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Coronavirus: What's happening in Canada on Friday – CBC.ca

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The latest:

As COVID-19 public safety restrictions continue, the May long weekend that so many Canadians look forward to every year will be different than any other in recent memory. 

Plans for gradually reopening businesses and recreational activities in the coming days and weeks vary by province and territory, but all are asking people to continue physical distancing measures amid the fight to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus. 

Most provinces and territories are asking people to resist the urge to travel or hold gatherings they would have in years past.   

On Thursday, B.C. Parks reopened facilities such as trails, including backcountry trails, beaches, picnic areas, washroom facilities and boat launches for day use. 

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry emphasized the need for British Columbians to stay local and avoid travelling during the long weekend, as new cases of coronavirus continued to appear.  

“Let’s make this our summer of care and consideration for our families, our communities and our province. A summer for us all to remember to be kind, to be calm and to be safe,” she said in her Thursday media briefing. 

In Alberta, retail stores, hair salons, museums, daycares and day camps were allowed to open, with restrictions, across much of the province, amid warnings from the province’s chief medical officer that reopening did not mean going back to normal. 

Calgary and Brooks, however, which account for the majority of the active cases in Alberta, were told by the province to hold back, Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi said Thursday. 

Barber Salim Alhaj cuts the hair of a client in Airdrie, Alta., on Thursday. Many services, such as hairdressing, were allowed to reopen across much of the province, but not in Calgary, where there are still many cases of COVID-19. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press)

“Please, please, please, please don’t let up now,” Nenshi said. “Be safe, stay kind. Together we’ll save lives.” 

Ontario announced details of its first stage of reopening on Thursday. Beginning on Tuesday, retail stores outside of shopping malls that have street entrances will be allowed to open.

But “businesses should open only if they’re ready,” Ontario Premier Doug Ford warned, saying the province will be watching the COVID-19 case numbers closely. “We cannot let our guard down now.”

Golf courses, marinas and private parks will be allowed to open a few days earlier, on Saturday. 

Members of the grounds crew do maintenance as they prepare the opening of a golf course in Milton, Ont. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press)

Ontarians must continue to be in contact only with members of their own households, the provincial government said. Health Minister Christine Elliott said the province was studying when that restriction could change, as well as when religious gatherings might resume. 

Montreal continues to be the epicentre of the COVID-19 pandemic in Canada. The city has recorded more than 20,000 cases and more than 2,100 deaths. 

On Thursday, Quebec Premier François Legault announced schools in the Montreal area won’t be reopening until the fall. Elementary schools in other parts of Quebec, where the number of cases is much lower than in the province’s largest city, started up again on Monday. 

Low-income neighbourhoods in Montreal have been especially hard hit. Public health experts say such neighbourhoods tend to be densely populated, and more residents work in front-line jobs — such as health care or grocery stores — where they are more likely to be exposed to illness.

In New Brunswick and in Newfoundland and Labrador, families are allowed to slightly relax their physical distancing measures over the holiday weekend thanks to recently implemented “double bubble” rules — in which two households can agree to spend time together exclusively. 

April home sales plunge to lowest level in 36 years

The economic uncertainty, lockdowns and physical distancing measures inflicted by the COVID-19 pandemic put a dramatic chill on Canada’s residential real estate market in April — a time when sales normally tend to heat up, the Canadian Real Estate Association said Friday.

It was the worst April for home sales since 1984, the association said, but still didn’t have a significant effect on average home prices. 

Federal emergency wage subsidy program extension

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is expected to provide details on Friday about extending the federal government’s emergency wage subsidy, which pays for up to 75 per cent of the payroll for eligible companies. 

The $73-billion program was initially scheduled to run until June 6. The program pays up to $847 per employee to help employers — who are facing plummeting revenues due to pandemic measures — keep their workers for the duration of the COVID-19 crisis.

Statistics Canada’s Labour Force Survey data estimates the total number of jobs lost during the crisis at more than three million.

WATCH | At Issue: The politics of pandemic spending:

The At Issue panel discusses the political and economic costs of the federal government’s response to the COVID-19 crisis and the calls for more fiscal transparency. Plus in this extended edition, the panellists look at the concerns about fraudulent CERB claims. 15:20

As of Friday morning, Canada had 73,401 confirmed and presumptive coronavirus cases, with 36,104 of those considered recovered or resolved. A CBC News tally of COVID-19 deaths based on provincial health data, regional information and CBC’s reporting stood at 5,576.

While most cases of coronavirus are mild or moderate, some people — particularly the elderly or those with underlying health issues — are at higher risk of severe disease or death. There are no proven vaccines or treatments for the novel coronavirus, which causes an illness called COVID-19. 

Here’s what’s happening in other provinces and territories:

First Nations residents of northern Saskatchewan say highway bans and checkpoints put in place to try to prevent the spread of COVID-19 between different areas of the province has created a double standard and alienated them. Some residents say that although they’re supposed to be allowed to leave their communities for essentials such as shopping, that hasn’t happened — leaving them unable to access affordable groceries and supplies only available at larger stores in southern towns and cities. 

Prince Edward Island Premier Dennis King has laid out the basics on what will be expected of child-care providers when they reopen. “We know that we have to change how we deliver programs. Also, where some of these programs have been traditionally delivered will need to change as well,” the premier said. Read more about what’s happening in P.E.I.

The Northwest Territories could begin the first phase of its reopening plan — which includes allowing some businesses to reopen and small indoor gatherings — as soon as Friday, officials said. Read more about what’s happening across the North, including a story about a drop in emergency room visits in Yukon.

Here’s a look at what’s happening around the world:

As of Friday morning, there were more than 4.4 million confirmed cases of coronvirus around the world, according to a database tracking system maintained by the coronavirus resource centre at Johns Hopkins University. A quarter of those cases (more than 1.4 million) were in the United States. 

According to the tracking system, COVID-19 has killed more than 302,490 people globally. It says the 10 most affected countries at this time, based on the reported number of deaths, are the U.S., the U.K., Italy, France, Spain, Brazil, Belgium, Germany and Iran. 

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Coronavirus: What's happening in Canada and around the world Tuesday – CBC.ca

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Chinese authorities have announced mass coronavirus testing in Wuhan as an unusually wide series of COVID-19 outbreaks reached the city where the disease was first detected in late 2019.

The provincial capital of 11 million people in central China is the latest city to undergo city-wide testing. Three cases were confirmed in Wuhan on Monday, its first non-imported cases in more than a year.

China has largely curbed COVID-19 at home after the initial outbreak that devastated Wuhan and spread globally. Since then, authorities have tamped down and controlled the disease whenever it pops up with quick lockdowns and mass testing.

The current outbreaks are still in the hundreds of cases in total but have spread much more widely than previous ones. Many of the cases have been identified as the highly contagious delta variant.

The National Health Commission said Tuesday that 90 new cases had been confirmed the previous day.

-From The Associated Press, last updated at 7:05 a.m. ET


What’s happening in Canada

WATCH | Renewed concern over rising COVID-19 cases, delta variant: 

Despite Canada having one of the highest vaccination rates in the world, that might not be enough to slow the spread of COVID-19 driven by the highly contagious delta variant. 2:34


What’s happening around the world

A visitor submits her documents at the reception to receive a shot of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at Aoyama Gakuin University in Tokyo on Monday. (Stanislav Kogiku/The Associated Press)

As of early Tuesday morning, more than 198.9 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported, according to Johns Hopkins University. The reported global death toll stood at more than 4.2 million.

In the Asia-Pacific region, Japan will focus on hospitalizing patients who are seriously ill with COVID-19 and those at risk of becoming so while others isolate at home amid worries about a strained medical system as cases surge in Olympics host city Tokyo.

Pakistan’s top health official says his country for the first time has administered one million doses of COVID-19 vaccine across the country in the past 24 hours. The latest development comes days after Pakistan imposed a lockdown in the southern port city of Karachi and in other high-risk areas.

In the Americas, the U.S. states of Florida and Louisiana were at or near their highest hospitalization numbers of the coronavirus pandemic on Monday, a trend driven by the still-spreading delta variant.

Nearly three out of four Americans above the age of 18 have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine as of Monday, according to the U.S. Centers for Disesae Control.

In Africa, Morocco will lengthen its night curfew as it tightens restrictions to counter a surge in infections.

In the Middle East, Iran on Monday reported 37,189 new cases of COVID-19 — a single-day high, according to Johns Hopkins University’s COVID-19 tracker. The country, which has been hit hard by several waves of the novel coronavirus, also saw 411 additional deaths.

In Europe, France’s overseas territory of Guadeloupe will to go into a new lockdown for at least three weeks.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he wanted to get the travel industry moving again with a simple user-friendly system to allow for trips abroad without importing new virus variants.

From The Associated Press, Reuters and CBC News, last updated at 6:55 a.m. ET

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Canada fines travellers for fake vaccination and testing papers – BBC News

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A Covid screening centre at the Vancouver airport

Getty Images

Canada has fined two travellers arriving from the US who, officials say, forged Covid-19 testing and vaccination documents.

Each was fined C$19,720 ($16,000, £11,500) after inspectors at the Toronto airport found their vaccine cards and proof of testing were fake.

It comes as Canada is set to ease travel restrictions on US visitors.

Around the world, nations are grappling with how to re-open their borders to travellers amid a virus surge.

According to a statement from the Public Health Agency of Canada, the two unnamed travellers had entered Canada from the US during the week of 18 July.

The Canada Border Services Agency, which inspects Covid travel documents for authenticity, determined that the duo had faked the documents that they had uploaded to the government’s ArriveCAN travel website.

“The Government of Canada will continue to investigate incidents reported and will not hesitate to take enforcement action where it is warranted to protect the health of Canadians from the further spread of Covid-19 and its variants of concern,” the agency said in a statement.

Canada did not identify the travellers or their itineraries. The health agency told Newsweek in a statement that they were Canadian citizens.

Canada loosened requirements for international travellers on 5 July. Anyone entering the country must provide proof of vaccination. The unvaccinated have to submit to multiple tests, and stay for three days in a government-run hotel before quarantining for 14 days.

Canada will begin letting vaccinated Americans enter the country starting on 9 August.

The US border with Canada and Mexico, however, remains closed to foreigners until 21 August.

Other countries are quickly amending their travel restrictions, depending on the rise or fall of new infections and vaccinations.

On Monday, the UK began allowing vaccinated Americans and Europeans to enter without undergoing quarantine.

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US Customs agents arrest Canadian woman attempting to smuggle drugs – CTV Toronto

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CALGARY —
A Canadian woman has been caught attempting to import a significant quantity of cocaine into the country, U.S. border agents report.

The suspect, who was driving a commercial truck loaded with watermelons and peppers, attempted to cross into Canada at the office in Sweetgrass, Mont. on July 29.

Upon further inspection of the truck, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers discovered a number of bags hidden among the cargo.

The substance inside the bags tested positive for cocaine, officials said. The total amount of drugs seized was 31.5 kilograms.

“Utilizing high-tech tools, our frontline CBP Officers used a combination of their training and experience to detect and seize 69.5 pounds of cocaine in the cargo environment,” said area port director Jason Greene, Sweetgrass Port of Entry, in a release.

“The ability to facilitate lawful trade and travel while sustaining a focus on enforcement, is critical to our border security mission.”

Charges are pending against the suspect, who has not been identified.

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