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Today’s coronavirus news: Ontario reports 218 new cases of COVID; Ontario pharmacists say thousands of Moderna vaccines are set to expire; Thousands protest vaccination cards in Italy and France

The latest coronavirus news from Canada and around the world Sunday. This file will be updated throughout the day. Web links to longer stories if available.

10:15 a.m. Ontario is reporting 218 cases of COVID-19 and more than 14,100 tests completed. Locally, there are 40 new cases in Toronto, 33 in Peel Region, 23 in York Region, 16 in Middlesex-London and 14 in Hamilton.

9:22 a.m.: Ontario pharmacists say thousands of doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine are set to expire soon and they warn the supply could go to waste if people don’t show up to get a shot.

The CEO of the Ontario Pharmacists Association said some Moderna shots are set to expire in early August, and generally, supply that arrives in bulk must be used up within 30 days.

Justin Bates said a slowdown in Ontario’s vaccine rollout and the public’s preference for the Pfizer-BioNTech shot have made it difficult for pharmacists to use up the Moderna doses.

“It’s an awful situation for them (pharmacists) to be in,” Bates said in an interview. “They’ve done everything they can to make sure there’s no wastage, but yet they’re coming to that place where they may have to, or have already.”

Bates’ comments came after a health unit covering London, Ont., asked the public to roll up their sleeves for Moderna vaccines before more than 21,300 unallocated doses expire in two weeks’ time.

8:25 a.m.: You can’t see it or feel it, but it’s driving a social divide that’s upending everything from school rules to international travel to small talk at backyard barbecues.

It’s your COVID-19 vaccination status.

As more and more people emerge from isolation, blinking against the sunlight and dusting off the Cheetos crumbs, we’re finding socializing to be a challenge — and not just because most of us are out of practice.

This week, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that Canada has enough doses to fully vaccinate all eligible people in the country. That means the vast majority of unvaccinated people will soon be so by choice, rather than due to a lack of vaccine supply.

With jurisdictions around the world grappling with how to boost vaccination rates, whether by stick or by carrot, the question becomes: What do the vaccinated owe the unvaccinated?

Read the full story from the Star’s Alex Boyd.

8:15 a.m.: Ohio has planted a memorial grove of native trees to remember people who died of COVID-19, and governors and state lawmakers nationwide are considering their own ways to mark the toll of the virus.

Temporary memorials have sprung up across the U.S. — 250,000 white flags at RFK stadium in the nation’s capital, a garden of hand-sculpted flowers in Florida, strings of origami cranes in Los Angeles.

The process of creating more lasting remembrances that honor the over 600,000 Americans who have died from the coronavirus, though, is fraught compared to past memorial drives because of the politics.

Last year, a bill kickstarting a national COVID-19 memorial process died in Congress as the Trump administration sought to deemphasize the ravages of the pandemic.

8 a.m.: Shouts of “Liberty!” have echoed through the streets and squares of Italy and France as thousands show their opposition to plans to require vaccination cards for normal social activities, such as dining indoors at restaurants, visiting museums or cheering in sports stadiums.

Leaders in both countries see the cards, dubbed the “Green Pass” in Italy and the “health pass” in France, as necessary to boost vaccination rates and persuade the undecided.

Italian Premier Mario Draghi likened the anti-vaccination message from some political leaders to “an appeal to die.”

The looming requirement is working, with vaccination requests booming in both countries.

Still, there are pockets of resistance by those who see it as a violation of civil liberties or have concerns about vaccine safety. About 80,000 people protested in cities across Italy last weekend, while thousands have marched in Paris for the past three weekends, at times clashing with police.

7:30 a.m.: An outdoor drinking party at the athletes village that broke rules designed to limit the spread of COVID-19 at the Games is being investigated, Tokyo Olympic officials said Sunday.

Organizing committee CEO Toshiro Muto said “multiple athletes” and other team officials were drinking alcohol at the park within the village late Friday. Police arrived after the incident, Muto said at a news briefing, without identifying the athletes or any team involved or what action, if any, officers took.

The 11,000 athletes at the Tokyo Olympics were warned before the Games that drinking alcohol in groups was a breach of the so-called playbook rules intended to limit COVID-19 infections.

Athletes were told they could drink alone in their rooms at the complex of 21 residential towers next to Tokyo Bay.

In the most serious cases of rule-breaking, athletes can be removed from the village and have their Olympic credential taken away.

Read more from the Associated Press.




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