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Canada-U.S. border closure extended again amid tension over restrictions – CTV News

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OTTAWA —
Canadian and U.S. officials have agreed to keep the border between the two countries closed to non-essential travel for another month. This comes as both countries are still working to stop the spread of COVID-19, and as tensions continue to flare between Canadians and prospective American visitors.

The current extension of the cross-border agreement expires on August 21, though as the spread of COVID-19 continues in both countries, the restrictions on recreational travel will remain in place until at least Sept. 21. The ban on discretionary travel was first introduced in March and has been extended each month since.

“We are extending the reciprocal restrictions at the Canada-US border for another 30 days, till Sept. 21, 2020. We will continue to do what’s necessary to keep our communities safe,” tweeted Public Safety Minister Bill Blair.  

The agreement, as it stands, exempts the flow of trade and commerce, as well as temporary foreign workers and vital health-care workers such as nurses who live and work on opposite sides of the border. Tourists and cross-border visits remain prohibited.

This is the fifth renewal of the border restrictions since the coronavirus pandemic was declared. 

As of June 9, foreign nationals who are immediate family members of either Canadian citizens or permanent residents can enter Canada to be reunited, under a limited exemption to the current border restrictions. This has allowed both foreign and cross-border Canada-U.S. families to reunite under certain stipulations, including having to remain in Canada for at least 15 days. 

While those eligible to cross the border for this reason include parents, spouses, common-law partners, dependent children and their children, many other families remain separated by the border restrictions including non-married couples. Those in this predicament continue to push for a further loosening of the rules in order to see their loved ones. 

‘NOT THE TIME TO VISIT’

While the restrictions have been in place for months, that hasn’t stopped some Americans from coming into Canada, which has led to numerous instances of confrontations between locals and visitors with U.S. license plates, as well as other expressions of frustration.

Some have legitimately boarded flights from the U.S. to Canada —which is permitted with restrictions like quarantining on arrival—though thousands of others have tried less-legitimate routes, or tried to cross over to come shopping or sightseeing.

As has been seen in Nova Scotia, the concerns about Americans are not without some merit, as there have been confirmed cases linked to people’s failure to self-isolate. 

The tensions aren’t exclusive to American visitors. Even some cross-province travel has irked locals, both in the Atlantic Canada bubble, and out West, where British Columbia Premier John Horgan suggested those with out-of-province license plates on their vehicles consider taking public transit or riding a bicycle if they’re feeling harassed.

Here are some notable examples of cross-border COVID-19 tensions.

THE ‘ALASKA LOOPHOLE’ 

At least a dozen Americans have been fined under the Quarantine Act, after trying what’s been coined the “Alaska loophole”: travellers telling border agents that they are passing through Canada in order to get to Alaska for an essential purpose such as working or returning home, but they end up vacationing in Alberta and British Columbia instead. 

In response the federal government has rolled out new restrictions requiring foreigners entering Canada en route to Alaska to do so at one of five approved border crossings and prohibiting them from visiting any tourism sites or stopping to get food anywhere other than drive-thru restaurants along their way. These pass-through visitors are also being given a “hang tag” to attach to their vehicle’s rear-view mirror, to make them easily identifiable. The tag will include the date by which they must leave Canada.

These crossings prompted Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland to urge Americans to exercise caution and delay their trips to Canada until it has been deemed safe to do so.

“I love the Rockies too. I grew up in Alberta. Personally, I can think of no better place to spend time,” she said in mid-June. “But now is not the time to visit, hopefully we will be back to normal at some point soon.” 

TENSION IN COTTAGE COUNTRY

Ontario cottage country is typically home to many Americans over the summer, though this season there have been reports of out-of-towners being targeted and having their cars keyed.

This prompted Muskoka Lakes Mayor Phil Harding to encourage his residents to not jump to conclusions.

“Just because somebody is driving a U.S. vehicle doesn’t make them a bad person or carrier of the virus, and certainly doesn’t preclude them potentially from being here for a variety of other reasons,” he said. 

Harding has also spoken about an incident in near Huntsville, Ont., where he said two men approached a man getting gas and said “you’re American go home,” to which the man stated he lived in Canada. 

FLOAT CHASE 

With so many shared waterways there have also been incidents where Americans have floated into Canada despite warnings not to, as the restrictions include a ban on any cross-border entry for boating or fishing.

Among the instances of improper aquatic crossings was a whale watching boat with American passengers that crossed into Canadian waters in B.C. In that case the boat operator was fined $1,000 and escorted back to the United States. 

As well, there’s been a “float chase” down the Kettle River in B.C. after a Washington State border jumper entered Canada illegally at a closed border crossing and ended up on foot, and eventually in the water for two and a half hours as he tried to evade arrest. 

He was eventually escorted back to shore with the help of some “good Samaritans” who waded in after him. 

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Canada sees 1,307 new COVID-19 cases, marking highest daily increase since early May – Global News

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Canada added 1,307 new cases of the novel coronavirus on Monday, fueling worries that the country could be headed towards a second wave of the virus.

Provincial and territorial health officials also said 11 new fatalities had occurred, bringing Canada’s death toll to 9,228.

Monday marked the third straight day the country has reported more than 1,000 new cases of COVID-19.

The new infections also reflect the highest daily increase since May 6 when more than 1,400 new cases were reported.

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Read more:
Ahead of throne speech, Canadians see coronavirus pandemic, jobs as top concerns: Ipsos poll

Ontario reported 425 new cases of the virus on Monday, and health officials said two more people had died.

The new infections bring the province’s total caseload to 47,274. 

Since the pandemic began, a total of 3,580,343 tests have been administered in Ontario, and 41,146 have recovered after falling ill.

Quebec saw 586 new cases of COVID-19, and provincial officials said two more people had died after testing positive for the virus.

The new fatalities bring Quebec’s death toll to 5,804.






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Coronavirus: Canadians should ‘redouble their efforts’ at preventing COVID-19 spread as national case count rises, Tam says


Coronavirus: Canadians should ‘redouble their efforts’ at preventing COVID-19 spread as national case count rises, Tam says

However, 59,131 have recovered from the virus, and more than 2,067,000 tests have been conducted. 

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New Brunswick added two new cases of the virus on Monday, but health officials confirmed no additional deaths had occurred.

So far, 191 people have recovered after contracting the virus, and 70,268 have been tested.

Health officials in Nova Scotia reported no new cases and said no new deaths had occurred.

A total of 1,021 people have recovered after contracting COVID-19 and 89,014 tests for the virus have been conducted in Nova Scotia.

Newfoundland did not report any new cases of the virus on Monday, either, and health authorities said the province’s death toll remained at three.

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Thus far, 38,118 tests for the virus have been administered, and 268 people have recovered. 

The latest data released by Prince Edward Island on Sept. 15 said the province has seen a total of 57 cases of COVID-19 but no deaths.

Read more:
Coronavirus took their lives. Here’s how their families will remember them

Saskatchewan health officials said seven new cases of the novel coronavirus were detected, but no one else had died.

[ Sign up for our Health IQ newsletter for the latest coronavirus updates ]

The province has seen 24 deaths since the pandemic began.

A total of 1,645 have recovered after falling ill with the respiratory illness, and 173,764 tests for the virus have been conducted in Saskatchewan.

In Manitoba, 22 new novel coronavirus infections were detected, and health officials said two more people had died.

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Since the virus was first detected 1,227 have recovered from COVID-19 infections.

Over 165,990 people have been tested for the virus in Manitoba.

Further west in Alberta, 137 new infections were reported, bringing the province’s case count to 16,739.

Health officials also said one new death associated with COVID-19 had occurred.

Since the pandemic began, 1,215,672 people have been tested for the virus, and 15,024 have recovered.

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British Columbia health authorities reported 128 new cases of the novel coronavirus, and said four additional deaths had occurred since Friday.






2:44
Coronavirus: Dr. Tam explains what ‘manageable levels’ of COVID-19 in Canada might mean


Coronavirus: Dr. Tam explains what ‘manageable levels’ of COVID-19 in Canada might mean

The new infections bring the province’s total case load to 8,079. However, 5,797 have recovered from the virus.

So far, 455,395 tests for COVID-19 have been administered in British Columbia.

Territories

All five confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the Northwest Territories are considered to be resolved.

Health authorities have administered a total of 4,732 tests for the virus in the territory.

Similarly, in the Yukon, all 15 people who tested positive for the novel coronavirus have recovered.

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The latest data released by health officials on Thursday said 3,049 people have been tested for the virus.

Nunavut has seen three cases of the virus, however, each have been tied to workers from other parts of the country.

The territory says the infections will be counted in the totals for the workers’ home jurisdictions, meaning Nunavut still considers itself free of COVID-19 cases.

Read more:
Patio heaters won’t cut it. What will it take for restaurants to survive winter?

Global cases top 31 million

Since the novel coronavirus was first detected in Wuhan, China in December, it has infected 31,186,000 people and claimed 962,343 lives, according to a tally from Johns Hopkins University.

The United States remained the epicentre of the virus on Monday, with more than 6.8 million confirmed cases.

As of 8 p.m. ET, COVID-19 had claimed 199,816 lives in the U.S.

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Student visa limbo leaves thousands unable to start school in Canada – CBC.ca

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Gustavo Camelo is one of thousands of international students stuck in limbo, ready to start college or university but missing one thing — a Canadian student visa.

The delays in documentation are due to travel restrictions brought in to protect Canadians from the spread of COVID-19. A spokesperson for Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) said the ministry is trying to smooth the process and reduce delays for international students.

International education as a sector contributes $21 billion a year to the Canadian economy.

Camelo completed his undergraduate degree at the University of São Paulo in Brazil and was all set to start his masters degree in chemistry at the University of Victoria this month.

He and his partner rented a $1,800-a-month Victoria apartment and couldn’t wait for September. 

But then came COVID-19. The border closed and new rules came into play for student visas as of March 18.

Even international students approved before March are not automatically allowed to travel to Canada. Foreign nationals with a valid study permit or letter of introduction dated before March 18 may still be denied entry if their reason for travelling is deemed “discretionary.”

Students must prove it’s necessary for their program for them to be on campus.

Approved for online studies

When Camelo applied on May 15, he said he faced a 27-week wait for processing. So far he has only been approved to begin studies online, but he said he needs to be on campus to do research in order to complete the program. He said if he doesn’t get to Victoria soon, he could lose his spot in the program. 

IRCC confirmed there are delays and, right now, restrictions are not being eased — that will depend on how well the virus is contained.

“In regards to processing times, COVID-19 has meant significant challenges continue to affect processing timelines and we are doing our best within existing limitations. Because there are so many different variables involved, we are unable to provide specific timelines at this time,” a spokesperson said Monday in an email.

The University of Victoria campus is a dream right now for some international students who can’t get their student visa approved. (Twitter/@UVicLib)

“It’s very stressful. It’s hard to have your plans frustrated,” Camelo said in a phone interview from the U.K., where he and his dual-citizen partner, Tom Crocker, are waiting for word from Canada.

In July, the pair spent thousands of dollars on flights from Brazil and Canada to meet up in London, as the U.K. was one of the only places they could get in and face only a 14-day quarantine.

They had been separated since December 2019 and the border restrictions kept being extended.

“The U.K. is the only country that has its borders open for anyone,” said Crocker.

After reuniting at an Airbnb in London, where they quarantined for 14 days, the couple are staying with Crocker’s family near Dorchester until they can finally move back to B.C., where Camelo’s British-born partner has lived for a decade.

Camelo said he has about a month before he loses his spot in the UVic program, despite his acceptance and the fact that he’s paid his tuition.

“I can lose the offer for sure. The university is expecting me to get there in a month or so. No one knows exactly what’s going to happen,” he said.

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Today's coronavirus news: Ford to announce fall COVID-19 plan today; Hollywood unions announce pandemic agreement; UK to impose tougher measures amid case spike – Toronto Star

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KEY FACTS

  • 5:39 a.m.: Hollywood unions announce pandemic agreement

  • 5:20 a.m.: UK to impose tougher COVID-19 measures amid case spike

  • 4 a.m.: Ontario to announce fall COVID-19 plan today

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

8:45 a.m. NFL coaches thumbed their collective — and exposed — noses at the NFL’s mask mandate in Week 2.

The league responded with hefty fines of $100,000 (U.S.) per coach and $250,000 (U.S.) per club. The first three to get fined were Denver’s Vic Fangio, San Francisco’s Kyle Shanahan and Seattle’s Pete Carroll, according to a person with knowledge of the punishment who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the coaches were not identified.

The punishment was meted out a week after the NFL reminded team personnel on the sidelines about the rules for wearing face coverings during the coronavirus pandemic, lest they put the fledgling season at risk.

More coaches and clubs can expect similar punishments as the memo last week from Troy Vincent, who oversees the league’s football operations, was largely ignored throughout the weekend.

Among other offenders: Patriots coach Bill Belichick and his offensive co-ordinator Josh McDaniels, Chiefs defensive co-ordinator Steve Spagnuolo, Colts coach Frank Reich and Rams coach Sean McVay.

8:25 a.m. Amidst increasing numbers of new COVID-19 cases daily in Ontario, experts are warning that the continued low rates of death and hospitalization from the disease should not lead to complacency.

Deaths and hospitalizations are what are known as “lagging indicators” — that is, they do not rise and fall immediately with increasing or decreasing rates of infection, but manifest later for serious cases.

In other words, it can take several weeks after infection for a patient to end up in hospital or die.

“We’re seeing cases rise now. It’s entirely possible in two to five weeks we’ll see hospitalizations and the death curve rise as well,” said Raywat Deonandan, an epidemiologist and associate professor at the University of Ottawa.

Read the full story from the Star’s Patty Winsa and Kenyon Wallace

8:03 a.m. After weeks of chaos and uncertainty, thousands of students from across the Toronto District School Board will click in — rather than line up — for their first day of virtual school on Tuesday.

When the restrictions tied to COVID-19 forced the closure of schools and daycares last spring, it made some form of online school this fall seem inevitable. But in the weeks leading up to its opening, details around these schools were slow to be released, and twice, in the last two weeks, the start was delayed. The more than 72,000 students signed up for the virtual schools in Toronto will now, in some cases, start nearly a week after their in-person counterparts when they log in Tuesday morning.

On the eve of its opening, students enrolled in the virtual elementary school learned of yet another potential setback. In an email sent to parents late Monday, the TDSB informed them that, due to “ongoing efforts to hire staff for virtual classrooms,” not all elementary students would start synchronous learning by Tuesday; they’d be implementing a rolling start.

Read the full story from the Star’s Johanna Chisholm

8:01 a.m. The Toronto Board of Health has called on the city’s medical officer to publicly release data on workplace outbreaks to protect “vulnerable populations” disproportionately affected by COVID-19.

The motion passed unanimously on Monday asks Toronto Public Health to publish information on workplaces hit hard by the coronavirus, as it has done for outbreaks at long-term-care homes, shelters and schools. Currently, little is known or shared publicly about workplace outbreaks apart from those settings.

“Public transparency helps ensure that workers and customers are protected,” said board chair Joe Cressy (Ward 10, Spadina—Fort York).

“We know that COVID-19 disproportionately affects people who are marginalized, and living and working in vulnerable settings,” he added. “Exposing unsafe working conditions is critical to inform public policy to better protect those workers.”

Read the full story from the Star’s Sara Mojtehedzadeh

8 a.m. Kids eating lunch in the hallway. Dedicated music rooms used to fit more students at desks. Students bused far from home to go to school outside their neighbourhood because their local school has long been full.

These are the ongoing challenges faced by students, parents, teachers and administrators at the Toronto District School Board at a time when health and safety in schools are top of mind and development in the city continues at an unprecedented pace.

A new report from the Broadbent Institute and advocacy groups Progress Toronto and Fix Our Schools says that, amid a pandemic, the time is now for the province to allow the TDSB to collect fees from developers to help build and repair packed and ageing schools — money that’s now needed to make necessary adjustments for social distancing, fresh air and more.

Read the full story from the Star’s Jennifer Pagliaro

7:33 a.m. Peel Public Health has announced that two COVID-19 testing sites are available for asymptomatic people in Brampton and Mississauga.

Both locations will be open temporarily, with the Mississauga site opening its doors to the public on Monday.

The Mississauga site is at the Peel Regional Paramedics Kingsway Satellite Station at 7120 Hurontario St. Testing hours are Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. This site will be open until Oct. 4.

The Brampton site, at Greenbriar Recreation Centre, 1100 Central Park Dr., was open on Saturday. Testing hours are Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

7:31 a.m. The Peel-Dufferin branch of the Canadian Mental Health Association has seen a large increase in crisis calls since this time last year, and they believe COVID-19 is to blame.

According to Charlene Hayer, director of crisis services at CMHA Peel-Dufferin, there has been a “significant increase in the volume of crisis calls,” about a 52 per cent increase since the year prior.

There are a variety of reasons for the calls but she said the main concerns being expressed are typically depressed mood, anxiety and substance abuse issues.

“Certainly, in the current environment, people are definitely more socially isolated,” said Heyer, adding that can contribute to overall feelings of anxiety.

Calls are received through the triage unit, which runs from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday to Friday.

One day in August, the triage team had 277 incoming and outgoing calls in 24 hours, a “record-breaking day.”

Though CMHA does not have formal reports, there have been significant changes in crisis calls since the pandemic hit in the spring.

7:26 a.m. The Beer Store announced Sept. 18 that an employee at one of its York Region outlets has tested positive for the virus.

The staff member was working at the location at 15820 Bayview Ave., Aurora, and The Beer Store decided, in consultation with York Region Public Health, to close the shop before reopening on Sept. 19.

All potentially affected staff will now self isolate as a precautionary measure, the store says.

7:14 a.m. Five players have been withdrawn from the European Masters snooker tournament as a result of positive tests for the coronavirus.

Daniel Wells and Gary Wilson were positive after arriving at the venue in Milton Keynes, England. Three players who came into contact with either of the pair — Elliot Slessor, David Lilley and Michael White — were also withdrawn from the event.

All five must self-isolate.

All players and officials have been tested at snooker events since the sport resumed in June with spectators after the coronavirus outbreak. The European Masters is the first ranking event of the season.

6:45 a.m.: The Spanish capital is poised to extend its restrictions on movement to more neighbourhoods due to a surge in new cases in other districts, despite an outcry from residents over discrimination.

Police on Monday deployed to 37 working-class neighbourhoods that have seen 14-day transmission rates above 1,000 per 100,000 inhabitants. People are required to justify trips out of those neighbourhoods.

Locals complained that the restrictions stigmatize the poor, who often live in more cramped conditions and rely on public transport to get to their jobs.

On Tuesday, 16 more districts exceeded that transmission rate threshold, and Madrid’s regional president, Isabel Díaz Ayuso, said the possibility of extending the restrictions was on the table.

6:31 a.m.: President Rodrigo Duterte says he has extended a state of calamity in the entire Philippines by a year to allow the government to draw emergency funds faster to fight the COVID-19 pandemic and harness the police and military to maintain law and order.

Duterte first placed the country under a state of calamity in March when the number of confirmed infections was approaching 200 with about a dozen deaths. The country now has more than 290,000 confirmed cases, the highest in Southeast Asia, with nearly 5,000 deaths.

The tough-talking president lashed anew at critics in his televised remarks late Monday for accusing his administration of not doing enough to contain the outbreak.

“What ‘enough’ do you want? There are hospitals, beds and funeral parlours. Everything is there,” Duterte said, specifying Vice-President Leni Robredo, who leads the opposition, in his tirade.

5:39 a.m.: Hollywood’s unions have announced that they have reached an agreement on pandemic protocols with major studios that will allow the broad resumption of production of films and television after six months of stagnant sets and widespread unemployment.

The Directors Guild of America, the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, the Basic Crafts unions and the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists on Monday jointly announced the deal reached with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers after months of planning and negotiating.

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The deal includes mandatory and comprehensive use of personal protective gear and testing of cast and crew members, and a dedicated coronavirus supervisor to oversee it all.

It requires the use of a “zone system” that strictly limits interactions between people on sets based on their job’s requirements. Those who must deal with more people will be tested more frequently and have more strict protective equipment and spacing requirements. Actors will be tested especially often because their on-camera work won’t allow for many protective measures.

5:37 a.m.: India on Tuesday confirmed over 75,000 new coronavirus cases and more than 1,000 deaths in the past 24 hours.

With more than 5.5 million cases, India is behind only the United States in total number of confirmed infections. India’s death toll from the virus is nearly 89,000.

So far, nearly 76% of the new virus cases are concentrated in 10 states, with Maharashtra in central India accounting for almost a quarter of new infections on Monday.

Daily new infections in India have been hovering around 90,000 for the past few days, but experts point out that testing still varies from state to state. And new surges have been detected in states that had so far been left relatively unscathed by the virus.

5:31 a.m.: The Pakistani prime minister’s health adviser says authorities have begun much-awaited final-phase testing of a Chinese-made vaccine against the coronavirus.

In Tuesday’s televised comments, Faisal Sultan, who advises Prime Minister Imran Khan on health issues, said the clinical trials will continue for about 12 weeks.

The latest development comes weeks after Pakistan approved advanced clinical trials for potential vaccines at the country’s main health facilities. Pakistan has said the vaccine produced by CanSinoBio, a China-based vaccine developer, and Beijing Institute of Biotechnology will be used during the clinical trials.

5:26 a.m.: The coronavirus pandemic has fractured global relationships. But as director of the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, John Nkengasong has helped to steer Africa’s 54 countries into an alliance praised as responding better than some richer countries, including the United States.

A former U.S. CDC official, he modeled Africa’s version after his ex-employer. Nkengasong is pained to see the U.S. agency struggle. In an interview with The Associated Press, he didn’t name U.S President Donald Trump but cited “factors we all know.”

While the U.S. nears 200,000 COVID-19 deaths and the world approaches 1 million, Africa’s surge has been levelling off. Its 1.4 million confirmed cases are far from the horrors predicted. Antibody testing is expected to show many more infections, but most cases are asymptomatic. Just over 34,000 deaths are confirmed on the continent of 1.3 billion people.

5:20 a.m.: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson plans to announce new restrictions on social interactions Tuesday as the government tries to slow the spread of COVID-19 before it spirals out of control.

Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove told Sky News that pubs and restaurants across England will be ordered to close at 10 p.m. and people who can work from home will be encouraged to do so, reversing a government drive to get people back to their offices and other places of employment.

Gove said reducing “social mixing” was key to slowing the spread of the virus. He said it was impossible to say how long the restrictions would be in place.

The prime minister is set to release further details when he speaks to the House of Commons at around 12:30 p.m. (1130 GMT) after meeting the Cabinet and the government’s COBRA emergency committee. He will later deliver a televised address to the nation.

5:14 a.m.: Mobile apps tracing new COVID-19 cases were touted as a key part of Europe’s plan to beat the coronavirus outbreak. Seven months into the pandemic, virus cases are surging again and the apps have not been widely adopted due to privacy concerns, technical problems and lack of interest from the public.

Britain, Portugal, and Finland this month became the latest to unveil smartphone apps that alert people if they’ve been near someone who turned out to be infected so they can seek treatment or isolate — a key step in breaking the chain of contagion.

But a few countries have scrapped their tracing apps and others that have rolled them out have found so few users that the technology is not very effective. The adoption rate goes from about a third of the population in Finland and Ireland, to 22% in Germany and a meagre 4% in France.

5:11 a.m.: British Columbia’s election is entering its first full day with the three party leaders embarking on a campaign against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic.

B.C. Premier John Horgan made the snap election call on Monday, conceding that he struggled with whether it’s the right time for a campaign because of the pandemic.

As the leader of a minority NDP government, Horgan says he decided the province needs more stability to face the health and economic challenges ahead and waiting another year to hold the election when it was scheduled would be wasting time.

B.C. Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson and the Green party’s Sonia Furstenau criticized Horgan’s decision, saying the election is unnecessary during the pandemic.

The campaign begins as the number of cases of COVID-19 rises in the province, with record daily infection rates recorded.

5 a.m.: A new survey suggests the recent rise in new COVID-19 cases across Canada comes with a similar increase in support for the mandatory wearing of masks in public places.

The online survey by Leger and the Association for Canadian Studies says 83 per cent of respondents feel governments should order people to wear a mask in all indoor public spaces.

That represented a 16 per cent increase from July, before the recent rise in COVID-19 cases has sparked concerns many parts of the country are entering the dreaded second wave of the pandemic.

Even more — 87 per cent — felt wearing a mask was a civic duty because it protects others from COVID-19 while 21 per cent felt it was an infringement on personal freedoms, a decline of six per cent from July.

As for the anti-mask protests that have happened in various parts of the country in recent weeks, 88 per cent of respondents said they opposed the demonstrations while 12 per cent supported them.

The online poll was conducted Sept. 18 to 20 and surveyed 1,538 adult Canadians. It cannot be assigned a margin of error because internet-based polls are not considered random samples.

4 a.m.: Ontario is expected to announce its COVID-19 fall preparedness plan today.

Premier Doug Ford has promised the plan will help the province grapple with a possible second wave of the novel coronavirus.

The strategy comes as daily virus case counts continue to climb to levels not seen for months in Ontario.

Ford has been under pressure to release the updated plan as opposition politicians say it should have come weeks earlier.

Health Minister Christine Elliott says parts of the plan are currently being implemented, including increased testing capacity.

The new plan comes as Ontario continues to struggle with long line ups at some of its 147 COVID-19 assessment centres.

Monday 7:11 p.m. There have been another four deaths in B.C. due to COVID-19 complications.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says two people died in the Vancouver Coastal health region over the past three days, one in Fraser Health and one in the Northern Health region — only the second death in that area since the pandemic began.

Another 366 positive cases have been added over three days for a total of 8,208.

There are 60 people in hospital and almost 6,000 people are considered recovered.

Click here for more of Monday’s COVID-19 coverage.

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