Today’s coronavirus news: Quebec becomes latest province to lift health masking order

The latest coronavirus news from Canada and around the world on Saturday. This file will be updated throughout the day. Web links to longer stories if available.

8:05 Quebec was the first province in Canada to impose a mask mandate following the COVID-19 pandemic, and on Saturday became the latest province to allow residents to go mask-free to most indoor public places.

In effect since July 2020, the masking rule expired at 12:01 a.m., allowing customers in shops, bars, restaurants, gyms and shopping malls, as well as primary and secondary school students, to wear a mask only if they want to. wish.

However, wearing a mask remains compulsory in public transport and in health establishments. People who contract COVID-19 will be required to wear a mask in public while recovering, and companies can set their own workplace rules.

Read more from The Canadian Press.

7:30 a.m.. South Africa is experiencing a surge of new COVID-19 cases caused by two sub-variants of Omicron, according to health experts.

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

“We’re still very early in this surge, so I don’t really want to call it a wave,” Nunes said. “We are seeing a slight, a 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 around 8,000 a day this week. Nunes says the true number of new cases is likely much higher because symptoms are mild and many of those who fall ill are not tested.

Read more from the Associated Press.

7:15 a.m. North Korea on Saturday reported 21 new deaths and 174,440 more people with symptoms of fever as the country works to slow the spread of COVID-19 among its unvaccinated population.

The new deaths and cases, which date from Friday, brought the total to 27 fatalities and 524,440 illnesses amid a rapidly spreading fever since late April. North Korea said 243,630 people had recovered and 280,810 remained in quarantine. State media did not specify how many fever cases and deaths were confirmed as COVID-19 infections.

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

Read more from the Associated Press.

6 a.m. China pulled out as host of the 2023 Asian Football Cup on Saturday in the country’s latest cancellation of sports hosting duties during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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

The 24-nation tournament was due to take place in 10 cities in mostly newly built stadiums in June and July next year.

China’s withdrawal could allow Qatar or Saudi Arabia to become hosts as both bid in a competition to host the 2027 edition. India and Iran are also bidders for the 2027 edition with a decision expected early next year.

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