Today’s coronavirus news: 7 Raptors onCOVID protocols; NHL pulls out of Beijiing

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

3:43 p.m.: Ontarians who resell rapid antigen COVID-19 test kits may be fined for doing so.

Government and Consumer Services Minister Ross Romano says reselling the kits is considered a breach of government emergency orders that prohibit charging unfair prices for necessary goods.

He says the government is working to “identify, track down, and fine” businesses or individuals who break the rules.

Fines range from $750 to $100,000 for individuals, up to $500,000 for company directors and up to $10 million for corporations.

Romano says 900 “egregious” complaints about rapid test resales have been referred to police forces.

The government has been providing rapid tests to businesses, students in publicly funded schools and for free at sites like malls and liquor stores this month ahead of the holidays.

3:00 p.m. New COVID-19 projections suggest case numbers will sharply rise in Saskatchewan without stronger public health measures, but the province is not expecting to tighten restrictions for the holidays.

“We will see a surge with Omicron, we can’t escape that,” Dr. Saqib Shahab, chief medical health officer, said Tuesday.

The projections released by the province suggest that Omicron-driven cases and hospitalizations will increase dramatically by the end of the month without stronger interventions. It suggested there could be more than 300 daily infections by the start of 2022.

Read the full story here.

2:20 p.m. Alberta is broadening eligibility for COVID-19 vaccine booster shots starting immediately.

Premier Jason Kenney says anyone 18 and older can book a third shot provided the second one was more than five months ago.

Kenney says vaccines are the best protection against the rapidly spreading Omicron variant.

Read the full story here.

2 p.m. The Raptors are suffering through a full-on COVID outbreak.

Four players — guards Fred VanVleet and Malachi Flynn, forwards Scottie Barnes and Precious Achiuwa — have been placed in the NBA’s health and safety protocols, devastating the team’s roster.

They join Pascal Siakam, Dalano Banton and Gary Trent Jr. in the protocols.

The four added to the list Tuesday could miss at least 10 days; Siakam and Banton went under the protocols on Saturday, Trent on Monday.

Read the full story by Doug Smith: VanVleet, Flynn, Barnes and Achiuwa latest Raptors to be added to COVID protocols

1 p.m. Tighter public health restrictions on gatherings and capacity for both vaccinated and unvaccinated Manitobans have come into force.

Health Minister Audrey Gordon has said the rules are necessary to try to curb the spread of the COVID-19 Omicron variant and prevent more pressure on overburdened hospitals.

Private indoor gatherings with vaccinated people are limited to household members plus 10 other people.

Gatherings that include anyone who is unvaccinated are limited to one household plus five guests.

Gyms, movie theatres and restaurants — where people have already been required to be vaccinated — are limited to half capacity.

Churches that require proof of vaccination will be limited to half capacity, while those that do not require vaccination status will be limited to 25 people or 25 per cent capacity, whichever is less.

The new rules are to be in place for three weeks until Jan. 11.

12:54 p.m. Prince Edward Island has joined Newfoundland and Labrador in announcing isolation requirements for all visitors in an attempt to limit the spread of COVID-19 and the Omicron variant.

Premier Dennis King told a news conference Tuesday that beginning on Wednesday at 8 a.m., anyone arriving on the Island from out of province will have to isolate for four days.

King said every traveller entering the province will be given two rapid tests and will be required to complete them on the second and fourth days of their isolation. The premier said all bars and restaurants in the province will have to stop serving customers at 11 p.m. each night.

“To get back to some kind of normal in our province, we need to do this,” he said. “We need to limit travel, we need to limit our personal interactions. This isn’t the time for parties, for gatherings or staff celebrations.”

The province reported 29 new cases of COVID-19 Tuesday, bringing the total number of active infections to 112. Dr. Heather Morrison, chief public health officer, said four of the new cases involve people who are not permanent residents of P.E.I., adding that all are in isolation.

12:47 p.m. Ontario’s top doctor was set to give an update on the COVID-19 situation in the province Tuesday as the highly infectious Omicron variant put pressure on health systems.

The province reported 3,453 new COVID-19 cases and 11 virus deaths as some hospitals said they were suspending non-essential services to brace for the impact of rising infections.

In Toronto, the Unity Health hospital network said it had made the “difficult decision” to pause non-essential ambulatory care and surgical procedures, with the exception of urgent cases.

“Right now we need to focus all of our efforts, our people and resources on caring for our patients and assuring that we have the capacity to meet the demands of the pandemic,” Tim Rutledge, the network’s president and CEO, said in a statement.

There were 165 people in intensive care due to COVID-19 on Tuesday, including 101 patients on ventilators across the province. Forecasts from Ontario’s expert pandemic advisers predict cases will keep rising over the next month, with a spike in hospitalizations to follow.

12: 47 p.m. Travel is restricted to a hamlet in Nunavut after two cases of COVID-19 were identified late yesterday.

The Nunavut government says travel in or out of Pangnirtung, which is on Baffin Island, is limited to essential purposes only, effective immediately.

Nunavut’s chief public health officer, Dr. Michael Patterson, says the threat of the Omicron variant led to the decision to tighten public health measures to limit potential spread to other communities.

It’s not yet known if the cases are the Omicron variant.

12:43 p.m. The Defence Department’s top procurement official is warning of fresh delays in the delivery of already overdue warships and other new equipment to the Canadian Armed Forces because of COVID-19.

Assistant deputy minister of materiel Troy Crosby says the Halifax and Vancouver shipyards building new fleets for Canada’s navy and coast guard have been hit particularly hard by lockdowns and supply chain disruptions.

While the government is working with the shipyards to determine the full extent of the problem, Crosby says their already revised delivery schedules will slip yet again.

Any schedule slippage will delay delivery of much-needed new ships for the navy’s aging fleet, which has seen five vessels retired over the past decade that still haven’t been replaced.

(Updated) 12:30 p.m. The NHL is pulling out of the Beijing Olympics over Omicron spread and quarantine concerns. TheNHL and NHLPA reached the joint decision Tuesday to withdraw their participation and in the process of finalizing it with the International Olympic Committee.

They made that call for business reasons above all else.

They are scrambling to try and save a full season, quite frankly, after the rapid spread of the Omicron variant forced a tidal wave of game postponements and sent the league into its holiday break early.

Pulling out of the Beijing Games removes any existential worry about the possibility of star players getting stuck in China while the NHL schedule resumes back home.

Read the full story by the Star’s Chris Johnson: NHL pulling out of Beijing Olympics. Nobody can be blamed but something important is likely lost forever

12 p.m. Quebec is reporting 5,043 new cases of COVID-19 today and eight additional deaths linked to the novel coronavirus.

It’s the third day in a row that the province has reported a record number of new COVID-19 infections.

The Health Department says the number of hospitalizations rose by 18 from the day before, to 415, with 59 new admissions and 41 patients discharged. It says 88 people are in intensive care, an increase of six.

Health Minister Christian Dubé says 315,000 people made an appointment to get vaccinated on Monday, and more than 73,000 received a dose, including 64,000 booster shots.

In Montreal, Mayor Valérie Plante this morning reintroduced a state of emergency, which had been lifted in August.

The city’s 8,033 active cases of COVID-19 are the most of any region in Quebec, but the province’s public health institute says the Estrie region, east of Montreal, is the most affected region on a per capita basis.

11:45 a.m.: The COVID toll on the Raptors grew this morning.

Guards Fred VanVleet and Malachi Flynn have been placed in the NBA’s health and safety protocols, becoming the fourth and fifth members of the roster now affected by…

Read More: Today’s coronavirus news: 7 Raptors onCOVID protocols; NHL pulls out of Beijiing

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