Faced with a White House-ordered ban on exports of key COVID-19 medical supplies to Canada and abroad, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is trying a more diplomatic approach with U.S. President Donald Trump, hoping to convince him such a ban will harm Americans and Canadians alike.
Trudeau says he plans to speak with Trump in the coming days about his administration’s order preventing brokers, distributors and other intermediaries from diverting scarce personal protective equipment from the U.S. to other countries like Canada.
Trudeau says he is not considering counter-measures against this move by the U.S., but rather he believes the countries can come to a mutual understanding of the need to work together.
“We are not looking at retaliatory measures or measures that are punitive,” Trudeau said from outside his Rideau Cottage residence Saturday.
“We know it is in both of our interests to work collaboratively and co-operatively to keep our citizens safe and that’s very much the tenor of our conversations and I’m confident that we’re going to get there.”
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He highlighted that thousands of medical workers who live in Canada work every day in the United States, helping to treat novel coronavirus patients in America. He also noted Canada supplies the U.S. with many key COVID-19 supplies including pulp for surgical-grade N95 masks, test kits and gloves.
Trudeau plans to use these examples to ensure the American president understands the inter-connectedness of supply chains and the importance of keeping all goods and services flowing freely between the two countries.
“We recognize that our countries are deeply interlinked in sometimes very complex ways. The necessary goods and services back-and-forth across our border keep us both safe and help us on both sides of the border,” Trudeau said.
“We are continuing to engage in constructive discussions with different levels within the administration to highlight that the U.S. will be hurting itself as much as Canada will be hurting if we see an interruption of essential goods and services flow back and forth across the border.”
Trump, in his opening remarks at his Saturday news conference, highlighted the need for masks to stay in the U.S.
“We need the masks, we don’t want other people getting them,” Trump said.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford was far less diplomatic than Trudeau in his reaction to the U.S. measure, blasting the Trump administration for trying to block essential medical equipment from coming to Canada.
“We’re the two largest trading partners anywhere in the world. It’s like one of your family members [says], ‘OK you go starve and we’ll go feast on the rest of the meal.’ I’m just so disappointed right now,” Ford said Saturday.
“We have a great relationship with the U.S. and they pull these shenanigans? Unacceptable.”
With hospitals and health-care workers across the country rationing masks and other protective equipment due to shortages, Trudeau said the government has been working around the clock to get Canada the resources it needs.
He says Canada will be receiving “millions” of masks in the next 48 hours by a chartered cargo flight, which includes items ordered by Quebec.
Canada has also leased a warehouse in China to ensure timely collection and distribution of these items, Trudeau said, adding that flights chartered by the federal government to transport these materials to Canada going forward will include Canadian companies Cargo Jet and Air Canada.
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Abroad, Foreign Affairs Minister François-Philippe Champagne said flights repatriating Canadians have lifted off from Algeria, Trinidad and Tobago, Peru and India. Champagne said flights are expected Sunday from Argentina, Cuba, El Salvador, India, Lebanon and Serbia.
Meanwhile, a virus-hit cruise ship with 99 Canadians on board has arrived in Miami, and disembarkment of guests who are fit to fly home will begin Sunday.
The Coral Princess departed San Antonio on March 5 and was set to end its voyage March 19 in Buenos Aires, but it was discovered a dozen people onboard tested positive for COVID-19. The ship has been looking for a place to dock since March 13, but no country had allowed it before now.
For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. But for others, especially older adults and people with health problems, it can cause severe symptoms such as pneumonia.
The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) says the situation is evolving daily and the risk to Canadians from COVID-19 is “considered high.”
Here’s a look at what’s happening in the provinces and territories
Canada has more than 14,000 cases confirmed and presumptive cases, with 274 deaths. The provinces and territories that list information about recovered cases have reported 2,785 cases as resolved or recovered. There have also been two reported COVID-19-related deaths of Canadians abroad — one in Japan and one in Brazil.
Public health officials caution that reported case numbers don’t provide a complete picture of the scale of the outbreak as that data doesn’t capture people who haven’t been tested and cases that are still under investigation. Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer, has urged people nationwide to practise physical distancing and behave as though there is COVID-19 in their community, even if there is no known case.
In British Columbia, the provincial health officer said B.C. is in the crucial, two-week period where officials could get a greater understanding of how physical distancing measures and other orders are working. The province announced 29 new cases on Saturday, its lowest number this week. Read more about what’s happening in B.C.
In Alberta, there are now nine outbreaks at continuing care centres, with 93 cases stemming from those facilities. Meanwhile, Calgary Transit announced Saturday that three workers had tested positive for COVID-19. Read more about what’s happening in Alberta.
In Saskatchewan, the head of the province’s nurses union says health officials are looking at “new and creative ways” for medical workers to reuse face masks. The Saskatchewan Health Authority will have to first conduct trials to make sure the practice is safe in hospitals where personal protective equipment is already being rationed. Read more about what’s happening in Saskatchewan.
Manitoba is opening what it calls “alternative isolation centres” this weekend for people who need to self-isolate and may need extra support. The first is in a hotel, which will have enhanced cleaning. The province’s chief nursing officer says housekeeping staff at its acute care centres will start collecting “gently used” N95 masks for sterilization and re-use if the masks are deemed safe. Read more about what’s happening in Manitoba.
In Ontario, Premier Doug Ford says only essential workers should leave home unless it’s for getting groceries or other absolutely necessary reasons. To drive home the message, the province sent out another emergency alert on Saturday.
Meanwhile, Canada’s largest prison for women is in partial lockdown as it deals with a COVID-19 outbreak, according to the Union of Canadian Correctional Officers. Five inmates have tested positive at Grand Valley Institution for Women in Kitchener. The union says one prison guard has also tested positive for the virus. Read more about what’s happening in Ontario.
In Quebec, 14 more people have died. The province has 6,997 cases and there are 478 people in hospital, including 130 in intensive care, Deputy Premier Geneviève Guilbault said. Read more about what’s happening across Quebec.
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New Brunswick confirmed three new cases Saturday, and the provincial RCMP said one officer has tested positive, while another is in isolation. Read more about what’s happening in N.B.
Nova Scotia is reporting 29 new cases. As Premier Stephen McNeil concluded a COVID-19 update on Friday, he offered a stern warning that may well become the mantra of his political career: “Stay the blazes home.” The phrase has taken on a life of its own online, inspiring music, merchandise and memes. Read more about what’s happening in Nova Scotia.
Prince Edward Island on Saturday said it has recorded no new cases compared with the previous day. The province’s chief public health officer, Dr. Heather Morrison, said the island’s confirmed number of cases remains at 22. Morrison is urging Islanders not to become complacent and to continue staying home in order to prevent community transmission. Read more about what’s happening on P.E.I.
Newfoundland and Labrador announced eight new cases. The majority of the province’s now-more-than 200 cases are connected to a single funeral home. Read more about what’s happening in N.L.
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The Northwest Territories’ premier and top health officials doubled down on a government policy to not identify small communities with cases of COVID-19 in a news conference Saturday, just a day after local leadership in Fort Resolution, N.W.T., contradicted the policy. Read more about what’s happening across the North.
To see how things break down in your province, visit the CBC’s COVID-19 case tracker. Want to learn more about what the daily data means? Here’s how to make sense of the coronavirus numbers.
Here’s a look at what’s happening in the U.S.
New York’s governor said Saturday the Chinese government was facilitating a shipment of 1,000 donated ventilators to his state, highlighting the extreme measures U.S. leaders are taking in what has become a cutthroat scramble to independently secure enough lifesaving devices during the coronavirus pandemic.
In a sign of the country’s disorganized response to the global crisis, Gov. Andrew Cuomo praised the Chinese government for its help in securing the shipment of the breathing machines that was scheduled to arrive at Kennedy Airport on Saturday, while acknowledging that the U.S. government’s stockpile of medical supplies would fall drastically short.
“We’re all in the same battle here,” Cuomo said, noting that the state of Oregon also volunteered to send 140 ventilators to New York. “And the battle is stopping the spread of the virus.”
The rush to secure supplies has prompted intense squabbling between the states and federal government at a moment the nation is facing one of its gravest emergencies. Leaders like Cuomo have been forced to go outside normal channels and work with authoritarian governments and private companies.
Trump said states are making inflated requests for medical supplies when the need isn’t there and suggested he had a hand in the ventilator shipment arriving from China to New York. Trump also said he’d like to hear a more resounding “thank you” from Cuomo for providing medical supplies and helping quickly to add hospital capacity. Cuomo acknowledged he asked the White House and others for help negotiating the ventilators.
“We have given the governor of New York more than anybody has ever been given in a long time,” Trump told reporters in Washington.
Here’s a look at what’s happening in Italy, Spain and parts of Europe
Spain‘s Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez says that his nation ravaged by the coronavirus pandemic is “starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel.” Current numbers show Spain has 124,000 cases of coronavirus and over 11,000 deaths.
Italy’s virus-ravaged Lombardy region is now requiring residents to wear a protective mask when they go outside in a bid to further trim infections. The ordinance goes into effect Sunday and lasts through April 13. While all of Italy is under a nationwide lockdown, Lombardy has passed particularly tight restrictions on movement and business operations in an effort to curb infections in the epicentre of Europe’s outbreak.
France‘s health director said that 7,560 people have died of coronavirus-related issues in France since the start of the epidemic in the country, including at least 2,028 in nursing homes. Jerome Salomon spoke Saturday evening during a daily news briefing. According to these figures, France has experienced 441 more deaths in hospitals in the last 24 hours. He also said that 28,143 people were currently hospitalized — of which 6838 are in intensive care, accounting for a rise of 176 people in 24 hours in intensive care.
In the U.K., Carrie Symonds, fiancée of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, says she is “on the mend” after a week suffering from symptoms of COVID-19. Symonds, 32, tweeted: “I’ve spent the past week in bed with the main symptoms of Coronavirus,” though she had not been tested. Symonds, who is pregnant, is not currently staying with Johnson at the prime minister’s Downing St. residence.
She said in a tweet that being pregnant with COVID-19 is “obviously worrying” but she was reassured by the latest medical guidance. The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists says babies are unlikely to be exposed to COVID-19 during pregnancy and there is also no data at the moment suggesting an increased risk of miscarriage for pregnant women. Johnson tested positive for the virus on March 26 and remains quarantined in Downing St. He said Friday he is feeling better but still has a fever.
Here’s a look at China and some other areas around the world
China‘s health authorities reported 30 new coronavirus cases Sunday, including 25 people who had arrived from overseas. The other five cases were in southern China’s Guangdong province, which borders Hong Kong.
China has clamped down on international arrivals, banning most foreigners from entering and limiting foreign airlines to one flight per week. Having largely stopped the spread of the disease, the fear is that infected people coming from abroad could spark new outbreaks.
The National Health Commission said that three more people had died, bringing the country’s death toll to 3,329 as of the end of Saturday. The deaths were in Wuhan, where the pandemic began and by far the hardest-hit city in China. The number of confirmed cases stood at 81,669.
In South Africa, part of a hospital in the city of Durban has been shut down after 11 coronavirus cases were confirmed among patients and staffers. South Africa now has more than 1,500 cases, the most in Africa.
In Sri Lanka, nearly 2,900 prisoners have been released from overcrowded prisons as the Indian ocean island nation has stepped up its efforts to contain the virus. Sri Lanka’s prisons are highly congested, and the president’s office said there are more than 26,000 inmates in a system designed for 10,000.
Ontario, Quebec continue to account for majority of Canada’s new novel coronavirus cases – Globalnews.ca
Despite hundreds of new novel coronavirus cases still being reported in Ontario and Quebec, the number of overall cases across Canada continued to trend downward Friday.
More than 600 new lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 reported on Friday raised the national tally past 94,000 cases overall. More than 52,000 people are considered recovered, with more than 1.9 million tests conducted.
The national death toll went up by 66 deaths, for a total of 7,703.
Quebec accounted for the majority of the daily death toll once again. The province has been the hardest-hit region in Canada for the past few weeks, with 55 per cent of the national caseload and nearly 5,000 deaths (more than 60 per cent of Canada’s death toll).
Quebec reported 50 new deaths and 255 new cases on Friday. More than 17,700 people are deemed recovered in the province.
Ontario reported 344 new cases and 15 new deaths, leaving the province with nearly 30,000 cases and more than 2,300 deaths. More than 23,000 people have recovered from the virus.
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B.C. reported one new case and one new death, for a total of 2,628 cases and 167 deaths. The province has seen 2,272 people recover so far.
The Prairie provinces recorded new cases in the single digits. Alberta saw seven new cases — the lowest daily number recorded by the province since March 12.
All four Atlantic provinces reported no new cases or deaths on Friday. Prince Edward Island’s 27 cases have been resolved for weeks now, Newfoundland and Labrador has two active cases left out of 261 cases and three deaths, and Nova Scotia, where 61 people have died so far, saw bars and restaurants reopen.
New Brunswick reported its first COVID-19-related death on Thursday and has mandated face coverings in public buildings. Out of 136 cases, 121 are recovered.
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The Northwest Territories and the Yukon continue to see no new cases, having resolved all their cases for some time. Nunavut remain the only region in Canada that hasn’t reported a positive case of COVID-19 so far.
Worldwide, COVID-19 has resulted in more than 6.7 million cases and nearly 394,000 deaths, according to figures tallied by Johns Hopkins University.
© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
'Safe restart' of Canadian economy will take 6-8 months, Freeland says – CTV News
A ‘safe restart’ of the Canadian economy will likely take at least half a year, Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland said Friday, a day after Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam cautioned that relaxing current restrictions too much or too soon could result in an “explosive growth” of new cases.
“One other thing that we would like to really underscore is what we are talking about is the safe restart right now. So this is not a long-term plan,” Freeland told reporters when asked about the government’s plans for the $14 billion earmarked to help provinces and territories.
“This is for ensuring a safe restart over the next six to eight months. And I think it’s important for Canadians to understand that’s the timeframe that we are focused on.”
Canada is fast approaching 95,000 COVID-19 cases and has recorded more than 7,700 deaths across the country. Most provinces and territories have begun reporting no or very few cases and deaths and are beginning to look at how to restart the economy, but Ontario and Quebec are still reporting close to or morethan 300 new cases a day and numerous deaths. The two provinces now account for more than 90 percent of the cases, but have also begun plans for reopening.
Tam said Thursday that until an effective vaccine or treatment becomes available, Canada needsto remain vigilant with its containment efforts to prevent an “explosive” second wave, with the latest federal modelling showing that another peak was possible in October without sufficient prevention measures.
The last time the federal government made a projection was in late April, when it estimated that the country was on track to report between 53,196 and 66,835 cases of COVID-19, and between 3,277 and 3,883 deaths. In reality, there were 62,046 confirmed cases and 4,043 people had died by May 5.
Freeland said the government understands that the needs of each province and territory vary a great deal, and that it wanted to work collaboratively with them.
“We really are approaching this by saying to the provinces and territories, we understand that a safe restart is essential. And that it is expensive.”
With files from Ottawa news Bureau Online Producer Rachel Aiello
Feds to send $600 to some Canadians with disabilities – CTV News
Canadians with disabilities will be sent a one-time tax-free payment of up to $600, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced on Friday, in an effort to help offset the financial pressures of the COVID-19 pandemic.
This new financial aid will go to all who are eligible for the Disability Tax Credit, as of June 1.
Canadians who have a valid certificate for the Disability Tax Credit will receive $600. Canadians with a valid Disability Tax Credit certificate and who are eligible for the Old Age Security (OAS) pension will receive $300. Canadians who are eligible for both of these programs and are also eligible for the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) will be receiving $100.
The government says that because of the special one-time payments going to seniors, the amount seniors with disabilities will receive through this stream will be less, but in the end will total the same amount of $600.
“People who are eligible for this special payment will receive it automatically,” the federal government has announced, meaning that eligible recipients of these new one-time payments will not need to apply. However, as announced with the seniors funding on Thursday, it could be weeks before the money lands in the hands of those eligible.
For those who are eligible and under the age of 18, the special payment will be sent to their primary caregiver and in cases of shared custody, each parent will receive $300.
“This payment will go to existing disability tax credit certificate holders, which includes parents with children or dependents with disabilities, seniors, veterans and many other Canadians that we know have costs associated with severe and prolonged disabilities,” Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion Carla Qualtrough said on Friday.
Some Canadians with disabilities had been watching the various announcements for students, seniors, and other targeted demographics and have been left wondering why they appeared to have fallen through the cracks.
For many already living on a low income, they are facing more expenses due to the pandemic, such as increased costs for personal support workers, grocery delivery fees and prescription drug dispensing fees.
The government estimates that 1.2 million Canadians will be eligible for this one-time top-up, which will cost $548 million. Among working-age Canadians with disabilities, more than 1.5 million are unemployed or out of the labour market entirely.
NEW ACCESSIBILITY PROGRAMS
In addition to the one-time payments, the federal government is launching two new accessibility-focused programs.
One, focused on national workplace accessibility, will see $15 million go to community organizations to develop programs and expand current training opportunities to help Canadians with disabilities adapt to the realities of COVID-19, including helping set up effective work-from-home arrangements and training for in-demand jobs.
The second is a $1.8 million fund being shared between five projects to develop accessible technology such as accessible payment terminals for individuals with sight loss; arm supports that will allow Canadians with disabilities to use standard technology; systems to allow Canadians with neurological conditions to interact with technology for a longer period of time; and to develop software to expand expression and voice recognition.
“We know this pandemic has deeply affected the lives and health of all Canadians and disproportionately affected Canadians with disabilities in particular,” Qualtrough said. “We also recognize that persons with disabilities are at a higher risk of job loss during economic downturns.”
Asked more broadly whether the government has plans to extend or amend the $2,000 a-month Canada Emergency Response Benefit in light of the shifting economic situation and gradual reopening, the minister said that conversations are underway.
“Our thinking moving forward is how do we balance a need to continue to support workers while not disincentivizing work, and absolutely those conversations are happening right now.”
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