Canada truckers reach Ottawa to protest vaccine mandate
January 29, 2022
Hundreds of Canadian truckers have arrived in Ottawa for a major weekend protest against vaccine mandates. In China, people are traveling ahead of a major holiday despite a government plea. DW has the latest.
Police in the Canadian capital, Ottawa, are bringing in reinforcements as hundreds of truckers gather in the city for a planned rally against vaccine mandates.
Thousands of people are expected in Ottawa as part of the "Freedom Convoy," calling for an end to vaccine mandates and COVID-19 restrictions.
Parliament Hill, in the heart of the city, has been slated to be the meeting point for the weekend protest.
Trucks and cars began arriving in downtown Ottawa on Friday as the number of protesters soared.
Canada and the United States have implemented a COVID-19 vaccine mandate since mid-January for truckers crossing the border between the two nations — the longest border in the world.
"These demonstrations are national in scope. They're massive in scale. Unfortunately, they're polarizing in nature," Ottawa police chief Peter Sloly said on Friday.
He added that the police are working with national security agencies to identify any potential threats to public safety.
While some of the group's leaders have called for peaceful demonstrations, statements from some associated with the group have included threats of violence.
Following reports that private homes may be targeted, a top Parliament security official urged lawmakers to lock their doors.
Here's the latest on coronavirus from around the world.
Australia flew a small team of emergency medical specialists to the Solomon Islands on Saturday after the South Pacific nation called for help in combating a deteriorating coronavirus situation.
The team of eight experts landed in capital, Honiara, with a shipment of more than 37,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses.
"The multidisciplinary team includes specialists in emergency medicine, infectious disease control, logistics and occupational therapy," Australia's foreign affairs department said.
"The Australian government is committed to standing with the people of Solomon Islands as they respond to and recover from COVID-19."
Meanwhile in Australia, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Saturday that rapper Kanye West will have to be fully inoculated if wants to hold concerts in the country.
The statement came after media said that the hip-hop artist was planning an Australia tour in March.
"The rules are you have to be fully vaccinated," Morrison told reporters at a press conference.
"They apply to everybody, as people have seen most recently. It doesn't matter who you are, they are the rules. Follow the rules — you can come. You don't follow the rules, you can't."
The statement from the prime minister comes after tennis ace Novak Djokovic's Grand Slam hopes were shattered when a court upheld the Australian government's decision to cancel his visa over his unvaccinated status and COVID-19 protocols.
In Germany, Markus Söder, the premier of the southern state of Bavaria, has called for the COVID incidence rate to be replaced. He said the measurement is losing its "early warning effect" about the seriousness of the pandemic due the relatively mild but highly contagious omicron variant.
Instead, he called for a hospital traffic light warning, based on the occupancy of hospital beds, in comments to Welt am Sonntag newspaper.
His comments come as the country's seven-day incidence rate crossed the 1,100 mark for the first time on Saturday, reaching 1,127.3. On Saturday, Germany reported 189,166 new cases and 182 deaths.
South Korea saw record daily COVID-19 infections for a second consecutive day as omicron cases swelled, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency said on Saturday.
The country registered 17,542 new infections for Friday, against 16,096 a day before.
S. Korea business owners shave heads in COVID curb protest
In China, 36 more participants in the Beijing Winter Olympics have tested positive for the virus.
Some 29 people tested positive shortly after landing at the airport, the organizing committee in Beijing said on Saturday.
Of the arrivals that tested positive, 19 were athletes or team members. Seven more positive cases were reported among those already inside in the so-called Olympic bubble.
Meanwhile, people in China are traveling to their hometowns to celebrate the Lunar New Year despite an appeal from the government to stay where they are as Beijing tries to rein in COVID-19 infections.
The country's biggest holiday is set to start with the Chinese New Year's Eve on Monday.
The United States has ordered over 100 million additional COVID-19 tests from test maker iHealth Lab as part of the White House's plan to give away 500 million free at-home tests across the nation, the Defense Department said on Friday.
The distribution of free tests is an attempt to tackle the shortage of tests in the country as demand increases amid the spread of omicron.