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Taiwan learning to live with record COVID cases, as mainland China continues strict controls

Over 40% of all COVID-related deaths in Taiwan have occurred since beginning of this year

Thomson Reuters · Posted: May 24, 2022 6:48 AM ET | Last Updated: 4 hours ago
A woman sits at a cafe shop inside a market in Keelung, Taiwan, on Monday. Taiwain is averaging about 80,000 coronavirus cases per day over the past week, a pandemic high. (Ann Wang/Reuters)

Billed a COVID-19 success story as its economy boomed through the pandemic, Taiwan is now battling a record wave of infections as it eases restrictions that had kept outbreaks at bay to start life with the virus.

For the whole of 2021, Taiwan reported less than 15,000 locally transmitted cases. Now, it's registering around 80,000 cases a day — a startling reversal after the effectiveness of its long-standing zero-COVID policy won it international praise.

"We could no longer achieve the goal of zero COVID because it was too contagious," former vice-president Chen Chien-jen, an epidemiologist, said in a video released by the ruling Democratic Progressive Party on Sunday. Most cases in Taiwan are of the less severe Omicron variant, with more than 99.7 per cent of cases exhibiting mild or no symptoms, he said.

"This is a crisis but also an opportunity, allowing us to walk out of the shadow of COVID-19 quickly," Chen said.

Despite a peak of infection forecast for this week, the government is determined to end a policy that included largely closing its borders. It has relaxed restrictions, such as shortening mandatory quarantines, in what it calls the "new Taiwan model" — gradually living with the virus and avoiding shutting down the economy.

Unlike some countries where new case spikes overwhelmed medical systems and disrupted everyday life, Taiwan hospital beds earmarked for COVID patients are at 56 per cent occupancy. Shops, restaurants and gyms remain open, and gatherings continue, with mandatory mask-wearing.

Still, the island of 23.5 million people is recording 40 to 50 deaths a day, bringing its year-to-date total to 625 deaths. Deaths stood at 838 from 2020 through to the end of 2021.

WATCH | Why the WHO says China's COVID-19 strategy isn't sustainable:


China's zero-COVID strategy not sustainable, says WHO

14 days ago
China needs to shift away from its current strategy of trying to completely eliminate COVID-19 and show some respect for people's rights, said the World Health Organization's emergencies program lead, Mike Ryan.

'No real choice'

Former vice-president Chen said Taiwan would be ready to reopen to tourists when 75-80 per cent of the population had received a third vaccination shot. The rate currently stands at 64 per cent.

Taiwan is focusing on eliminating serious illness while easing disruptions, allowing milder cases to see doctors online with home delivery of oral antiviral products.

Opposition parties said the government was ill-prepared, citing an initial shortage of home rapid test kits when cases started spiking last month, and criticized it for moving too slowly to secure vaccines for children under 12.

People line up to get a COVID-19 test at a newly set up drive-through site at Liberty Square in Taipei, Taiwan on May 20. Officials say Taiwan needs to learn how to coexist with the virus, given highly infectious Omicron variant. (Ann Wang/Reuters)

The surge in cases is now sparking new precautions. Starting this week, classes in Taipei schools were moved online while subway ridership has fallen to about half average levels.

"Taiwan didn't really have a choice. Naturally, we need to move on to coexist with the virus," said Shih Hsin-ru, who leads the Research Center for Emerging Viral Infections at Taiwan's Chang Gung University.

She said the government was not well prepared for the shift away from the zero COVID approach, pointing to the initial shortage of resources, from vaccines to antivirals. But things are looking better after what she described as a "scramble" by the government.

"We are slowly getting back on track," she said. "We are likely to see less impact compared to neighbouring countries."

China relocates hundreds to quarantine

Taiwan's approach stands in contrast with China, where strict measures to control outbreaks predominate despite new reported infection numbers that remain well below levels seen in many Western cities. The capital Beijing reported 48 new cases for Tuesday among its population of 22 million, with Shanghai's population of 25 million seeing fewer than 500 official cases on Monday.

Still, Chinese vice-premier Sun Chunlan called for more thorough measures to cut virus transmission and adhere to the nation's zero-COVID policy during an inspection tour in Beijing, state agency Xinhua reported on Tuesday.

A man jogs on Tuesday past buildings at the Central Business District (CBD), amid the coronavirus disease outbreak in Beijing. A high-ranking party official said China needs to keep up its strict containment measures. (Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters)

The situation in Beijing was manageable, but containment efforts cannot ease, she said, according to Xinhua.

In one example of the stringency of Beijing's approach, around 1,800 people in one city neighbourhood were relocated to Zhangjiakou city in the nearby Hebei province for quarantine, the state-backed Beijing Daily reported.

Still in place are instructions for residents in six of the capital's 16 districts to work from home, while a further three districts encouraged people to follow such measures, with each district responsible for implementing its own guidelines.

Beijing had already reduced public transport, requesting some shopping malls and other venues to close and sealing buildings where new cases were detected.

In Shanghai, authorities plan to keep most restrictions in place this month, before a more complete lifting of the two-month-old lockdown from June 1. Even then, public venues will have to cap people flows at 75 per cent of capacity.

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Has politician Jagmeet Singh gone positively neo-fascist? The NDP Partyleader, who recently helped lock Justin Trudeau into office for three more years, believes Canadians should be forced to receive Covid vaccinations. As in– right now.

“We absolutely believe that there needs to be mandatory vaccines. As for non-compliant citizens, Mr. Singhrecommends these people be punished:

“There would be consequences for those who are not able to or not willing to do that, and we can look at what those consequences are.” Ironic it is that Marina Glogovac, new CEO of uber-leftist Toronto Star, recently stated that she considers vaccine passports to be “akin to communism.” 

What a “progressive” political leader we have in Jagmeet Singh. Mandated vaccines are an affront to individual freedoms for Canadians. The concept flies in the face of our civil rights, in particular the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Jagmeet Singh doesn’t care. Like ideological siamese twin Justin Trudeau, the NDP leader only cares about what he personally believes to be true. The “vast majority of Canadians would support mandatory vaccines, at least for some sectors of society, and consequences for those who don’t comply with the order.”

Canadians are in favour of medical fascism, are we? The degree to which Singh shares psychological traits not only with Justin Trudeau– but also Pierre Trudeau— is astounding. Presumption is one thing. When applied to these men, it progresses to the pathological. 

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, Jaydee said:

The “vast majority of Canadians would support mandatory vaccines, at least for some sectors of society, and consequences for those who don’t comply with the order.”

I fear he's right about that though... 70 percenters are really starting to scare me now.

The rapidity with which they pushed the throttles to max thrust is astounding and it doesn't bode well for the future IMO. By my count, 40% of people in the grocery store are still wearing masks, a surprising number with the mask below their nose too. 

I may start wearing a life jacket while grocery shopping now, after all, on March 21st (when the mask mandate was cancelled) I was in a canoe. I'll be sure to leave the straps undone though. As crazy as that sounds, it's analogous to being double masked and wearing it below your nose. 

I also fear that the days of rational debate are now over. We've entered a phase where the common counter to absurdity is an equal measure of opposite absurdity. IMO, that's what's driving the abortion debacle in the US now.... all they had to do in order to avoid this particular fight was nothing. Pushing radical agendas, like abortion during live birth will always invite pushback. Liberals in conservative states are clearly worried (fearful isn't an exaggeration) about being hurt by this. That's what it's come to... fear of election outcomes.

After counter absurdity fails, and it will soon because it doesn't work, it simply becomes a matter of voting the other guys down and winning the election. In Canada, the size and radical nature of the liberal, NDP, green and Bloc voting contingent is worrisome to me.

When 30-40% of the electorate become fearful of an election result that goes against them, that's when the real problems begin to manifest themselves. In order to place democracy in peril, you need a significant portion of the electorate to fear that outcome. In fact, I would opine that political violence and domestic terrorism demands it. 

We're now finishing the warm up and stretching portion of the workout. Get ready to sweat.


Edited by Wolfhunter
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It's not inexplicable at all.

When the last of the involuntary releases are complete this will be cancelled. Won't be too much longer.

Ashley Hughes: Liberals inexplicably clinging to travel mask and vaccine mandates

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Kamloops ranch that refused vaccinated guest but kept their deposit now says they'll issue $3.2K refund

B.C. Solicitor General Mike Farnworth called the episode involving Equinisity Ranch in Kamloops 'outrageous'


Sat May 28 , 2022 - CBC News

A ranch owner in Kamloops, B.C., has been criticized by the province's solicitor general for refusing to accept a vaccinated international traveller.

The Equinisity Ranch in Kamloops, in the province's central Interior, is run by owner Liz Mitten Ryan. She told CBC News she catered almost exclusively to international travellers, including from England, Switzerland and Australia.

In a report in The Guardian, published Thursday, a prospective traveller called J.W. York said they had booked a $3,200 retreat with Ryan in May 2020, but the trip was put off due to lockdowns and other pandemic restrictions.

According to York, they were told recently they were not welcome at Equinisity anymore because they were fully vaccinated against COVID — and they would not be receiving a refund due to ranch policy.

'vaccines were a "bio-weapon depopulation tool"

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Posted (edited)


Travel (and other) vaccine mandates will be lifted before too much longer, we just need to get rid of the last of these folks in a manner that ensures they won't be hired back. Those news articles about "experts being puzzled" by extended mandates are bogus. It's like "lets go Brandon," we know what the crowd is saying... right? 

The level of deliberate manipulation here reminds me of those bogus employment ads from the likes of Sunwing...  helicopter companies were the worst offenders though IMO. They weren't really ads at all, they were deliberate ploys to obtain a Labour Market Opinion (LMO) in support of hiring type rated TFWs.

Perversely, the RCAF used EXACTLY the opposite argument (and approach) to recruit foreign national pilots. Both (diametrically opposing) approaches were government sanctioned and literally hammered experienced Canadian pilots lacking nothing but company seniority. So ya, I'd rather walk, swim, or crawl on my hands and knees. 

As you might guess, I have less than zero (way way less) sympathy for the 70 percenters stuck in those airport lineups... it's a WDYTWGTH thing, they own it.

If you happen to be one of the people who cheered when your un-vaccinated neighbour got fired, my hope is that you do a lot of traveling for business.

Edited by Wolfhunter
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Was anyone doing gain of function testing on Monkeypox, and if so, where did that testing take place? Does anyone stand to gain from making people fearful of a brand new pandemic? I didn't look it up and I didn't fact check it...  

 But, I think I can solve the puzzle anyway Pat:

 Monkeypox, severe hepatitis raise concerns of virus outbreaks post-COVID

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3 hours ago, Wolfhunter said:

Was anyone doing gain of function testing on Monkeypox, and if so, where did that testing take place?

Why would you think that?  Are you some sort of extreme RW, mysogynist racist bigot?  

Oh, wait;  (skip to 7:30 for the distressing part)



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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Seeker said:

Are you some sort of extreme RW, mysogynist racist bigot?  

Must be, it seems those are the exact qualities needed to solve these puzzles on first contact.

Now that the puzzle was solved (without even looking), Pat is smiling, Vanna is clapping and the crowd is cheering. The secret to solving them isn't even a secret, once you know the playbook theses puzzles can be identified by regular people (and even blind monkeys stricken with pox) fairly quickly. It will take 70 percenters another two years to figure it out though, they aren't clapping BTW, in fact, they're offended... shhh, single issue voters don't care

In the mean time though, the delay in comprehension should give them plenty of opportunity for ridicule, insults, and Trump jokes. They might even be able to squeeze an election in there. Mail in ballots with no signatures, no ID, and harvesting on a grand scale will certainly be required in the interest of voter safety. Anything less would be RW, misogynistic, racist and bigoted, but that's another spin of the wheel.


Edited by Wolfhunter
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“ A healthcare law review submitted to the European Parliament in May took aim at the Canadian government for having some of the strictest Covid-19 restrictions in the world.

The report, Right to health, a comparative law perspective: Canada,published by the European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS) and authored by McGill University law professor Dr Derek Jones, was a survey of the country’s legal system as it pertains to healthcare rights. The EU has published similar reports about other countries.

Many stringent and invasive public health measures for the Covid pandemic – curfews, capacity-restrictions in restaurants, the closure of bars and nightclubs for months, locking of office buildings, stoppage and restrictions on international travel – have severely curtailed or arrested commercial trade in vital sections of Canada’s economy,” the report said.

The report notes that Canada’s Quarantine Act also empowered the Liberal government to impose “unprecedented travel and isolation” requirements on Canadians. 

“(The Act has) served as the legal source of some of Canada’s unprecedented travel and isolation restrictions to combat the spread of Covid in this 21st century,” the report noted.  “It has also been the legal authority for stealing Canadian borders or restricting non-essential travel during the pandemic, for vaccination requirements for entry and egress, and for the summer 2021-winter 2022 requirement that Canadians returning by air submit to a Covid test and isolate for up to 72 hours at border quarantine hotels, at the travellers’ expense, while awaiting negative results.”


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U.S. lifts COVID-19 test requirement for international travel


The Biden administration is lifting its requirement that international air travellers to the U.S. take a COVID-19 test within a day before boarding their flights, easing one of the last remaining government mandates meant to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

A senior administration official said the mandate expires Sunday at 12:01 a.m. EDT, saying the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has determined that it's no longer necessary. The official, speaking Friday on the condition of anonymity to preview the formal announcement, said that the agency would reevaluate the need for the testing requirement every 90 days and that it could be reinstated if a troubling new variant emerges.

The Biden administration put in place the testing requirement last year, as it moved away from restrictions that banned nonessential travel from several dozen countries -- most of Europe, China, Brazil, South Africa, India and Iran -- and instead focuses on classifying individuals by the risk they pose to others. It came in conjunction with a requirement that foreign, non-immigrant adults traveling to the United States need to be fully vaccinated, with only limited exceptions.

The initial mandate allowed those who were fully vaccinated to show proof of a negative test within three days of travel, while unvaccinated people had to present a test taken within one day of travel.

In November, as the highly transmissible omicron variant swept the world, the Biden administration toughened the requirement and required all travelers, regardless of vaccination status, to test within a day of travel to the U.S.

Airline and tourism groups have been pressing the administration for months to eliminate the testing requirement, saying it is discouraging people from booking international trips. Many other countries have lifted their testing requirements for fully vaccinated and boosted travelers in a bit to increase tourism.

In February, the groups argued the testing requirement was obsolete because of the high number of Omicron cases already in every state, higher vaccinations rates and new treatments for the virus.

"I'm glad CDC suspended the burdensome coronavirus testing requirement for international travellers, and I'll continue to do all I can to support the strong recovery of our hospitality industry," Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev., said in a statement.

The lifting of the requirement comes six weeks after a federal judge ended the CDC's mask requirement for mass transit, including trains, planes, buses and transit hubs, saying the agency exceeded its authority. The Biden administration is appealing that ruling, saying it aims to protect the CDC's ability to respond to future health emergencies.

The official said the CDC will continue to recommend COVID-19 testing prior to air travel of any kind as a safety precaution.

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Random COVID testing at airports to be suspended for vaccinated travellers: Transport Canada

Volume 90%
The federal government has announced that it will be suspending mandatory random COVID-19 testing at all airports. Mackenzie Gray explains.04:12

Canada suspends random airport COVID-19 testing

Glen McGregor breaks down how more foreign flights being routed through Canada’s biggest airports are contributing to huge congestion.02:33

CTV National News: Reasons for airport delays

An aviation data company found almost 10 per cent of Air Canada flights out of Toronto Pearson were cancelled in the first week of June.03:39

Cancelled flights adding to headache at Pearson

Experts say COVID-19 protocols are the source of the problems at Pearson, as officials scramble to find a solution. Heather Wright reports.02:35

CTV National News: Delays at Pearson Airport

CTV political commentator Tom Mulcair says the Liberals have shown to be incompetent in dealing with airport delays.03:35

Mulcair: Canada has 'serious problems' with feds

Former Air Canada COO Duncan Dee discusses the government's response to ongoing delays for travellers at airports across Canada.04:56

'Domino effect' of delays at Pearson airport

As airlines desperately call for change, Ottawa has extended COVID-19 travel restrictions. Annie Bergeron-Oliver reports.02:16

CTV National News: Airlines call for changes

Minister of Transport Omar Alghabra discusses the government's response to the lengthy delays travellers are facing at Canadian airports.02:44

Transport minster on airport delays

Conservative MPs are demanding that the federal government end all restrictions on travel amid recent airport delays.05:30

Liberals, Conservatives debate COVD-19 restriction

Travel expert Barry Choi offers tips on how to speed up passport applications and how to avoid delays with your travel plans.03:28

Passport delays impacting travel plans

Sumaiya Ahsan says she's been waiting for her passport and long delays have hampered her travel plans.04:19

Long passport delays hamper travel plans

Outrage is growing in Ontario over the significant and ongoing delays at Canada's busiest airport in Toronto.03:04

Frustration, outrage over delays at Pearson

Wendy Paradis of the Association of Canadian Travel Agencies breaks down what Canadians should consider when planning a trip.02:44

How to plan ahead to minimize travel holdups

Transport Minister Omar Alghabra on what's causing long security lines at some Canadian airports.02:08

Transport minister on long lines at airports

Long lines at airports are the result of rusty travel skills, Canada's transport minister says. Glen McGregor has more.02:04

CTV National News: Long lines continue at airports

The number of immigration applications has shot up, complicating an already massive backlog. Heather Butts reports.02:09

CTV National News: Immigration woes and holdups

Immigration lawyer Joel Sandaluk says COVID-19 and Ukraine can't be used as an excuse for Canada's backlog of over two million applications.01:57

'Right now, lives are being destroyed'

Surging travel demands in the wake of easing pandemic restrictions have led to long lines at passport offices and Pearson airport.03:11

Surging demand for passports, airport services

Lineups at passport offices across Canada are forcing some people to pay others to wait in line for them. Annie Bergeron-Oliver reports.02:09

CTV National News: Passport delays inspire jobs

Travel experts say the government has been caught off guard by a sudden surge in demand for passport renewals.03:25

Demand for passports catching Canadians off guard

Marty Firestone from Travel Secure Inc. says the infrastructure is not in place to handle to influx of Canadians wanting to travel again.03:51

'Not ready to handle’ travel industry reopening

Some people are lining up outside passport offices the night before they open in the hope of getting an appointment.02:37

Travellers camp out at passport offices in B.C.

Service Canada offices are seeing long lines of people hoping to renew their passports and travel documents. Annie Bergeron-Oliver reports.02:12

CTV National News: Long waits for passport renewals

With travel back to being an option, many looking to renew their passports face long wait times. CTV Windsor’s Chris Campbell reports.02:09

Passport renewals face long lines and wait times

Surging interest in travel is making lineups dramatically longer at Vancouver-area passport offices.00:35

Dramatically long lines at passport offices

From CTV Kitchener's Krista Simpson: As more return to travelling, many are running into issues getting a new passport.02:13

Passport problems with return to travel

A Nova Scotia teen who’s been waiting for her passport still doesn’t have it, as an international trip quickly approaches.01:52

N.S. youth waits months for passport

Service Canada says it's dealing with a backlog of passport applications from the COVID-19 pandemic.02:24

Passport delay causes trip stress for B.C. family

Transport Minister Omar Alghabra says resources to address delays and lineups at airports are on the way, but he didn't give specific detail04:10

Alghabra: Fixes are coming to tackle travel delays

WestJet's Andy Gibbons discusses if the airline is considering cutting flights amid outrage over delays at Canadian airports.05:53

Power Play: WestJet VP on airport delays

CTV political commentator Tom Mulcair says the Liberals have shown to be incompetent in dealing with airport delays.03:35

Mulcair: Canada has 'serious problems' with feds

Beth Potter from Tourism Assoc. of Canada says the travel industry has lost 15 years of employment and growth over the pandemic.06:12

'Crisis situation' within the travel industry

Akshay Tandon speaks with two would-be travellers who've been caught up in long lineups and delays at a passport office in Mississauga, Ont.04:13

People hit by passport office delays share stories

The Canadian Airports Council is calling on the federal government to lift vaccine mandates for passengers and airline employees.04:37

Airports council calls for lifted vaccine mandates

Travellers are dealing with long lines and wait times as travel ramps up at Toronto Pearson International Airport. Heather Wright reports.02:16

CTV National News: Pearson airport delays

A former NHLer's video rant on Twitter after he was stranded 18 hours are Toronto Pearson airport has been viewed over one million times.03:38

Former NHLer's rant over Pearson delays goes viral

Former NHL player Ryan Whitney slammed Toronto Pearson and Air Canada in video over a night filled with cancellations and long lines.02:14

'Biggest disgrace': Whitney on Pearson delays

Tom Yun
Updated June 10, 2022 1:23 p.m. MDT
Published June 10, 2022 12:48 p.m. MDT

The federal government has announced that it will be suspending mandatory random COVID-19 testing at all airports for vaccinated travellers starting June 11.

Between June 11 and June 30, randomized testing at Canadian airports will be “will be temporarily suspended,” although unvaccinated travellers will continue to be tested on-site. As of July 1, all testing, including for unvaccinated travellers, will be performed off-site.

"The Government of Canada recognizes the impact that significant wait times at some Canadian airports are having on travellers. We continue to work with airports, airlines, baggage handlers, and other partners to implement solutions to reduce delays as we approach the summer peak season," Transport Canada said in a statement on Friday.

This comes after mounting pressure from the travel and aviation industry calling on the federal government to ease COVID-19 restrictions amid long lines and delays at airports, particularly Toronto Pearson International Airport.


The Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA), which operates Pearson Airport, had been urging the feds to temporarily pause on-site testing at airports as it expects international passenger numbers to jump by 50 per cent as the summer travel season ramps up.

"This is about much more than Toronto Pearson; it's about global perceptions of our country and the risk that Canada will lose billions of dollars from tourism and business activities if travellers decide that coming to Canada this summer simply isn't worth the hassle," GTAA CEO Deborah Flint said in a statement Thursday on delays at the airport.

The federal government had already exempted international travellers with a connecting flight from being pulled aside for random testing. Transport Canada says it has also hired 865 CATSA screening officers since April.

Other measures, such as COVID-19 vaccine mandates and mandatory use of the ArriveCAN app, remain in place. The federal government says the Public Health Agency of Canada is deploying additional staff to airports to verify ArriveCAN submissions and assist travellers in using the a

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Maybe Monkeypox will be the next big thing and maybe it will replace Covid as something to be afraid of.

And maybe those who were intolerant of the vaccine hesitant, who ridiculed them, who de-platformed them, and cheered when they lost their jobs and homes will find themselves subject to the very same intolerance, ridicule and persecution.

IMO, it's why systemic integrity and individual rights are so important, why they're valuable and worth defending even when (especially when) the situation that tests the boundaries of their worth doesn't apply to you.



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Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, Wolfhunter said:

Maybe Monkeypox will be the next big thing and maybe it will replace Covid as something to be afraid of.

What’s even more interesting is how they avoid stating the truth…aka the obvious…After all we wouldn't want to ruffle some feathers and face reality. Instead let’s instill fear in the entire populace. Humanity has yet to learn that Mother Nature has cures for everything.

“ Tam says the disease mainly spreads from close physical contact, including intimate sexual contact, or exposure to scabs or bodily fluids or even bed linen.

She says most of the cases are currently among men who have had sexual contact with other men, 

Edited by Jaydee
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112 cases of monkeypox in Canada, all of them among men: public health officer | CP24.com



here were 98 cases in Quebec, nine in Ontario, four in Alberta and one in British Columbia, with other suspected cases being investigated, Dr. Theresa Tam told a briefing.

Tam said the National Advisory Committee on Immunization recommends that people who may be at high risk of exposure get vaccinated.

But she said a mass vaccination campaign against the virus is not currently necessary.


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On 6/11/2022 at 9:35 AM, Jaydee said:

What’s even more interesting is how they avoid stating the truth…aka the obvious…After all we wouldn't want to ruffle some feathers and face reality.

37% is not only statistically significant, it's the percentage of Canadians who thought that unvaccinated individuals should be incarcerated to protect the herd. I wonder if they'll feel the same way if this grows legs.

When individual rights are trashed, whether due to fear or vindictiveness, it always comes back to bite the people who did that trashing... the form varies but it's just a matter of time. Here's an example from an "enlightened group" bitten by their own vindictiveness.

I bet the ladies in black got a chuckle out of this:

 Chicago-area city revokes pride parade permit over lack of officers to work event after ban on police uniforms

The city of Aurora, Illinois will hear an appeal by gay pride parade event organizers in an effort to salvage the event over the lack of police officers

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This has left me shuddering in my boots.   🙃


Ohio bill calls for Canada to be put on religious-freedom watchlist over COVID restrictions

Tom Blackwell  1 hour ago

State lawmakers in Ohio have managed to pull Canada into America’s heated culture wars, urging the U.S. government to put this country on a religious-freedom watchlis t — largely because of pandemic-related restrictions.

If the federal agency that oversees the list followed the advice in a resolution passed by the Ohio house of representatives, Canada would join a group of 12 nations from Azerbaijan to Cuba judged guilty of “severe” violations of religious liberties.

The motion cites cases where church leaders like Alberta’s James Coates were charged and/or jailed temporarily for repeatedly flouting public-health rules that affected services at the height of the pandemic.

Those measures, which paralleled restrictions placed on other, non-religious venues, make Canada akin to one of the most repressive countries in the world when it comes to religious practice, declared a Republican representative who co-sponsored the motion.

“While Ohio has stood up for religious freedom and protected the right to attend religious services, it is clear Canada has not done the same,” said Rep. Reggie Stoltzfus, according to the Statehouse News Bureau .

Canada’s actions are “very similar to what we see in Communist-controlled China,” he said.

The bill’s co-sponsor, Republican Tim Ginter, could not be reached for comment.

But a Democratic member of the state’s House of Representatives who voted against the resolution called it a slight against a long-time ally — and part of an increasingly hard-right conservative agenda that’s making Ohio “the Mississippi of the mid-West.”

The same day the motion passed just over a week ago, the house approved a bill allowing school boards to arm teachers. Ohio legislators have also recently removed a training requirement for people who carry concealed guns and barred transgender girls from high school sports.

“These culture wars are starting to take over,” Rep. Daniel Troy said in an interview. “A lot of this is just folks playing to their base. They throw out this red meat … I thought ‘My God, this is a horrible message to send a very good, polite neighbour.’”

In the house, he warned humorously that the measure — passed along party lines in the Republican-controlled chamber — risked reigniting the War of 1812.

The charter that defends rights, but also tells government how to quash them

The Charter at 40: 10 important court cases that shaped Canada's rights and freedoms

Meanwhile, courts in Canada have ruled that the restrictions, also applied for public health reasons to restaurants, bars, movie theatres and other places where people gather in numbers, did not contravene the religious freedom guarantee in the Charter of Rights.

The resolution suggested Canada had not followed the “civilized” practice of protecting places of worship from any form of government interference.

It cited the arrest of Coates, who was put behind bars for 35 days after repeatedly ignoring orders from public-health agencies to follow lockdown rules that required parishioners at his GraceLife church and others to wear masks and limit attendance.

It also mentioned Artur and David Pawlowski and Tobias Tissen, three other pastors who had been arrested for similar alleged infractions.

Although churches and other places of worship in Ohio did at times voluntarily impose restrictions to help combat COVID-19, the state never forced such measures on them.

© Ed Kaiser/Postmedia A women chanting as a crowd of about 400 gathered outside GraceLife Church on the first Sunday after the closure west of the Edmonton city limits, April 11, 2021.

The pandemic also took a much higher toll in Ohio. It has suffered three times the number of deaths per 100,000 population from the virus — 331 compared to 111 for Canada.

While most of the document dealt with pandemic restrictions, it also cited the federal government’s new l aw banning conversion therapy of gay or transgender people. It alleged the legislation includes “a prison sentence of up to five years for merely expressing a biblical view of marriage.”

The law bars any “practice, treatment or service” designed to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity, but makes no reference to marriage or the bible or to expressing views about them.

The resolution was addressed to the U.S. Commission for International Religious Freedom . It calls out problematic countries, with the worst offenders — those where there are “very severe” violations — included under the heading of “particular concern.”

The watchlist is a further group of merely “severe” violators. They generally include nations whose governments have directly or indirectly subjugated minority religious groups.

Algeria, one of the 12 on the list, has escalated repression of its evangelical protestant community with church closures and raids, says the commission’s 2022 report. Cuban authorities employ “persistent harassment and intimidation” against Catholic priests and other religious leaders.

A commission spokesman could not be reached for comment on the Ohio resolution.

Some churches in Canada have challenged public-health measures as violations of the Charter’s guarantee to “freedom of conscience and religion,” and at least two rulings on their constitutionality are still pending.

But at least one case has already been resolved, with Manitoba Justice Glenn Joyal saying the restrictions on religious freedom were “rational, reasoned and defensible in the circumstances of an undeniable public health crisis” and thus justified under section one of the Charter. The head of a non-profit group funding such challenges admitted earlier that he had a private investigator follow Joyal.

A judge in the Coates case ruled last year that a ticket the pastor received for repeatedly violating public-health laws did not violate the Charter’s religious-freedom section, saying, “Individual rights and freedoms are not absolute.”



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28 minutes ago, Kargokings said:

This has left me shuddering in my boots.   🙃


On 6/12/2022 at 10:37 AM, Wolfhunter said:

When individual rights are trashed, whether due to fear or vindictiveness, it always comes back to bite the people who did that trashing... the form varies but it's just a matter of time.


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Montreal public health expands monkeypox vaccination to all men who have sex with men

2 hrs ago

MONTREAL — Public health officials in Montreal are offering monkeypox vaccination to all men who have sex with men.

© Provided by The Canadian Press

Officials told reporters today the city is the epicentre of the monkeypox outbreak in North America.

Montreal public health director Dr. Mylène Drouin says that sex workers and men who are visiting Montreal and plan to have sex with other men during their visit are among those who are eligible for vaccination.

Quebec interim public health director Dr. Luc Boileau says there are 132 confirmed cases of the disease in Quebec, with 126 in Montreal.

Canada's chief public health officer said last week there were a total of 112 cases across the country.

Drouin says all of the monkeypox cases detected in the city so far have been among men who have had sex with other men.

She says that three people have been hospitalized since the beginning of the outbreak but all of them have been discharged.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on June 14, 2022.


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