whether they are headed back to class, just days after students across most of Alberta shifted back to in-school learning.

Kindergarten to Grade 12 students in Winnipeg and Brandon, and students at dozens of schools in the Garden Valley and Red River Valley school districts, are learning remotely — and will be doing so until at least May 30. Chief Provincial Public Health Officer Dr. Brent Roussin is slated to lay out what students can expect next week on Thursday, the province’s education minister said.

The move to online education came as the Prairie province faced a surge in cases. Manitoba on Wednesday reported one additional death and 312 new COVID-19 cases, continuing a recent downward trend in single-day new case numbers. But health officials have cautioned that the province’s health-care system is still facing significant strain, particularly around intensive care.

The province, which as of the last update had 318 people in hospital, has so far sent 28 of its sickest COVID-19 patients out of province to free up ICU bed space. More patients are scheduled to move in the days ahead, but officials haven’t provided details on how many will be sent out of province.

The planned shift around schools in Manitoba is the latest in a slew of announcements from officials around the country who have been offering reopening plans, including a recent four-step plan from B.C. and a three-stage plan from Alberta.

-From CBC News and The Canadian Press, last updated at 7:45 a.m. ET

What’s happening across Canada

WATCH | Alberta lays out 3-stage reopening plan

Alberta has laid out its three-stage reopening plan with COVID-19 restrictions starting to loosen on June 1 and potentially getting rid of them all by July, in time for the Calgary Stampede. 2:02

As of early Thursday morning, Canada had reported 1,368,106 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 44,785 considered active. A CBC News tally of deaths stood at 25,361. More than 21.9 million COVID-19 vaccine doses had been administered so far across the country, according to CBC’s vaccine tracker.

In Atlantic Canada on Wednesday, health officials in Nova Scotia reported 37 new cases of COVID-19. The province, which is in lockdown, is expected to offer some details around reopening on FridayNew Brunswick health officials reported 10 new cases of COVID-19, while Newfoundland and Labrador reported four new cases

In Prince Edward Island, which did not report any new cases on Wednesday, Premier Dennis King is expected to outline a plan for reopening borders later Thursday.

Quebec, meanwhile, reported 308 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday and four additional deaths. 

In Ontario, health officials on Wednesday reported 1,095 new cases of COVID-19 and 23 additional deaths. The province said there were 1,073 people in hospital, with 672 in intensive care due to COVID-related illnesses. Students in Ontario are still learning remotely, with no clear indication of if and when they will return to classrooms.

Saskatchewan, meanwhile, reported 151 new cases of COVID-19 and one additional death on Wednesday.

Across the North on Wednesday, Nunavut reported seven new cases of COVID-19. There were no new cases reported in Yukon or the Northwest Territories.

In British Columbia, meanwhile, health officials reported 250 new cases of COVID-19 and three additional deaths.

WATCH | COVID-19 vaccine supply could shorten time between doses, NACI chair says: 

The chair of the National Advisory Committee on Immunization says Canada now has enough supply of COVID-19 vaccines to give second doses ahead of the 16-week interval it recommended earlier. Experts say getting that second dose earlier may be important to protect against new variants. 1:54

From CBC News and The Canadian Press, last updated at 7 a.m. ET

What’s happening around the world

As of early Thursday morning, more than 168.4 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported worldwide, Johns Hopkins University reported in a coronavirus tracking tool. The reported global death toll was approaching 3.5 million.

In a briefing on Thursday, the director of the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that more than 60 per cent of the roughly 4.7 million cases reported in Africa were in five countries: South Africa, with roughly 34 per cent of total cases, followed by Morocco, Tunisia, Ethiopia and Egypt.

In Europe, France declared a mandatory quarantine period for people coming from Britain, due to the increasing prevalence there of a highly contagious coronavirus variant first detected in India.

An eight-week decline in Spain’s coronavirus infection rate has begun to tail off.

A woman receives a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine during a vaccination campaign against COVID-19 at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on Thursday. (Lluis Gene/AFP/Getty Images)

In the Americas, President Joe Biden is asking U.S. intelligence agencies to “redouble” their efforts to investigate the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the Asia-Pacific region, the city that was once Australia’s worst COVID-19 hot spot on Thursday announced a seven-day lockdown, its fourth since the pandemic began.The lockdown for Melbourne and the rest of Victoria state comes after a new cluster in the city rose to 26 infections, including a person who was in intensive care.

A medical worker collects a sample from a woman during coronavirus testing at a centre on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur. Malaysia’s latest coronavirus surge has been taking a turn for the worse as surging numbers and deaths have caused alarm among health officials. (Vincent Thian/The Associated Press)

The health ministry in Malaysia on Thursday reported 7,857 new infections, a new high that pushed the country’s total confirmed cases to 541,224. It was the third straight day in which new cases soared above 7,000. Total deaths have spiked to 2,491.

The Philippines will allow the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for emergency use in children aged 12-15.

In the Middle East, Qatar said leisure and education centres and restaurants can reopen at limited capacity as of Friday.

From The Associated Press, CBC News and Reuters, last updated at 7:10 a.m. ET

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