Ontario is seeking to suspend the arrival of international students in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Friday.
Premier Doug Ford made the request on a first ministers’ call and was the only premier to do so, Trudeau told a news conference.
“Many provinces feel that they’re doing a good job of managing these students, and that they’re not a huge source of cases,” Trudeau said.
“But last night, Premier Ford told me that he wanted us to suspend the arrival of international students coming into Ontario.”
Trudeau said the government came up with a mechanism for the provinces to do just that earlier in the pandemic. The Ford government would have to send a list of institutions that will no longer accept international travellers.
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“My office is currently working with premier Ford’s office and the authorities in Ontario to do a followup to make sure that this approach is formalized,” Trudeau said.
Ford has repeatedly blamed the COVID-19 pandemic’s third wave on “porous borders,” including at a news conference on Friday.
“We will never get ahead of this virus if we can’t keep these deadly new variants out of our country,” he said.
Ford did not address his request to bar the entry of international students at the news conference.
A spokeswoman for the premier noted that the province has not made a formal request regarding international students, but said the federal government must take further action to prevent more contagious variants of the coronavirus from entering the country.
-From The Canadian Press, last updated at 4 p.m. ET
What’s happening across Canada
As of 7:45 p.m. ET Friday, Canada had reported 1,219,431 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 83,316 considered active. A CBC tally of deaths stood at 24,219.
Statistics Canada reported Friday that Canada’s economy expanded at a 6.5 per cent pace in the first three months of 2021.
Gross domestic product expanded by 0.4 per cent in February alone, the agency reported. Coupled with preliminary data for March showing 0.9 per cent growth, putting Canada on track for healthy growth for the quarter.
Nova Scotia reported 67 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, and eight new cases were reported in Newfoundland and Labrador. Fifteen new cases were reported in New Brunswick, while Prince Edward Island reported two new cases.
In Quebec, health officials reported 1,041 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday and 13 additional deaths.
Quebecers aged 50 to 59 became eligible to book a COVID-19 vaccine appointment Friday. The province says appointments should be open to everyone 18 and older by May 14.
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In Ontario, Premier Doug Ford said Friday that his province will have delivered a first dose of COVID-19 vaccine to 40 per cent of its adult population as of the end of the day.
The update on the vaccination progress came on a day when Canada’s most populous province reported 3,887 new cases of COVID-19 and 21 additional deaths.
COVID-19 hospitalizations decreased by 47 since the last report, for a total of 2,201. There was virtually no change in the intensive care numbers, with 883 people in ICU as a result of COVID-related illness.
Manitoba reported 295 new COVID-19 cases and one additional death on Friday, as Saskatchewan reported 274 new cases and four additional deaths.
On Friday, Alberta reported 2,007 new cases and seven additional deaths.
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In British Columbia, health officials reported 740 new cases on Friday and four additional deaths.
Across the North, Nunavut reported 11 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday.
No new cases had been reported in Yukon or the Northwest Territories as of Friday evening.
-From CBC News and The Canadian Press, last updated at 8:35 p.m. ET
What’s happening around the world
As of late Friday afternoon, more than 150.8 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported worldwide, according to a coronavirus tracking database maintained by Johns Hopkins University. The reported global death toll stood at more than 3.1 million.
In the Americas, the United States announced that it will restrict travel from India starting next week, citing a devastating rise in COVID-19 cases in the country and the emergence of potentially dangerous coronavirus variants.
In Mexico, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said Friday he expects the U.S. to send Mexico around five million more doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine to help with its efforts to inoculate the population.
In Brazil, Health Minister Marcelo Queiroga told a World Health Organization briefing that countries should share spare vaccine doses with his country to help the global fight against COVID-19, including the spread of new variants.
Queiroga said Brazil — a country that has seen more than 400,000 COVID-19 deaths — had given out 41 million vaccine doses but needed more supplies to meet a target of 2.4 million doses per day.
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In the Asia-Pacific region, Pakistan’s minister for planning and development warned that the number of critically ill COVID-19 patients is rapidly increasing and the next few weeks will be crucial. Asad Umar, who oversees Pakistan’s response to the coronavirus, said as many as 5,360 patients with COVID-19 were on oxygen support at hospitals.
Residents in Cambodia’s capital gathered to demand food from the government, outraged at what they called inadequate aid distribution during a tough lockdown that bars people from leaving their homes.
India set another global record Friday with 386,452 daily coronavirus cases. The country’s Health Ministry reported 3,498 deaths in the last 24 hours, bringing the total to 208,330.
India’s pandemic response has been marred by insufficient data. An online appeal — signed by over 350 scientists Friday afternoon — asks the government to release data about the sequencing of virus variants, testing, recovered patients and how people were responding to vaccines.
Also Friday, it was announced that travelling Australian residents and citizens who have been in India within 14 days of the date they plan to return home will be banned from entering Australia as of Monday. Those who disobey will face fines and jail, government officials said.
The emergency determination is part of strict measures to stop travelers to Australia from India amid the ongoing surge in COVID-19 cases.
In Europe, Italy is nearing its goal of administering half a million COVID-19 vaccines a day.
In Africa, Uganda has detected the variant associated with India, stirring fears the East African nation could suffer a resurgence of cases just when its outbreak has waned, a senior health official said.
In the Middle East, the number of reported COVID-19 cases was approaching 2.5 million, with more than 71,300 reported deaths.
-From The Associated Press and Reuters, last updated at 8:55 p.m. ET
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