The latest news on COVID 19 developments in Canada for March 24, 2021

The latest news on COVID-19 developments in Canada (all times Eastern): 2:15 p.m.

The latest news on COVID-19 developments in Canada (all times Eastern):

2:15 p.m.

Conservative health critic Michelle Rempel Garner says the federal government needs to roll out a concrete plan to help provinces deal with a potential bottleneck in COVID-19 vaccine supply.

The demand follows media reports that India is freezing major exports of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine and the European Union is finalizing emergency legislation that would give it broad powers to curb vaccine shipments abroad for six weeks amid supply shortages at home.

The federal government says it does not believe vaccine shipments to Canada would be affected by export restrictions being considered by the EU.

Rempel Garner says verbal assurances don’t cut it, and she’s calling for written guarantees from the EU and other countries on whether Canada will be impacted by export restrictions.

She says provincial plans for lifting lockdowns hinge on a steady ramp-up in dose deliveries.

Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet says he is not concerned about overall vaccine supply into Canada.

1:40 p.m.

Manitoba is reporting 80 new cases of COVID-19 today and no new deaths. 

Thirty-seven of the cases are in the northern health region.

Members of the military are landing in Manitoba this week to help the vaccination effort in 23 northern First Nations. 

Officials say the effort will accelerate the pace of immunizations so that 100,000 First Nations people can get doses in 100 days. 

Immunizations in the province have now been expanded to people 65 and older, and First Nations people 45 and older.

1:10 p.m.

Nova Scotia is reporting five new cases of COVID-19 today.

All are in the Halifax area with three close contacts of previously reported cases and the other two related to travel outside of Atlantic Canada.

The province currently has a total of 24 active infections.

As of Tuesday, health officials say 71,733 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered, with 21,648 people having received their required second shot.

1 p.m.

Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan says the Canadian Armed Forces will support Indigenous Services in its vaccination efforts in 23 remote Indigenous communities in Manitoba.

He says up to 200 military personnel will be deployed to provide assistance and administer vaccines.

He says the CAF logistics professionals will help with establishing vaccination clinics as well as transporting community members to and from clinics where required.

Sajjan says the military members will start delivering vaccines in Indigenous communities in Manitoba on March 29 and the operation will continue until at least the end of June.

12:55 p.m.

Public health restrictions are loosening once again in Newfoundland and Labrador as the province reports one new case of COVID-19.

Effective midnight Saturday, the entire province will move to Alert Level 2, allowing households to keep a so-called “steady 20” group of consistent contacts.

Health officials put the province in lockdown on Feb. 12 as a COVID-19 outbreak spread through the St. John’s area.

There are now just three active cases across the province, with one of those patients in hospital due to the disease.

11:50 a.m.

Quebec is reporting 783 new cases of COVID-19 today and eight more deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus.

Health officials say hospitalizations dropped by 11, to 508, and 118 people were in intensive care, a rise of five.

Officials say Quebec surpassed the mark of one million vaccine doses administered in the province, after giving 31,025 shots Tuesday.

10:35 a.m.

Ontario reports 1,571 new cases of COVID-19 today and 10 more deaths linked to the virus.

Health Minister Christine Elliott says 459 of those new cases are in Toronto, 309 are in Peel Region and 143 are in York Region.

The province says that more than 72,000 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine were administered since Tuesday’s update.

10:20 a.m.

The Saskatchewan Health Authority has lowered the age for booking vaccinations.

It says residents 65 and older can now book a shot.

The health authority says those living in the Far North can also do so if they’re 50 and older.

Residents deemed clinically vulnerable or with underlying health conditions are also eligible but will have to wait for a letter first.

Priority health-care workers can also get vaccinated.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 24, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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