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It isn’t known yet if the federal government plans to add or toughen any travel restrictions, as Canada and the world try to slow the spread of COVID-19’s latest new variant of concern.  Prime Minister Justin Trudeau consulted with all of the country’s premiers late last night on additional border and travel measures that might help.  The first ministers used their call to discuss the Omicron  variant, which experts say is eight times more transmissible than the Delta variant.  Ontario’s top doctor expects it will become the dominant one very soon.


BC health officials are reporting 519 new cases of COVID-19 for a total of three-thousand-171 active infections.  They say 191 of the active cases are in hospital including 81 in intensive care.  There have been no new deaths and the total number of fatalities is two-thousand-386.  They say 44 cases of the Omicron variant have been identified in the province.


Health officials are recommending against large holiday parties in B-C with COVID-19 cases poised to rise because of the variant.  Doctor Bonnie Henry says British Columbia is in a different place than it was last Christmas, because of high vaccination rates, rolling booster shots and a vaccine card program.  Instead of announcing new public health orders, she encouraged people to keep holiday gatherings to close friends and family, rather than parties with strangers of unknown vaccination status.  She says other measures like mask mandates, ventilation and physical distancing remain important.


BC officials say free rapid tests will be available to residents in the new year.  Rapid tests are less reliable than PCR tests, and a positive result must be confirmed with a second test from a health authority.  But at-home testing kits are convenient, and they may provide some people with peace of mind ahead of planned social gatherings.  Dr. Bonnie Henry says BC will receive a shipment in January from the federal government with kits that can be performed at home, and officials will announce more details about their distribution plan then.


The annual inflation rate held steady at an 18-year high in November.  Statistics Canada reports the consumer price index rose 4.7 per cent compared matching the year-over-year increase in October, which was the largest gain since February 2003.  Canadian Chamber of Commerce chief economist Stephen Tapp says high inflation isn’t just hitting consumers hard, but is also driving up costs for businesses.


The Vancouver Canucks stormed back last night to erase a 3-0 deficit and defeat the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-3.  With the comeback win, Vancouver has now won 5 in a row.  Canucks are in San Jose tomorrow night.


Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says it is more important than ever for Canadians to get vaccinated against COVID-19. He says that includes booster shots, as the Omicron (OH’-mih-kron) variant upends hope for a more normal holiday season and travel. Trudeau says he knows that after almost two years of pandemic life Canadians were hoping not to have to think so much about COVID-19 any longer. But the federal government is now advising people to avoid non-essential international travel and to stay away from large Gatherings.


The federal government is again warning Canadians against all non-essential international travel in the face of the rapidly spreading Omicron (OH’-mih-kron) variant of COVID-19. Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos says he knows it’s drastic, but he’s  urging Canadians to cancel international travel plans now that the variant is spreading, to avoid over-stressing our health-care systems. Other ministers are warning more measures at the border could still be on the way, but are not prepared to announce them just yet.


The head of the Bank of Canada says the central bank has grown uncomfortable with hot inflation readings. They remained at an 18-year high last month, as he vowed to rein in price increases. Tiff Macklem says the issue comes down to the trust Canadians have in the Bank of Canada to make sure the pace of price increases doesn’t run too high. Statistics Canada reports inflation held steady in November as the consumer price index rose 4.7 per cent. A key driver was once again the price of gasoline, which rose 43.6 per cent compared with the same month a year earlier. 


There’s some big bucks for an unreleased Whitney Houston song. Houston’s music made a lot of money when she was alive, and it continues to make a lot of money almost 10 years after her death. The unreleased song just sold for a million dollars at an auction last night. It was sold as an N-F-T, and it was recorded when Houston was just 17 years old. No word yet who bought the untitled tune, or if that person will ever make the song public.