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

The latest:

Newfoundland and Labrador’s vaccine passport comes into effect today. The passport system must now be used at places like restaurants, bars, bingo halls and performance spaces.

The system uses a QR code containing a person’s vaccination status, which can be downloaded and stored in an app.

Businesses can use another app to scan the code and permit entry.

The province, which has reported a total of 1,898 cases of COVID-19 and 15 deaths since the pandemic began, no longer provides daily updates. The last update, which came on Wednesday, saw officials reporting nine additional cases, which brought the number of active cases in the province ot 46

As of Friday, Nova Scotians will also be able to use VaxCheckNS — a tool that lets organizations check a person’s vaccine status through a QR code that yields a green check mark or red ‘X’ when scanned. The provincial government, which has required proof of vaccination in many settings since early October, said the digital tool will make it faster for people to show proof of vaccination while protecting personal health information.

Health officials in Nova Scotia on Thursday reported 19 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the number of active cases in the province to 163.

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

What’s happening across Canada

WATCH | Ottawa moves away from broad pandemic support programs: 

Ottawa moves away from broad pandemic support programs

The federal government is transitioning away from broad economic pandemic supports for businesses and workers, including the Canada recovery benefit. It will instead introduce targeted support for the hard-hit tourism sector, businesses in areas of lockdown and others experiencing ongoing financial hardship. 2:07

What’s happening around the world

WATCH | British government rejects calls for restrictions as COVID-19 cases rise: 

British government rejects calls for restrictions as COVID-19 cases rise

The British government has rejected calls for renewed COVID-19 restrictions even as case numbers reach the highest number in more than three months. 1:56

As of early Friday morning, more than 242.5 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported worldwide, according to a case-tracker maintained by Johns Hopkins University. The reported global death toll stood at more than 4.9 million.

In Europe, data from U.K. health officials for Thursday showed more than 52,000 people tested positive for COVID-19, with 115 deaths reported. The daily case number was the highest reported since July.

Ukraine attained a second successive daily record of new infections and deaths, the health ministry said, despite tighter curbs last month as infections have risen for weeks.

In the Asia-Pacific region, a new COVID-19 outbreak has spurred parts of China to increase restrictions on movement, with the capital Beijing sealing off some areas and northwestern regions imposing a range of transport curbs and closing public venues.

New Zealand will end its strict lockdown measures and restore more freedoms only when 90 per cent of its eligible population are fully vaccinated, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Friday. Some 68 per cent of eligible New Zealanders are fully vaccinated and 86 per cent have had one dose.

In Africa, health officials in South Africa on Thursday reported 520 new cases of COVID-19 and 81 additional deaths, bringing the number of reported deaths in the country to 88,835, according to a tweet from the health ministry.

In the Americas, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday recommended the vaccine boosters for recipients of the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson shots, and said Americans can choose a different shot from their original inoculation as a booster.

Meanwhile, the White House called on all World Trade Organization members to support an intellectual property waiver for COVID-19 vaccines.

In the Middle East, Iraq’s transportation ministry announced on Thursday a resumption of direct flights to and from Saudi Arabia after a 19-month suspension, according to the state news agency INA.

-From Reuters, The Associated Press and CBC News, last updated at 6:55 a.m. ET

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