Alberta Premier Jason Kenney apologized Monday for a controversial dinner meeting he held last week which raised questions about whether he was following the public health guidelines.
Kenney’s staff initially insisted no rules had been broken when the premier and several of his ministers sat together for dinner outdoors.
Today, he admitted they were not always properly distanced from each other.
“I want sincerely to apologize to my colleagues, and to Albertans for letting you down, for not being more careful to scrupulously follow every aspect of the public health guidelines that we expect of everyone,” he said. “I sincerely regret that decision.”
Kenney said they should have taken extra precautions to be distanced. “I just won’t be doing any social gatherings until we get into Phase 3 just to avoid any possible mistakes or misunderstandings.”
Alberta reported two more deaths on Monday and 127 new cases of COVID-19. There are 351 people in hospital because of the illness, including 94 in intensive care.
-From The Canadian Press and CBC News, last updated at 1 p.m. ET
What’s happening across Canada
As of 6:20 p.m. ET on Monday, Canada had reported 1,394,129 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 23,373 considered active. A CBC News tally of deaths stood at 25,761. More than 26.3 million COVID-19 vaccine doses had been administered so far across the country, according to CBC’s vaccine tracker.
Vaccine-maker Moderna is seeking authorization from Health Canada to allow its COVID-19 vaccine to be administered to adolescents, the company said Monday. The company’s mRNA vaccine is currently authorized for use in people aged 18 and up in Canada.
WATCH | Approving Moderna for adolescents would help, expert says:
The Massachusetts-based company has also submitted an application to the European drug regulator seeking conditional approval for its COVID-19 vaccine’s use in adolescents, and said in a statement it will file for an emergency use authorization with the U.S. FDA.
The Pfizer-BioNTech mRNA COVID-19 vaccine was approved for use in adolescents aged 12-15 by Health Canada in early May. The Pfizer vaccine had previously been authorized for use in people aged 16 and up.
All of Quebec is now out of its highest pandemic alert level — amid a continued decline in the number of new cases, hospitalizations and deaths — while Ontario said it will move to Phase 1 of reopening a few days early.
Montreal, Laval and several smaller municipalities — the only parts of Quebec that remained at the red alert level — moved to the lower orange level on Monday.
That allows gyms and restaurant dining rooms to reopen and sees high school students return to in-person learning full-time instead of having online classes on alternating days.
In Quebec’s largest city, it’s the first time since the end of September that restaurant dining rooms have been allowed to open, though orange zone restrictions set a limit of two adults who don’t share an address per table.
Restrictions were easing in several other parts of the province as well, with some regions moving to the province’s lowest alert level, the “green” level, which allows indoor gatherings of up to 10 people.
The province, which has seen cases trending sharply downward in recent weeks, on Monday reported three additional deaths and 193 new cases of COVID-19.
In Ontario, Phase 1 will allow for changes such as larger outdoor gatherings, patio dining with up to four people and non-essential retail to open at 15 per cent capacity. Outdoor religious services, group exercise and day camps for children can also begin again, with limitations and health measures in place.
The move was supposed to go into effect June 14, but will begin at 12:01 Friday, June 11.
The province decided to accelerate the reopening based on targeted vaccination rates and other health indicators. The province reported 525 new COVID-19 cases on Monday — the lowest daily number since last September — along with 15 additional deaths.
Across the North on Monday, there were no new cases reported in Nunavut,. Health officials in the Northwest Territories and Yukon — which recently saw three people test positive for COVID-19 at a gold mine — had not yet provided updated information for the day.
Nunavut is announcing 0 new cases & 2 recoveries of <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/COVID19?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#COVID19</a> today. There is 1 active case in Iqaluit. <br><br>Vaccine numbers will be updated as soon as possible. There have been 253 recoveries since this outbreak began. <a href=”https://t.co/cbcSvTgf3R”>pic.twitter.com/cbcSvTgf3R</a>
In Atlantic Canada on Monday, New Brunswick reported one new case of COVID-19.
Speaking at a briefing, New Brunswick’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Jennifer Russell again urged people to sign up for vaccines. The province’s reopening plan aimed to have given a first dose of COVID-19 vaccine to 75 per cent of the province’s eligible population by June 7.
“While we have not reached 75 per cent, we have made great strides towards reaching this goal,” Premier Blaine Higgs said Monday. Higgs said that as of Monday, the province had given first doses to more than 70 per cent of the eligible population.
Nova Scotia, meanwhile, reported 14 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday.
Health officials in Newfoundland and Labrador reported two new cases, while Prince Edward Island did not report any new cases.
In the rest of the Prairie provinces, Manitoba reported two additional deaths on Monday and 169 new cases of COVID-19. The provincial test positivity rate stands at 11.9 per cent, and 12.7 per cent in Winnipeg. The province is expanding eligibility for second doses of COVID-19 vaccine. Anyone who received their first dose on or before May 1 can now book a second shot. The previous cutoff was April 25.
WATCH | New Brunswick not ready to lift restrictions:
Saskatchewan health officials reported three new deaths and 68 new cases of COVID-19 Monday. The province currently has 1,142 active cases, the lowest number of active cases since Nov. 8, 2020. The seven-day average of new COVID-19 cases, 97, is also at its lowest mark since that day.
British Columbia reported new case numbers covering the past three days on Monday. There were 218 new cases Saturday, 131 on Sunday and 133 reported today. There were 12 additional deaths.
-From CBC News, The Canadian Press and Reuters, last updated at 3:40 p.m. ET
What’s happening around the world
As of Monday afternoon, more than 173.3 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 3.7 million.
In Africa, Uganda on Sunday reimposed a strict lockdown that included the closure of schools and the suspension of inter-district travel to help beat back a surge in cases.
In the Asia-Pacific region, key Indian cities reopened for business after a devastating second wave of coronavirus that killed hundreds of thousands.
Residents of the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou will not be able to leave unless they can show that it is absolutely necessary to do so, following an outbreak of COVID-19 that has sickened dozens of people in recent days.
The Philippines will open up its vaccination drive this week to include around 35 million people working outside their homes, such as public transport staff, in a bid to help curb COVID-19 transmission and to open up the economy, officials said.
Japan’s southernmost prefecture of Okinawa is closing many schools to contain the nation’s worst per capita rate of coronavirus infections.
In the Americas, U.S. President Joe Biden’s meeting with leaders of the G7 in an English seaside village this week will usher in a new focus on rallying U.S. allies against common adversaries — the COVID-19 pandemic, Russia and China.
In the Middle East, the United Arab Emirates reported 1,968 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday and three additional deaths, local media reported.
In Europe, the European Medicines Agency highlighted guidance for doctors, which calls for them to avoid heparin when treating rare blood clots and low platelet counts in patients who received AstraZeneca’s or Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccines.
Many frustrated British travellers, meanwhile, were heading home on Sunday from a shorter-than-expected holiday in the Algarve before a 10-day quarantine comes into force early next week due to rising infections in Portugal.
-From The Associated Press, Reuters and CBC News, last updated at 7:50 a.m. ET
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