Canada’s top public health official struck an optimistic tone about the COVID-19 pandemic on Saturday, saying that efforts to flatten the curve are working as provinces across the country reported more positive figures.
“By following public health recommendations, we have collectively brought down the rate of infection. We are flattening the curve,” Dr. Theresa Tam said in a news release as federal officials and the prime minister took a break from their daily news conferences.
“While we can continue to be cautiously optimistic, it is important that everyone remains aware of our duty to protect one another, especially those who are most vulnerable, as we navigate the next few weeks.”
No active cases in N.B.
The message came as New Brunswick reported they had no more active cases of COVID-19 on Saturday after two weeks without a new infection, and Ontario Premier Doug Ford said his province could get through the pandemic faster than previously expected.
“We’re seeing a gradual downward slope in the public domain, and the lower we get the more we can open up and get back to the new normal,” Ford said.
“I don’t know the exact time … but if we keep going the way we’re going, we’re going to get out of this a lot sooner than we thought we might’ve been able to get out a couple of months ago.”
At the provincial legislature, demonstrators gathered for a second Saturday in a row for an anti-lockdown protest. Ford blasted the protesters for disrespecting the Canadian flag by flying it upside down during the demonstration.
“I understand, people are hurting out there and people want to get back out there,” Ford said. But he added that flying the flag upside down disrespects members of the Armed Forces who are overseas, as well as those helping in long-term care facilities in Ontario.
“What they’re doing is putting their lives in jeopardy as far as I’m concerned with congregating side-by-side,” he said.
Ford said he respected their right to protest but wondered whether it’s fair that mothers with their children receive fines for being in parks while anti-lockdown protesters aren’t fined.
More lockdown rules being lifted
Provinces across Canada are preparing to start relaxing lockdown rules in the coming week.
Businesses such as gardening centres and auto dealerships will be allowed to open in Ontario on Monday, while residents in Newfoundland and Labrador will be allowed to interact with one household other than their own.
Quebec has announced plans to gradually reopen daycares, elementary schools, retail businesses, construction and manufacturing during the month of May.
That province has seen most of its deaths in long-term care homes, and Quebec Premier François Legault has said the fight against COVID-19 is entirely different in those facilities — an argument Ontario’s premier agreed with on Saturday.
“There’s two different worlds right now we’re fighting this virus, one in long-term care homes and one in the public domain,” Ford said. “In the public domain, everyone has done an incredible job … and that’s the reason why we see the trend going down.”
As of Saturday evening, Canada had 56,714 confirmed and presumptive coronavirus cases, with the majority concentrated in Ontario and Quebec. Provinces and territories list 23,814 of the cases as resolved or recovered. A CBC News tally of COVID-19-related deaths based on provincial data, regional health information and CBC’s reporting lists 3,656 deaths in Canada and two known coronavirus-related deaths of Canadians abroad.
The contagious respiratory illness causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or death. There is no proven treatment or vaccine for the virus, which first emerged in China in late 2019.
‘We cannot afford any missteps’
British Columbia’s top medical official Dr. Bonnie Henry urged people to stay vigilant, asking anyone with symptoms to contact health officials and take measures to protect their family and community members.
“It is far too easy to tip the scales against us and undo the hard work and sacrifice that everybody here in B.C. has made,” she said Saturday as the province announced just 26 new cases.
“We cannot afford any missteps as we look to ease our restrictions in the coming days and weeks.”
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke with his counterpart in New Zealand, Jacinda Ardern, to share information about fighting the pandemic while protecting the economy.
A readout of the call said the two leaders also spoke about the need to keep supply chains working throughout the global crisis, particularly in regards to medical supplies.
New Zealand has widely been seen as a success story in the effort to curb the spread of COVID-19.
WATCH | Canada’s economy to be particularly hard hit by COVID-19, says expert
What’s happening in the provinces and territories
British Columbia’s provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, announced on Saturday a new community outbreak at a poultry plant, where there are three confirmed cases. Henry also said there were 26 new COVID-19 cases in the province on Saturday, bringing the current total to 2,171. Read more about what’s happening in B.C.
WATCH | Travellers arriving in B.C. met with strict quarantine instructions:
WATCH | Edmonton grandma overcomes broken pelvis, pneumonia and COVID-19:
Saskatchewan announced that its number of cases has climbed to 421, with six new cases recorded on Saturday. Of the new cases included in the update, four are in the North, one is in Saskatoon and one is in Regina. Northern leaders say drastic action may have to be taken unless more people start following public health orders, as they say some people are still trying to go around the restrictions. Read more about what’s happening in Saskatchewan.
Manitoba reported one new case on Saturday. The province says there is also one more hospitalization, bringing the total to six. On Monday, the Manitoba government is allowing restaurants to open patios if they follow specific guidelines for physical distancing, which has left owners weighing the pros and cons of taking part. Read more about what’s happening in Manitoba.
WATCH | Winnipeg couple of 70 years ‘connect’ through window amid restrictions:
In Ontario, a union representing health-care workers says a third personal support worker has died in as many weeks. SEIU Healthcare says workers have been asking for more personal protective equipment, which is currently being rationed. Read more about what’s happening in Ontario.
WATCH | Personal support workers reusing masks amid PPE shortage
Quebec’s director of public health says the province is launching a more “aggressive” testing strategy as it begins to loosen pandemic restrictions. Dr. Horacio Arruda says Quebec is planning to conduct 14,000 tests a day, up from roughly 6,000 tests a day that it’s currently doing. The province wants to start testing regular citizens, including some without symptoms. Until late this week, Quebec was only testing essential workers with symptoms, with a focus on health-care workers. Read more about what’s happening in Quebec.
New Brunswick is COVID-19 free, according to the latest numbers from the province. The province says there were no new cases on Saturday — for the 14th straight day — and all 118 cases have now recovered. That makes New Brunswick the only province without a confirmed active case in the country. Read more about what’s happening in N.B.
Nova Scotia is reporting two more deaths at the Northwood long-term care home in Halifax. That brings the death toll in the province to 31. The province also reported four news cases, bringing the total number of positive cases to 963. To date, 609 people have recovered from COVID-19. Twelve people are in hospital, including three in intensive care. Read more about what’s happening in N.S.
In Prince Edward Island, Phase 1 of the province’s plan to ease restrictions began Friday. P.E.I.’s chief public health officer, Dr. Heather Morrison, said the provincial government will continue to emphasize physical distancing, good hygiene and staying home as much as possible. The Island has 27 confirmed cases, but only two since April 8. Read more about what’s happening on P.E.I.
Newfoundland and Labrador has no new reported cases of COVID-19 on Saturday. According to a news release issued by the provincial government, the number of total cases in the province remains at 259.
Saturday is the fifth day this week without any new reported cases of COVID-19 in the province, with only three new cases since April 18. Read more about what’s happening in N.L.
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In Canada’s North, all of Yukon’s 11 confirmed cases of COVID-19 have recovered.
Meanwhile, Yukon Justice Minister Tracy-Anne McPhee announced Friday that someone has been charged under Yukon’s Civil Emergency Measures Act for allegedly failing to self-isolate as required. Read more about what’s happening across the North.
WATCH | Yellowknife’s sanitation workers keep working amid pandemic:
What’s happening in the U.S.
Gorgeous spring weather across the U.S. Saturday drew people cooped up inside for weeks outside to soak in the sun.
Though grateful to be outdoors, people were still wary — masks were worn everywhere, and a New York City farmer’s market enforced the familiar two metres of space between people waiting to buy spring flowers. Mothers in Central Park reminded their kids to give people space. And small groups of picnickers kept their safe distances, while joggers moved past each other without a glance.
Retired New York attorney Stan Neustadter pulled down his mask to say it’s been important to his spirit to get out. “Why live like a rabbit? Plus I’m approaching 78, I’ve had a great run,” Neustadter said.
Police and park officials were spread out across New York City, which sent out 1,000 officers to enforce social distancing on the warmest day since mid-March. But they were more likely to break up large groups, leaving the nuisances of social distancing and hanging out safely outside to New Yorkers themselves.
“Go for a walk, but respect the social distancing and wear a mask,” New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.
With gigs drying up at clubs and concert halls, German native Julia Banholzer, a saxophonist, said she has taken to playing al fresco in Central Park for whoever happens by. On Saturday that was a steady stream of folks, most wearing masks, who left tips for her trio as they worked their way through a set of jazz standards.
“It’s great to have an audience after all these weeks.” she said. “All my dates have been cancelled through September, and I don’t know if any will come back this year. New York is a tough place, but this is just another tough period we need to get through.”
‘So far, so good’
Meanwhile, fighter jets from the U.S. Navy Blue Angels and U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds drew people outside as they flew over Atlanta, Baltimore and Washington in honour of health-care workers. In Atlanta, motorists stopped on a major highway while other people found open places to look to the sky on rooftops or a cemetery.
New Jersey reopened state parks Saturday. Limited to 50 per cent capacity in their parking areas, several had to turn away additional arrivals by the afternoon. But nearly everyone followed the rules on social distancing and Gov. Phil Murphy said “so far, so good” at his daily briefing.
Margie Roebuck and her husband were among the first people on the sand at Island Beach State Park. “Forty-six days in the house was enough,” she said.
There are economic factors to consider as well. In some areas of the United States, reopening is being urged to ease the shutdown of businesses that plunged the global economy into its deepest slump since the 1930s and wiped out millions of jobs.
It has created a patchwork of rules across the 50 states. In South Carolina, where about 20 per cent of the state’s revenue comes from tourism, beach hotels were allowed to reopen Friday. Webcams showed dozens of people on the beach Saturday, but pools still closed. South Carolina also hasn’t reopened dine-in restaurants, unlike neighbouring Georgia. Some U.S. states have yet to start the reopening process.
Business owners have also been left wondering if customers will return. On a postcard-perfect spring day, Detroit’s Eastern Market had far fewer customers and vendors than normal at the farmers market.
Jill and Mark Thomas said they felt safe selling bottles of homemade wine from their Unwined Winery, but it wasn’t the same in the COVID-19 world.
“It’s easier when you can get samples to people,” said Jill Thomas. “We’re not allowed to do that now.”
What’s happening around the world
China‘s health authorities say two new coronavirus cases were confirmed Saturday, continuing a downward trend since the government took steps to cut the number of people arriving from overseas. China’s official confirmed case count stands at 82,877 and its death toll has reached 4,633.
The government has blocked virtually all foreigners from entering the country and sharply curtailed the number of international flights, making it difficult for Chinese citizens to return from overseas too.
Yemen‘s health authorities say there are three new coronavirus cases in the southern city of Aden and the western city of Taiz, bringing the total number of cases to 10 with two deaths. Saturday’s announcement comes as the U.N. health agency has warned of the invisible outbreak of the virus, saying that it’s “actively circulating throughout the country.” The agency says testing and resources to detect the virus are “grossly insufficient.”
Yemen has been embroiled in civil war for more than five years and has a fragile health system, with half of the health facilities not properly functioning.
Britain‘s Department of Health says a total of 28,131 people have died in hospitals, care homes and the wider community after testing positive for the new coronavirus in the United Kingdom, an increase of 621 from the previous tally.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Thursday told the nation that Britain had passed its peak in the COVID-19 outbreak and said he has plans to reveal a “road map” outlining how lockdown steps might be eased in the coming week.
In Italy, the number of beds treating COVID-19 patients continued to decline as the country prepared to ease its strict lockdown measures on Monday.
The Civil Protection Agency said that there were 212 fewer people hospitalized with the virus and 39 fewer in intensive care in the past 24 hours, numbers that have been consistently easing in recent weeks. That has given authorities confidence to be able to cope with any new spike in cases as more businesses reopen and individuals are allowed more freedom to move around their towns and cities of residence.
At the same time, the number of dead nudged up the most in 11 days — by 474 — and the number of people who have recovered from the virus was the lowest in more than two weeks. Italy has registered the most deaths after the United States, at 28,710.
WATCH | Italian cities test physical distancing measures as restrictions soon to ease
In Spain, people filled the streets Saturday to exercise for the first time after seven weeks of confinement to fight the coronavirus.
People ran, walked or rode bicycles under a sunny sky in Barcelona, where many flocked to the maritime promenade to get close to the still off-limits beach. Others jogged around parks and along sidewalks across the nation.
“Some people think it may be too early, as I do, but it is also important to do exercise for health reasons,” says 36-year-old Cristina Palomeque in Barcelona.
Spain has 24,824 confirmed deaths from the virus and 215,216 infections.
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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