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Vaccine arrivals and new border restrictions: In The News for Feb. 22

Last Updated Feb 22, 2021 at 4:38 am EDT

In The News is a roundup of stories from The Canadian Press designed to kickstart your day. Here is what’s on the radar of our editors for the morning of Feb. 22 …

What we are watching in Canada …

OTTAWA – Canada is poised to receive a record number of COVID-19 vaccine doses this week thanks to scheduled deliveries from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna.

The Public Health Agency of Canada says it expects more than 640,000 shots from the pharmaceutical giants this week. which would represent the largest number of deliveries in a single week.

The previous record was set last week when Pfizer and BioNTech delivered more than 400,000 doses of their vaccine following a month-long lull while they expanded a production plant in Europe.

The  two companies will ship more than 475,000 shots this week before scaling back slightly to 445,000 doses per week as they look to fulfil their commitment to deliver 4 million jabs by the end of March.

Canada will also receive 168,000 shots this week from Moderna, which ships its doses every three weeks.

Unlike the Pfizer-BioNTech shots, Moderna’s are largely destined for northern and remote communities.

Also this …

OTTAWA – A mandatory three-day hotel quarantine for most travellers landing at Canadian airports comes into effect today, along with a suite of measures meant to prevent contagious COVID-19 variants from entering the country. 

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said the tighter border controls are meant to keep everyone safe, not punish travellers. 

Anyone flying into the country will be required to foot the bill for their hotel stays. 

They will also have to complete multiple COVID-19 tests in the days after they arrive in Canada. 

Most incoming travellers will need to get tested for the virus upon arrival and again towards the end of their mandatory 14-day quarantine.

Travellers arriving at land borders will be given self-swab kits, and testing will be provided on-site at five high-volume border crossings. 

They’ll need to complete a second test on Day 10 of their self-isolation period. 

And this … 

OTTAWA – Experts on the issue say the Canadian military needs outside oversight to deal with a clear pattern of failure to stop sexual misconduct in the ranks.

Megan MacKenzie studies military sexual misconduct at Simon Fraser University in B-C.

She says over the past few decades, time and time again, the sexual misconduct issue has received a lot of media coverage, the military has then responded by making a zero-tolerance statement, and then it all kind of dies down.

Experts like MacKenzie say what’s needed is not more studies or zero-tolerance declarations from the brass —  but real oversight and accountability for the military.

The calls come as former chief of the defence staff Jonathan Vance, who spent his five years as Canada’s top commander driving efforts to end sexual misconduct in the Armed Forces, faces allegations himself.

Vance is accused of having acted inappropriately while in uniform, allegations he denies.

The Liberal government has promised an independent review that has yet to be launched, weeks after the allegations first surfaced.

What we are watching in the U.S. …

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden will mark the U.S. crossing 500,000 lives lost from COVID-19 with a moment of silence and candle lighting ceremony at the White House. 

The nation is expected to pass the grim milestone today, just over a year after the first confirmed U.S. fatality due to the novel coronavirus. 

The White House says Biden will deliver remarks at sunset Monday to honour those who lost their lives. 

He will be joined by first lady Jill Biden and Vice-President Kamala Harris and her husband.

Also this …

U.S. Federal aviation regulators are ordering United Airlines to step up inspections of all Boeing 777s equipped with the type of engine that suffered a catastrophic failure over Denver Saturday. 

United says it is temporarily removing those aircraft from service. 

Boeing has recommended aircraft with the engines be grounded pending a decision on inspections. 

The announcements came a day after United Airlines Flight 328 had to make an emergency landing at Denver International Airport after its right engine blew apart just after takeoff. 

The National Transportation Safety Board said two of the engine’s fan blades were fractured although it did caution that it was too early to draw conclusions about how the incident happened.

What we are watching in the rest of the world …

BRUSSELS – European Union foreign ministers today will look at options for imposing new sanctions against Russia over the jailing of opposition leader Alexei Navalny, as the 27-nation bloc considers the future of its troubled ties with the country. 

The ministers will discuss possible names of Russian officials and whether to target them individually or whether to use a new system of measures aimed at human rights abuses. 

But they appear unlikely to impose restrictions on oligarchs close to President Vladimir Putin, as Navalny has requested.  

Navalny, 44, an anti-corruption investigator and Putin’s most prominent critic, was arrested in Moscow last month upon returning from Germany, where he spent five months recovering from a nerve-agent poisoning that he blames on the Kremlin. 

Russian authorities have rejected the accusation.  

Earlier this month, a court sentenced Navalny to two years and eight months in prison for violating the terms of his probation while recuperating in Germany. 

Also this …

YANGON, Myanmar — Protesters are gathering in Myanmar’s biggest city despite the ruling junta’s thinly veiled threat to use lethal force if people answered a call for a general strike opposing the military takeover. 

Hundreds had gathered by midmorning at a major intersection in Yangon after a group advocating civil disobedience called for people to unite for a “Spring Revolution.” 

Roads were blocked in front of landmarks like the Myanmar Central Bank and U.S. Embassy, and trucks overnight blared warnings against public gatherings. 

A junta statement carried on state TV said the protesters were carrying people “to a confrontation path where they will suffer the loss of life.”

ICYMI …

VANCOUVER – The head of the Canadian Medical Association is urging the federal government to boost access to family doctors for long-haulers enduring ongoing illness after being infected with COVID-19.

Doctor Ann Collins says people struggling with persistent symptoms need a physician to manage their care and make referrals to specialists.

The medical association submitted a pre-budget request to the federal government for improved access to care early last year but the budget was cancelled after the pandemic hit and hasn’t been scheduled yet for this year.

Shane Kinniburgh of Woodstock, Ontario, says he, his three-year-old daughter and his fiancee were infected with COVID-19.

He says he’s got the worst of the ongoing symptoms including a blockage in his heart, intense sensitivity to light and brain fog.

He says not having a family doctor means he’s dependent on a walk-in clinic but no single primary care provider has a full understanding of his condition.

Health Canada did not provide information on any funding to expand family practice initiatives related to COVID-19.

But it says a recent funding agreement to restart the provincial and territorial economies included a promise of 700 (m) million dollars to support measures like testing and contact tracing.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 22, 2021

The Canadian Press