The latest:

Portugal is scrapping many of its remaining COVID-19 restrictions, after becoming the world leader in vaccination rollout. The country has fully vaccinated nearly 85 per cent of the population, according to Our World in Data.

The government says starting Oct. 1, it will remove limits on how many people can be in cafes and restaurants, weddings and baptisms, shopping malls, concerts and cinemas. Bars and discos will reopen, although only for vaccinated people and people with negative coronavirus tests.

Prime Minister Antonio Costa said some restrictions need to stay in place. The wearing of face masks will still be mandatory on public transportation, and in hospitals, care homes and shopping malls. People arriving from abroad by air or sea must still show a vaccine certificate or a negative virus test.

“The pandemic isn’t over,” he said. “The risk is still there.”  

Restrictions are also being lifted in Norway.

The country will reopen society on Saturday, the government said on Friday, ending pandemic-curbing restrictions that have limited social interaction and hobbled many businesses.

“It is 561 days since we introduced the toughest measures in Norway in peacetime … Now the time has come to return to a normal daily life,” Prime Minister Erna Solberg told a news conference.

-From The Associated Press and Reuters, last updated at 7:25 a.m. ET

What’s happening across Canada WATCH | Alberta doctors on the brink of deciding which patients get care: U.S. president talks about country’s COVID-19 responsePresident Joe Biden offers details about vaccine policy and what comes next in the U.S. 0:00

The head of Alberta’s health system said on Thursday that since Sunday, hospitals have admitted a daily average of two dozen or more critically ill COVID-19 patients.

Dr. Verna Yiu said the only way the health-care system has been able to keep pace with those numbers is because some ICU patients have died. Alberta normally has 173 ICU beds, but has doubled that number to 350 by taking over extra spaces and reassigning staff.

According to an update posted by Alberta Health Services on Thursday, 37 additional ICU surge spaces were added in the last seven days alone.

“There are currently 310 patients in ICU, the vast majority of whom are COVID positive,” the update said. “This is the highest number of ICU patients since the pandemic began.”

-From The Canadian Press and CBC News, last updated at 7:25 a.m. ET

What’s happening around the world A woman wearing a mask sits near an open-air café, which has been cordoned off, in Seoul on Friday. (Kim Hong-ji/Reuters)

As of early Friday morning, more than 230.6 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University’s case tracking tool, which collects data from around the world. The reported global death toll stood at more than 4.7 million. 

In the Asia-Pacific region, South Korea has reported its biggest daily jump in coronavirus since the start of the pandemic as people returned from the country’s biggest holiday of the year.

The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency said more than 1,750 of the 2,434 new cases reported Friday were from the greater capital area, where officials have raised concern over an erosion in citizen vigilance despite the enforcement of the strongest physical distancing rules short of a lockdown since July.

In the Americas, a U.S. CDC advisory panel has recommended a booster shot of the Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine for Americans aged 65 and older and some adults with underlying medical conditions that put them at risk of severe disease.

In Europe, coronavirus deaths in Russia hit a record on Friday amid a steady increase in infections.

Russia’s state coronavirus task force reported 828 new deaths on Friday, the country’s highest daily number of the pandemic. The previous record of 820 daily deaths was registered on Aug. 26, and on Thursday this week the daily death toll reached 820 once again.

In all, Russian authorities have reported some 7.3 million confirmed cases and over 202,000 deaths. However, reports by the government’s statistical service Rosstat that tally coronavirus-linked deaths retroactively reveal much higher mortality numbers.

In the Middle East, Yemen received its third batch of COVID-19 vaccines through the COVAX global vaccine-sharing scheme, the health ministry said

In Africa, Egypt has authorized Russia’s single-dose Sputnik Light vaccine against COVID-19, the Russian Direct Investment Fund, which markets the shot abroad, said on Friday. The country approved Russia’s two-dose Sputnik V vaccine in February.

-From The Associated Press and Reuters, last updated at 7:15 a.m. ET

Source From CBC News

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