Connect with us


Canadians abroad urged to return home while ‘commercial options still available’ – Global News



The federal government urged Canadians abroad to return home while they still have a chance as countries around the world impose ever-tighter travel restrictions in a bid to curb the spread of the new coronavirus.

Word from Global Affairs Canada came on Saturday as Canadians travelling in Europe scrambled to book flights ahead of looming border closures in many European Union countries.

The advice marks an escalation for the government, who previously urged Canadians to cancel or postpone non-essential trips.

Food shortages unlikely despite Canadians’ grocery panic amid virus, experts say

Coronavirus outbreak: Couple stuck in Spain amid COVID-19 outbreak as Canadians abroad try to return home

Coronavirus outbreak: Couple stuck in Spain amid COVID-19 outbreak as Canadians abroad try to return home

“Airlines have cancelled flights. New restrictions may be imposed with little warning. Your travel plans may be severely disrupted and you may be forced to remain outside of Canada longer than expected,” the ministry said in a statement.

“Find out what commercial options are still available to return to Canada. Consider returning to Canada earlier than planned if these options are becoming more limited.”

Story continues below advertisement

But heeding the latest advice from Ottawa might not be easy for some Canadians already feeling the effects of tightening travel restrictions.

Renata Kaniewski, of Ottawa, who travelled to Poland for her mother’s funeral, said the next available flight to Toronto offered by LOT Polish Airlines is scheduled for March 29. But she says there’s no guarantee that flight will take off thanks to the Polish government’s decision to suspend international flights and trains starting on Sunday.

Some people still heading south to shop despite coronavirus travel warnings

Some people still heading south to shop despite coronavirus travel warnings

“Right now I am worried about getting back to Canada, even with a new flight ticket for Mar. 29, because the government here in Poland keeps saying the international flights could be delayed even longer,” she said.

Story continues below advertisement

“And the news on TV here says nothing about how foreigners can get back home. They only talk about how Poland is planning to get its own people back into the country.”

Travel woes played out as the COVID-19 pandemic continued to sweep across Canada, with Ontario remaining at the epicentre of the national outbreak.

The provincial government reported 22 new cases of the disease on Saturday. Few details were immediately available, but at least six of the new cases were linked to recent travel outside of Canada.

New cases were confirmed elsewhere in the country, bringing the official national tally to 225.

Canada’s House of Commons suspending for 5 weeks as officials battle coronavirus spread

Officials in Quebec reported four new positive tests in the province, prompting Premier Francois Legault to ask residents over the age of 70 to stay home until further notice.

All visitors to hospitals, seniors’ residences and long-term care facilities will be forbidden, he added. Ontario implemented a similar measure at its long-term care homes on Saturday, barring access to all but “essential” visitors described as relatives of a dying or severely ill person or the caregiver of a sick child or youth.

New Brunswick reported a new presumptive case of the virus, bringing the provincial tally to two.

Story continues below advertisement

Prince Edward Island also reported its first presumptive case of the virus, hours after two high-profile politicians went into self-isolation. Premier Dennis King and Health minister James Aylward both took the step after returning from trips outside of Canada, though both say they are not exhibiting symptoms.

As the number of Canadian cases related to the global outbreak kept mounting, businesses and sports organizations continued to take extraordinary steps out of what they describe as an abundance of caution and a bid to curb further transmission.

Coronavirus outbreak: Canadian health official advises against all non-essential travel outside country

Coronavirus outbreak: Canadian health official advises against all non-essential travel outside country

Toronto-based theatre titan Mirvish Productions announced Saturday it would be suspending performances effective immediately and lasting until at least April 12. The cancellations include performances of “Hamilton,” one of the most hotly anticipated shows of the year. Refunds will be available for affected ticketholders.

The World Curling Federation announced it would be cancelling the men’s curling world championship in Glasgow, Scotland, at which Newfoundland and Labrador’s Brad Gushue was set to compete starting on March 28.

The women’s world curling championship in Prince George, B.C., was officially cancelled earlier this week.

Meanwhile, coffee chain Second Cup announced it would stop accepting cash payments, asking customers to complete transactions using credit, debit or gift cards and mobile payments instead.

Tech giant Apple said Saturday it is closing its stores outside of China for two weeks, including all its 29 Canadian locations. The company will continue to sell online as part of efforts to fight the viral pandemic.

Story continues below advertisement

Coronavirus outbreak: Trudeau says Canada ‘not closing the door’ on any further response to COVID-19

Coronavirus outbreak: Trudeau says Canada ‘not closing the door’ on any further response to COVID-19

The World Health Organization declared COVID-19 as a global pandemic earlier this week as cases began to spike in countries around the world.

But Canadian public health officials continue to describe the risk to the public as relatively low as they urge hygiene measures such as frequent handwashing and social distancing.

Most people diagnosed with COVID-19 experience mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough, and the vast majority of those who contract the virus recover. The Public Health Agency of Canada says the risk to the general population is low.

However, for some, including Canadians aged 65 and over, those with compromised immune systems and those with pre-existing conditions, the illness can be much more severe. Among the Canadians diagnosed with the illness so far, fewer than 15 per cent have required hospitalization.

The growing number of cases has prompted widespread closures of schools and universities, mass cancellation of large-scale events, multimillion-dollar economic stimulus packages from governments, and the suspension of the Parliament until April 20.

© 2020 The Canadian Press

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

Source link


China donates thousands of medical masks, personal protective equipment to Canada – CTV News



China has donated thousands of medical supplies to Canada to aid in the fight against the COVID-19, according to the Chinese Embassy in Ottawa.

In a tweet published on Saturday morning, the embassy said it had sent 30,000 medical masks, 10,000 sets of protective clothing, 10,000 goggles and 50,000 pairs of gloves to Canada on Friday.

The embassy also said that shipment would be followed by another one containing the much sought-after N95 masks.

“We are together!” the Chinese Embassy wrote.

On Saturday afternoon, Foreign Affairs Minister François-Philippe Champagne thanked China for the donation.

“In the face of a global pandemic, supporting each other is not only the right thing to do, it’s the smart thing to do,” he said in a tweet

Health-care systems around the world have reported shortages of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for their frontline workers. 

In Canada, some hospitals have appealed to other industries, such as educational institutions and dental clinics, to donate equipment, while others have begun rationing the number of masks each staff member can use per shift.

Because China is the largest supplier of PPE in the world, the global supply took a big hit when the country had to shut down its factories earlier this year when the outbreak began.

In February, Canada sent 16 tonnes of medical equipment to China to help the country, which was then the epicentre of the outbreak, respond to the emergency.

Since then, the Canadian government has faced criticism for sending those supplies that are now needed at home.

On Thursday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau defended his government’s decision by explaining that it was part of Canada’s response to the global crisis. He also said Canadian businesses have retooled production to manufacture equipment for the health-care system.  

“I can assure everyone that the federal stockpiles have been sufficient to meet the needs of the provinces until this point,” Trudeau said.

The prime minister also said Canada would receive “millions more items” that are needed for the health emergency.

Canada isn’t the only recipient of Chinese medical supplies, either.

In the past week, China has donated PPE to various nations grappling with the pandemic, including, most recently, Pakistan.

On Saturday, the Pakistani Foreign Ministry said China had sent a plane loaded with medical personnel and aid to help the South Asian country respond to the outbreak there. The shipment included ventilators, masks, and other medical equipment. 

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

Source link

Continue Reading


Canadians with COVID-19 symptoms to be denied boarding on domestic flights, trains: PM – CTV News



Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says that as of noon Monday, boarding of domestic flights and trains will be denied to people showing any symptoms related to COVID-19.

He said all Canadians are being asked to remain home as much as possible in an effort to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus, but in particular those with symptoms of COVID-19 should not go out. Those symptoms include fever and cough.

“We are giving further tools to airlines and rail companies to ensure that anyone exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms does not travel,” he said. He said it will be up to the companies to ensure the new rules are followed.

Trudeau also addressed the situation of the 248 Canadians stranded on a cruise ship off the coast of Panama, where some passengers have tested positive for COVID-19 and four others have died.

The federal government is working with the Panamanian government and Holland America, which operates the Zaandam, in an effort to get the Canadians home.

He said the efforts are part of the “herculean task” Global Affairs Canada is undertaking to repatriate stranded Canadians around the world.

Two passengers on board the MS Zaandam have tested positive for the disease while 53 passengers and 85 crew have flu-like symptoms, Holland America said in a statement.

There are 1,243 passengers and 586 crew on board, the company said in a statement. The Zaandam is anchored off the coast of Panama and plans are underway to move healthy people to its sister ship nearby, Holland America said.

“We continue to engage with the Panamanian government, and are working with Holland America on their plans to get passengers home,” said Global Affairs Canada spokeswoman Angela Savard.

Michael Kasprow is terrified for his 81-year-old mother, Julie, who is currently contained to her room with her friend on the Zaandam. She is healthy, he said, and had her vital signs checked yesterday.

“My mom’s demeanour certainly changed in the past 24 hours from, ‘This will be OK,’ to hearing news that people on board had passed away,” Kasprow said.

“My mom is my superhero and is incredibly circumspect when it comes to things like that, but it’s really stressful and scary to her, and this definitely rocked her a bit.”

The crew is preparing to move his mother to the sister ship, the Rotterdam, he said.

“From what I understand, they are going to move healthy and asymptomatic passengers over to the Rotterdam to find some place to dock,” Kasprow said.

All ports along its route are closed, Holland America said.

“While the onward plan for both ships is still being finalized, we continue to work with the Panamanian authorities on approval to transit the Panama Canal for sailing to Fort Lauderdale, Florida,” the company said.

Kasprow, from Toronto, said he is dealing with a mixture of emotions with the uncertainty about his mother, who lives in Thornhill, Ont.

“I just want her home in her stupid chair for 14 days so we have everybody in the same area and I can talk to her from the end of the driveway,” he said.

Meanwhile, Canada’s deputy chief public health officer has delivered a sobering assessment of the country’s struggle with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dr. Howard Njoo said the fight is far from over, that it could include a second wave, and that we are certainly in it “for the long haul.”

“It’s definitely months. Many months,” Njoo estimated Friday as the number of COVID-19 cases in Canada surged to 4,757, including 55 deaths.

Quebec’s COVID-19 caseload has soared to more than 2,000 — more than double Ontario’s 993 cases.

Members of the Canadian Armed Forces have been told by chief of the defence staff Gen. Jonathan Vance to stay healthy and be ready to respond immediately to the escalating crisis.

One possible glimmer of hope did emerge from B.C. Friday, where data indicates the province’s COVID experience will likely resemble South Korea’s rather than brutally hit Italy. B.C.’s health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, said she thinks the social distancing strategy is working and she urged residents to keep at it.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on March 28, 2020.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

Source link

Continue Reading


Canada tightens restrictions on domestic travel; Wuhan, China, partly reopens after two months – Toronto Star



The latest novel coronavirus news from Canada and around the world Saturday (this file will be updated throughout the day):

11:50 a.m.: The Chinese Embassy announced that the Bank of China is donating medical supplies (including 30,000 medical masks, 10,000 sets of protective clothing, 10,000 goggles and 50,000 pairs of gloves, followed by N95 medical masks) to Canada for its battle against the virus. That would amount to more equipment than Canada donated to China when the coronavirus was raging in Hubei province.

11:22 a.m.: The federal government is imposing domestic travel restrictions in the fight against COVID-19.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Saturday morning that as of Monday, anybody exhibiting symptoms of the virus will not be permitted to board domestic flights or trains for inter-city trips.

Canada has already put sharp restrictions on international travel, including along the U.S. border, but has so far resisted imposing domestic travel restrictions on citizens.

Trudeau again urged Canadians to stay indoors if at all possible in order to slow COVID-19’s spread through the population. He said “social isolation” measures have been showing promise, particularly in British Columbia.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says that as of Monday at noon, people showing any signs of COVID-19 will be denied boarding on all domestic flights or inter-city transit trips.

11:18 a.m.: Global Affairs Canada says a Canadian citizen who was on a cruise has died from complications related to COVID-19 in Brazil.

A spokesperson says its thoughts are with the victim’s family and that the news has saddened the department. Global Affairs says it will not provide further details for privacy reasons.

9:40 a.m.: Police fired tear gas at a crowd of Kenyan ferry commuters as the country’s first day of a coronavirus curfew slid into chaos.

Virus prevention measures have taken a violent turn in parts of Africa as countries impose lockdowns and curfews or seal off major cities. Health experts say the virus’s spread, though at an early stage, resembles the pattern seen in Europe, adding to widespread anxiety. Cases across Africa were set to climb above 4,000 Saturday.

Abuses of the new measures by authorities are an immediate concern.

Minutes after South Africa’s three-week lockdown began Friday, police screamed at homeless people in downtown Johannesburg and went after some with batons. Some citizens reported the police use of rubber bullets. Fifty-five people across the country were arrested.

8:39 a.m.: The number of confirmed coronavirus infections worldwide topped 600,000 on Saturday as new cases stacked up quickly in Europe and the United States and officials dug in for a long fight against the pandemic.

The latest landmark came only two days after the world passed half a million infections, according to a tally by John Hopkins University, showing that much work remains to be done to slow the spread of the virus. It showed more than 607,000 cases and a total of over 28,000 deaths.

While the U.S. now leads the world in reported infections — with more than 104,000 cases — five countries exceed its roughly 1,700 deaths: Italy, Spain, China, Iran and France.

8 a.m. Spain’s death toll from the pandemic jumped to 5,690 on Saturday, with 832 fatalities in the past 24 hours, according to the health ministry. The number of those infected also rose to 72,248 from 64,059, a rise of close to 13 per cent.

Wuhan, China, where the coronavirus pandemic began, Wuhan, has partially reopened after more than two months of isolation. Media report that people are being allowed to enter but not to leave.

Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province, saw more than 50,000 coronavirus cases.

On Saturday, Hubei reported 54 new cases emerging the previous day, which it said were all imported, the BBC reported.

7:40 a.m.: Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike says the government is considering using the Olympic Village in Tokyo as a place for patients with milder cases of illness caused by the coronavirus to stay.

During the Olympics and Paralympics, about 18,000 people including athletes are expected to stay in the roughly 3,800 units across 21 buildings in the village in the Harumi district of Chuo Ward. The Games have been postponed until 2021.

7:30 a.m.: An employee at an LCBO store has tested positive for COVID-19.

The Liquor Control Board of Ontario says it learned Thursday night an employee at one of its Toronto stores tested positive.

The employee last worked on March 20.

The individual last worked at the store — at Allen and Rimrock roads, north of Sheppard Avenue West. — on March 20. It as been temporarily closed and affected employees have been told to self-isolate.

While Ontario has ordered all non-essential businesses to close, liquor stores are allowed to remain open.

7:25 a.m. Four passengers have died aboard a cruise ship now anchored off the coast of Panama and two people aboard the ship have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, the cruise line said Friday, with hundreds of passengers unsure how long they will remain at sea.

Global Affairs Canada says it is aware of 248 Canadians on the ship — 247 passengers and one crew member. Holland America Line confirmed Canadians are not among the four dead.

Global Affairs says it is actively monitoring the situation and has contacted the Canadians on board to provide information on how they can protect themselves. Global Affairs adds it is talking with Panama’s government and working with Holland America on plans to get the Canadians home.

7:20 a.m.: The United Nations says 86 staff members around the world have reported cases of COVID-19.

U.N. spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said most of the infected staff members are in Europe, but there are also staffers in Africa, Asia, the Middle East and the United States that have the coronavirus.

7:17 a.m.: Actor Tom Hanks and wife Rita Wilson returned to the United States Friday, weeks after testing positive in Australia for COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

The two arrived in Los Angeles by private jet, and couldn’t look any happier, TMZ and The New York Post reported.

7:15 a.m.: The TTC says it’s taking steps to alleviate the crowding on buses that some riders and transit operators worry is increasing their risk of contracting COVID-19.

Despite systemwide TTC ridership falling roughly 70 per cent below normal levels since the pandemic shut down much of civic life earlier this month, in recent days transit users have reported close to full loads on some buses.

7 a.m.: The latest numbers on COVID-19 in Canada from The Canadian Press

There are 4,757 confirmed and presumptive cases in Canada according to The Canadian Press.

Quebec: 2,021 confirmed (including 18 deaths, 1 resolved)

Ontario: 993 confirmed (including 18 deaths, 8 resolved)

British Columbia: 792 confirmed (including 16 deaths, 275 resolved)

Alberta: 542 confirmed (including 2 deaths, 33 resolved)

Saskatchewan: 104 confirmed (including 3 resolved)

Newfoundland and Labrador: 102 confirmed

Nova Scotia: 90 confirmed

New Brunswick: 45 confirmed

Manitoba: 25 confirmed (including 1 death), 14 presumptive

Repatriated Canadians: 13 confirmed

Prince Edward Island: 11 confirmed

Yukon: 4 confirmed

Northwest Territories: 1 confirmed

Nunavut: No confirmed cases

Total: 4,757 (14 presumptive, 4,743 confirmed including 55 deaths, 320 resolved) 

Get the latest in your inbox

Never miss the latest news from the Star, including up-to-date coronavirus coverage, with our free email newsletters

Sign Up Now


5:30 p.m. There were no new cases of COVID-19 in the province, according to the government’s daily 5:30 p.m. update.

The numbers given at the 10:30 a.m. update remain the most up-to-date information.

There is now a provincial total of 993 cases and 18 deaths.

Ontario reported 135 new COVID-19 cases and three new deaths Friday, including two at a nursing home that local officials say is the site of the province’s largest outbreak, according to The Canadian Press.

The provincial total of COVID-19 cases is now 993, including 18 deaths and eight people whose cases have fully resolved.

No information was made available Friday about the 135 new cases, but associate chief medical officer of health Dr. Barbara Yaffe said 60 of the province’s active cases are in hospital. There are 43 people in intensive care and 32 of them are on ventilators, she said.

One-third of the province’s deaths have been long-term care residents.

Two residents of a Bobcaygeon, Ont., nursing home died amid a COVID-19 outbreak there that has also left at least 14 staff members infected, the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit said.

Three residents at Pinecrest Nursing Home tested positive and since then, 35 other residents developed symptoms, although they have not been tested, according to provincial guidelines, as the virus was already confirmed to be in the facility, said the region’s medical officer of health, Dr. Lynn Noseworthy.

Ontario has already barred all but essential visitors to long-term care homes and is not allowing residents to come and go.

“We know that people who are over 70 are 10 per cent more likely to contract COVID-19,” said Health Minister Christine Elliott.

“If you’re over 80, you’re 20 per cent more likely to get it. And we know many people who are in long-term care of course have other health issues.”

Chief medical officer of health Dr. David Williams said the province has started to make progress on a backlog of pending test results. The number dropped for the first time Friday, from nearly 11,000 to just over 10,000.

Ontario hopes to be doing 5,000 tests a day by the end of the weekend.

5:23 p.m. There are 4,768 confirmed and presumptive cases in Canada, according to The Canadian Press. Of these 11 are presumptive, and 4,757 confirmed, including 55 deaths and 320 resolved.

Quebec: 2,021 confirmed (including 18 deaths, one resolved)

Ontario: 993 confirmed (including 18 deaths, eight resolved)

British Columbia: 792 confirmed (including 16 deaths, 275 resolved)

Alberta: 542 confirmed (including two deaths, 33 resolved)

Saskatchewan: 104 confirmed (including 3 resolved)

Newfoundland and Labrador: 102 confirmed

Nova Scotia: 90 confirmed

Manitoba: 39 confirmed (including one death), 11 presumptive

New Brunswick: 45 confirmed

Repatriated Canadians: 13 confirmed

Prince Edward Island: 11 confirmed

Yukon: four confirmed

Northwest Territories: one confirmed

Nunavut reports that it has no confirmed cases.

5:17 p.m. Toronto Police confirmed that a uniformed officer from 14 Division tested positive for COVID-19.

“We are working with public health authorities who are conducting an in-depth investigation related to the individual and their contacts,” spokesperson Meaghan Gray wrote in an email. “All proper notifications were made and immediate steps were taken.”

This is the first case of a uniformed police officer testing positive for the coronavirus. Last week, the agency confirmed that a civilian employee had tested positive.

3:55 p.m. There are 457 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Toronto, up 118 from yesterday, 29 cases are hospitalized, 15 are in ICU. Around a quarter of cases are attributed to community spread. Eighteen people have recovered, according to Dr. Eileen de Villa, medical officer of health for the City of Toronto.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

Source link

Continue Reading