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Air Canada to check all passengers for fever before flying – CTV News

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TORONTO —
Canada’s largest airline will soon be taking the temperatures of would-be travellers boarding their planes, and will not allow adjacent seats to be occupied even among parties travelling together.

On Monday, Air Canada announced that beginning May 15, passengers will have to undergo non-contact infrared checks for fever, a symptom in many with COVID-19.

Anyone denied boarding due to a temperature of more than 37.5 C or some other red flag uncovered in a government-mandated health question, can rebook at no cost but will have to provide medical clearance to travel, says the airline.

Air Canada says it’s the first airline in the Americas to screen for temperature and promises to introduce other screening tools, such as blood oxygen level tests, as they become available.

It’s also spreading out seat assignments in economy class until June 30, even among those travelling together.

“Air Canada will automatically block the sale of adjacent seats and cap the total number of seats sold for each flight. As a result, no customer in economy class will be required to sit immediately adjacent to another, unless they are required to do so to assist another customer with whom they are travelling.”

Children under 14 would qualify as needing assistance, according to the airline.

The airline, which posted a $1.05-billion net loss for the first quarter Monday, also said that it will introduce electrostatic cabin spraying to its cleaning processes.

It’s all part of what it’s calling CleanCare+.

Air Canada has previously made face coverings mandatory for customers, along with face shields, masks, gloves and gowns for employees.

“While we are eager to see the reopening of economies and the restart of commercial aviation, the safety of our customers and employees is Air Canada’s core value and we aim to establish the highest standards of hygiene, cleanliness and attention to public health guidelines,” said the airline’s president and CEO Calin Rovinescu.

“Air Canada CleanCare+ will provide travellers with the confidence that they can book and fly safely with Air Canada as they consider their travel plans in the current environment.”

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Potential COVID-19 vaccine clears 'major milestone': Sask. researchers – CBC.ca

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A potential COVID-19 vaccine has achieved a “major milestone” in moving toward human clinical trials, according to researchers in Saskatchewan.

The University of Saskatchewan’s Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization-International Vaccine Centre (VIDO-InterVac) said Monday that a vaccine candidate it has developed has proven to be “highly effective” in pre-clinical trials in ferrets.

VIDO-InterVac said the ferrets received two immunizations prior to being exposed to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

The potential vaccine induced a strong immune response, generated neutralizing antibodies and decreased viral infection in the upper respiratory tract to “almost undetectable levels”, the centre said.

It said several more trials are planned over the next few months, including safety studies to prepare for human clinical trials this fall.

Centre director Dr. Volker Gerdts said it is likely this candidate will be a vaccine one day. 

“Oh, it’s very likely,” he said. “We purposely chose a technology that is well-known, well-established and has a proven track record.”

Gerdts said he hopes the vaccine will be ready under emergency authorization in the first half of 2021 for populations in the highest need.

“We honestly don’t know right now,” he said.

Targeted populations could include front-line health-care workers or the elderly, he said. The general public would likely have to wait longer for the vaccine.

“I think it’s going to take a little bit longer than that,” he said. “Probably the summer of next year.”

A potential COVID-19 vaccine has achieved a ‘major milestone’ in moving towards human clinical trials, according to project leader Dr. Darryl Falzarano. He says the team believes the outcome is successful enough to move onto the next stage. 4:29

The vaccine candidate was developed from the team’s previous research on other coronaviruses, including SARS and MERS, the centre said.

VIDO-InterVac is also working on a vaccine manufacturing facility that will be GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice) certified to support vaccine production capacity in Canada, it said.

In addition to COVID-19 vaccine development, it is working with research groups around the world to test antivirals and therapeutics against COVID-19.

Since early March, VIDO-InterVac has been awarded more than $50 million in federal and provincial funding for COVID-19-related research.

“That’s been very helpful,” Gerdts said of the funding. “It allows us to essentially do all of these things in parallel, so we don’t have to wait until one activity is completed.”

The centre said it was the first lab in Canada to isolate SARS-CoV-2 and the first lab in the country to establish an animal model for testing vaccines, antivirals and therapeutics.

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Gold prices in China fall as net imports from Hong Kong drop – Aljazeera.com

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China’s gold imports via Hong Kong in April fell short of its exports for the first time since at least 2011, as measures to contain the spread of coronavirus hammered demand in the top consumer.

Net imports in April crashed by about 176 percent to minus 10.3 tonnes versus the previous month, data from the Hong Kong Census and Statistics Department showed on Monday. The drop came after net gold imports nearly trebled to 13.523 tonnes in March.

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“China’s gold price was trading at too big a discount compared to the overseas price, so gold imports fell a lot because supply inside the country is abundant already,” Samson Li, a Hong Kong-based precious metals analyst at Refinitiv GFMS, said.

Dealers in China, which is a top global consumer, sold gold at discounts of up to $50 to $70 an ounce ($1.61 to $2.25 a gramme) versus benchmark spot prices last month, the most on record according to data going back to 2014. 

“At the same time, gold flowed out from mainland China to Hong Kong, thus it turned from net imports to net exports in April, the first time since 2011,” Li said.

Exports to Hong Kong stood at 14.513 tonnes, compared with 0.685 tonnes reported for March.

China’s total gold imports via Hong Kong plunged more than 70 percent to 4.213 tonnes from 14.208 tonnes in March.

The fall in shipments followed a slide in demand for the precious metal as the country battled the coronavirus pandemic. Beijing dropped its annual growth target for the first time on Friday.

The Hong Kong data may not provide a complete picture of Chinese purchases as gold is also imported via Shanghai and Beijing.

SOURCE:
Reuters news agency

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Would Shoppers Come Back As Malls Open

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Malls across the country are beginning to open their doors after weeks of government-mandated shutdowns, but both operators and retail tenants are stepping into uncharted territory amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the near-term, operators are focused on reopening their properties safely, but there’s a larger concern that shoppers — who have embraced e-commerce and curbside pickup since the pandemic’s outset — will be unimpressed upon returning to malls as many stores remain closed and new safety measures change the experience.

Tim Sanderson, head of Canadian retail at Jones Lang LaSalle, said he’s worried about a repeat of U.S. retail giant Target’s ill-fated attempt to penetrate the Canadian market, where supply chain issues resulted in empty shelves and annoyed customers who left and never came back.

“This is the experience that I fear, that we fear, could happen in the malls,” he said. “Someone goes to a shopping centre, goes through all of the protocols involved, walks into the shopping centre, and the store she came for is not even open, but also, the experience is going to be underwhelming.”

New protocols

Sanderson emphasized that the safety measures malls have rolled out, such as one-direction travel, reduced or eliminated seating, physical distancing requirements and increased security to enforce policies, may be detrimental to the shopping experience but are crucial as a resurgence of the pandemic is the worst-case scenario.

“If we re-open business, and then the government has to lock it down again, I think that’s just bad for everybody in a whole lot of ways, not just shopping and retail, but peoples psyche and everything,” he said.

 

The old ways of shopping will have to change, as physical distancing in the age of COVID-19 will be the rule. (Anis Heydari/CBC)

 

Mall owners have a strong incentive to get their properties open safely, as rents have plummeted following the provincial orders to close.

Owners were only paid about 20 to 25 per cent of their expected April rent, and around 15 per cent in May.

“There’s lots of talk among the retail and landlord community about what rents look like going forward, people have had a major, major impact to their sales.”

But he said there hasn’t been much progress as nobody’s in a position to say what sales will look like, or what rent levels will be affordable.

Mall owners, like many other landlords, have engaged tenants in rent deferrals to help struggling tenants.

Ivanhoe Cambridge has given deferrals to the “vast majority” of tenants “in solidarity with the difficult circumstances,” said spokeswoman Katherine Roux Groleau.

Some landlords are stepping in to help in other ways. Brookfield Asset Management, which has extensive mall holdings especially in the U.S., has said it’s ready to invest $5 billion US in large retailers to keep them afloat.

The situation could also lead to a return of pure percentage deals, where rent is tied to sales, especially for restaurant tenants, said CBRE Ltd. vice chair Paul Morassutti.

 

Reitmans is one of many retailers to have been hit hard by the pandemic. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

 

The crisis, however, will likely also accelerate the trend already underway of mall properties moving away from strictly retail, especially as numerous retailers like Reitmans, Aldo, Pier 1 and others go into creditor protection.

“This pandemic has accelerated the timing for some of those stores,” said Ray Wong, vice president at Altus Group.

“It’s not just the pandemic, they were having challenges before, and this just pushed them along.”

He said that while some premier shopping centres like Yorkdale Mall in Toronto will continue to see high demand, others in secondary markets could see an accelerated switch to more mixed used condos and rentals and office, while some in smaller markets might not survive as retail spaces at all.

“Certain malls or certain shopping centres, it may not be viable to have retail there and it may be redeveloped to other types of uses.”

The coronavirus outbreak, and the resulting shift to working from home, could also make people more reluctant to take long commutes and will instead gravitate to suburban hubs, like a massive development Oxford has planned for central Mississauga to further the trend of diversifying mall properties.

“It will be really interesting to see the discussion on the office front, with more people working from home, not wanting to do the two-hour commute on the subway, that they prefer locations that are closer to where they live, especially in the suburbs,” said Wong.

“It’s a constant juggling act to figure out what will work.”

Source: -cbc-ca

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Edited By Miller Harry

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