TORONTO — Officials in Canada’s most populous province have confirmed the first two known Canadian cases of of a more contagious variant of COVID-19 that was first identified in the United Kingdom.
The province’s associate chief medical officer says that the cases are a couple from Durham Region, just east of Toronto, with no known travel history, exposure or high-risk contacts.
The new variant is believed to spread more easily and faster than the original version of the disease but is not believed to be more deadly.
The provincial government said in a news release that is no evidence to suggest that the vaccines approved by Health Canada will be any less effective against the new variant. The variant was first identified in the United Kingdom but has since been detected in several other countries, including Denmark, France, Belgium, Australia and the Netherlands.
THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:
— Germany, Hungary give first virus shots ahead of EU rollout.
— Belarus dissidents say authorities are deliberately allowing COVID-19 to flourish in the packed jail cells where they have detained thousands of opposition protesters
— Vaccine deliveries roll out across the European Union as the bloc’s 27 nations get ready to kick off their first shots
— Around 1,000 British soldiers are spending Christmas weekend trying to clear a huge backlog of truck drivers stranded at the border in southeast England
— South Africa’ s normally joyful Christmas celebrations are dampened by a spike in new cases and deaths driven by the country’s COVID-19 variant
HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:
BRATISLAVA, Slovakia — Just hours after the coronavirus vaccines arrived in Slovakia, authorities in the European Union country began administering their first doses on Saturday evening.
Vladimir Krcmery, a 60-year-old top expert on infectious diseases, became the first person to receive a jab at the University Hospital in the city of Nitra, 75 kilometers (47 miles) east of the capital of Bratislava.
“It’s a great honor for me, thank you” Krcmery said after receiving the innoculation.)
The vaccines were distributed also to three other hospitals in the cities of Kosice, Banska Bystrica and Bratislava.
Front line medical staff in hospitals treating COVID-19 patients are among the first to get the vaccine. President Zuzana Caputova is scheduled to get vaccinated on Sunday.
Slovakia is the second EU country after Hungary that started the vaccination campaign immediately after the vaccine’s arrival. The others plan to start Sunday.
The country of 5.4 million had 166,649 confirmed cases with 1,732 deaths.
SANTA FE, N.M. — New Mexico will begin providing COVID-19 vaccinations to 15,000 people who work or live at long-term care facilities, state officials announced Saturday.
Beginning Sunday, the CVS and…
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