Canada has made an agreement with Novavax to produce COVID-19 vaccines in this country. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is expected to announce this morning the deal for domestic vaccine production at a new National Research Council biomanufacturing facility. More details are also expected on making some COVID-19 therapeutic drugs at other facilities in Canada. The deal could help Trudeau tamp down the political headache caused by Canada’s skeletal vaccine production capacity. But Novavax’s vaccine is likely at least two months away from being approved in Canada, while the NRC facility is still under construction and designed to produce only about two million doses a month. Canada has a deal to buy 52-million doses from Novavax after it is approved by Health Canada.
B-C’s top doctor says she’s concerned about growing numbers of COVID-19 variants in the province, with four cases of the South African strain and 14 of the United Kingdom strain. Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says all of the U-K cases are linked to travel but none of the South Africa cases are connected to international trips, so officials are working to understand the spread. A contact of someone who tested positive for one of the variants attends Garibaldi Secondary School in Maple Ridge, so the health authority is testing some 80 people in the student’s cohort. Henry says the variants are concerning because we still don’t know much about them and they’re thought to spread more easily. B-C is reported one-thousand-158 new cases of COVID-19 from Friday to Monday as well as 21 additional deaths.

 

Vancouver Police have issued a warning to the public to be careful after two men posing as police officers attacked an elderly woman in her west-side home. Sergeant Steve Addison says a 78-year-old woman was found suffering from life-threatening injuries after what he describes as a “deeply disturbing crime.” Addison says it’s believed the woman let in two men posing as police officers when they knocked on her door yesterday morning but the motive for the attack is unknown. He says all officers carry I-D cards and police badges and anyone doubts if a person they are dealing with is a member of force, they can call the non-emergency line for confirmation.

 

R-C-M-P are investigating after shots were fired in Richmond at around 12:30 a-m Monday morning. Police say initial reports suggest there was an exchange of gunfire between the occupants of two separate vehicles, which sped away as police arrived. There are no reports of injuries. Police are asking witnesses to come forward and also encouraging residents to check their home surveillance and vehicle dash-cams to see if they may have captured the incident on video.

 

If you’re going to be parking on White Rock’s waterfront this week, be sure to be have change or a credit card with you. While the city provided free parking in the waterfront lots in November, December and January – part of an annual initiative to help local businesses and encourage outdoor activity during the winter months – pay parking returned as of yesterday . Waterfront rates during the shoulder season— which lasts from Feb. 1 to March 31—are $2 an hour along the waterfront and $7.50 a day at the West Beach Parkade and the Montecito Parkade.

 

Ontario’s Wiarton Willie says he did not see its shadow on Groundhog Day and is predicting an early spring for 2021. “Well folks, my prediction is official,” the groundhog posted on Twitter. “With cloudy skies and snow falling upon us this morning in Wiarton it was very hard to find my shadow — even with all the camera lights around! Fans of spring rejoice,  an Early Spring is around the corner,” he said Tuesday. Folklore has it that if a groundhog sees its shadow on Feb. 2, it will retreat into its burrow, heralding six more weeks of cold weather. No shadow is said to foretell that spring-like temperatures are on the way.

Impeachment proceedings against former U-S President Donald Trump are moving forward in Washington. Trump’s latest legal team is expected to deliver a brief to the
United States senate by noon today, as required, responding to the article of impeachment. Trump faces trial next week on accusations that he incited a harrowing and deadly siege at the U-S Capitol on January 6th.

Chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam says Canada is in “a very delicate period.” Case counts for fast-spreading COVID-19 variants are ticking upward across the country, even while the average daily cases count has nearly dropped 50 per cent from three weeks ago. As the more contagious strains of the coronavirus take hold, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says rare exceptions to incoming travel restrictions will be made on compassionate grounds. One requirement is that passengers returning from abroad must self-isolate in a hotel, which costs upwards of two-thousand-dollars at the traveller’s expense.

The threat of a strike by about 180 transit workers on the Canada Line linking Richmond and Vancouver has been averted.
The union representing the workers says it has reached a tentative agreement with system operator Protrans, a subsidiary of
S-N-C-Lavalin. The B-C Government and Service Employees’ Union announced the tentative deal after holding off on job action and continuing negotiations when a 72-hour strike notice expired yesterday. Canada Line staff wanted improved sick time and wage parity with SkyTrain workers but details of the tentative deal won’t be released until a ratification vote is held.

Two schools in Victoria were placed on lockdown today after police received a report of a man in the area holding what appeared to a firearm. Police say multiple officers contained the area surrounding S-J. Willis School and a nearby elementary school after getting the report just after noon. They say officers searched for over an hour but could not find the man and the schools moved to a “hold and secure” while officers continued the investigation. Police say they do not believe there is a risk to the safety of the students in the area or the public and the schools have resumed normal operations.

After a year of social upheaval and renewed attention to racial injustice, Black Canadian leaders and artists are sharing their
thoughts on the significance of Black History Month in 2021. Hip-Hop artist and motivational speaker Duane Gibson says he
wants Canadian business leaders who speak up this month to do so with more than empty promises of support. Natasha Henry, president of the Ontario Black History Society, says Canadians need to go beyond learning and demand substantive change from governments and institutions.