Coronavirus news and updates for Sunday, March 13, 2022

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.

8:08 a.m.: As the COVID-19 pandemic stretches into a third year, many experts are expressing cautious optimism that Canada has passed the need for lockdowns and the widespread safety protocols that marked much of the last 24 months.

But after two years of dealing with an unpredictable virus, they also say we should be ready to adapt at any time.

While hospitalizations and other pandemic markers appear to have dipped or stabilized throughout the country, virologist Jason Kindrachuk says the COVID-19 crisis can’t be considered over until it subsides across the globe.

“The history of COVID-19 tells us we should be preparing for the potential of another variant of concern…. Let’s at least be appreciative that we’ve been in this situation before,” says Kindrachuk, an assistant professor at the University of Manitoba.

“None of us want to take a step forward and end up having to take five or 10 steps backwards because we get hit with what comes next.”

Jurisdictions began lifting public health measures over the last month, axing gathering limits, vaccine passports and mask mandates.

Sunday 8:04 am: Shanghai ordered its residents over the weekend to avoid all but essential travel in or out of the city and halted long-haul bus services on Sunday, as a coronavirus outbreak continued to spread in the metropolis and across much of mainland China.

While China still has far fewer COVID-19 cases than most countries, the daily count of infections has accelerated rapidly. The country’s National Health Commission reported 3,122 new cases on Sunday, up from 1,524 on Saturday and 1,100 on Friday, and a couple of hundred per day just a week ago.

The most severe outbreaks are in towns and cities in the northeastern province of Jilin, which accounted for two-thirds of the cases announced on Sunday. Two mayors were dismissed in the province on Saturday, in hard-hit Jilin City and in the Jiutai district of the city of Changchun.

Nearly half of the cases across China that were announced on Sunday involved people who did not initially show symptoms. China has attributed this partly to a very high rate of vaccination, except among the elderly, and partly to the prevalence of the highly contagious omicron variant, which sometimes produces many cases that are at least initially asymptomatic. A few cases of the delta variant have also been detected near China’s borders in recent weeks.

Read Saturday’s coronavirus news.

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