Friday, 26 February 2021

Canada: Quebec plans for COVID-19 'immunity passports'


CBC News shows that Quebec plans to introduce 'immunity passports' at some point, which will allow people to prove they've been vaccinated and make it simpler to travel and perhaps even open some sectors of the economy. However, the new concept is controversial. Some leaders call it divisive and discriminatory.

Proof of vaccination against COVID-19 may soon be a requirement for airline or cruise ship passengers for traveling. Some companies have come forward saying they will require such proof (so called "immunity passports"). Some employers could perhaps require vaccinations, as well.

Health Canada approves AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine


CBC News shows that Health Canada has approved use of the important COVID-19 vaccine from AstraZeneca, certainly clearing the way for millions of more inoculations in Canada country. The country has secured access to 20 million doses of the useful vaccine to reduce to virus.

After a months-long review, Health Canada regulators certainly today approved the COVID-19 vaccine from Oxford University-AstraZeneca for use in Canada. The department's regulators concluded the shot has an efficacy rate of 62 per cent and have authorized it for use in all adults 18 and older. "Overall, there are no important safety concerns, and the vaccine was well tolerated by participants," the important decision reads.

AstraZeneca plc is a British-Swedish multinational pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical company with its headquarters in Cambridge, England. AstraZeneca has a portfolio of important products for major diseases including oncology, cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, infection, neuroscience, respiratory and inflammation areas. The great company was founded in 1999 through the merger of the Swedish Astra AB and the British Zeneca Group (itself formed by the demerger of the pharmaceutical operations of Imperial Chemical Industries in 1993). AstraZeneca has a primary listing on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index. It has secondary listings on Nasdaq OMX Stockholm, Nasdaq New York, the Bombay Stock Exchange and on the National Stock Exchange of India.

Thursday, 25 February 2021

COVID-19 in Canada: 'Vaccination passports' a near certainty says bio-ethicist


CTV News shows that Bio-ethicist Kerry Bowman says the discussion and tension over 'vaccine passports' is imminent as vaccinations increase.

It is possible that COVID-19 vaccine passports will be no different to the normal documents you must show to travel to certain countries.

Some people have no problems with this idea, but some people don't like this passport idea. Nobody is arguing for making vaccines mandatory (it seems the decision to have a vaccine should always come down to an individual’s informed choice). It seems, also, that some people cannot have it for medical reasons, and these people should not be discriminated against.

Governments want as many people as possible to use the vaccine and have set up campaigns encouraging us all to do so, but doing so is not compulsory. People who have taken the vaccine are given a card stating they have received 1 or both doses and the information is also documented on their medical records.

However, if you choose not to have the vaccine (for reasons unrelated to any certain medical condition which precludes you from it) you must understand that it affects really not only yourself but those in the space around you.

Tuesday, 23 February 2021

Coronavirus: Canada to receive over 640,000 vaccine doses this week, officials say


Global News shows that during a federal COVID-19 update on Tuesday, Minister of Public Services and Procurement Anita Anand said that Canada will receive a total of 643,000 doses of the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines this week, calling it "the largest shipment to date." She added that a total of 2.5 million vaccine doses will have been delivered by the end of the month, and another 3.5 million are arriving in March.

Canada’s vaccination campaign certainly seems to be ramping up. However, it is not clear when all pandemic-related restrictions can be lifted. Vaccinating as many people as possible sure helps to minimize chances of a virus resurgence. It is not known when the vaccination process will be "completed."

It seems, also, that mass vaccinations are not the only factor in Canada's reopening timeline. At some point in time, Canada will return to some "state of normalcy." The main goal is to get the vaccination levels high so that we reduce the chances of virus resurgence.

At almost 350 days into the Coronavirus COVID-19 Global Pandemic, international travellers arriving at Canadian airports are now required by federal law to go directly to a designated hotel for 3 days while awaiting tests to see if they are positive for dangerous coronavirus.

The following information is according to the COVID-19 Dashboard by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University.


Coronavirus Covid-19 Pandemic: Cases Overview:

Canada:

Total cases: 851K
Recovered: 799K
Deaths: 21,751

United States (USA):

Total cases: 28.2M
Recovered: not completely known
Deaths: 501K

Brazil:
Total cases: 10.2M
Recovered: 9.11M
Death: 247K

India:
Total cases: 11M
Recovered: 10.7M
Deaths: 156K

Worldwide:

Total cases: 112M
Recovered: 63.1M
Deaths: 2.48M

Countries with most Covid-19 Cases:

28,234,691 USA
11,016,434 India
10,195,160 Brazil
4,146,730 United Kingdom
4,142,126 Russia
3,689,418 France
3,161,432 Spain
2,832,162 Italy
2,655,633 Turkey
2,405,118 Germany
2,229,663 Colombia
2,069,751 Argentina
2,043,632 Mexico
1,648,962 Poland
1,590,605 Iran
1,504,588 South Africa
1,358,871 Ukraine
1,298,608 Indonesia
1,286,757 Peru
1,168,491 Czechia
1,079,222 Netherlands
855,142 Canada
805,317 Chile
799,106 Portugal
784,711 Romania
758,810 Israel
755,594 Belgium
675,982 Iraq
642,099 Sweden
573,384 Pakistan
564,865 Philippines
551,355 Switzerland
544,116 Bangladesh
481,709 Morocco
448,371 Austria
442,853 Serbia
426,807 Japan
407,274 Hungary
375,668 Saudi Arabia
375,535 United Arab Emirates
372,417 Jordan
359,337 Lebanon
337,087 Panama
294,790 Slovakia
288,229 Malaysia
280,428 Belarus
275,780 Ecuador
273,666 Nepal
268,995 Georgia
257,800 Kazakhstan
243,176 Bolivia
240,360 Croatia
238,591 Bulgaria
236,210 Dominican Republic
233,424 Azerbaijan
229,781 Tunisia
216,300 Ireland
209,244 Denmark
202,674 Costa Rica
194,833 Lithuania
186,004 Kuwait
185,912 Slovenia
182,783 Greece
178,774 Egypt
178,540 Moldova
176,377 West Bank and Gaza
172,072 Guatemala
170,672 Armenia
165,737 Honduras
161,344 Qatar
154,257 Ethiopia
152,658 Paraguay
152,616 Nigeria
141,783 Burma
139,989 Oman
136,545 Venezuela
130,701 Libya
129,176 Bosnia and Herzegovina
118,530 Bahrain
112,094 Algeria
104,500 Kenya
102,306 Albania
100,796 China
099,917 North Macedonia

Saturday, 20 February 2021

Coronavirus variants could fuel Canada's third wave


Global News shows that Canadian health officials are sounding the alarm over highly transmissible new Coronavirus COVID-19 variants, warning the pandemic could "resurge rapidly" and lead to a certain third wave if public health measures are lifted further.

Canada certainly has made progress in bringing down overall infections and hospitalizations. However, the imminent threat the arrival of virus variants is an important event.

The unfortunate emergence and spread is happening of new virus variants of concern. It is important to abide by stringent public health measures. It is certainly important to prevent a rapid resurgence of the epidemic in Canada.

In North America, there are 3 variants of concern that are being tracked: the U.K., the South African and the Brazilian variants. More infectious Covid-19 variants have emerged around the world, and experts are saying that countries such as the United States must adapt to a changed pandemic playing field.

No one should travel when sick. Commercial airline restrictions may also prevent you from boarding your travel plane if you're sick. However, Canadians, persons with status under the Indian Act and permanent residents who have dangerous COVID-19 symptoms are allowed to return to Canada.

If you arrive in Canada with symptoms of COVID-19, let a border official know. A Government of Canada representative will then be certainly contacted to assess your situation. They can help you get medical care.

The new coronavirus is certainly an "RNA virus": a collection of genetic material packed inside a protein shell. RNA viruses, like the flu and measles, are more prone to changes and mutations compared with DNA viruses, such as herpes, smallpox, and human papillomavirus (HPV).

The genomes of many DNA viruses are infectious and they can be synthesized, manipulated, and introduced back into cells as plasmids, with the resulting production of certain virions. However, some DNA viruses also require a set of proteins to initiate an infection.

Virus mutation rates are described in several ways, such as mutations per nucleotide synthesized, mutations per genome synthesized or mutations/nucleotide/cell infection. For some RNA viruses, these numbers translate into 1 or 2 mutations per genome replicated. Estimates may try to account for the length of the virus replication cycle, the number of certain genomes produced, or the method of genome synthesis.

The evolution rate of a virus is often described as nucleotide substitutions per nucleotide site, per year.

Friday, 19 February 2021

Canadian government to extend COVID-19 emergency benefits


Global News shows that the Canadian government is extending many of its emergency COVID-19 benefits as the Coronavirus Covid-19 pandemic continues.

The Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB) and the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit will be extended by 12 weeks. Also, another two weeks will be added to the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit.

The Canadian government is also increasing Employment Insurance (EI) availability to 50 weeks in total, meaning an additional 24 weeks can be claimed.

Canada has had a recent decline in COVID-19 cases, however the daily virus numbers are under threat from new variants that could cause the numbers to go up.

If there exists a possibility that some vaccines can be stored at higher temperatures, this would make it easier for the products to get to remote and low-income regions. Health Canada is in discussions about these issues.

Thursday, 18 February 2021

Canada: New coronavirus variants gaining ground


Global News shows that Canada is making progress reducing the spread of the coronavirus Covid-19 pandemic. After peaking at nearly 8,000 new cases in January, infections have now fallen to below 3,000 per day. However, the bad news is that highly-contagious new variants are gaining ground and have been detected in all 10 provinces in Canada.
 
In the time of 2 weeks, the number of active cases in N.L. has jumped from 14 to 338 with 44 new cases confirmed Wednesday. It’s believed the spike has been driven by the U.K. variant.
 
Scientists are certainly learning about these new virus variants. Some viruses have combined to form a mutated hybrid. It is not known if this hybrid poses a bigger threat.

Hopefully, a bigger third wave doesn't happen with new virus variants.

British Columbia has now identified more than 60 cases of COVID-19 involving "variants of concern." That includes the province's single case of the variant B.1.525, the mutation first detected in Nigeria. The Nigerian variant is classified as a "variant under investigation," because researchers are still trying to determine whether its mutations make it more contagious.

Experts say B1525, referred to as the Nigerian variant, should now be the subject of surge testing to limit the spread of the deadly virus. There have been 38 cases of the Nigerian variant identified in the UK as of Tuesday 16 February.

The Nigerian variant contains the same genetic change - E484K - also found in the Brazilian and South African variants.

Sunday, 14 February 2021

Stricter testing coming to Canada's borders


Canada will soon require COVID-19 tests before you arrive at a border, when you arrive, and near the end of the mandatory 14-day quarantine.

The economy has been hit hard by the Coronavirus Covid-19 Pandemic. Air Canada says it lost $1.16 billion in the final three months of last year.

Canada: Extreme cold weather warnings issued for five provinces


CTV News shows that Environment Canada's Senior Climatologist Dave Phillips discusses a dangerous blast of winter weather that has hit most of the country.

The weather is sure cold these days. Be careful of dangerous cold winter winds. Temperature in Canada vary widely from region to region. Winters can be harsh in many parts of the country, particularly in the interior and Prairie provinces.

The TRUTH About $1 Dogecoin


Dogecoin is a cryptocurrency invented by software engineers Billy Markus and Jackson Palmer. The payment system strives to be instant, fun, and free from traditional banking fees. Dogecoin features the face of the Shiba Inu dog from the "Doge" meme as its logo and namesake.

This so-called coin could be a profitable investment for some people. Perhaps this can one day be a viable currency. Dogecoin seems popular. It could one day reach $1. It could go back down to a few cents.

It seems that this whole thing started off as a joke in 2013. It was a joke based around the popular Doge Meme, featuring a Shiba Inu. Sometime after, Dogecoin.com was purchased. Later, a software was built and DogeCoin became a fully functional, working currency.

Dogecoin is now the 12th-largest cryptocurrency with a market cap of $8 billion.

Initially, Dogecoin had a supply limit of 100 billion coins. There is currently no implemented hard cap on the total supply of Dogecoins.

(Bitcoin is right now the largest and oldest cryptocurrency.)

It looks like these are the top 10 Cryptocurrencies right now:

01. Ethereum (ETH)
02. Litecoin (LTC)
03. Cardano (ADA)
04. Polkadot (DOT)
05. Bitcoin Cash (BCH)
06. Stellar (XLM)
07. Chainlink
08. Binance Coin (BNB)
09. Tether (USDT)
10. Monero (XMR)

Canada looking to create digital consumer currency


Global News shows that as more central banks around the world consider options for issuing digital currency, the Bank of Canada is also making its own preparations for a possible future with high-tech legal tender.

Eric Sorensen explains how this could fuel the digital economy and the complications standing in the way.

Digital currency is any currency, money, or money-like asset that is primarily managed, stored or exchanged on digital computer systems, especially over the internet. Types of digital currencies include cryptocurrency, virtual currency and central bank digital currency.

Canada: Pfizer is 'extremely committed' to meeting vaccine delivery targets


CBC News shows that Pfizer is committed to meeting its upcoming vaccine delivery targets as the company looks for opportunities to accelerate future shipments, Pfizer Canada president Cole Pinnow said on Rosemary Barton Live.

Pfizer Canada certainly strives to profoundly impact the health of Canadians through the discovery, development and delivery of medicines and vaccines. Their diverse portfolio offers a broad range of benefits and solutions to meet the needs of Canadians.

Friday, 12 February 2021

Chinese New Year - February 12, 2021


Chinese New Year (traditional Chinese: 農曆新年, 中國新年; simplified Chinese: 农历新年, 中国新年 ), Spring Festival or the Lunar New Year, is the festival that celebrates the beginning of a new year on the traditional lunisolar Chinese calendar. In Chinese culture and Asian countries within the Sinosphere, the festival is also commonly referred to as Spring Festival (traditional Chinese: 春節; simplified Chinese: 春节 ) as the spring season in the lunisolar calendar traditionally starts with lichun, the first of the 24 solar terms which the festival celebrates around the time of the Lunar New Year. Marking the end of winter and the beginning of the spring season, observances traditionally take place from New Year’s Eve, the evening preceding the first day of the year to the Lantern Festival, held on the 15th day of the year. The first day of Chinese New Year begins on the new moon that appears between 21 January and 20 February. In 2021, the first day of the Chinese New Year will be on Friday, 12 February, which is the Year of the Ox.

The New Space Race - China, Russia, and the US


The Weichert Report is pretty interesting about the Space Explorations of China, Russia and the USA. Take a look at how Brandon J. Weichert joined The Epoch Times' Cross Roads w/ Joshua Phillips to discuss the future of space and the new space race that's going on between China and the United States, but also with Russia.

If you want, you could purchase your copy of WINNING SPACE: HOW AMERICA REMAINS A SUPERPOWER (Republic Book Publishers) and follow Brandon on various social media. You could also check out the popular blog: www.weichertreport.com.

For now, it seems that only 3 nations (Soviet Union/Russia, USA, China) have launched their own crewed spacecraft, with the Soviets/Russians and the American programs providing rides to other nations' astronauts. 27 "first flights" occurred on Soviet or Russian flights while the United States carried 13.

Certain countries have gone to the moon. The United States, the Soviet Union and China are the three nations which have successfully landed their spacecraft on the moon. And, the US is the only country to have ever put people on the moon. Russia (the USSR), Japan, China, the European Space Agency (ESA), and India have all made visits to the moon via probes.

242 individuals from 19 countries have visited the International Space Station. 242 individuals from 19 countries have visited the International Space Station.

A total of 18 people have unfortunately lost their lives either while in space or in preparation for a space mission, in four separate incidents. Given the risks involved in space flight, this number is surprisingly low. The two worst disasters both involved NASA's space shuttle.

People can't actually breathe in outer space. However, inside the International Space Station (ISS), the American astronauts and Russian cosmonauts do breathe air almost identical to the stuff we usually breathe here on planet Earth - same pressure and about 80 per cent nitrogen and 20 per cent oxygen. The space workers really get it by 'splitting' H2O with electricity.

Some might think that NASA won the space race. By landing on the moon, the United States "won" the space race that had begun with Sputnik's launch in 1957. In 1975, the joint Apollo-Soyuz mission sent three U.S. astronauts into space aboard an Apollo spacecraft that docked in orbit with a Soviet-made Soyuz vehicle.

NASA's earliest objective was to launch a manned vehicle into Earth's orbit as soon as possible. It would be the Soviets, however, who would win the race to put a man in space. In April 1961, Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first man to enter Earth's orbit, in a single-pilot spacecraft called Vostok I.

Monday, 8 February 2021

Canada: Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine approval expected this week


CBC News shows that Health Canada is expected to approve the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine this week, which would make it the third COVID-19 vaccine approved in Canada. In South Africa, authorities have paused rollout of this vaccine after a study found it offers only limited protection against the coronavirus variant first identified there.

The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine provides good protection against the main type of coronavirus circulating in the UK. Trials suggest it protects against severe disease and there is some evidence it might also stop some people spreading the virus.

However, early findings from South Africa suggest the vaccine may need updating to be a better match for some emerging new variants of coronavirus. This could be true for other coronavirus vaccines, also.

Coronavirus Canada: Ontario begins phased reopening Wednesday


Global News shows that Ontario Premier Doug Ford and Health Minister Christine Elliott on Monday announced that the province would begin a phased reopening starting Feb. 10 as Coronavirus COVID-19 numbers begin to decrease.

The current stay-at-home order remains in place in most of the province.

Over the month, public health units would move to regional restrictions based on public health indicators.

Hastings Prince Edward Public Health, Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox & Addington Public Health, and Renfrew County and District Health Unit will move into the province’s previous colour-coded framework on Wednesday.

On Feb. 16, all other health units except for Toronto, Peel and York will move into the framework, with the final three regions lifting the stay-at-home order on Feb. 22.

Here are Ontario's Coronavirus COVID-19 colour codes:

Green (Prevent)

Yellow (Protect)

Orange (Restrict)

Red (Control)

Gray (Lockdown)

Coronavirus Covid-19 Cases Overview:

Canada:

Total cases: 806K
Recovered: 743K
Deaths: 20,819

Worldwide:

Total cases: 106M
Recovered: 59.3M
Deaths: 2.32M

Sunday, 7 February 2021

Canada extends cruise ship ban until 2022


CBC News shows that port cities whose small businesses depend on tourists were dealt a blow as Transport Canada announced it is extending a ban on cruise ships until Feb. 28, 2022.

The Canadian government is certainly encouraging Canadians to avoid all travel on cruise ships outside Canada until further notice. Hopefully, the Coronavirus Covid-19 Pandemic will be decreased in the future.

Passenger vessels carrying 100 or more people are now prohibited from operating in Canadian waters until Feb. 28, 2022.

The USA is also dealing with the stopping of cruise ships. Although the CDC effectively ended (check for updates) its ban on cruising, the U.S. industry continues to suspend operations while it works on a safe return. The U.S. cruise industry has voluntarily suspended operations in an effort to prepare for a safe return to the entertaining seas amid Coronavirus COVID-19.

Norwegian Cruise Line, Carnival, and Royal Caribbean all announced that they will be canceling trips into 2021. Cruise ships won't be setting sail in U.S. waters for some time. Major cruise lines continue to postpone their itineraries due to the Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic.

Canada: New Vaughan Smart Hospital opens with COVID-19 focus


Toronto, Ontario, Canada: A new hospital in Vaughan has opened its doors and is now accepting patients.  Maleeha Sheikh gets a tour of what officials are calling Canada's "first smart hospital."

Cortellucci Vaughan Hospital (formerly Mackenzie Vaughan Hospital) is a hospital in Vaughan, Ontario, Canada. Construction of the hospital was completed in September 2020. It opened on 7 February 2021. It is operated by Mackenzie Health, which also operates Mackenzie Richmond Hill Hospital. Its construction cost about C$1.7 billion.

The hospital is situated on a 25-hectare property on the northwest corner of Jane Street and Major Mackenzie Drive, adjacent to Canada's Wonderland.

Coronavirus: Canadian vaccine delays, COVID-19 variants


Global News shows that questions seem to be growing about Canada's delayed Coronavirus COVID-19 vaccine deliveries, as concerns grow about more dangerous virus variants.

And as provinces implore the federal government to make its coronavirus vaccine contracts public, Procurement Minister Anita Anand has confirmed that the entirety of the deals are subject to confidentiality clauses.

However, Anand said she’s trying to push back on these clauses in conversations with the pharmaceutical companies.

Abigail Bimman has more about how the feds aren't offering too many answers, and how they're still working on more travel restrictions.

Cases Overview: Coronavirus Covid-19 Pandemic:

Canada:

Total cases: 804K
Recovered: 739K
Deaths: 20,767

Worldwide:

Total cases: 106M
Recovered: 59.1M
Deaths: 2.31M

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by a newly discovered coronavirus.

Most people who fall sick with COVID-19 will certainly experience mild to moderate symptoms and recover without special treatment.

The virus that causes COVID-19 is mainly transmitted through droplets generated when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or exhales. These droplets are too heavy to hang in the air, and quickly fall on floors or surfaces.

You can be infected by breathing in the virus if you are within close proximity of someone who has COVID-19, or by touching a contaminated surface and then your eyes, nose or mouth.

Here's why Canada has access to the COVAX program


CTV News shows and explains why Canada has access to the COVAX program. Canada could receive at least 1.9 million doses of Coronavirus COVID-19 vaccine from COVAX, an initiative to guarantee equitable access to doses, especially for developing nations.

(COVAX) COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access, abbreviated as COVAX, is a global initiative aimed at equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines led by the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI), the World Health Organization (WHO), the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), and others. It is one of the 3 important pillars of the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator, an initiative begun in April 2020 by the World Health Organization (WHO), the European Commission, and the government of France as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic. COVAX aims to coordinate international resources to enable the equitable access of COVID-19 diagnostics, treatments, and COVID-19 vaccines.

COVAX is certainly co-led by the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI), the World Health Organization (WHO), the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), and others.

By 15 July 2020, 165 countries (representing 60% of the human population) had joined COVAX.

Thursday, 4 February 2021

Stock Markets have been rising in recent weeks


The prospect exists of a less confrontational politics. The markets have certainly been rising in recent weeks because of these hopes.

Another good event - the vaccination program against Coronavirus COVID-19 is proceeding. Real hope exists that 2021 will see an economic return to normal. Investors are hard at work preparing for the "return to normal." Investors have been searching the markets, trying to find the stocks that are primed for gains for future good fortunes.


Take a look at 3 interesting equities to follow.

SS&C Technologies (SSNC)

Based in the state of Connecticut, SS&C Technologies (NASDAQ:SSNC) is a global software company offering a range of SaaS products for the financial industry.

Infosys Limited (INFY)

Infosys (NYSE:INFY) is India’s second-largest IT company. Based in Bangalore, the company brought in US$13 billion in revenue for fiscal year 2020.

NCR Corporation (NCR)

NCR (NYSE:NCR) started out in the beginning by building cash registers in the 1880s. The company has been in the business machine niche ever since. In 2019, the last year with full-year numbers available, NCR brought in $6.92 billion at the top line.

Follow the stock market for your success. There are approximately 5,000 USA indexes. The three most widely followed indexes in the USA are the S&P 500, Dow Jones Industrial Average, and Nasdaq Composite. The Wilshire 5000 includes all the stocks from the USA stock market.

Read more about the vaccination program against Coronavirus COVID-19. To bring this pandemic to an end, a large share of the world needs to be immune to the dangerous virus. It seems that the safest way to achieve this is with a vaccine. Vaccines are a technology that humanity has often relied on in the past to bring down the death toll of infectious diseases.

Within less than 12 months after the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, several research teams rose to the challenge and developed vaccines that protect from SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

Now the challenge is to make these vaccines available to people around the world.

See more details about Countries and Cumulative COVID-19 vaccination doses administered per 100 people:

Tuesday, 2 February 2021

Covid-19: UK 'must come down hard' on South Africa variant


BBC shows the interesting news about UK and the new South Africa variant.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock leads today's coronavirus briefing from Downing Street, joined by Prof Stephen Powis, national medical director of NHS England, and Dr Susan Hopkins, from Public Health England.

You will enjoy watching the BBC News about Coronavirus: Government Downing Street briefings.

Trans-Pacific Partnership: Britain Applies to a New Trading Group


The United Kingdom is applying to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), a trans-Pacific trading bloc of 11 countries, the government announced on Saturday.

The UK is really to apply to join trans-Pacific free trade bloc. After its exit from the EU, the United Kingdom is seeking to be part of the Pacific free trade area. A formal request will be made early next week.

The United Kingdom is applying to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), a trans-Pacific trading bloc of 11 countries.

"One year after our departure from the EU we are forging new partnerships that will bring enormous economic benefits for the people of Britain," Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in a statement.

"Applying to be the first new country to join the CPTPP demonstrates our ambition to do business on the best terms with our friends and partners all over the world and be an enthusiastic champion of global free trade," he added.

By joining the Pacific free trade area, the UK could certainly benefit from lower tariffs without deep political integration, as was the case with the European Union.

What is the CPTPP?

The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), also known as TPP11 or TPP-11, is a trade agreement between Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam. It evolved from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which never entered into force due to the withdrawal of the United States. At the time of its signing, the 11 countries' combined economies represented 13.4 percent of the global gross domestic product (approximately US$13.5 trillion), making the CPTPP the 3rd largest free-trade area in the world by GDP after the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, the European Single Market, and really possibly after the 2020 signed Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement was signed on 4 February 2016, but never entered into force, as Donald Trump withdrew the USA from the agreement soon after being elected. All original TPP signatories except the USA agreed in May 2017 to revive it and reached agreement in January 2018 to conclude the TPP and initiate the CPTPP. The formal signing ceremony was held on 8 March 2018 in Santiago, Chile.

The CPTPP incorporates most of the TPP provisions by reference, but suspended 22 provisions the USA favored that other countries opposed, and lowered the threshold for enactment so the participation of the USA is not required. The agreement specifies that its provisions enter into effect 60 days after ratification by at least 50% of the signatories (six of the eleven participating countries). The sixth nation to ratify the deal was Australia on 31 October, and the agreement came into force for the initial six ratifying countries on 30 December 2018.

Two-thirds of the provisions in the signed CPTPP are identical to the TPP draft at the time the USA left the negotiating process.

Preventing COVID-19 variant spread in Canada


CBC News: The National shows that there are new questions about how the federal government is trying to prevent the spread of Coronavirus COVID-19 variants in Canada. Also find out what it’s like to stay inside a quarantine hotel.

Watch the interesting news video:

00:00​ The National
00:51​ Preventing COVID-19 variant spread in Canada
03:31​ New COVID-19 travel restrictions 
06:32​ Cancer patients want quarantine exemption
08:46​ Canada's COVID-19 vaccine supply 
09:12​ Vaccinating remote First Nations
11:05​ Ontario to expand COVID-19 testing in schools
11:36​ Companies join forces on rapid test program 
11:54​ New loan program for businesses
13:56​ Sask., P.E.I. end controversial birth alerts
16:19​ Global concern after Myanmar coup
18:51​ Rochester, N.Y. officers suspended
19:30​ Harris pledges to help free Spavor, Kovrig
20:44​ Winter storm hammers Northeastern U.S.
23:17​ Dustin Diamond dead of cancer at 44
23:49​ Tony Bennett has been living with Alzheimer's
24:57​ Inside a COVID-19 isolation hotel 
28:54​ Dr. David Saint-Jacques trains for a new mission
34:16​ Post-secondary education pandemic uncertainty
40:46​ Harriet Tubman’s church to get $100K renovation
43:39​ The Moment: Damini Awoyiga's words

Variant of Concern 202012/01 (abbreviated VOC-202012/01) is a variant of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. One of several variants believed to be of particular importance, it is estimated to be 30%-80% more transmissible than wild-type SARS-CoV-2 and was detected in November 2020 from a sample taken in September, during the COVID-19 pandemic in the United Kingdom. It began to spread quickly by mid-December, and is correlated with a significant increase in SARS-CoV-2 infections in the country. This increase is thought to be at least partly because of one or more mutations in the virus's spike protein. The variant is also notable for having more mutations than normally seen.

As of January 2021, more than half of all genomic sequencing of SARS-CoV-2 was carried out in the UK. This has given rise to questions as to the variant's origins, and how many other novel variants may be circulating around the world.

As of late January 2021, most locations outside the original focus have not reported sustained transmission, and many cases have known travel links to the focal location. Increasing numbers of international cases is currently likely due to increased surveillance and vigilance.

On 2 February 2021, Public Health England said that they had detected "[a] limited number of B.1.1.7 VOC 202012/01 genomes with E484K mutations", which is also present in the South Africa and Brazil variants; this mutation may reduce vaccine effectiveness.