COVID digest: Convoy prompts Ontario to declare state of emergency | News | DW | 11.02.2022

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COVID digest: Convoy prompts Ontario to declare state of emergency

The Canadian province of Ontario declared a state of emergency as truckers block streets in protest against coronavirus restrictions. Follow DW for the latest coronavirus news from around the world.

Protesters against vaccine mandates with trucks and other vehicles adorned in signs and Canadian flags gather on ON-3 near Ambassador Bridge

The protesters have dubbed themselves a "freedom convoy" in opposition to coronavirus restrictions

The premier of the Canadian province of Ontario declared a state of emergency on Friday in reaction to the truck blockades in Ottawa and at the US border.

Premier Doug Ford said he would push for new legislation cracking down on anyone interfering with the flow of goods and people.

Scores of truck drivers protesting Canada's COVID-19 restrictions and railing against Prime Minister Justin Trudeau have bottled up the Ambassador Bridge connecting Windsor to the US city of Detroit this week while hundreds of protests have paralyzed the Canadian capital, Ottawa, over the past two weeks.

"We are now two weeks into the siege of Ottawa," Ford said. "It's an illegal occupation. It's no longer a protest."

Similar automobile convoys have sprung up in other parts of the world, including France and Belgium. 

Watch video 01:45

Canadian truckers hit economy with bridge protest

Here are the latest major developments on coronavirus from around the world:


The World Health Organization (WHO) has cautioned that the coronavirus pandemic is still ongoing, and there could still be more to come.

Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, the organization's chief scientist,  told reporters while on a visit to a vaccine manufacturing facility in South Africa that she expects more variants will follow.

"We have seen the virus evolve, mutate ... so we know there will be more variants, more variants of concern, so we are not at the end of the pandemic," Swaminathan said during the visit along with WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

Her comments come as countries around the world have begun to roll back COVID-19 restrictions following the omicron variant onslaught, which was marked by less severe cases.


Chancellor Olaf Scholz of Germany said Friday that the surge in COVID-19 infections is peaking, which could mean an easing of restrictions.

"The scientific forecasts show that the high point of the wave is in sight," Scholz told parliament.

"That will allow us to look at the first steps at reopening during a meeting next week between the federal government and the states, and then further steps for spring," Scholz said.

On Friday 240,172 new infections were recorded over a 24 hour period signaling the first week-on-week decline since the start of the year.

Russia on Friday explained why it had placed French President Emmanuel Macron at the end of a large table during talks with President Vladimir Putin.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the decision was made because Macron had refused to take a COVID-19 test, which would be administered by Russian medics.

"Talks with some are being held at a long table, the distance [across the table] is about six meters," Peskov said.

 "It is linked to the fact that some follow their own rules, they don't cooperate with the host side," he added.

Sources in the French presidential entourage confirmed the incident with Reuters news agency, saying that refusal of Russia's request meant sitting at opposite ends of the table.

Russian President Vladimir Putin listens to French President Emmanuel Macron during their meeting in the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, Monday

Macron (right) was in Moscow for talks with President Vladimir Putin to discuss the troops buildup on Ukraine's border

The United Kingdom will again be allowing vaccinated travelers to begin entering the country on Friday. 

British Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said the UK "now has one of the most free-flowing borders in the world, sending a clear message that we are open for business."

Travelers who have received two shots of an approved vaccine will need to fill out a passenger locator form prior to arrival in the UK.

Unvaccinated travelers will be required to test before and after arriving but will not have to self-isolate until they record a negative result.

The move has been welcomed by the travel industry following two years of severe restrictions.


In the United States thousands of New York City workers face being sacked if they do not comply with the mandate requiring two doses of vaccine. The several thousand workers represent about 1 percent of the workforce which numbers around 370,000 people.

New York Mayor Eric Adams said the rules must be followed. "Living in a city as complex like this, there must be rules. We must follow them. The rule is to get vaccinated if you're a city employee. You have to follow that," Adams said.

According to the mandate, city employees had until the end of October to be vaccinated or were to be placed on unpaid leave. There are understood to be around 4000 workers who failed to comply with the regulations at the end of January.

Watch video 00:58

Biden: 'There's no excuse for being unvaccinated'


In Australia people will need to have booster shots in order to be considered fully vaccinated.

The national cabinet decided on Thursday to endorse the advice from the country's vaccination advisory group.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said that those without booster shots would be considered "overdue."


Hong Kong on Friday reported a record number of daily new COVID-19 infections. The territory's leaders are to meet with Chinese officials in order to discuss measures to help reduce the spread of the virus.

Daily infections rose to at least 1325 on Friday according to local health authorities.

Hospital's are battling with admissions sitting at around 90% according to the city's Hospital Authority.

Watch video 01:44

COVID-19: Hong Kong goes back into a strict lockdown

kb/wmr (AP, AFP, dpa, Reuters)

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