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

The latest:

Russia has hit another record for daily COVID-19 deaths as authorities across the country moved to keep most people off work in line with a Kremlin order aimed at stemming the spread.

Russia’s coronavirus task force on Wednesday registered 1,123 deaths in 24 hours, the largest daily toll since the pandemic’s start.

Moving to curb contagion, Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered a non-working period from Oct. 30 to Nov. 7 when most state organizations and private businesses are to suspend operations.

Russian authorities expect the off-work time will help limit the spread of contagion by keeping people out of offices and public transportation, but many Russians sought to use the period for a seaside vacation ahead of the long winter season.

-From The Associated Press, last updated at 7:10 a.m. ET

What’s happening across Canada

WATCH | B.C. expanding eligibility for COVID-19 booster shots: 

B.C. to offer COVID-19 booster shots to everyone by May

B.C. is the first province to announce a plan for COVID-19 booster shots, with all residents being eligible in May, or six to eight months after their first dose. 1:53

What’s happening around the world

A medical specialist treats a patient suffering from COVID-19 at the ICU of the City Clinical Hospital Number 3 in Kyiv, Ukraine. (Stanislav Kozliuk/Reuters)

As of early Wednesday morning, more than 244.6 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University’s coronavirus tracking tool. The reported global death toll stood at more than 4.9 million.

In Europe, Ukraine’s health minister urged more people to get their shots as deaths hit a daily record and hospitalizations were up more than a fifth on the previous week.

In the Americas, an expert panel voted overwhelmingly to recommend the U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorize the Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine for children ages 5 to 11, saying the benefits of inoculation outweigh the risks.

In the Asia-Pacific region, the health ministry in Vietnam has approved vaccinations for children age 12 to 17, with older teens in more populated cities getting the first doses. There are about 14 million Vietnamese children in that age range.

Singapore, meanwhile, will allow quarantine-free entry to travellers vaccinated against COVID-19 from Australia and Switzerland from Nov. 8, the city-state’s aviation regulator said.

In South Africa — the hardest-hit country in Africa — the health ministry on Tuesday reported 331 new cases of COVID-19 and 53 additional deaths. According to the Johns Hopkins tracker, nearly 20 per cent of the country’s population is fully vaccinated.

In the Middle East, Saudi Arabia’s health ministry on Tuesday reported 65 new cases of COVID-19 and two additional deaths. With just over 62 per cent of the population fully vaccinated, health officials again urged people to take both doses of an approved COVID-19 vaccine.

-From Reuters, The Associated Press and CBC News, last updated at 7:15 a.m. ET

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