Ontario health officials say the community spread of COVID-19 in Ontario “appears to have peaked” earlier than originally expected, a result they attribute to restrictions such as physical distancing.
The total number of cases for the span of this wave of the outbreak is “now likely less than 20,000” — if the distancing and other emergency measures remain in place, documents provided by the province’s dedicated COVID-19 task force say.
That figure is “substantially lower” than the worst-case scenario of 300,000 and expected-case scenario of 80,000 included in Ontario’s previous modelling update on April 3.
Experts initially anticipated a peak of community spread to occur at some point in May.
Adalsteinn Brown, dean of the University of Toronto’s public health department, said a peak can go on for several days. He also had a less positive note about transmission in long-term care homes.
“We’re at peak in the community, but still in that accelerating upswing of the curve in long-term care,” he told reporters at a briefing Monday.
WATCH | Brown explains how infection peaks can work:
Outbreaks of COVID-19 have been reported in 127 long-term care facilities, according to the province’s task force. Long-term care homes have also been especially hard hit in Quebec.
NEW: The curve that has *not* been flattened: <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/COVID19?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#COVID19</a> cases and death in Ontario long-term care homes. <br>”We’re at peak in the community but we are still at the accelerating upswing of the curve in long-term care homes,” says Adalsteinn Brown, dean of <a href=”https://twitter.com/UofT_dlsph?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@UofT_dlsph</a> <a href=”https://t.co/Us5NuCJ9qo”>pic.twitter.com/Us5NuCJ9qo</a>
Military members with medical training are now helping at Quebec care facilities struggling with COVID-19 outbreaks after the province asked Ottawa for help.
Quebec is the hardest-hit province in Canada, and its long-term care facilities have seen devastating and deadly outbreaks. Premier François Legault’s government asked for the military assistance — and has also asked retired nurses, orderlies and specialist doctors to help at residential facilities struggling to keep up with staffing.
The province is also delaying all non-urgent activities in hospitals for the next two weeks to allow more medical professionals to work full time in long-term care homes.
Medical workers from the Quebec City area are also helping at facilities in Montreal and surrounding areas.
As of 7:00 p.m. ET on Monday, provinces and territories had reported 36,831 confirmed and presumptive coronavirus cases. The regions that provide public data on recoveries listed 12,599 cases as recovered or resolved.
A CBC News tally of COVID-19-related deaths, based on provincial and regional health data, as well as CBC’s reporting, listed 1,762 coronavirus-related deaths in Canada. There have been two reported COVID-19-related deaths of Canadians abroad.
Quebec accounts for 19,319 of the cases and 939 deaths, with many of the recorded deaths linked to the long-term care system.
Public health officials in Canada have noted that recorded numbers don’t include people who have not been tested or cases that are still under investigation, and have urged people to behave as though coronavirus is in their community even if there are no known cases.
The novel coronavirus, which was first reported in China in late 2019, causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people. The virus, which is formally known as SARS-CoV-2, causes an illness known as COVID-19. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or death.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who has been providing regular briefings on the pandemic and the government’s response, on Monday focused his remarks on the aftermath of a mass shooting in Nova Scotia.
Trudeau offered condolences to people whose loved ones were killed in the “senseless violence” and said the entire country is grieving with Nova Scotians.
“Violence of any kind has no place in Canada.”
WATCH | ‘We stand with you and we grieve with you’: Trudeau:
The prime minister said there will be a virtual vigil on Friday night for all of Canada to support the community.
Nova Scotia’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Robert Strang, acknowledged that not being able to gather in person to mourn will be hard, but he urged people to maintain physical distancing even during this difficult time for the province.
“COVID-19 is not going to pause because of our pain,” he said.
Stricter gun control ahead: Trudeau
Trudeau also said his government is looking at moving ahead with stricter gun control measures, as Parliament returns for some regular sittings during the pandemic.
“I can say we were on the verge of introducing legislation to ban assault-style weapons across the country. It was interrupted when the pandemic caused Parliament to be suspended. We have every intention of moving forward on that measure, and potentially other measures, when Parliament returns,” he said.
WATCH | Trudeau talks about his government’s plans for stricter gun laws:
In the House of Commons Monday, the Conservatives lost their bid to have Parliament sit in person several times a week throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
A Liberal government motion calling for once-a-week in-person sittings, to be supplemented eventually by virtual sittings, passed in the House of Commons today with a vote of 22 to 15.
Non-medical masks required for air travellers
Governments in Canada have introduced a range of measures, including rules around gatherings, a call for physical distancing and mandatory self-isolation for people returning from abroad.
A new rule requiring people flying within the country to have a non-medical mask with them kicked in at noon ET on Monday. According to a news release issued by Transport Canada last week, the new rule requires people to cover their nose and mouth in the following situations:
- When they are at airport screening checkpoints and the screeners can’t keep two metres between themselves and the traveller.
- When they can’t maintain physical distancing from other people or when asked to by an airline employee.
- When directed to by a public health official or order.
According to a case tracking tool maintained by Johns Hopkins University, there are more than 2.4 million known coronavirus cases around the world, with more than 165,000 deaths.
Here’s a look at what’s happening in Canada, the U.S. and around the world.
Here’s what’s happening in the provinces and territories
British Columbia will not be lifting restrictions this month, but the provincial health officer says that possibly by mid-May, if the number of new cases continue to improve, some easing may begin. Dr. Bonnie Henry also says that everyone in the province who has symptoms can now be tested. Read more about what’s happening in B.C.
In Alberta, Cargill says it is closing down a meat-processing plant at the centre of a major COVID-19 outbreak. One worker has died and there are 484 confirmed cases linked to the plant south of Calgary, the largest single outbreak in the province. Employees at the facility have accused the company of ignoring physical distancing protocols. Read more about what’s happening in Alberta.
In Saskatchewan, a plan to gradually lift restrictions put in place to limit the spread of COVID-19 is expected this week. Only one new case was reported Monday. Read more about what’s happening in Saskatchewan.
Manitoba is extending its state of emergency for another month, until May 17. Provincial health officials have yet to decide whether to extend public health orders that limit public gatherings and close non-essential businesses until May 1. Read more about what’s happening in Manitoba.
Ontario is shutting down a correctional institution in Brampton after at least 60 inmates and eight workers there tested positive for COVID-19. The transfer of more than one hundred inmates from the Ontario Correctional Institute to the Toronto South Detention Centre (TSDC) is already underway. Read more about what’s happening in Ontario.
New Brunswick reported no new cases Monday — the sixth time in 10 days that there have been no new infections. Chief Medical Officer Dr. Jennifer Russell said there have only been four new cases in the past week, but that it’s still important to maintain distancing measures. Read more about what’s happening in N.B.
Nova Scotia’s premier unveiled a plan to deal with a COVID-19 outbreak at a Halifax long-term care facility that has left five people dead. The province reported 46 more coronavirus cases on Monday, bringing its total to 721. Read more about what’s happening in Nova Scotia, which has been left reeling after a devastating mass killing over the weekend.
Prince Edward Island’s Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. Heather Morrison, says Canadians will need to learn to live with COVID-19. She says a balance must be found between keeping people safe and returning to normal life, as her province reported no new cases again on Monday. Read more about what’s happening on P.E.I.
WATCH | How to handle physical distancing in tricky situations:
Newfoundland and Labrador also reported no new coronavirus cases on Monday. Despite there being no new cases, Premier Dwight Ball said the province won’t ease any restrictions. Read more about what’s happening in N.L.
In the Northwest Territories, the government is providing information on its enforcement task force, which was put in place to support coronavirus-related public health rules. Read more about what’s happening across the North.
Here’s a look at what’s happening in the U.S
From Reuters and The Associated Press, updated at 2:30 p.m. ET
The head of the World Health Organization said Monday that nothing in its coronavirus response had been “hidden” from the United States. Senior officials said U.S. technical experts had been an important part of the WHO’s effort.
The comments appeared to be a response to U.S. President Donald Trump, who has criticized WHO’s handling of the pandemic, accusing it of promoting Chinese “disinformation.” He suspended U.S. funding last week.
Watch | ‘There is nothing hidden from the U.S.,’ WHO says
At the same time, the debate over when to lift restrictions to control the coronavirus outbreak in the country intensified Monday, with protesters gathering in state capitals to demand an end to lockdowns and officials urging caution until more testing becomes available.
“All the projections were wrong, but we are still telling people to stay home and businesses to close. This is not quarantine, this is tyranny,” said Mark Cooper, a 61-year-old retired truck driver and “Reopen Maryland” protester.
Trump, who has sparred with a number of Democratic governors critical of his response to the health crisis, wrote on Twitter that governors — not the federal government — should take charge of COVID-19 testing. A number of politicians, including New York Mayor Bill de Blasio — had said the federal government should be doing more to aid them with testing.
“Now they scream ‘Testing, Testing, Testing,’ again playing a very dangerous political game. States, not the Federal Government, should be doing the Testing – But we will work with the Governors and get it done,” Trump said in a tweet.
On Monday, the governor of Georgia, which has nearly 19,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19, announced plans to reopen the state’s economy before the end of the week.
Georgia’s timetable, one of the most aggressive in the U.S., would allow gyms, hair salons, bowling alleys and tattoo parlors to reopen as long as owners follow strict social-distancing and hygiene requirements. By Monday, movie theatres may resume selling tickets, and restaurants could return to limited dine-in service.
Such a swift reopening runs counter to the advice of many experts, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government’s top authority on infectious diseases, who warned again Monday that resuming business too soon risked a fresh spike in infections.
Georgia’s death toll from COVID-19 rose above 700 Monday.
The Trump administration and Congress also indicated Monday they were working toward agreement on a coronavirus aid package the Senate could take up as soon as Tuesday with more than $450 billion US to boost a small-business loan program that’s out of money, help for hospitals and virus testing.
The Senate missed a potential deadline Monday and frustrations are mounting, but the emerging draft measure — originally designed as an interim step aimed at replenishing payroll subsidies for smaller businesses — has grown into the second largest of the four coronavirus response bills so far.
Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, set up another Senate session for Tuesday in hopes an agreement will likely be sealed and written up by then.
The Trump administration also announced new guidelines requiring nursing homes nationwide to report to patients, their families and the federal government when they have cases of coronavirus.
Even still, there were signs of life elsewhere. Boeing said it will put about 27,000 people back to work this week building passenger jets at its Seattle-area plants, with virus-slowing precautions in place, including face masks and staggered shifts.
It’s among a small number of other manufacturers around the U.S. geared up Monday to resume production amid pressure from Trump to reopen the economy.
Oil prices plunged below zero on Monday as demand for energy collapses amid the COVID-19 pandemic and traders don’t want to get stuck owning crude with nowhere to store it. Demand for oil has collapsed so much that storage facilities are now nearly full.
Much of the drop into negative territory was chalked up to technical reasons — the May delivery contract is close to expiring so it was seeing less trading volume, which can exacerbate swings. But prices for deliveries even further into the future, which were seeing larger trading volumes, also plunged.
Here’s a look at what’s happening around the world
From The Associated Press and Reuters, updated at 4 p.m. ET
France on Monday became the fourth country to register more than 20,000 COVID-19 deaths, after Italy, Spain and the United States. The rate of increase in both infections and fatalities also increased, after several days of slowing. “The epidemic is very deadly and is far from over,” France’s public health chief Jérôme Salomon told a news briefing.
Spain has surpassed the 200,000 mark of coronavirus infections while recording the lowest number of new deaths in four weeks. Health ministry data showed Monday that 399 more people have succumbed to COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, bringing the country’s total death toll to 20,852. Spain had counted more than 400 daily deaths since March 22.
The outbreak’s spread has continued at a slower pace than in previous weeks, with 4,266 new infections, which brings the country’s total to 200,210. The Spanish government is starting to relax its confinement measures, trying to re-activate the economy after a two-week freeze and allowing children under 12 to venture out to the streets for brief periods from next week.
Some shops are reopening in much of Germany as Europe’s biggest economy takes its first tentative step toward restarting public life after a four-week shutdown. Shops with a surface area of up to 800 square metres are being allowed to reopen on Monday, along with auto showrooms, bike shops and bookshops of any size, under an agreement reached last week between the federal and state governments.
Deaths from the COVID-19 epidemic in Italy rose by 454 on Monday, slightly up from Sunday’s tally, while the number of new cases dropped to 2,256, the lowest level in well over a month, the Civil Protection Agency said. Given current trends, Italy’s regional health observatory forecast on Monday that two of the country’s 20 regions — Basilicata and Umbria — would be registering no new cases by the end of April. By contrast, it would take until the end of June for the worst-hit region, Lombardy, to have zero new coronavirus cases.
Some shops are reopening in much of Germany as Europe’s biggest economy takes its first tentative step toward restarting public life after a four-week shutdown. Shops with a surface area of up to 800 square metres are being allowed to reopen on Monday, along with auto showrooms, bike shops and bookshops of any size, under an agreement reached last week between the federal and state governments.
At the same time, when Chancellor Angela Merkel was asked if she backed proposals to help fellow EU countries hardest hit by the pandemic such as Italy and Spain via a bigger European Union budget and the issuance of EU bonds, she said an EU treaty article already allowed such action and that it was used to finance a European short-time work scheme.
The German economy is in a severe recession and recovery is unlikely to be quick, as many coronavirus-related restrictions could stay in place for an extended period, the Bundesbank said in a regular monthly economic report on Monday.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Monday that the country would impose a four-day lockdown for 31 cities, starting Thursday. Turkey has imposed such measures over the past two weekends. Speaking after a cabinet meeting, Erdogan said the lockdown would be longer this time due to a national holiday that falls on Thursday, adding that weekend lockdowns could continue “for some time.”
Over the weekend, the number of confirmed cases in Turkey exceeded any country outside Europe and the United States. Total cases rose to 90,980 on Monday.
Denmark will now test every person with symptoms of the new coronavirus. Health Minister Magnus Heunicke said the country has control of the epidemic, but he said if a person has a dry cough, fever or respiratory problems, they should call the doctor to be tested. The country took another small step toward reopening society when hair salons, dentists, physiotherapists, tattoo parlours and driving schools, among others, were allowed to reopen Monday.
Britain needs to be sure that any lifting or easing of physical distancing measures does not lead to a second wave of the coronavirus outbreak, a spokesperson for Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Monday.
“The big concern is a second peak, that is what ultimately will do the most damage to health and the most damage to the economy,” the spokesperson told reporters. “If you move too quickly then the virus could begin to spread exponentially again. What we need to be certain of is that if we move to lift some of the social distancing measures, it isn’t going to lead to the virus starting to spread exponentially again.”
Employers in Britain have already put more than a million staff on temporary leave, while finance minister Rishi Sunak said they had received 140,000 applications from firms in the first eight hours their 80 per cent wage subsidy was available on Monday.
Russia reported 4,268 new confirmed coronavirus cases on Monday, fewer than the 6,060 on the previous day, which took the total number of cases to 47,121. Forty-four Russian coronavirus patients died in the last 24 hours, the Russian coronavirus crisis response centre said.
Like the United States, Russia has seen limited — though passionate — protests against COVID-19 isolation measures. Hundreds gathered in southern Russia on Monday to demonstrate against forced business closures, as they have caused particular pain to households in such regions where salaries are lower and the virus less entrenched.
Singapore is reporting a record 1,426 new coronavirus cases, mostly among foreign workers, pushing its total number of confirmed infections above 8,000. The tiny city-state now has the highest number of cases in Southeast Asia, a massive increase from just 200 infections on March 15, when its outbreak appeared to be nearly under control. About 3,000 cases have been reported in just the past three days. Low-wage migrant workers, a vital part of Singapore’s workforce, now account for at least 60 per cent of its infections. More than 200,000 workers from poorer Asian countries live in tightly packed dormitories.
WATCH | COVID-19: Some Asian countries seeing case numbers rise — again:
Japan boosted its new economic stimulus package on Monday to a record $1.1 trillion US to expand cash payouts to its citizens, as the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic threatens to push the world’s third-largest economy deeper into recession.
India has recorded its biggest single-day spike in coronavirus cases as the government eases one of the world’s strictest lockdowns to allow some manufacturing and agricultural activity to resume. An additional 1,553 cases were reported over 24 hours, raising the national total over 17,000. At least 543 people have died from COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the virus.
The shelter-in-place orders imposed in India on March 24 halted all but essential services. But beginning Monday, limited industry and farming were allowed to resume where employers could meet physical distancing and hygiene norms, and migrant workers can travel within states to factories, farms and other work sites.
The reported death toll from the coronavirus outbreak in Iran reached 5,209 on Monday with 91 deaths in the past 24 hours, Health Ministry spokesperson Kianush Jahanpur said Monday in a statement on state TV. The total number of diagnosed cases of the novel coronavirus in Iran, the Middle Eastern country hardest hit by the outbreak, has reached 83,505, he said.
South Africa will increase welfare provisions to help poor households suffering because of a nationwide lockdown aimed at containing the country’s coronavirus outbreak, President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Monday.
WATCH | Bolsonaro downplays COVID-19 threat as Brazil’s death toll rises:
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said on Monday that he hoped this would be the last week of stay-at-home measures to try to slow the spread of the coronavirus, wishing for an end to a policy that he has branded an ill-founded jobs killer. Speaking with supporters in Brasilia, he also opposed the view of a fan who called for the country’s supreme court to be shut, with Bolsonaro saying Brazil was a democratic country and the top court would remain open.
Anticipating COVID-19 vaccine, Canada to begin procuring syringes: PM – CTV News
The federal government has begun procuring the supplies that will be essential for “mass vaccinations” in the event that a vaccine is found for COVID-19, starting with signing a contract for 37 million syringes.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau first announced that the government was adding syringes on to the list of essential COVID-19 supplies that are being procured, and later Procurement Minister Anita Anand said that the contract has been signed with Canadian company Becton Dickinson Canada to supply the essential tool in delivering vaccines.
“We are also continuing to work to procure the other supplies needed for eventual mass vaccinations on a systemic level. We are making sure that when a viable vaccine is discovered, Canada will be ready for its administration,” Anand said.
Anand didn’t offer a timeline on when the syringes will be delivered, noting that the need at the moment is not as pressing.
“We need to plan ahead for that eventuality,” said Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam, adding that work is also underway around how administering an eventual vaccine would be prioritized to certain segments of the population.
“We do account for the maximum number of Canadians who may wish to be vaccinated,” Tam said.
In mid-May, Health Canada announced that it had given the green light to a clinical trial for a potential COVID-19 vaccine in this country, and Canada is also involved in trials ongoing around the world, too.
It could still be some time before any possible treatment is deemed safe and stable enough for mass-vaccination, though the federal government is funding research and development for various options. This is being done in an effort to offset what Trudeau has flagged as an area where there will likely also be a supply and demand struggle.
Infectious disease expert Dr. Abdu Sharkawy told CTV News Channel that, while not as nearly pressing a need, “if COVID-19 has taught us anything, it’s that preparedness is much better than reactionary responses to a given situation.”
“But if we want to get on top of that there’s certainly no harm,” he said.
FRONT-LINE SUPPLY CHALLENGES PERSIST
During his Rideau Cottage address on federal COVID-19 response efforts, Trudeau provided an update on the ongoing efforts to procure personal protective equipment.
Throughout the pandemic Canada’s attempts to procure essential supplies has been a struggle, with the national tracker from Public Services and Procurement Canada continuing to show that just a fraction of what has been ordered has actually arrived.
Trudeau noted that Canada has received more than 100 million surgical masks, though that is just a third of what the government has ordered. He also noted that nearly 40 million gloves have been procured, yet the government has ordered more than one billion.
Over the last two months the federal government has been providing incremental updates on the stocking-up underway and contract-signing with Canadian manufacturers that have retooled to mass produce life-saving medical supplies.
The prime minister said on Tuesday that the federal government is also funding a handful of Canadian companies that are currently working on potential “breakthrough solutions” for rapid COVID-19 testing.
“Working with suppliers from around the world is key to keeping Canadians safe, but at the end of the day, one of the best ways to ensure we have what we need, well, it’s to make it right here at home,” Trudeau said, noting that demand is only going to increase for protective gear as more businesses and sectors reopen.
As of Tuesday afternoon there are more than 92,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases Canada-wide, though just over a third of those are active cases. More than 7,300 people in Canada have died as a result of contracting the virus.
Ontario to extend state of emergency; health officials remind of COVID-19 risk while protesting – Toronto Star
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.
11 a.m.: A livestream of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s daily news conference is available at thestar.com
10:48 a.m.: Ontario is reporting that there were 15,244 tests completed in the previous day, the second day in a row the province did not meet its goal of 16,000 a day amid a push to increase testing levels.
10:18 a.m.: Ontario’s patient ombudsman is launching a systemic investigation into the resident and caregiver experience at Ontario’s long-term-care homes homes after receiving 150 complaints. The investigation will focus on staffing levels, visitor restrictions, infection prevention and control procedures and communication of information. About 1,700 nursing home residents have died and more than 5,000 are infected.
9:55 a.m.: Tokyo issued an alert to residents for the first time urging additional caution against the coronavirus pandemic, after a spike in new cases.
The Japanese capital saw 34 new infections on Tuesday, the most in a single day in more than three weeks. Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike triggered what she has dubbed a “Tokyo Alert,” aiming to heighten Tokyo residents’ awareness of the state of the pandemic, and which could lead to businesses in the capital again being asked to close their doors should a surge continue.
While the alert itself won’t immediately lead to new restrictions, if cases continue to climb in the city the government has said it could reinstate its call for companies to shut and residents to stay at home.
Of the 34 cases Tuesday, 13 came from a cluster at a hospital in Koganei in the west of the city, where more than 30 infections have been reported to date. Koike also said that many of the cases over the past week came from Tokyo’s nightlife districts, with dozens of the infections linked to areas populated by hostess clubs and other such entertainment venues.
9:40 a.m.: The college football season opener between Notre Dame and Navy has been moved out of Ireland because of the cornavirus pandemic.
The Irish and Midshipmen were scheduled to meet in Dublin on Aug. 29, but instead will seek to play at the Naval Academy during the Labor Day weekend. The decision to move the venue came after discussions between the Irish government, medical authorities and the leadership teams at Navy and Notre Dame.
“Our priority must be ensuring the health and safety of all involved,” Navy athletic director Chet Gladchuk said. “I am expecting that we will still be able to play Notre Dame as our season opener, but there is still much to be determined by health officials and those that govern college football at large.”
Notre Dame and Navy planned to stage the 94th consecutive installment of the longest continuous intersectional rivalry in the United States at Aviva Stadium in Ireland. Instead, the schools will strive to play at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis, Maryland, on Sept. 5 or 6. This will be the first time the Fighting Irish will play at Navy’s 34,000-seat stadium. The game is usually played at a larger alternative site when the Midshipmen host.
8:49 a.m.: It looks like hockey fans will be able to cheer on their favourite NHL team this summer but Canadians have issued a collective shrug about whether the Stanley Cup is hoisted on their home ice.
Less than one-quarter of those who took part in a recent survey said it was very important that a Canadian city be host to some of the playoffs.
The web survey, conducted by polling firm Leger and the Association for Canadian Studies, found 47 per cent thought it wasn’t important that the puck drop in a Canadian arena.
The NHL plans to resume its 2019-20 season, brought to a halt in March by the COVID-19 pandemic, with games played in two hub cities.
Edmonton, Vancouver and Toronto are among the 10 possible locations, but Canada’s mandatory 14-day quarantine for people entering the country remains in place and could scuttle the prospect of hockey north of the 49th parallel.
8:38 a.m. Russian President Vladimir Putin has instructed his government to take quick steps to repair economic damage from the coronavirus pandemic.
Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin reported to Putin on Tuesday that the Cabinet’s plan contains measures designed to stimulate economic growth, raise incomes and reduce unemployment.
A partial economic shutdown that Putin ordered in late March to stem the country’s outbreak badly hurt an economy already battered by a sharp drop in oil prices.
The Russian leader says the nation is now past the peak of contagion, allowing regional officials to gradually ease the restrictions. However, some experts warned that a daily increase of about 9,000 confirmed cases makes a quick lifting of the lockdown dangerous.
On Monday, Putin set July 1 as the date for a nationwide vote on constitutional amendments allowing him to extend his rule until 2036, if he chooses.
8 a.m. The two main Russian Orthodox cathedrals in Moscow have reopened their doors as officials take more steps to ease the country’s coronavirus lockdown.
The Christ the Savior Cathedral and the Epiphany Cathedral at Yelokhovo welcomed parishioners again on Tuesday.
The move was co-ordinated with federal and city officials. Church-goers are supposed to wear medical masks and maintain a proper distance from others during services.
Other churches in the Russian capital are scheduled to reopen on Saturday. Moscow churches have been closed to parishioners since April 13.
Orthodox churches in many other regions across the vast country already have reopened as provincial authorities started lifting restrictions intended to stem the outbreak.
Russian officials say that the nation is now past the peak of contagion, making it safe to gradually ease lockdown measures. Some experts warn that with new confirmed cases increasing by about 9,000 daily, lifting restrictions quickly is dangerous.
8 a.m.: South Africa’s total confirmed coronavirus cases have jumped to more than 35,000 while the province anchored by Cape Town remains a worrying hot spot with more than 23,000.
South Africa has the most confirmed virus cases of any nation in Africa. The Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the total number across the continent is now above 152,000.
South Africa took another step in easing lockdown restrictions on Monday with alcohol sales allowed again. Authorities have warned that the rate of new cases is expected to quicken.
South Africa has seen cases double roughly every 12 days while cases in the Western Cape have been doubling every nine days.
A major test lies ahead this weekend as places of worship are allowed to operate with a limit of 50 people, despite warnings from some religious leaders about the risk of spreading the virus.
7:47 a.m.: Global stock markets rose Tuesday as more economies reopened for business after long and painful shutdowns to contain the coronavirus pandemic.
While the social unrest in the U.S. continued to provide a gloomy backdrop, international investors remained focus on the prospects for global economic growth. More countries and sectors are reopening, though activity is expected to remain subdued as social distancing rules complicate plans to get back to business.
Futures for the Dow and the S&P 500 indexes on Wall Street were up 0.6 per cent and 0.5 per cent, respectively.
In Europe, France’s CAC 40 jumped 2.1 per cent to 4,863 as the country opened restaurants, cafes, parks and beaches and launched a contract tracing app to help keep tabs on new contagions. Germany’s DAX, which had been closed Monday, caught up with previous global markets’ gains and surged 3.9 per cent to 12,033. Britain’s FTSE 100 added 1 per cent to 6,2130.
In Southeast Asia, where shutdowns are beginning to ease, Indonesia’s benchmark jumped nearly 2.0 per cent and Singapore’s surged 2.3 per cent.
Despite the bright mood across, fears persist about a possible resurgence in coronavirus outbreaks in some countries.
There were 34 new confirmed cases in Tokyo on Tuesday, seeming to reaffirm growing risks as people begin to mingle more in crowded commuter trains with the reopenings of more offices, schools, restaurants and stores. The daily numbers had dropped below 20 recently.
7:21 a.m.: Formula One will finally get underway with back-to-back races at the Austrian Grand Prix in July as part of an eight-race European swing.
The Red Bull Ring in Spielberg will host races on July 5 and 12, governing body FIA said in a statement on Tuesday.
The next race will be in Hungary on July 19 followed by consecutive races at the British GP at Silverstone on Aug. 2 and 9 after the British government exempted elite sports from an upcoming quarantine on foreign visitors.
Further races are scheduled for Spain on Aug. 16 and Belgium on Aug. 30, with Italy completing the European swing on Sept. 6.
“Over the past two months Formula One has been working closely with all partners, authorities, the FIA and the 10 teams to create a revised calendar that will allow a return to racing in a way that is safe,” the FIA said. “Due to the ongoing fluidity of the COVID-19 situation internationally, the details of the wider calendar will be finalized in the coming weeks.”
There will be no spectators allowed to attend, although there may be later in the year if health conditions allow it.
7:13 a.m.: Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte marked Italy’s national day with an appeal to citizens to work together to revive the country, as his government prepares to lift restrictions on domestic travel from Wednesday.
With the number of new coronavirus cases continuing to decline, Italians will be allowed to travel freely around the country again, ending almost three months of confinement to their home region to limit transmission of the disease.
Conte is sticking with the plan announced last month despite threats from officials in the south to turn away citizens from Lombardy. Italy’s richest and most populous region around Milan was the epicenter of one of Europe’s most-extensive outbreaks.
“Let’s combine and concentrate all our energy in the shared effort to pick ourselves up and begin again with maximum determination,” Conte said in a message posted Tuesday on Facebook, evoking efforts to rebuild the nation after World War II.
“Everyone must do their part, as it has always been in the most difficult moments in our history,” he added. “Italy, our community, is our strength.”
6:30 a.m.: The City of Toronto urged the province Monday to immediately begin collecting race-based and occupational data on COVID-19 cases, calling preliminary information showing the pandemic’s disproportionate impacts “disturbing.”
In a letter addressed to top provincial health officials, Toronto Board of Health chair councillor Joe Cressy (Spadina-Fort York) highlighted data collected by Toronto Public Health which shows that areas of the city with the highest percentages of people who are low-income, racialized, and recent immigrants have the highest case rates of COVID-19.
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“It is clear that this is a virus that preys on poverty and existing health inequities. In order to tackle COVID-19, we must fully understand the virus, and who is most at risk,” Cressy writes, noting that city council voted last week to send the request.
“We need to have access to this data on a province-wide scale,” the letter adds.
5:30 a.m.: Ontario is expected today to extend its state of emergency until June 30.
The measure bans gatherings larger than five people.
It also orders the closure of some businesses such as restaurants and bars, except if they offer takeout or delivery.
If the vote passes, the measure — which had been set to expire today — will be extended for another 28 days.
Independent legislator Randy Hillier has said he will vote against the measure, saying it gives the government too much authority.
Ontario declared a state of emergency on March 17 as COVID-19 cases began to climb in the province.
5:15 a.m.: As protesters keep up their anti-racism rallies on both sides of the border, top health officials are hoping they don’t forget about the risk of COVID-19.
Canadian health officials are not suggesting people avoid protests, but they are stressing the importance of hand sanitizer and masks.
With physical distance being nearly impossible in some of these settings, rally-goers may have to find other ways to try to keep themselves safe.
Protests have taken place in several Canadian cities in the aftermath of a black man dying last week in Minneapolis after a white police officer pressed a knee into his neck.
George Floyd’s death has sent throngs into the streets in several U.S. and Canadian cities to decry systemic racism and police brutality.
Meanwhile, House of Commons Speaker Anthony Rota is scheduled today to appear at a committee on procedure and House affairs.
He is expected to discuss the hybrid Parliament and how it is functioning during the pandemic.
The Senate Finance Committee also meets today with many major industry leaders set to appear.
3 a.m.: South American countries at the epicentre of the coronavirus pandemic are choosing to reopen even as case numbers rise, ignoring the example set by Europe in which nations waited for the worst to pass.
Meanwhile in the U.S., there are concerns that widespread protests over the death of George Floyd, a black man pinned at the neck by a white police officer, could cause new outbreaks in a nation where the virus has disproportionately affected racial minorities.
And a new estimate by the Congressional Budget Office cautioned the damage to the world’s largest economy could amount to nearly $16 trillion over the next decade if Congress doesn’t work to mitigate the fallout.
Experts are concerned about what’s happening in South America.
“Clearly the situation in many South American countries is far from stable. There is a rapid increase in cases, and those systems are coming under increasing pressure,” said Mike Ryan, the executive director of the World Health Organization’s emergencies program.
His warning came as some of Brazil’s hardest-hit cities, including the jungle metropolis Manaus and coastal Rio de Janeiro, were starting to allow more activity. Brazil has reported more than 526,000 cases of the virus, second only to the 1.8 million reported by the U.S.
Elsewhere in the region, Bolivia’s government has authorized reopening most of the country, while Venezuela has unwound restrictions. Ecuador’s airports are resuming flights and shoppers are returning to some of Colombia’s malls.
Further north in Mexico, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador kicked off the nation’s return to a “new normal” Monday with his first road trip in two months as the nation began to gradually ease some of its virus restrictions.
Monday 10 p.m. Large public gatherings, including anti-racism protests, pose health risks during a pandemic, British Columbia’s top health officials said Monday.
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said people in B.C. have the right to protest and express their feelings, but warned there could be COVID-19 health consequences associated with a weekend protest in downtown Vancouver.
“Peaceful demonstration is our right, one that is important to all of us, but we cannot forget we are still in the middle of a pandemic,” she said at a news conference in Victoria.
Henry said she saw many people wearing masks and practising safe distancing but she urged those who attended to monitor their health over the coming days.
“We also know right now large gatherings remain very high risk, even outdoors,” she said. “Those who were there (Sunday), you may have put yourself at risk.”
An estimated 3,500 people gathered in Vancouver following protests across the United States over the death of George Floyd, an African-American man who died in Minneapolis after a white police officer pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck for several minutes.
B.C. has a public health order limiting the size of gatherings to 50 people.
“Weigh your options, think about the impacts, particularly if you are a health-care worker or have vulnerable people in your circle, in your household, in your family,” Henry said.
The province reported 24 new COVID-19 cases since Saturday and one death of an elderly resident at a Metro Vancouver long-term-care home.
B.C. now has 2,597 cases of COVID-19 and there have been 165 deaths. The province says 2,207 people have recovered from the illness.
Monday 6:50 p.m. Ontario’s regional health units are reporting a spike in new COVID-19 infections on a day that saw the fewest reported deaths in nearly two months, according to the Star’s latest count.
As of 5 p.m. Monday, the health units have reported a total of 30,044 confirmed and probable cases, including 2,336 deaths.
The eight new deaths reported since Sunday evening marked the first day with fewer than 10 new fatal cases since April 5, back when both cases and deaths were still growing rapidly in Ontario. That day also saw eight deaths reported in the province.
The rate of deaths is down considerably since peaking at more than 90 in a day in early May, about two weeks after the daily case totals hit a first peak in mid-April.
Meanwhile, the 458 new cases since the same time Sunday ended a string of six consecutive days with fewer than 400 cases. Unlike in recent days that have been dominated by case growth in Toronto and Peel Region, Monday’s case spike included a very large increase outside of the GTA, including more than 100 confirmed infections in Haldimand-Norfolk, which has seen dozens of cases in an outbreak among migrant farm workers.
Earlier Monday, the province reported 781 patients are now hospitalized with COVID-19, including 125 in intensive care, of whom 89 are on a ventilator — numbers that have fallen sharply this month. The province also says more than 22,000 patients who have tested positive for the coronavirus have now recovered from the disease — about three-quarters of the total infected.
The province says its data is accurate to 4 p.m. the previous day. The province also cautions its latest count of total deaths — 2,276 — may be incomplete or out of date due to delays in the reporting system, saying that in the event of a discrepancy, “data reported by (the health units) should be considered the most up to date.”
The Star’s count includes some patients reported as “probable” COVID-19 cases, meaning they have symptoms and contacts or travel history that indicate they very likely have the disease, but have not yet received a positive lab test.
We need to get all Canadian students online quickly in the face of pandemic uncertainty – CBC.ca
This column is an opinion by David Fowler, vice-president of marketing and communications at the Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA) in Ottawa. He currently serves on the board of directors for Media Smarts and CENTR. For more information about CBC’s Opinion section, please see the FAQ.
What would you do if your internet connection suddenly stopped working? What if you couldn’t get back online for months? With millions of students across Canada forced to do their schooling from home due to COVID-19, internet access has never been more important.
Unfortunately, high-quality internet connections remain too expensive for some Canadians or are simply unavailable where they live. Meanwhile, students who need the internet more than ever have lost their sources of reliable connection through schools or public libraries.
In 2016, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) declared broadband internet a basic service and set ambitious speed targets that internet service providers (ISPs) have to make available to all Canadians.
Four years later, CRTC data shows that 11 per cent of Canadian households still do not have internet access at home. For those who that do have connections, there are massive disparities between the speeds that rural and urban households receive.
Imagine how difficult online learning, applying for college, or staying in touch with friends and family would be without a high-quality internet connection in your house. Some families and communities have had to go to extraordinary lengths to make sure their kids don’t fall behind.
The Ottawa-Carleton District School Board, for example, has told students to hunker down in school parking lots to access free Wi-Fi if they don’t have the internet at home.
In Alberta, rural schools have set up outdoor bins for students who have no internet access to pick up and drop off hard copy assignments.
In Manitoba, the northern Garden Hill First Nation was forced to cancel the remainder of its school year, citing poor internet connectivity and lack of household computer adoption as contributing factors.
Not only are kids without reliable internet access at risk of falling behind in their education, they are putting themselves and their families’ health at risk by venturing out into the world to find an open wi-fi hotspot or pick up school work.
Obviously, education during COVID-19 would be much easier if every child had access to a high-quality internet connection. Unfortunately, connectivity isn’t the only challenge families are facing.
When it comes to bridging the digital divide, getting one internet-connected device per household is tough for many families. Getting one device per child comes at significant financial cost that is often out of reach.
Educators in rural Alberta, for example, report that access to internet-connected devices like laptops, desktop computers and phones is far from universal.
Thankfully schools, school districts, charitable organizations, and various levels of government are stepping up to deliver laptops, tablets, and other devices to students in need.
The Winnipeg School Division estimates that 40 per cent of its students don’t have access to an internet-enabled device at home, and it is looking at lending devices to students until the social distancing restrictions are relaxed.
The city of London, Ont., has distributed more than 10,000 iPads and Chromebooks to students since the pandemic began.
Before the CRTC’s landmark decision in 2016, a lot of public discussion centred on whether the internet was truly a basic service like water or electricity. At the time, skeptics said that videoconferencing and food delivery apps amounted to little more than luxuries.
Flash forward to 2020, and it’s clear that the internet is the key infrastructure holding our education system, economy, and social lives together. From this vantage point, it’s safe to say that the COVID-19 pandemic has settled the “is the internet a basic service?” debate once and for all.
With concerns that widespread social distancing could continue for up to a year and that future waves of the disease could force more school closures down the road, it is essential that we do everything in our power to get all our kids online before a generation is set back.
Closing the digital divide during COVID-19 is a litmus test for internet service providers, educational institutions, and all levels of government across this country. Our children have never needed the internet more to succeed.
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