The CORONAVIRUS REPORT for WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 2, 2020

Vaccines could arrive by early in the New Year.

Health Minister Christine Elliott says Ontario will be ready to distribute COVID-19 vaccines across the province by the end of this month.

Elliott calls it the largest logistical operation in a generation.

She says a provincial task force, headed by retired General Rick Hillier, is seeking the expertise of businesses and individuals who know about large-scale distribution, technology, patient care, and drugs.

Britain and the United States could begin distributing their vaccines this month…..but Canada likely won’t receive its first supplies until early in the new year.

Hillier says that will give his team the chance to see what works, and what doesn’t work, in the distribution systems in those two countries.

Elliott says health-care workers will probably be at the top of the list for the first inoculations….but adds the province won’t make it mandatory.

 

Retailers ask for lifting of sanctions

A group of about 50 retailers is calling on the provincial government to allow all stores in the province to open…..with those in coronavirus hot zones being limited to 25 per cent capacity.

In a letter to Premier Doug Ford, the group says closing stores is simply spreading the virus wider, as shoppers in lockdown areas head to regions where regulations are less stringent.

It adds that may benefit big-box retailers……but it’s harming thousands of small, independent retailers in COVID-19 hotspots.

The group, which includes large retailers like Canadian Tire and Ikea, says limited openings, along with restrictions like face masks, will reduce the community spread of the coronavirus, and allow more businesses to stay open during the make-or-break holiday season.

 

Border staying closed for a while yet

It looks like our border with the United States will remain closed for some time to come.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the restriction will continue in place until there is significant progress in the battle against COVID-19 around the world.

The border closure first went into effect in late March, and has been extended each month since then.

Trade continues to flow, however, and there are exceptions for essential workers like truck drivers and medical staff.

 

Some economic growth but not as much as expected

Statistics Canada reports the national economy grew at a record annualized pace of 40.5 per cent in the
third quarter of the year, as businesses came out of COVID-19 lockdowns.

That smashed the previous record of 13.2 per cent in the first quarter of 1965.

But it still fell short of expectations.

The average estimate from economists predicted a growth rate of almost 48 per cent in the quarter.

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