Today’s coronavirus news: Ontario theaters facing “arbitrary and unreasonable” reopening restrictions; Tokyo records most virus cases in two months

The last Coronavirus news from Canada and around the world on Saturday. This file will be updated throughout the day. Web links to longer stories if available.

8:40 am: California will require masks to be worn in schools when classrooms open this fall, despite new guidelines released Friday by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that say teachers and students vaccinated have not. no need to wear face coverings inside school buildings.

Ahead of new school guidelines expected next week, health officials in California said Friday that requiring face coverings would allow all schools to reopen this fall for full in-person instruction.

California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr Mark Ghaly says not all schools can accept a physical distance of at least 3 feet or more, so the best preventative measure is indoor masking.

8:39 am: South Korea has set a new record for daily coronavirus cases for the third day in a row as authorities prepare to enforce the strictest social distancing restrictions in the greater capital region.

The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency said on Saturday that more than 1,000 of the 1,378 new cases were from the capital Seoul and neighboring Gyeonggi and Incheon province, an area where officials as of Monday crack down on private social gatherings of three or more people from 6 p.m. Nightclubs and churches will close, visitors will be banned from nursing homes and hospitals, and weddings and funerals will be limited to family gatherings.

Dozens of new cases have each been reported in major cities and regions of the country, including Busan, Daejeon, Ulsan, South Chungcheong Province and South Gyeongsang Province.

After adding 9,700 cases in July alone, the country’s case count now stands at 166,722, including 2,038 deaths.

The outbreak is a worrying development in a country where just over 30% of a population of 51 million people have received their first doses of coronavirus vaccines.

8:39 am: Malta now requires proof of vaccination for visitors to the Mediterranean island nation in hopes of stemming the latest rise in coronavirus infections.

From Wednesday, visitors to Malta must present a COVID-19 vaccination certificate recognized by Maltese health authorities, i.e. certificates issued by Malta, the European Union or the United Kingdom.

The EU green passport certifies people who are vaccinated, who receive a negative PCR test result, or who have recovered from COVID-19. But Malta has decided to recognize only those who are fully vaccinated.

“Malta will be the first EU country to take this step,” said Health Minister Chris Fearne.

Children 5 to 12 years old only need to show a negative PCR test, while children under 5 are exempt from any obligation.

Malta, which has just over half a million inhabitants, had 46 active cases on July 1, but that number rose to 252 on Friday.

The government says 90% of new cases are in unvaccinated people. Currently, 79% of Maltese adults are fully vaccinated.

8:38 am: Music is vibrating in Parisian nightclubs for the first time in 16 months as other European countries close nightlife again due to the increase in coronavirus cases.

The reopening of Parisian dance clubs on Friday evening was the last step in the process of lifting France’s pandemic restrictions. The move was aimed at marking victory over the virus, as nightclubs were among the few places that had remained closed since March 2020.

But the delta variant is spreading faster than vaccinations in France, and infections are on the rise again after weeks of decline. President Emmanuel Macron is expected to speak to the nation on Monday about the situation, and the government may opt for further restrictions.

At the popular La Bellevilloise club in eastern Paris, many people were still eager to return to the dance floor. The Parisian Laurent Queige described it as “a liberation, an immense pleasure to rediscover clubbing, partying, friends”.



La Bellevilloise owner Renaud Barillet said this weekend could serve as a useful test, “to see how the public, the organizers, all of this react and manage to adopt new habits”.

Participants must produce a QR code that shows proof of full vaccination or a new negative COVID-19 test, and capacity is limited to 75%.

8:33 am: Tokyo has reported 950 new cases of the coronavirus, the highest daily number in two months, as infections spread steadily less than two weeks before the city hosts the Summer Olympics.

Saturday’s tally against the 822 confirmed cases reported on Friday. Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga on Thursday declared a state of emergency in Tokyo from Monday to prevent infections from becoming explosive during the Olympics, which will open on July 23.

His government initially planned to take less stringent measures, but came under pressure to issue the emergency order as the more contagious delta strain spread throughout the Tokyo area.

Experts have warned that the number of cases could reach thousands in a matter of weeks as people travel across the country during the summer vacation and the Olympics draw foreign and domestic visitors to Tokyo.

Olympic officials have decided not to allow spectators at Olympic venues in the Tokyo area, while allowing limited attendance in other parts of Japan. However, that plan fell apart after Hokkaido and Fukushima announced that no fans would be allowed on sites in their area.

Despite the recent acceleration of Japan’s vaccination program, only 16.8% of the population is fully vaccinated. Japan has reported around 812,000 cases and nearly 15,000 deaths from the pandemic.

8:30 am: Ontario theaters will resume operations on Friday as the province moves to Stage 3 five days early, but the reopening doesn’t mean crowds will be packed for the summer blockbuster season.

Instead, theaters will be allowed to operate at a maximum of 50% of their capacity, with a limit of 1,000 people throughout the building, a move one industry advocate calls “arbitrary. and unreasonable “.

The Cinemas Association of Canada (MTAC) issued a statement saying that Ontario’s capacity restrictions for theaters “have no basis in scientific analysis” and “unfairly stigmatize theaters”, which they say , have not seen a documented case of COVID-19 traced.

The organization has been pushing for the reopening of cinemas for months, highlighting a lack of consultation with the province or consistency across the country.

The MTAC says that Alberta and Saskatchewan currently have no capacity limits on their theaters while Quebec allows 250 people in an auditorium. British Columbia’s rules comply with Ontario’s 50% limit.

Ontario Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kieran Moore said on Friday that while plans to reopen progress, he remains concerned about the presence of the Delta and Lambda variants. The Delta strain is currently dominant in the province.

The reopening of theaters will give Ontarians the first chance to see Marvel’s “Black Widow” on the big screen and the latest “Fast & Furious” “F9” entry outside of drive-ins.

Multiplexes in the province have been closed longer than any other jurisdiction in North America, with locations in the Greater Toronto Area closed for nine months.

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