Today’s coronavirus news: Quebec becomes last province to lift mask health order

Saturday the latest coronavirus news from Canada and around the world. This file is updated throughout the day. Web links to longer stories when available

8:05 am Quebec was the first province in Canada to impose a mask mandate after the COVID-19 pandemic hit, and on Saturday it became the last province to allow residents to go maskless in most public indoor public places.

The masking rule, in effect since July 2020, expired at 12:01 am, allowing customers of shops, bars, restaurants, gyms and shopping malls, along with students from primary and secondary schools, to wear masks only if they wish. .

However, masking remains mandatory in public transport and in healthcare institutions. People who contract COVID-19 will have to wear masks in public while they recover, and companies can set their own rules in the workplace.

Read more from The Canadian Press.

07:30† South Africa is experiencing a surge in new COVID-19 cases, driven by two Omicron subvariants, according to health experts.

For about three weeks, the country has seen an increase in new cases and slightly higher hospitalizations, but no increase in serious cases and deaths, said Professor Marta Nunes, a researcher with Vaccine and Infectious Diseases Analytics at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital in Soweto.

“We’re still very early in this growth period, so I wouldn’t really call it a wave,” Nunes said. “We’re seeing a slight, small increase in hospitalizations and really very few deaths.”

New cases in South Africa have risen from an average of 300 a day in early April to about 8,000 a day this week. Nunes says the actual number of new cases is likely much higher because symptoms are mild and many who get sick go untested.

Read more from The Associated Press.

07:15 am North Korea reported 21 new deaths on Saturday and 174,440 more people with fever symptoms as the country works to slow the spread of COVID-19 among the unvaccinated population.

The new deaths and cases, which were as of Friday, rose to 27 deaths and 524,440 illnesses since late April amid a rapid spread of fever. North Korea said 243,630 people had recovered and 280,810 people were in quarantine. State media did not specify how many of the fevers and deaths were confirmed as COVID-19 infections.

The country on Thursday imposed what it described as maximum preventive measures after it confirmed the first COVID-19 cases since the start of the pandemic. It previously held on for more than two years to a widely questioned claim of perfect recording of the virus that has spread to almost every place in the world.

Read more from The Associated Press.

6 am China withdrew to host football’s 2023 Asian Cup on Saturday in the latest cancellation of the country’s sports hosting duties amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Asian Football Confederation praised Chinese football officials for making “this very difficult but necessary decision in the collective interest of the AFC Asian Cup.”

The 24-nation tournament was set to be played in 10 cities in June and July next year in largely newly built stadiums.

China’s withdrawal could allow Qatar or Saudi Arabia to host, while both are bidding for a competition to host the 2027 edition. India and Iran are also candidates for the 2027 edition, with a decision expected early next year.

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