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Coronavirus: What's happening around the world on Thursday – CBC.ca

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The latest:

  • Daily cases of COVID-19 top 50,000 in the U.S. 
  • Palestinian government orders five-day quarantine in the West Bank.
  • India’s coronavirus infections surpassed 600,000.
  • U.K. to lift quarantine rules for those arriving from 75 countries.

Governors of U.S. states hit hardest by the resurgent coronavirus halted or reversed steps to reopen their economies on Wednesday, led by California, the nation’s most populous state and a new epicentre of the pandemic.

New cases of COVID-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus, shot up by nearly 50,000 in the U.S. on Wednesday, marking it the biggest one-day spike since the start of the pandemic.

“The spread of this virus continues at a rate that is particularly concerning,” California Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, said in ordering the closure of bars, bans on indoor dining and other restrictions in 19 counties, affecting more than 70 per cent of the state’s population.

The change in California, which was the first U.S. state to impose sweeping “stay-at-home” restrictions in March, will likely inflict more financial pain on the owners of bars and restaurants who have struggled to survive the pandemic.

New cases of COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus, shot up by nearly 50,000 on Wednesday, marking it the biggest one-day spike since the start of the pandemic in the U.S. (Al Drago/Pool/Getty Images)

The epicentre of the country’s COVID-19 epidemic has moved from the Northeast to California, Arizona and New Mexico in the West, along with Texas, Florida and Georgia.

Texas again topped its previous record on Wednesday with 8,076 new cases, while South Carolina reported 24 more coronavirus deaths, a single-day high for the state. Tennessee and Alaska also had record numbers of new cases on Wednesday.

The U.S. recorded nearly 48,000 new infections on Tuesday, including more than 8,000 each in California and Texas.

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Grisham, a Democrat, on Wednesday extended the state’s emergency public health order through July 15, saying that authorities would “aggressively” enforce mandatory mask rules.

“I want to be as clear as I can possibly be: New Mexico, in this moment, still has the power to change the terrible trajectory of this virus,” Grisham said. “But our time is limited. And we are staring down the barrel of what Texas, Arizona and many other hard-hit states are grappling with.”

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, a Democrat whose city was for months at the centre of the U.S. outbreak, said Wednesday he would postpone a plan to allow indoor restaurant dining beginning Monday.

“We see a lot of problems and we particularly see problems revolving around people going back to bars and restaurants indoors, and indoors is the problem more and more,” de Blasio told reporters.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said he will postpone reopening plans that would have allowed indoor restaurant dining across the city. ( Bryan Thomas/Getty Images)

A Reuters/Ipsos poll found Americans are increasingly worried about the spread of COVID-19, the serious and sometimes fatal illness caused by the coronavirus.

Roughly seven in 10 Republicans said they were personally concerned about the virus’s spread, up from six in 10 in previous polls. About nine in 10 Democrats said they are similarly worried, a level of concern that has not changed.

Conservatives have generally been less willing to wear masks or follow other restrictions imposed by local authorities to stop the spread of the virus as the issue has become increasingly politicized.


What’s happening with COVID-19 in Canada

As of 7 a.m. ET on Thursday, Canada had 104,271 confirmed and presumptive coronavirus cases. Provinces and territories listed 67,746 of the cases as recovered or resolved. A CBC News tally of deaths based on provincial reports, regional health information and CBC’s reporting stood at 8,663. 

A new mobile app meant to help with contact tracing of COVID-19 cases won’t roll out across Ontario Thursday as planned.

A spokesperson for the Ministry of Health says the province is still working with the federal government and the app is expected to launch soon.

The province will be the first to use the COVID Alert app, but Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said it should be ready for downloading in the rest of the country later this summer.

This comes as large parts of Ontario look to moving to Stage 3 of the province’s COVID-19 reopening plan, with the spread of the coronavirus remaining slow in most public health units. 

Meanwhile, Canadians celebrated a Canada Day like no other as they marked the national holiday under unprecedented circumstances.

Canada Day 2020 took place amid both a global pandemic and a growing conversation about systemic racism in society.

The pandemic forced the cancellation of high-profile events and large celebrations like the annual pomp and pageantry on Parliament Hill in favour of backyard barbecues and online offerings to keep crowds from gathering. 


Here’s what’s happening around the world

The Palestinian Authority has announced a five-day quarantine in the West Bank in response to a major increase in coronavirus cases and deaths in recent days.

The Palestinian government says the lockdown will take effect Friday, and people will be required to shelter at home. A two-month total lockdown of the Palestinian territory was lifted in late May.

In the past two weeks, Palestinian health authorities have reported more than 1,700 confirmed coronavirus cases in the West Bank city of Hebron and hundreds more in Bethlehem and Nablus.

The occupied West Bank has a total of 3,045 confirmed cases and 11 deaths from the coronavirus since the beginning of the pandemic.

Undertakers carry coffins at the end of funeral proceedings for COVID-19 victims at a mosque in Cape Town, South Africa. Africa’s confirmed cases have surpassed 400,000 and deaths have crossed 10,000 as health officials warn the pandemic is picking up speed across the continent. (Marco Longari/AFP/Getty Images)

Africa’s confirmed coronavirus cases have surpassed 400,000 and deaths have crossed 10,000 as health officials warn the pandemic is picking up speed on the continent of 1.3 billion people.

The Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says confirmed cases are now above 404,000 on the 54-nation continent, while testing capabilities remain low because of shortages of materials.

South Africa leads the continent with more than 151,000 confirmed cases. An emerging hot spot is in Gauteng province, which includes Johannesburg, with 28 per cent of the country’s cases.

Kazakhstan will implement a second, softer lockdown for two weeks from Sunday to help combat a surge in coronavirus cases, the government said on Thursday.

Authorities will close some non-essential businesses, limit travel between provinces, cut public transit services’ hours of operation and ban public gatherings. The measures may be tightened or extended later, the cabinet said in a statement.

President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev ordered new curbs after coronavirus cases in the Central Asian country rose more than sevenfold following the lifting of its first, more restrictive lockdown in mid-May.

South Korea says it has confirmed 54 more COVID-19 cases as the coronavirus continues to spread beyond the capital region and reach cities like Gwangju, which has shut schools and tightened social restrictions after dozens fell sick this week.

The figures reported Thursday brought the national case total to 12,904, including 282 deaths.

Health Minster Park Neung-hoo is expressing alarm over the rise of infections in Gwangju, which had one of the smallest caseloads among major South Korean cities before this week.

China is reporting three newly confirmed cases of coronavirus, and says just one of them involved local transmission in the capital of Beijing.

The report Thursday appears to put the country where the virus was first detected late last year on course to eradicating it domestically, at least temporarily.

The National Health Commission says the other two cases were brought from outside China. No new deaths were reported, leaving the toll at 4,634 among 83,537 total cases of COVID-19.

A Chinese epidemic control worker wears a protective suit as she performs a nucleic acid swab test for COVID-19 on a woman at a government testing site in Beijing. (Kevin Frayer/Getty Images)

China is moving swiftly to reopen its economy, but mass unemployment looms as the heavily indebted government is reluctant to spend lavishly on stimulus programs.

With new coronavirus cases in Tokyo surging to a two-month high, Japan faces the prospect of a second wave without the experts who tackled the first phase of the epidemic.

Instead, a new panel comprising a Nobel-prize winning geneticist, an artificial intelligence expert and a cardiologist will advise the government, as Japan seeks to revitalize its recession-hit economy.

The reshuffle has raised concerns among some health experts over Japan’s risk management capability as the pandemic could re-intensify.

A health-care worker checks the temperature of a child in Mumbai. India’s coronavirus infections surpassed 600,000 on Thursday. (Francis Mascarenhas/Reuters)

India’s coronavirus infections surpassed 600,000 on Thursday, with 17,834 deaths, as authorities battled to contain the pandemic while easing lockdown rules, officials and the health ministry said.

Fresh challenges to protect people from the virus emerged for disaster management officials in the northeast state of Assam amid torrential rainfall, where floods and landslides killed 57 people this week and more than 1.5 million were forced to flee their homes.

Assam’s health minister, Himanta Biswa Sarma, said the state had started testing aggressively to identify coronavirus cases among villagers forced to take shelter in community halls, schools and government buildings.

The United Kingdom’s government will effectively ditch its air bridge plans and simply end the coronavirus quarantine rules for those arriving from 75 countries so that people can go on holiday, The Daily Telegraph reported.

The newspaper said the U.K. would shortly lift a ban on non-essential travel to nearly all EU destinations, including Bermuda and Gibraltar, and Turkey, Thailand, Australia and New Zealand.

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government has been grappling with how to open up international travel after it imposed a two-week quarantine for arrivals, which has added to the woes of the shuttered tourism and travel industry.

A passenger wearing a face mask arrives at Heathrow airport, London. The U.K. government will effectively ditch its air bridge plans and simply end the coronavirus quarantine rules for those arriving from 75 countries. (Tolga Akmen/AFP/Getty Images)

Indonesia is working to produce its own COVID-19 vaccine next year, amid growing anxiety that developing countries could have difficulty getting access to a future jab, the head of Indonesia’s national COVID-19 research team said Thursday.

“The production capability and capacity of biotech companies in the world is, we know, limited, and global supply chains also have challenges,” Ali Ghufron Mukti, head of the innovation team at Indonesia’s research and technology ministry, said.

“Therefore, it is necessary for Indonesia to develop its own COVID-19 vaccine. And it will be by Indonesia, from Indonesia, to Indonesia,” he said.

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COVID-19 conspiracies creating a 'public health crisis' in Canada, experts say – CBC.ca

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A lively crowd gathered outside François Legault’s office in downtown Montreal in mid-July to send a message to the Quebec premier: His government cannot force them to wear masks in indoor public spaces to fight the spread of COVID 19.

“Long live freedom without a mask,” read one sign at the rally, which drew several dozen people. “My body, my choice” read another, alongside a drawing of a medical mask with a line across it.

The anti-mask movement is not unique to Quebec, nor are masks the only source of conflict in the country when it comes to public health directives around the novel coronavirus. But the issue is one of several at the heart of a growing online movement of disinformation around the COVID-19 pandemic in Canada.

Researchers say conspiracy theories about COVID-19 are spreading at an alarming rate across the country — and they warn misinformation shared online may lead to devastating consequences and push Canadians to shun important safety measures.

“I think that people should be enormously concerned,” said Aengus Bridgman, a PhD candidate in political science at McGill University and co-author of a study published last month on COVID-19 misinformation and its impact on public health.

Social media can drive misinformation about COVID-19: study

The study found the more a person relies on social media to learn about COVID-19, the more likely they are to be exposed to misinformation and to believe it, and to disregard physical distancing and other public health guidelines.

About 16 per cent of Canadians use social media as their primary source of information on the virus, Bridgman said in a recent interview.

His research team surveyed nearly 2,500 people and examined 620,000 English-language Twitter accounts, but Bridgman said COVID-19 misinformation also spreads on other social media platforms, including Facebook, YouTube, Reddit, Instagram and Tumblr.

For example, a Facebook group called “Against mandatory mask-wearing in Quebec” has over 22,000 members to date, while another group with a similar mission has nearly 21,000 members.

People are dying because of these conspiracy theories and we’ve got to stop them.– Alison Meek, history professor at Western University.

The posts on these pages vary, from questioning the science behind wearing masks and lambasting Horacio Arruda, Quebec’s public health director, for the mandatory mask rule, to accusing the World Health Organization of bias and Microsoft founder and philanthropist Bill Gates of creating the virus.

Another study published in May at Carleton University indicated 46 per cent of Canadians believed at least one of four unfounded COVID-19 theories: the virus was engineered in a Chinese lab; the virus is being spread to cover up the effects of 5G wireless technology; drugs such as hydroxychloroquine can cure COVID-19 patients; or rinsing your nose with a saline solution can protect you from infection.

Bridgman said the speed at which these conspiracy theories circulate online makes it difficult to verify where they originate.

And while some right-wing groups in Canada are pushing these falsehoods, Bridgman said people across the political spectrum are vulnerable to them.

“This is a Canadian challenge,” he explained. “People across levels of education, across age groupings, across political ideas, all are susceptible to misinformation online. This is not a phenomenon that is unique to a particular community.”

COVID-19 protestors echo anti-vax movement

Protests have taken place across Canada since the provinces put COVID-19 lockdown measures in place earlier this year, from Vancouver, to Toronto and Quebec City, where hundreds rallied at the provincial legislature July 26 against mandatory mask-wearing.

Alexandre Barriere was among dozens of protesters denouncing the mask rule on July 19 outside Legault’s Montreal office.

He compared mask-wearing to a dog muzzle and said he didn’t believe the COVID-19 pandemic exists.

“We live to be free. We’re not in the world to be controlled like animals,” the 29-year-old said in an interview.

Another protester, 65-year-old Antonio Pietroniro, said the pandemic was “bogus” and warned that, after making masks mandatory, the government would force people to get vaccinated against the virus.

“They’re going to say you have to take the vaccine even though it hasn’t been proven to be safe,” he said, echoing the anti-vaccination movement that has gained prominence in Canada, the U.S. and other countries in recent years.

As people have emerged from COVID-19 isolation in their homes, several cities have implemented mandatory mask policies for indoor spaces, including stores, where physical distancing is difficult. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

Alison Meek, a history professor at Western University, said there are similarities between COVID-19 conspiracy theories and the anti-vaccination movement.

Misinformation intentionally spread about COVID-19, she added, is also comparable to the conspiracy theories that circulated in the ’80s and ’90s during the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

“When you’re scared, when you’re frustrated, you want someone easy to blame … We want to point to somebody and say, ‘Aha! You’re the one — there’s a bad guy here that did it,’ as opposed to, ‘this is just how these pandemics actually work,’ ” Meek said in an interview.

Governments have had to adapt their public health directives to keep up with rapidly evolving science about the virus.

Public uncertainty around the scientific process, combined with mounting frustrations with lockdown measures and a struggling economy has created a perfect storm in which conspiracy theories can flourish, Meek said.

“All of those things are coming together right now to make these conspiracy theories a real public health crisis that’s getting more and more difficult to deal with.”

She said conspiracy theories need to be countered with facts and evidence, adding that people should be encouraged to think critically about where they are getting their information.

Both she and Bridgman lauded social media companies such as Twitter and Facebook for removing videos and other posts that spread misinformation about COVID-19 — but both academics also said more needs to be done.

“People are dying because of these conspiracy theories and we’ve got to stop them,” Meek said. “We’ve got to somehow figure out how to challenge them.”

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Today's coronavirus news: COVID-19 tracing app faces criticism; Conspiracy theories spreading at alarming rate – Toronto Star

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KEY FACTS

  • 7:15 a.m.: The federal government’s COVID-19 contact tracing app is facing criticism for its download requirements

  • 7:01 a.m.: Researchers say conspiracy theories about COVID-19 are spreading at an alarming rate across Canada

  • 5:33 a.m.: “Girls” mastermind Lena Dunham shares her “Covid Story”

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

11:25 a.m.: A Norwegian cruise ship line halted all trips and apologized Monday for procedural errors after a coronavirus outbreak on one ship infected at least 5 passengers and 36 crew members. Health authorities fear the ship also could have spread the virus to dozens of towns and villages along Norway’s western coast.

The confirmed virus cases from the MS Roald Amundsen raise new questions about safety on all cruise ships during a pandemic even as the devastated cruise ship industry is pressing to resume sailings after chaotically shutting down in March.

The Hurtigruten cruise line was one of the first companies to resume sailing during the pandemic, starting cruises to Norway out of northern Germany in June with a single ship, then adding cruises in July to the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard.

The 41 people on the MS Roald Amundsen who tested positive have been admitted to the University Hospital of North Norway in Tromsoe, north of the Arctic Circle, where the ship currently is docked. The cruise line said it suspended the ship and two others — MS Fridtjof Nansen and MS Spitsbergen — from operating for an indefinite period.

11:15 a.m.: The U.S. reported more than 47,000 new coronavirus cases, the smallest daily increase in almost four weeks, despite signs of an uptick in new infections in some northeast and midwest states.

Total coronavirus cases world-wide surpassed 18 million Monday, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University, with the U.S. accounting for more than a quarter of the tally. The U.S. death toll was approaching 155,000.

California reported 9,032 new cases for Saturday, higher than the previous day but down from its peak of more than 12,000 cases on July 21, according to the California Department of Health. The state has the highest number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the country, according to Johns Hopkins.

Florida, another hard-hit state, reported 7,084 new cases among residents, with more than 481,000 cases counted there since the start of the pandemic, according to the Florida Department of Health. The state closed some state-supported testing centers through Tuesday because of the now Tropical Storm Isaias.

10:39 a.m.: Danish organizers say the Tour de France start due to take place in Copenhagen next year has been moved to 2022 to avoid being held in the same month as the rescheduled Tokyo Olympics and the European Championship soccer tournament.

Copenhagen Mayor Frank Jensen says the move means the three-stage Tour start in his city will now be planned for July 1-3, 2022, adding that he hopes the coronavirus pandemic will have passed by then.

The 2021 Tour was scheduled set to start on July 2.

The Tour’s French organizers have yet to announce a replacement city for Copenhagen, although there have been reports that the three-week event could start from the French region of Brittany in 2021.

This year’s Tour, which was supposed to start in June, will now be held Aug. 29-Sept. 20 — starting in Nice.

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7:15 a.m.: The federal government’s COVID-19 contact tracing app is facing criticism for its download requirements, which restrict some Canadians from accessing and using the app.

The app requires users to have Apple or Android phones made in the last five years, and a relatively new operating system.

Christopher Parsons, a senior research associate at Citizen Lab, part of the Munk School of Global Affairs and Policy, says that makes the app inaccessible for older Canadians and other marginalized groups.

“The worst affected by (the pandemic) are Black, Indigenous, people of colour, people who often have a lower socio-economic bracket. Who’s not going to be able to install the application? That same group … that’s a problem,” he said.

Parsons says criticism should be directed at the federal government, not those who designed the app.

7:01 a.m.: Researchers say conspiracy theories about COVID-19 are spreading at an alarming rate across the country — and they warn misinformation shared online may lead to devastating consequences and push Canadians to shun important safety measures.

“I think that people should be enormously concerned,” said Aengus Bridgman, a PhD candidate in political science at McGill University and co-author of a study published last month on COVID-19 misinformation and its impact on public health.

The study found the more a person relies on social media to learn about COVID-19, the more likely they are to be exposed to misinformation and to believe it, and to disregard physical distancing and other public health guidelines. About 16 per cent of Canadians use social media as their primary source of information on the virus, Bridgman said in a recent interview.

5:33 a.m.: “Girls” mastermind Lena Dunham has shared her “Covid Story” in a lengthy Instagram post detailing her experience battling the virus as someone who suffers from chronic illness.

On Friday, the writer, actress and producer revealed she tested positive for COVID-19 in March after being “reluctant” to add her voice “to a noisy landscape on such a challenging topic.” Her early symptoms included achy joints, a high fever and “crushing fatigue.”

“Seeing the carelessness with which so many in the United States are treating social distancing … I feel compelled to be honest about the impact this illness has had on me, in the hopes that personal stories allow us to see the humanity in what can feel like abstract situations,” she wrote. “Suddenly my body simply… revolted. The nerves in my feet burned and muscles wouldn’t seem to do their job. My hands were numb. I couldn’t tolerate loud noises.

“I couldn’t sleep but I couldn’t wake up. I lost my sense of taste and smell. A hacking cough, like a metronome keeping time. Inability to breathe after simple tasks like getting a glass of water. Random red rashes. A pounding headache right between my eyes. It felt like I was a complex machine that had been unplugged and then had my wires rerouted into the wrong inputs. This went on for 21 days … that blended together like a rave gone wrong.”

Click here to read more coverage from Sunday

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No new cases of COVID-19 today – HalifaxToday.ca

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NEWS RELEASE
COVID-19/HEALTH/WELLNESS
*************************

As of today, August 3, Nova Scotia has two active cases of COVID-19. No new cases were identified on Sunday, August 2.

The QEII Health Sciences Centre’s microbiology lab completed 215 Nova Scotia tests on August 2 and is operating 24-hours.

To date, Nova Scotia has 64,412 negative test results, 1,071 positive COVID-19 cases and 64 deaths. There are currently no people in hospital as a result of COVID-19. Cases range in age from under 10 to over 90.

1005 cases are now resolved. Cases have been identified in all parts of the province. Cumulative cases by zone may change as data is updated in Panorama. 

If you have any one of the following symptoms, visit https://811.novascotia.ca to determine if you should call 811 for further assessment: 
— fever (i.e. chills, sweats)
— cough or worsening of a previous cough
— sore throat
— headache
— shortness of breath
— muscle aches
— sneezing
— nasal congestion/runny nose
— hoarse voice
— diarrhea
— unusual fatigue
— loss of sense of smell or taste
— red, purple or blueish lesions on the feet, toes or fingers without clear cause

When a new case of COVID-19 is confirmed, public health works to identify and test people who may have come in close contact with that person. Those individuals who have been confirmed are being directed to self-isolate at home, away from the public, for 14 days.

Anyone who has travelled outside of Atlantic Canada must self-isolate for 14 days. As always, any Nova Scotian who develops symptoms of acute respiratory illness should limit their contact with others until they feel better. 

It remains important for Nova Scotians to strictly adhere to the public health order and directives – practise good hand washing and other hygiene steps, maintain a physical distance when and where required. Wearing a non-medical mask is mandatory in most indoor public places. 

As of July 3, interprovincial travel within Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador, without the requirement to self-isolate for permanent Atlantic Canadian residents, is permitted. All public health directives of each province must be followed. Under Nova Scotia’s Health Protection Act order, visitors from other Canadian provinces and territories must self-isolate for 14 days. Other visitors from outside the Atlantic provinces who have self-isolated for 14 days in another Atlantic province may travel to Nova Scotia without self-isolating again.

Nova Scotians can find accurate, up-to-date information, handwashing posters and fact sheets at https://novascotia.ca/coronavirus .

Businesses and other organizations can find information to help them safely reopen at https://novascotia.ca/reopening-nova-scotia .

Quick Facts:
— testing numbers are updated daily at https://novascotia.ca/coronavirus 
— a state of emergency was declared under the Emergency Management Act on March 22 and extended to Aug. 9.

Additional Resources:
Government of Canada: https://canada.ca/coronavirus

Government of Canada information line 1-833-784-4397 (toll-free)

The Mental Health Provincial Crisis Line is available 24/7 to anyone experiencing a mental health or addictions crisis, or someone concerned about them, by calling 1-888-429-8167 (toll-free)

Kids Help Phone is available 24/7 by calling 1-800-668-6868 (toll-free)

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