Today’s coronavirus news: Ontario reporting 1,342 people hospitalized with COVID-19, 356 in ICU

Meanwhile, the CDC in the U.S. said Wednesday that the country is moving closer to the point that COVID-19 is no longer a “constant crisis.”

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

1 p.m. European Union leaders on Thursday lauded the bloc’s vaccine cooperation with Africa in the fight against the coronavirus, but there was no sign they would move toward a temporary lifting of intellectual property rights protection for COVID-19 shots.

Speaking on the first day of an EU-Africa summit in Brussels, the head of the European Commission said the EU will continue to focus in the short term on the roll-out of COVID-19 vaccines.

Ursula von der Leyen said the 27-nation region will also invest in the long run to help the continent produce shots locally. She said “two state-of-the-art factories” in Rwanda and Senegal are expected to be built this year.

“It is about the capacity of Africa to produce their own vaccines, to develop mRNA manufacturing capacity across Africa,” von der Leyen said. “We are making rapid progress.”

12:40 p.m. If there was a global race for COVID-19 vaccine, wealthy nations won it, and countries like Angola lost. The rollout left Canada awash in doses. In Africa, meanwhile, every drop is precious.

Read the full story from the Star’s Alex Boyd

12:20 p.m. The federal government is offering cities a one-time cash infusion of $750 million to help make up for shortfalls in transit revenues linked to COVID-19.

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