- Ontario reports 2,584 new cases of COVID-19, 24 new deaths.
- India reports drop in cases in Delhi, Mumbai amid warning of surge in rural areas.
- Australia carries out 1st repatriation flight from India after travel ban.
- Canada is at a turning point in the pandemic and there’s reason for hope — even in lockdown.
- Fortin out as Canada’s vaccine campaign lead amid military investigation.
- Track how many people in Canada have received 1st and 2nd doses of COVID-19 vaccines.
- Have a coronavirus question or news tip for CBC News? Email: Covid@cbc.ca
India’s two biggest cities have reported a drop in daily infections, but the government is warning that the devastating surge is spreading in rural areas, where nearly two-thirds of India’s 1.4 billion people live.
India reported 326,098 new confirmed cases and 3,890 deaths in the past 24 hours, though experts say both figures are an undercount. The Health Ministry had reported 343,144 cases on Friday and 362,727 on Thursday.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday warned people to take extra precautions as the virus was spreading fast in rural areas. He said the government was mobilizing all resources, including the military.
News reports say hapless villagers have been rushing the sick to nearby towns and cities for treatment because health-care facilities are limited in the countryside.
India’s capital, New Delhi, has reported less than 10,000 new cases in a day for the first time in more than a month — recording 8,506 cases in the past 24 hours.
After a peak of 11,000 daily infections, Mumbai, India’s financial and entertainment capital, has been reporting less than 2,000.
Australians arrive home from India
Meanwhile, Australia carried out its first repatriation flight from India after temporarily banning all travel from the COVID-ravaged country last month, the government said, with 80 passengers arriving in Darwin on Saturday from New Delhi.
Passengers had to show two negative COVID-19 tests before boarding the government-backed Qantas flight and were taken upon arrival to a converted mining camp in Howard Springs, in the Northern Territory, for a two-week quarantine.
A total of 70 passengers were barred from boarding the flight on Friday after they or their close contacts tested positive for the coronavirus.
The Australian government came under fire for temporarily barring all travel to and from India last month, a policy that drew heavy criticism from lawmakers, expatriates and the Indian diaspora.
– From The Associated Press and Reuters, last updated at 9 a.m. ET
What’s happening across Canada
As of 12:45 p.m. ET on Saturday, Canada had reported 1,321,766 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 72,758 considered active. A CBC News tally of deaths stood at 24,900.
Quebec, meanwhile, reported 760 new cases and eight new deaths. Earlier this week, the province opened up vaccination appointments to all those 18 and over.
WATCH | Summer guidance laid out for partially vaccinated Canadians:
In Atlantic Canada, New Brunswick reported seven new cases on Saturday, while Newfoundland and Labrador reported five new cases.
Nova Scotia, meanwhile, reported 117 new cases and one additional death on Friday. The province obtained a court injunction on Friday to halt a protest against its lockdown measures. Prince Edward Island reported two new cases.
In the North on Saturday, Nunavut reported five new cases of COVID-19. The Northwest Territories and Yukon had yet to provide updated daily figures.
In the Prairies on Friday, Manitoba reported 491 new COVID-19 cases. Daily case counts and the number of patients with the illness ending up in intensive care units are exceeding the province’s most extreme projected scenarios for the third wave.
WATCH | Manitoba health official warns about COVID-19’s impact on younger people:
Saskatchewan, meanwhile, reported 227 new cases and two additional deaths, while Alberta reported 1,433 new cases and five additional deaths.
British Columbia reported two additional deaths and 494 new COVID-19 cases on Friday. It was the first day since March 17 that the daily count of new cases fell below 500.
– From CBC News and The Canadian Press, last updated at 12:45 p.m. ET
What’s happening around the world
As of Saturday afternoon, more than 162 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported around the world, according to a tracking tool from Johns Hopkins University. The global reported death toll stood at more than 3.3 million.
In the Asia-Pacific region, Taiwan has raised the COVID-19 alert level for the capital Taipei and the surrounding area of New Taipei City following its worst outbreak since the pandemic began. Health authorities said that 180 new locally spread cases had been confirmed through Friday, the majority in Taipei and New Taipei.
The Level 3 alert announced Saturday requires people to wear a mask outdoors and limits indoor gatherings to five people and outdoor gatherings to 10 people. The alert remains in effect for two weeks.
In Europe, Britain deployed public health officials, supported by the army, to distribute coronavirus tests door to door in the northern England towns of Bolton and Blackburn on Saturday in an effort to contain a fast-spreading variant that threatens plans to lift all lockdown restrictions next month.
Cases of a variant first identified in India have more than doubled in a week, defying a sharp nationwide downward trend in infections won by months of restrictions and a rapid vaccination campaign.
Meanwhile, Britain says it will host an international meeting next month to combat misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines and build global confidence in their use.
In Poland, restaurants, bars and pubs have reopened for the first time in seven months, although they’re limited for now to the outdoor consumption of food and drinks.
In the Middle East, Turkey will ease cautiously out of a full lockdown next week and lift restrictions more significantly in June, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday, as cases have come down sharply from the peak of a fierce second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the Americas, Walmart, the world’s largest retailer, said Friday that it won’t require vaccinated shoppers or workers to wear a mask in its U.S. stores, unless state or local laws say otherwise.
The announcement came after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday advised that fully vaccinated people do not need to wear masks outdoors and can avoid wearing them indoors in most places.
In Africa, South Africa continues to lead the continent in COVID-19 case counts, with more than 1.6 million reported cases and more than 55,000 deaths.
– From The Associated Press and Reuters, last updated at 12:45 p.m. ET