COVID-19 restrictions set to expire today have been extended until February 5th. Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says it is not the time to ease restrictions, and is willing to take further action to limit the spread of the illness. The public health rules prohibit events and social gatherings among people from different households, as well as adult team sports and other activities. B-C announced 761 new cases of COVID-19 yesterday. as well as eight new COVID-19 related deaths, for a total of 970 deaths in British Columbia

 

A return to the old normal may feel within reach with the rollout of vaccines against COVID-19 in B.C. but we still have a way to go. An end to the pandemic hinges on herd immunity, which is achieved when 60 to 75 per cent of the population is immune to the virus. “We are a long way from that,” said Provincial Health Officer Doctor Bonnie Henry during Thursday’s COVID-19 update after extending a ban on social gatherings. Given the number of COVID-19 vaccine doses B.C. is expecting to get during the first few months of the year, the province will see only a small population immune by the spring.  This is why the province’s priority during the first few months of the year is not achieving herd immunity but rather vaccinating those who are at higher risk of serious symptoms from COVID-19.

White Rock firefighters ended 2020 dealing with a pair of blazes set in the city’s uptown area Deputy fire Chief Norm MacLeod confirmed Thursday that crews were called out Dec. 31 after three portable toilets were set ablaze in two locations – the first two were in a parking lot behind one of the under-construction Miramar Village towers at Thrift Avenue and Johnston Road, and the third was lit up behind The Wooden Spoon restaurant MacLeod said The Wooden Spoon fire report came in as crews were tending to the Miramar blaze. In both incidents, damage was contained to the toilets, he said. No injuries were reported. Anyone with information that could assist investigators may contact the White Rock RCMP

 

A police officer is the fifth person to die after a violent mob stormed the U-S Capitol building on Wednesday. Capitol Police say an officer has died from injuries sustained during the siege. The rampage by a throng of supporters of U-S President Donald Trump is forcing hard questions about security at the Capitol. Some lawmakers have labelled it a terrorist attack and are demanding a review of operations and an F-B-I briefing. Others have called for invoking the 25th Amendment to the Constitution to force Trump from office before Joe Biden is inaugurated on January 20th. Last night was the first time U-S President Donald Trump finally issued a concession speech of sorts, in a video via his now-unfrozen Twitter account. Twenty-four hours after expressing solidarity with the rioters, Trump called their actions a “heinous attack.” He also promised an orderly transfer of power between his White House and the incoming Biden team.

 

Surrey Mounties say they seized fentanyl, cocaine and $10,000 cash from a hidden compartment in a car in Fleetwood on New Years Day. Corporal Joanie Sidhu said police were doing a traffic stop at about 11 p.m. in the 9000-block of 156th Street when an officer spotted a knife and bear spray in a Nissan Maxima. The driver was arrested for possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose. Police also noticed a hidden compartment, so they seized the Nissan and got a search warrant. Police ended up seizing $10,000 in cash, she said, and about a ounce of “suspected” cocaine. “The hidden compartment also held two bags containing hundreds of small packages of suspected crack cocaine and fentanyl. Police ask anyone with information about this incident to contact the Surrey RCMP or Crime Stoppers, if they wish to remain anonymous

 

Memorial services are being held today for victims of a passenger jet the Iranian military shot down one year ago. More than 100 of the 176 victims had ties to Canada, and at least 55 were Canadian citizens. In a statement, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau honoured the victims and expressed solidarity with their loved ones. An international group advocating for the victims is calling on Iran to come clean on what led to the downing of the plane. That statement, put out by Global Affairs Canada, also calls on Iran to properly compensate victims’ families.

 

WestJet Airlines says about 1,000 employees will be temporarily laid off, put on unpaid leave or have their hours cut in the wake of new travel rules from the federal government.
The airline also says it will cut about 30 per cent of its capacity for February and March and pull 160 domestic departures from its schedule. WestJet chief executive Ed Sims says the federal government’s COVID-19 testing policy led to unprecedented travel cancellations, leaving the company with no other option but to place a large number of employees on leave. The federal government said last week that Canada-bound air passengers would have to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test result in order to board their flight _ a requirement that took effect yesterday.