British Columbia is reimposing a mask mandate for indoor public spaces and will require students in Grade 4 and up to wear masks at school this fall.
The new mask mandate comes into effect Wednesday and applies to people 12 and older. British Columbians will be required to wear masks at grocery stories, restaurants, bars, on public transit, in taxis and in office buildings where services are offered to the public.
Dr. Bonnie Henry announced during a press conference Tuesday that the mandate, which was lifted in July, would be reimposed.
“We now know that there is still a need for certain measures to be taken,” she said, citing rising case counts in the province.
“The mask mandate is one of those additional layers that we’re putting in place as we transition through the fall.”
‘Not a situation we were hoping for’
Quebec also said it would require students in nine regions to wear masks at all times when they’re indoors at school this year.
“This is a measure that is preventive and prudent,” said Education Minister Jean-François Roberge. “This is not a situation we were hoping for.”
In the rest of the province, students will be expected to wear masks on buses and in common areas.
-From CBC News, last updated at 3:02 p.m. ET
What’s happening across Canada
WATCH | P.E.I. premier defends chief public health officer:
What’s happening around the world
As of early Tuesday morning, more than 212.8 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported worldwide, according to a case-tracking tool from Johns Hopkins University. The reported global death toll stood at more than 4.4 million.
In the Americas, Dr. Anthony Fauci said on Tuesday the United States could get COVID-19 under control by early next year if vaccinations ramp up, one day after Pfizer won further Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for its shot, with more potential approvals coming in the weeks ahead.
Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, said in multiple television interviews and a White House news conference that full FDA approval for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine paves the way for more people to get inoculated, with potential approval for Moderna’s in the coming weeks and authorization for younger children by autumn.
Government data shows just under half the U.S. population remains unvaccinated.
In the Middle East, Iran has registered its highest single-day COVID-19 death toll of the pandemic, according to state media reports. The country’s health ministry said Tuesday that 709 people with the disease had died since Monday and 7,727 patients were in critical condition. The previous daily record for COVID-19 deaths in Iran was set Sunday. The country reported its highest daily tally of confirmed cases — more than 50,000 — a week ago.
In Israel, the number of daily coronavirus cases is nearing the record set in January.
The government reported Tuesday that 9,831 new cases had been registered a day earlier, the highest since the record of 10,000 new cases was set in mid-January. The number is notable because more than 5.5 million of Israel’s 9.3 million people have received two doses of the vaccine, one of the fastest vaccination drives in the world.
In Africa, the director of the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is warning “we may never get to herd immunity” against COVID-19 given what is known about the coronavirus. John Nkengasong spoke to African health ministers on Tuesday about infections that occur in people despite vaccinations.
The slow and limited flow of vaccines to African nations while richer nations secure supplies has complicated efforts to contain the pandemic.
In the Asia-Pacific region, the 2020 Paralympic Games opening ceremony took place in Tokyo amid Japan’s worst COVID-19 outbreak so far in the pandemic.
Pakistan will require all teachers, professors, school staff and students age 17 and older to be vaccinated against the coronavirus.
In Europe, Scotland said it will hold a public inquiry into the handling of the coronavirus pandemic by authorities, starting by the end of the year.
The Scottish government said the judge-led probe will “scrutinize decisions taken in the course of this pandemic and learn lessons for future pandemics.” It will look at deaths and other health impacts, along with the economic and social effects of the coronavirus outbreak.
Greece, meanwhile, said it would end free testing for unvaccinated people, in a bid to boost inoculation rates and head off any renewed spike in delta variant infections of the coronavirus.
-From The Associated Press, Reuters and CBC News, last updated at 4:49 p.m. ET