A day after outlining a plan to allow children to return to daycares and primary schools in May, Quebec Premier François Legault laid out his plans Tuesday to begin reopening some businesses in the province.
Over the course of the month of May, three sectors will be allowed some degree of reopening. They are:
- Retail stores not in shopping malls.
- Retail stores that are in malls but have a direct door to the outside.
- Construction and civil engineering.
Stores outside of the Montreal region will be permitted to reopen May 4, while those in the Montreal area will reopen May 11.
Construction projects, including road work, will fully resume May 11, with about 85,000 workers expected to be back to work.
Manufacturing companies will be allowed to reopen May 4 with some restrictions: those that have 50 or fewer workers will be allowed to reopen with full staff; those with more than 50 employees will only be allowed to have 50 workers plus 50 per cent of the total number of employees above that for any shift throughout the day.
Legault said the idea is to reopen gradually and follow up to ensure there is no negative impact on infection rates or on hospitals.
And he said people will have to continue to follow physical distancing measures.
“Continue to act as if everybody you meet has the virus.”
WATCH | Legault says the plan is to restart the economy without restarting the pandemic:
Legault on Monday announced a plan that would allow children in daycare and primary school in most parts of Quebec to head back to class on May 11 — though attendance won’t be mandatory. Daycares and primary schools in the Montreal area would open on May 19.
High schools, CEGEPs and universities will reopen in the fall, Legault said, noting that officials felt primary-aged schoolchildren would benefit the most from additional weeks of class time.
“We will analyze the situation every day and adjust if necessary,” he said. “The watchword here is prudence.”
The province’s top doctor was quick to note that the easing of some restrictions did not mean that people should stop following public health measures and move around widely.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Tuesday said that the federal government would soon be releasing shared guidelines on how to handle reopening.
“We need common guidelines to make sure that the decisions being taken across the country are grounded in a shared understanding and appreciation of what science and experts are telling us.”
The shared principles, which Trudeau said have been agreed to by the federal, provincial and territorial governments, won’t provide specific dates or measures. Instead, they will serve as a framework around what needs to happen before the economy is gradually restarted.
Federal health officials update projections
Trudeau spoke ahead of a Tuesday afternoon briefing from federal health officials, who delivered revised modelling and forecasts for COVID-19 in Canada.
Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer, said that ongoing public health measures, including physical distancing, are critical to staying at the lower end of projections.
“We are making clear progress to slow the spread and bring the epidemic under control thanks to the commitment of Canadians who are following public health advice to protect themselves and others,” she said.
The new modelling shows that while the number of new cases was doubling every three days previously, it is now doubling every 16 days.
Short-term projections predict between 53,191 and 66,835 cases by May 5, and between 3,277 and 3,883 deaths by that date.
Tam said the way the epidemic is unfolding varies across the country, “so when and how control measures are readjusted and are relaxed will need to be decided based on the local epidemiological situation.”
WATCH | Dr. Tam explains what goes into decisions about reopening schools and businesses:
She said the new projections reflect the “heavy toll” COVID-19 is taking on vulnerable populations, including the elderly in long-term care homes and the homeless, and that relaxing controls too quickly will “squander” the efforts to date and put the population at risk of another wave of infection.
“We are actually going to be living with COVID-19 for the near future — and monitoring very carefully, so if there’s any upswing … any cases and contacts have to be identified and managed so you don’t get that upswing again.”
The problem areas continue to be long term care centres which make up 79% of deaths countrywide. Congregate living situations are also problematic. <a href=”https://t.co/1EHv0ARbw0″>pic.twitter.com/1EHv0ARbw0</a>
When asked whether he would send his own kids back to school if he were in Quebec, Trudeau said he would evaluate the situation at the time when schools actually open their doors.
“We know every single week we see changes in how we’re doing, on where there are outbreaks, on equipment and supports available,” he said, noting that he’d want to know what the school itself was planning to do to maintain physical distancing and create safe working conditions.
WATCH | Trudeau talks about Quebec’s plan to reopen some schools:
Neighbouring New Brunswick, which has had far fewer cases than Quebec, has already loosened some restrictions, including opening some outdoor spaces and allowing people to form “bubbles” of two families.
Prince Edward Island released its plan Tuesday to ease restrictions. Priority non-urgent health-care services are to begin May 1, including elective surgeries, physiotherapy, optometry and chiropractic treatment. Outdoor gatherings of limited size and activities such as fishing and golf will also be allowed.
Saskatchewan has also previously released a five-phase reopening plan, with expected dates attached to the first two phases.
Ontario plan focuses on how not when
Ontario, which unveiled its plan on Monday, didn’t attach any dates to its framework.
Premier Doug Ford said the framework is about how the province will reopen — not when.
“We’re all missing birthdays, religious celebrations and once-in-a-lifetime milestones. These are all too real, a painful loss of memories, and moments taken away by this deadly virus,” Ford said. “But that is why we must continue.”
A slow, methodical and gradual reopening will help the province avoid another period of shutdown, Ford said.
WATCH | Ontario reveals reopening plan, no timeline:
Ford said he wants to see the economy “get going” but can’t risk an escalation in cases if the province opens prematurely.
As of 8 p.m. ET on Tuesday, Canada had 50,026 confirmed and presumptive cases of the novel coronavirus. Provinces and territories listed 19,244 cases as recovered or resolved. A CBC tally of COVID-19-related deaths, which is based on provincial health data, local public health information and CBC reporting, listed 2,958 deaths in Canada and two abroad.
A case tracking site maintained by U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University reported more than three million cases around the world, with over 212,000 reported coronavirus-related deaths.
There is no proven treatment or vaccine for the novel virus, which first emerged in China in late 2019. While most cases are moderate or mild, some people — especially the elderly and people with underlying health issues — are at greater risk of severe disease or death. Public health officials in Canada and around the world have cautioned that reported numbers don’t show the full picture, as they don’t reflect people that haven’t been tested or cases that are still under investigation.
Read on for a look at what’s happening in Canada, the U.S. and around the world.
What’s happening in the provinces and territories
In British Columbia, a COVID-19 outbreak in a poultry processing plant in Coquitlam is responsible for the majority of new cases reported by the province. Health Minister Adrian Dix says 39 of the 55 positive tests reported Tuesday are connected to the spread of the virus at Superior Poultry Processors Ltd. Read more about what’s happening in B.C., including a story about how Haida Gwaii communities are ramping up enforcement of a ban on visitors.
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney says a plan to reopen the province’s economy is coming later this week. The province released new modelling data on Tuesday, estimating that 298 Albertans will be in hospital and 95 of them will be in ICU when the virus peaks, down from an earlier estimate that more than 800 would be hospitalized. Read more about what’s happening in Alberta.
Saskatchewan released new modelling numbers Tuesday that show lower projections in the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths for the province. As a result, the Saskatchewan Health Authority will reduce the number of hospital beds, intensive care beds and ventilators it plans to make available. Read more about what’s happening in Saskatchewan.
Manitoba says it will now test anyone with COVID-19 symptoms to see if they have the virus that causes the disease. Premier Brian Pallister says even people with mild symptoms, such as a runny nose or cough, can be tested. “What we’re looking to do by broadening the intake here, at least in its early days, is focused on giving … Manitobans that confidence that they need to have that they’re not carrying the disease — that when they move around, when they shop, they’re able to do so safely,” he said at a Tuesday morning news conference. Read more about what’s happening in Manitoba.
Ontario reported 525 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday, and 59 more deaths, ending three consecutive days of declining numbers of new cases. Hospitalizations went up, but the numbers of people in intensive care and on ventilators declined slightly. Read more about Ontario’s plan to reopen released earlier in the week.
In Quebec, Legault says while the number of deaths have risen in long-term care homes, other deaths remain largely stable in the province. He says that’s why the government is moving ahead with a plan to restart the economy and reopen primary schools and daycares. Read more about what’s happening in Quebec, including a story on the province’s push to do more testing.
WATCH | Parents wonder how to keep kids healthy when school resumes:
New Brunswick’s chief medical officer says it’s possible masks become mandatory in some situations as the province moves forward with its reopening plan. “It’s very important that you get used to wearing masks,” Dr. Jennifer Russell said. Read more about what’s happening in N.B.
Nova Scotia is “on the downward slope” of the COVID-19 epidemiologic curve, the province’s top doctor said. Dr. Robert Strang told CBC’s Information Morning on Tuesday, but health officials are still concerned about community clusters. Schools will stay closed until at least the May long weekend. Read more about what’s happening in N.S.
Newfoundland and Labrador reported no new coronavirus cases again on Tuesday. The province is still working on a reopening plan. “It’s really important that we do it right, and when we are ready we will make that announcement, and it will be soon,” Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Janice Fitzgerald told reporters. Read more about what’s happening in N.L..
WATCH | Why Canada’s top doctor changed her stance on masks:
In Nunavut, the government is banning gatherings of more than five people who don’t live together, while the Northwest Territories is tightening its border. Read more about what’s happening across the North.
What’s happening in the U.S.
From The Associated Press and Reuters, updated as of 2:45 p.m. ET
U.S. President Donald Trump defended his administration’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic Tuesday as he met with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and promised to help states safely begin reopening their economies.
Trump, seated next to DeSantis in the Oval Office, insisted that the United States was doing enough testing to protect Americans reentering the workforce and said he would sign an executive order to address “liability problems” in the nation’s food supply chain. He said the administration was talking to airlines about requiring temperature and virus checks for some travellers as they board flights.
Trump has claimed for weeks now that airlines have been screening passengers, even though they’re not.
And he said the idea of having passengers wear masks sounded “like a good idea.”
The administration had been sharply criticized for not overseeing widespread testing, but Trump said no amount would ever be good enough for critics in the media.
Florida, with a high population of older Americans vulnerable to the disease, has long been a source of concern, and DeSantis was slower to impose social distancing guidelines than other governors were. But DeSantis, a fellow Republican and close Trump ally, promoted his state’s ability to test its citizens.
According to the Johns Hopkins database, the U.S. surpassed one million cases Tuesday, with more than 57,000 deaths.
What’s happening around the world
From The Associated Press and Reuters, updated at 4 p.m. ET
Italy’s Premier Giuseppe Conte says the risk of a second wave of COVID-19 “is concrete,” as the country moves into a new phase of living “alongside” the coronavirus with the loosening of some lockdown measures starting next Monday. Conte has been visiting some of the hardest-hit communities in the northern region of Lombardy in a sign of institutional support for the sacrifices of medical personnel and solidarity with citizens in their eighth week of total lockdown. The virus continues to spread in Italy, in particular in the north.
Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez says he hopes his country can scrap restrictions on movement by the end of June but warned the path to loosening limits will lead to a “new normal,” with safeguards such as wearing masks and strict hygiene rules staying in place until a vaccine is found. Spain recorded 301 new deaths, official data released on Tuesday show, bringing the total deaths from COVID-19 to 23,822. The country has 210,773 infections of COVID-19 that have been confirmed by the most reliable lab tests.
Turkey’s health minister announced 92 new deaths from the coronavirus in the past 24 hours, raising the total death toll in the country to 2,992. Fahrettin Koca also reported 2,392 new confirmed infections, bringing the total to 114,653. At least 38,809 COVID-19 patients have recovered, according to data the minister posted on Twitter, including 5,018 who recovered in the past 24 hours. Turkish officials say that the number of daily infections is stabilizing and that the country could transition to normal life after a religious holiday at the end of May.
Britain is ramping up its coronavirus testing efforts. Health Secretary Matt Hancock says anyone over 65 and their households, and all workers who must leave their homes to work, are now added to the list of those eligible for tests as long as they show symptoms. All hospital patients and staff, as well as nursing home residents and workers, also qualify even if they have no symptoms. Britain is on track to record one of the worst coronavirus death tolls in Europe, after data published on Tuesday showed that fatalities topped 24,000 nine days ago.
In France, lawmakers on Tuesday adopted a government-proposed plan to ease the country’s lockdown, which has been in place since mid-March to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus. The plan entails the progressive reopening of schools, public transport and other businesses previously deemed non-essential by the government from May 11. However, restaurants, cafes, cinemas and concert halls will remain closed. Public gatherings will be limited to 10 people at a time.
Russia President Vladimir Putin has extended the nation’s partial economic shutdown through May 11, saying the coronavirus outbreak is yet to reach a peak. Lockdowns imposed by Russian regions have kept most people, except those working in vital industries, at home. Russia has recorded 93,558 coronavirus cases and 867 deaths. Putin has instructed the government to prepare a plan for gradually lifting the lockdown after May 11.
In New Zealand, surfers greeted a spectacular sunrise in Christchurch, construction workers purchased their favourite espresso coffees, and some lawmakers returned to Parliament in Wellington on Tuesday, as some aspects of life began returning to normal. The country had been in a strict lockdown for over a month to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, but those conditions were eased a little on Tuesday to allow some parts of the economy to restart as new infections wane. New Zealand recorded three new cases of the coronavirus on Tuesday, bringing its confirmed total to 1,472, including 19 deaths.
Hong Kong reported no new coronavirus cases for a third straight day Tuesday and announced a resumption of public services next week and a relaxation of quarantine restrictions on travellers from mainland China. The eased quarantine will apply to students crossing the border daily to attend school in Hong Kong, and travellers deemed economically important to the city. However, an entry ban on non-residents flying into the city has been extended to June 7.
South Africa — the world’s largest producer of platinum, manganese and chrome ore — is letting its mines run at half-capacity after a national lockdown. The country’s miners are restricting bus loads to mine sites to 20 workers at a time, even though the cages used to transport workers underground hold up to 1,000.
South Africa has more than 4,700 cases and 90 deaths, according to a Johns Hopkins tally.
In Peru, prisoners staged a riot to protest their precarious living conditions following the deaths of several fellow inmates from the new coronavirus, but the revolt in itself proved fatal. Nine prisoners were killed. The inmates were shot to death during a clash with authorities at the Miguel Castro Castro prison in Lima a day earlier. Who fired the deadly shots was under investigation. Peru’s overcrowded jails have been hard hit by the coronavirus: At least 13 prisoners have died and more than 500 have been infected. More than 100 workers have also fallen ill.
Coronavirus cases in Canada continue steady decline, death toll increases by 139 – Global News
New novel coronavirus cases in Canada have been dropping for the past several days, with Ontario and Quebec continuing to account for the vast majority of new cases and deaths.
Canada saw 637 new lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 reported on Thursday, slightly lower than 705 a day earlier and 994 a week earlier, bringing the country’s caseload to more than 93,500 cases.
The national death toll rose by 139 deaths, for a total of more than 7,600.
New modelling data revealed Thursday that Canada could see up to 9,400 deaths by mid-June.
Quebec remains the hardest hit province, with 55 per cent of the country’s cases and more than 60 per cent of Canada’s fatalities. The province reported 259 new cases and 91 deaths on Thursday — a drop from last week’s numbers, which hovered in the 500 range.
More than 52,000 cases have been reported overall, with over 17,000 recoveries. Nearly 4,900 people have died.
Ontario reported 356 new cases and 45 new deaths, bringing its figures to nearly 29,500 cases and more than 2,300 deaths.
British Columbia saw no new deaths on Thursday and five new cases, as well as four “epidemiologically-linked” cases — people who are symptomatic or have had close contact with a COVID-19 case, but haven’t been tested.
Global News has only included the five lab-confirmed cases in its official tally.
Coronavirus: Team sports to gradually resume in Quebec
B.C. has seen more than 2,600 cases and 166 deaths, along with more than 2,200 recoveries. The number of people in hospital in the province has hit an 11-week low.
Alberta reported 15 new cases and one new death Thursday. More than 7,000 people have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and 146 people have died. More than 6,600 people are considered recovered so far.
Saskatchewan reported just one new case and saw its active COVID-19 cases drop below five per cent. The province has seen nearly 650 cases so far, including more than 600 recoveries and 11 deaths.
New Brunswick reported one new case as well as its first COVID-19-related death on Thursday.
Coronavirus: Toronto starts preparations for the return of patios
The province’s first death related to the coronavirus is linked to the ongoing outbreak in the Campbellton region — a cluster that has been traced back to a doctor who contracted the virus in Quebec and did not self-isolate upon his return.
The man who died was an 84-year-old resident of a long-term care home in Atholville, N.B.
Nova Scotia reported one new death, bringing its tally to 1,058 cases and 61 deaths, as its active case total continued to go down. The majority of its death toll is linked to one long-term care home in Halifax.
No new cases
Three provinces didn’t report any new cases or deaths on Thursday, while two territories that have seen all their COVID-19 cases resolved have not seen any new ones. Nunavut is the only region in Canada that has not reported a positive case.
Manitoba says it has seven active cases, out of a total of 287 lab-confirmed cases. That number includes seven deaths so far. The province says it has no COVID-19 hospitalizations at the moment.
Newfoundland and Labrador is left with two active cases out of 261 total cases, including three deaths.
Globally, the virus has caused more than 1.8 million cases and close to 389,000 deaths, according to data tracked by Johns Hopkins University.
© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
State Department says U.S. will reassess intelligence-sharing with Canada if it lets Huawei into 5G – CBC.ca
The United States is prepared to reassess its intelligence-sharing arrangement with Canada if Huawei is given the green light to take part in building Canada’s 5G networks, a State Department spokesperson said today.
The federal government still has not announced its decision on whether the Chinese telecom giant will be allowed to participate in building Canada’s next-generation wireless networks, despite more than a year and a half of assessing the question.
“We in the U.S. government have made it very clear to all of our friends and allies around the world that if Huawei is allowed into a country’s national security systems, we will have to protect our intelligence-sharing relationship,” Morgan Ortagus, spokesperson for the U.S. State Department, told CBC News today.
“We’ll have to make an assessment if we can continue sharing intelligence with countries who have Huawei inside their most sensitive technology, in their most sensitive national security areas.
“We think that the Canadian government will make their own sovereign decisions and what’s best for Canada’s national security.”
Watch: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Huawei and 5G
The prime minister didn’t say today when Canadians can expect a decision on Huawei and 5G, or whether he’s willing to risk injuring the relationship with Canada’s closest ally by allowing the Chinese telecom giant to participate in the networks.
“Every step of the way, we have listened to our security agencies, our intelligence agencies, worked with our allies,” Trudeau said in response to a reporter’s question today. “We will make the right decision for Canadians to both keep Canadians and businesses safe while at the same time ensuring competitiveness in our telecom industry.”
Some private companies aren’t waiting for Ottawa to make a decision. Bell and Telus announced yesterday that they would not be working with Huawei as they pursue their 5G plans. Instead, both are opting to use equipment from European companies Ericsson and Nokia.
Washington has long argued that Huawei poses a national security threat because the Chinese government has the power to compel private companies like Huawei to hand over sensitive information. Huawei’s critics say they fear the company would conduct espionage on behalf of Beijing.
U.S. tries to clip Huawei’s wings
Contacted by CBC News, Huawei’s VP for corporate affairs in Canada said State’s “threats” are consistent with “the Trump administration’s preference for bullying and coercing rivals and allies alike. “
“Huawei has operated in Canada for more than a decade without a single security incident related to our equipment. Not one,” said Alykhan Velshi. “We look forward to the Government of Canada making an evidence-based decision on Huawei’s role in Canada’s 5G rollout.
“This decision should be made by, in, and for Canada, not Donald Trump’s Washington.”
In recent weeks, while much of the world has been focused on the pandemic’s rising death toll, Washington has announced new measures aimed at curbing Huawei’s global influence.
On May 15, the U.S. Department of Commerce changed its export control rules to restrict “… Huawei’s ability to use U.S. technology and software to design and manufacture its semiconductors abroad.”
The move is meant to make it harder for Huawei to obtain the supplies it needs, to significantly raise its operating costs and to force the company to rely on goods that may be less reliable and more vulnerable.
As a middle power, Canada often has found itself taking collateral diplomatic damage from tensions between U.S. and China, as both superpowers fight to become the global leader in technology.
That damage started ramping up in December of 2018, when Canada arrested Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou on a U.S. extradition request.
Beijing immediately demanded her release and executed swift retaliatory actions. Two Canadians — Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor — were arbitrarily detained in China; they’ve been held for more than 500 days. Beijing took trade action as well, halting large purchases of Canadian canola and, for a time, Canadian pork.
Ortagus condemned China’s imprisonment of the two Canadians. She said U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has brought this issue up regularly during high-profile meetings with his Chinese counterparts.
“The United States, we’re taking a lot of actions, doing everything we can behind the scenes with the Canadian government,” she said.
Asked if the United States might deploy sanctions to pressure China to release the two men, Ortagus said “we’re not going to preview any public actions that we may take.”
Ontario, Quebec account for more than 90% of national COVID-19 cases: federal data – CBC.ca
While new federal figures show the emergence of new cases of COVID-19 is slowing in some parts of Canada, the pandemic continues — and some regions and age groups are being hit particularly hard.
During a briefing in Ottawa this morning, Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam and her colleague Dr. Howard Njoo walked Canadians through their updated modelling on the number of COVID-19-related illnesses and deaths Canada could see over the next few weeks.
The new figures show that Canada could see between 97,990 and 107,454 cases and between 7,700 and 9,400 deaths by June 15.
The report highlights how different provinces are experiencing the pandemic.
Ontario and Quebec have accounted for more than 90 per cent of national COVID-19 cases in the past 14 days, according to Tam and Njoo.
There has been no community transmission in Prince Edward Island, the Northwest Territories and the Yukon, and no cases have been reported to date in Nunavut.
The numbers show COVID-19 is still disproportionately hitting Canadians in long-term care and seniors’ homes; they represent 18 per cent of all cases and 82 per cent of Canada’s 7,495 deaths.
It’s the third time Canada’s leading public health officials have given an update on the expected impact the novel coronavirus will have on the Canadian population. It comes as some provinces have reported a downturn in cases and are beginning to reopen their economies, including some schools, stores and parks.
The doctors said the evidence shows health measures have been effective in controlling the epidemic. They also warned that lifting those measures without strengthening other public health measures likely would cause the epidemic to rebound.
‘Not out of the woods:’ Trudeau
“The data shows that we are continuing to make progress in the fight against this virus. In many communities, the number of new cases is low and we can trace where there came from. That’s an encouraging sign that the virus is slowing and in some places even stopping,” Trudeau told reporters outside his home at Rideau Cottage Thursday morning.
“But I want to be very clear, we’re not out of the woods. The pandemic is still threatening the health and safety of Canadians.”
As of Thursday morning, Canada has 93,085 confirmed and presumptive novel coronavirus cases, with 51,048 of the cases considered recovered or resolved, according to data compiled by The Canadian Press.
Ontario reported 356 additional cases of COVID-19 on Thursday as the province’s network of labs processed a record number of tests for the novel coronavirus.
The 1.2 per cent jump in cases brings the total in Ontario since the outbreak began in late January to 29,403.
The federal projection figures don’t always pan into reality.
At the end of April, the government estimated that Canada was on a path to between 53,196 and 66,835 cases of COVID-19, and between 3,277 and 3,883 deaths, by May 5.
According to CBC News figures, as of May 5 there were more than 62,000 confirmed and presumptive coronavirus cases and 4,166 people had died.
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