Teachers at a Surrey elementary school are hoping to make a bold statement about COVID-19. Some staff at École Woodward Hill Elementary School in South Newton are planning what’s been described as a “walk-in” Tuesday morning. It comes after seven schools in the Fraser Health region, including Woodward Hill, reported cases of the highly contagious B.1.7.7 variant, most commonly associated with the U.K. Many teachers are expected to enter the school dressed all in red shortly before classes begin. It’s all in an effort to raise awareness about the seriousness of the situation and show support for other schools with the variant. The group plans to practice physical distancing and wear masks. The Surrey School District says five of its schools have confirmed cases of the variant. Roughly 300 students and staff are self-isolating at home while they await the results of their COVID-19 tests, which are expected on Wednesday. Tuesday’s walk-in is not expected to impact classes.

 

Four Surrey recreation centres out of 11 have been chosen for mass vaccination sites as part of the largest immunization program in B.C.’s history, set to roll out between April and September 2021. The provincial government intends to make COVID-19 vaccinations available to 4.3 million people. The Clayton Recreation Centre, Cloverdale Recreation Centre, Guildford Recreation Centre and South Surrey Recreation and Arts Centre. Council authorized city staff to execute lease agreements for the four civic facilities. Fraser Health needs to deliver 37,500 doses each day between April and November and is planning a “soft launch” in March. The health authority indicates the Fraser Health Region has 1.8 million people who are eligible for vaccination and of those, 31 per cent live in Surrey.

B-C health officials are scheduled to give an update on the COVID-19 pandemic at 3 p-m today. Yesterday, health officials reported two cases of the COVID-19 variant first found in Nigeria, which they say are under investigation in the province. They say 28 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 variants of concern have now been found in the province for a total of 101 infections. Yesterday BC reported one thousand-428 new infections over the past three days for a total of seventy-seven-thousand-263 cases in the province. B-C recorded eight new COVID-19 related deaths, for a total of one-thousand-335 fatalities

 

New rules this week around mandatory hotel quarantines for travelers coming into Canada are already causing huge headaches for some air passengers, and they just went into affect yesterday. There are complaints it can take hours or even days to book a room, forcing some travelers to delay or even cancel flights. Nationally, there are 18 federally approved hotels where air travelers can book their minimum three-day quarantine while they are tested for COVID-19 — there are five around Vancouver International Airport, all in Richmond. The issue is that the government has contracted a single company — GB Travel Canada — to run the quarantine booking system and rooms can only be secured over the phone through its agents. Travelers can not book their quarantines directly with the hotels. The hotel stays — which must be paid for by the travelers — are just one of a series of measures to limit the spread of COVID-19 and more highly contagious variants in Canada

A 22-year-old climate activist has been granted bail by an Indian court, 10 days after she was detained on sedition charges for allegedly helping in the creation of an online document intended to help amplify farmer protests in India Disha Ravi is part of the Indian wing of Fridays for Future, a global climate change movement founded by Swedish teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg.
New Delhi police claim the document spread misinformation about the months-long protests by farmers and — quote — “tarnished the image of India.”

Clinical trials are set to begin in the U-S for a COVID-19 vaccine administered in the form of a nasal spray The U-S Food and Drug Administration is allowing testing of the nasal spray vaccine developed by drug maker Altimmune after encouraging results during a pre-clinical trial at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Testing in animals showed it not only neutralized the virus, but also helped them developed an additional layer of protection in their nose and upper respiratory system.  Here in BC 4 surrey locations have been picked for BC’s biggest immunization program to distribute the covid 19 vaccines, beginning in April.

 

A virtual meeting is set for today between Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and U-S President Joe Biden. China, COVID-19 vaccines, and the ill-fated Keystone X-L pipeline are expected to be among the topics discussed in Biden’s first bilateral meeting since being sworn into office. Eric Miller, a Canada-U-S expert and president of the D-C-based Rideau Potomac Strategy Group, says now is the time for Canada to take advantage of the synchronicity between the two leaders.

 

Advocates trying to slow the death toll in British Columbia’s overdose crisis say the scale of the emergency demands substantial change. Donald MacPherson, director of the Canadian Drug Policy Coalition at Simon Fraser University, says a federal move to relax penalties is an incremental step when decriminalization is urgently needed. He says resources should focus on things like eliminating the illicit supply, reducing the stigma of addiction, providing safe supply and regulating recovery homes.

Surrey R-C-M-P are asking for the public’s help in locating the owner of a box of sports and music memorabilia dating back more than 40 years. The box was among lost or stolen property found in the area of 140 Street and 19 Avenue last October 22nd. Police say they’ve located the owners of many items but are still looking for the owner of the box of sporting event and concert tickets. They says it’s likely the tickets have a sentimental value and are asking anyone with information to contact them.

Canada and Australia are banding together to ensure the revenues of web giants are shared more fairly with creators and media. A statement from Ottawa says Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison have agreed to continue “co-ordinating efforts” to address online harm and ensure social media companies pay for journalism. The increasing alliance between the two countries on legislating internet giants to pay for news comes as Facebook backs down on its ban on Australians viewing and sharing news on its platform. 

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau took a shot at U-S President Joe Biden’s predecessor during their meeting this afternoon. Trudeau praised Biden’s agenda on climate change, noting that U-S leadership on the file had been absent for the last four years. This is Biden’s first bilateral meeting since taking office last month. The two leaders exchanged warm greetings, despite the fact that the bilateral summit was being held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

 

Authorities say there’s no immediate evidence that golf superstar Tiger Woods was impaired in an early morning car crash that seriously injured both his legs. Los Angeles County’s police chief and fire chief say Woods’ S-U-V crashed into a raised median, crossed two oncoming lanes and rolled several times, ending up on its side on a steep roadway. They added Woods was alert and able to communicate as firefighters pried open the front windshield to get him out. He was taken to a hospital with multiple leg injuries and his manager says he was undergoing surgery.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says none of the 559 new cases of COVID-19 reported today in B-C were in long-term care. Henry says the one new death reported today was also outside a long-term care setting. She says that’s a reflection of the COVID-19 vaccines that have been provided to residents and staff in long-term care, which are highly effective with even one dose. Henry says that’s a success that needs to celebrated as the province moves to expand its vaccination campaign.