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COVID-19 situation in the U.S. 'scary' and 'dangerous,' Canadian long-haul truckers warn

COVID-19 situation in the U.S. 'scary' and 'dangerous,' Canadian long-haul truckers warnSome Ontario truck drivers are speaking out about what they've been witnessing on their trips to the United States during the COVID-19 pandemic — and they're warning the Canadian government to keep the border closed to non-essential visitors."They're travelling down there. They don't wear masks," said Leanne Steeves, a long-haul truck driver from Barrie, Ont., referring to the attitude of many Americans to the pandemic."It's like they don't care. Life is normal. Nothing's changed for them."On Tuesday, CBC News confirmed the Canada-U.S. border closure for non-essential travel will be extended for another 30 days into late August. The agreement, which has to be reviewed each month, was set to expire on July 21. The decision comes as novel coronavirus cases and hospitalizations spike in several large U. S. states with little sign of a coordinated response from President Donald Trump's administration.By contrast, Canada has largely succeeded in limiting the spread of the virus in the last several weeks, with daily case counts, hospitalizations and deaths mostly on the decline. That's why Steeves would like the federal government to take it even further and keep the border closed until the new year. She and her husband Gerald, cross the border transporting goods to California every week. She said that from what she's been seeing south of the border, proper pandemic measures are not being taken and she worries about what could happen to Canada if Americans were allowed to visit.'I'm praying they don't open the borders'"It's scary," she said."I'm praying they don't open the borders. That would just make everything up here that much worse ... They need to protect our country."And she's not alone in her fears.Jeff Henderson, a long haul truck driver from Shannonville, Ont., recently posted a video on social media describing his own experiences in the United States. The video has been viewed by thousands of people on Facebook.He spoke about seeing people turned away at an urgent care centre in Texas because they couldn't afford a COVID-19 test. And he echoed what Steeves said about how many people aren't wearing masks or physical distancing."Nobody cares, and it's dangerous — very dangerous," he said."If Canada opens those borders ... You're going to see a spike like you've never seen before."In the last few months, Henderson has travelled to New York, Massachusetts, Ohio, and most recently in late June, Texas, a state that's experiencing a huge spike in COVID-19 cases. "I just couldn't believe, everyone's standing outside. Everyone is congregating like nothing is happening."He'd also like to see the border closed until the new year. Surge in U.S. casesIn addition to Texas, California and Florida are seeing major surges in novel coronavirus cases. The United States is the worst-affected country in terms of infections and leads the world in COVID-19 deaths, with more than 136,000, so far.Canadian government officials say they expect the border to stay largely closed for the foreseeable future, despite calls from U.S. members of Congress to consider a phased plan for reopening.COVID-19 cases are hitting record daily highs in a large number of U.S. states — which would make any resumption of pre-pandemic travel a significant health threat to Canada."We recognize that the situation continues to be complex in the United States in regards to COVID-19," Trudeau said Monday at a press conference. "Every month, we have been able to extend the border closures to all but essential goods and services and those discussions are ongoing."Ontario Premier Doug Ford has said he doesn't want to see the border re-opened any time soon either.The Canadian Trucking Alliance's president Stephen Laskowski said in a statement to CBC News, that the pandemic has created new challenges and concerns for all workers, including those in the trucking industry. "CTA's best practices document deals with all these matters/concerns and truck drivers across the country are utilizing these methods to keep themselves and fellow Canadians safe."Henderson turning down jobs to the U.S.Steeves said that despite her own safety concerns, she and her husband have to keep working. "We have a truck payment. We own our own truck. We have bills, you know, and this is our living. So we really can't stop it," she said. "People still need stuff. The freight still has to move. You know, you still need the groceries, still need the toilet paper."But Henderson said he won't be taking any more jobs to the U.S. until things get better, and he knows that means his income will suffer. "It's going to take a hit but I'm not going to put myself in that position again," he said."I can't. It's too stressful."


Vaccinations of N.S. Grade 7 students still happening despite COVID-19 pandemic

Vaccinations of N.S. Grade 7 students still happening despite COVID-19 pandemicNova Scotia public health is urging Grade 7 students to get vaccinated.It scheduled 65 clinics across the province in July and August with the goal of vaccinating 9,200 Grade 7 students who missed their shots in April because of COVID-19."We're very optimistic, we hope that we're going to get great numbers. We're hoping to get at least 70 per cent immunized and if we don't we'll go back to the drawing board," Cara-Leah Hmidan, the public health manager for the Nova Scotia Health Authority's central zone, told CBC Nova Scotia News at 6 in an interview on Tuesday.According to the health authority, the four immunizations given in Grade 7 school clinics cover hepatitis B, HPV, meningococcal disease and tetanus, diphtheria and acellular pertussis.Hmidan said the health authority is doing comprehensive COVID-19 screening on each student before they enter the clinic. As of Tuesday, 1,700 appointments have been booked.Hmidan said she thinks the pandemic is motivating parents to schedule appointments."They're very concerned. They want to make sure that their children are vaccinated," she said.Hmidan said students will be screened for COVID-19 ahead of time.She said if a student has any symptoms, the student will be separated from the others and a nurse in full protective gear will determine if the student is eligible for immunization."We have all our folks helping us at all points in the clinic because we are doing very comprehensive COVID-19 screening before a student enters our clinic," she said.Parents looking to schedule vaccinations for their children should call their local public health office.MORE TOP STORIES


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Suspect arrested after tow truck driver's window smashed in Vancouver parking lot dispute

Suspect arrested after tow truck driver's window smashed in Vancouver parking lot disputeVancouver police have arrested and are holding a suspect in custody in connection with an incident caught on video Monday, showing what police describe as an "act of violence" against a tow truck driver.The incident happened in the parking lot of a strip mall at 3490 Kingsway at around 11 a.m., near Boundary Road between East Vancouver and Burnaby, according to Vancouver Police Department Const. Tania Visintin."It was an act of violence. Anytime an act of violence occurs we are very concerned. You know it was in broad daylight. There were plenty of people around," said Visintin.Video captured by a witnesses at the scene, shows the suspect standing at the side of a tow truck with the Drake Towing company logo on the door, yelling at the driver to get out.Hammer in handThe suspect and the driver in the truck can be heard yelling at each other. Within seconds, the suspect walks past the witness and can be heard saying, "I have the weapon, no problem."When he returns he appears to have a hammer in hand, and approaches the driver's window and smashes it."What I do know is that it was a dispute over a parking space," said Visintin."I believe the suspect was not supposed to park in a certain spot in the parking lot. Therefore a tow truck was called and from there the incident escalated."CBC News spoke with someone who answered the phone at Drake Towing. That person said these kinds of violent incidents are a "one-off" and that this was the worst example he had seen in his 30-year career.The suspect was arrested and taken to jail, Visintin said.Charges including assault with a weapon, uttering threats, mischief, and possession of a dangerous weapon have been forwarded to the B.C. Crown Prosecution Service, though it's not clear if those charges have yet been laid."We're thankful that the police were called before anybody got hurt," said Visintin.


Wednesday 15th of July 2020 01:28:52

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