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

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The latest:

The decision-making body of the World Health Organization is meeting today for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic began in China late last year, and Canada is among several countries urging that Taiwan be given observer status.

A letter to the organization signed by diplomats from Canada, Australia, France, Germany, New Zealand, Britain, Japan and the United States says the World Health Assembly’s exclusion of Taiwan has created a serious public health concern during the COVID-19 crisis.

The letter to WHO director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus points to Taiwan’s early success at controlling the pandemic.

China sees Taiwan as a breakaway province and wants the world to heed its “one-China policy.” Beijing has blocked Taiwan from attending the meeting since the 2016 election of independence-leaning Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen.

WATCH | New rules, precautions as retailers reopen:

As retail stores in many provinces begin to reopen, retailers are asking customers to take precautions and abide by new rules. 2:02

That policy continues as the World Health Assembly meets over video conference for two days.

The assembly will discuss efforts to develop a COVID-19 vaccine and concerns over whether enough was done to stop the virus from spreading.

The European Union and Australia are expected to call for an independent review into the origins of COVID-19 and the world’s response to the respiratory illness caused by a novel coronavirus.

Tragedy marks Operation Inspiration

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau issued a statement Sunday night expressing condolences following the crash of a Snowbirds jet that was part of Operation Inspiration, a series of flyovers across the country to salute Canadians and front-line workers during the pandemic.

“For the past two weeks, the Snowbirds have been flying across the country to lift up Canadians during these difficult times,” Trudeau said.

“Every day, they represent the very best of Canada and demonstrate excellence through incredible skill and dedication. Their flyovers across the country put a smile on the faces of Canadians everywhere and make us proud.”

The pilot, Capt. Richard MacDougall, survived Sunday’s crash. But public affairs officer Capt. Jennifer Casey was killed when the plane went down shortly after takeoff in Kamloops, B.C.

The Defence Department said the flyovers have been suspended until further notice.

Trudeau is on a two-day break from his daily briefings on the pandemic, but will resume the updates on Tuesday.

He will speak with the Queen on Monday, as well as participate in a roundtable over the phone with small business operators from his Papineau riding in Montreal to discuss the impacts of COVID-19, the Prime Minister’s Office said.

Statistical milestone with recoveries

The number of COVID-19 cases in Canada has increased over this holiday weekend, but there appear to be some positive signs. The number of new daily cases has averaged less than 1,200 for the past week, a rate not seen since early April.

In addition, more than half of all known cases of COVID-19 in the country had either been recovered or resolved as of Sunday, according to a tally by CBC News.

WATCH | COVID-19 adds to uncertain future for the Bay:

The Hudson’s Bay Company may be marking its 350th anniversary, but even before the pandemic, Canada’s iconic retailer was facing an uncertain future. 2:00

As of early Monday morning, Canada has had a total of 77,022 cases since the start of the pandemic, including 38,563 recoveries, according to a CBC News tally. That’s based on provincial health data, regional information and CBC’s reporting.

The death toll from the novel coronavirus in Canada is 5,887. There are two known fatalities of Canadians abroad.

WATCH | Concern over reopening the border between U.S. and Canada:

There is uncertainty over containing the spread of COVID-19 in Canada if the border is reopened too soon, says Craig Janes, director of the School of Public Health and Health Systems at University of Waterloo. 5:51

As Canada reached the statistical milestone on Sunday regarding recoveries, provinces were preparing to ease more restrictions in the coming week.

Ontario will enter its first stage of reopening on May 19 by lifting restrictions on certain retailers and the construction industry. Some surgeries will also resume.

As part of the province’s reopening plans, retail stores outside of shopping malls with street entrances can begin reopening with physical distancing measures in place. 

Pet care services, such as grooming and training, and regular veterinary appointments can also begin again in Stage 1.

British Columbia’s government will also allow a partial reopening of the province’s economy starting Tuesday. However, the reopenings are contingent on organizations and businesses having plans that follow provincial guidelines to control the spread of COVID-19. While many provincial parks in B.C. are now open for day use, officials are still discouraging unnecessary travel.

Carolyn Ellis, right, hugs her mother, Susan Watts, on Saturday using the ‘hug glove’ that Carolyn and her husband, Andrew Ellis, created as a Mother’s Day gift in Guelph, Ont. It’s made of plastic sheeting and held together by tape. (Jorge Uzon/AFP/Getty Images)

In New Brunswick, licensed daycares can begin reopening Tuesday. And while children will not have to wear masks, they will be separated into small groups as a safety precaution.

Meanwhile, Alberta welcomed the arrival of the Victoria Day weekend by increasing the limit for outdoor gatherings to 50 people — up from 15 — as long as members of different households stay two metres apart.

A sign with a message thanking front-line workers is seen at Ottawa’s Commissioners Park on Sunday. (Justin Tang/The Canadian Press)

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 illness 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 the provinces and territories:

Newfoundland and Labrador marked its 10th straight day without new cases on Sunday. There are still eight active cases remaining in the province, as 249 people have recovered from the virus. Active cases are the total cases minus recovered cases and deaths. Read more about what’s happeneing in N.L.

Nova Scotia on Sunday reported three new cases of COVID-19 and no additional deaths. There are now 1,040 confirmed cases, 938 recoveries and 55 deaths in the province. The most recent provincial data indicates there are 47 known active cases of the virus in Nova Scotia.

The province is entering the second phase of reopening, Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Robert Strang announced Friday. The province is introducing an immediate-family bubble, which would let two households come together without physical distancing. Read more about what’s happening in N.S.

New Brunswick had no new cases to report on Sunday for a 10th day. With a total of 120 recoveries, all cases in the province have been resolved. But Dr. Jennifer Russell is reminding the public to protect themselves this holiday weekend by keeping to their respective two-household bubbles and following physical distancing guidelines. Read more about what’s happening in New Brunswick. 

WATCH | CBC panel answers your COVID-19 questions:

Our Sunday Scrum panel answers questions from CBC viewers related to the COVID-19 pandemic and the response from the federal and provincial governments. 10:37

In Prince Edward Island, P.E.I. National Park will remain closed to visitors through the remainder of the Victoria Day weekend, but many businesses and services are preparing to reopen on May 22. The province has had no new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the past 19 days. Read more about what’s happening to get life in P.E.I. back to normal.

In Quebec, police checkpoints set up at the beginning of April to prevent non-essential travel from Ontario into Gatineau in the hopes it would stop the spread of COVID-19 were coming down on Monday.

WATCH | Why Quebec has the worst COVID-19 outbreak in Canada:

The Quebec government’s handling of the pandemic may explain why the province has the worst outbreak in Canada. 5:55

Gatineau Mayor Maxime Pedneaud-Jobin said the lifting of restrictions doesn’t mean people are free to travel as they please and they should resist the urge to come to the Outaouais region in western Quebec just to shop. Read more about what’s happening in Quebec

Ontario reported 340 new cases on Sunday for a total of 22,653 and 17,360 recoveries. There have been 1,970 deaths related to the virus.

A person covers their mouth and nose with a T-shirt while talking with another person in Vancouver on Sunday. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press)

In Hamilton, Ont., a retirement home has been emptied of its staff and residents after 49 residents and 13 staff members tested positive, and one resident died.

Fifty-two people at the 64-bed Rosslyn Retirement Residence have been transported to hospital, according to a statement issued Saturday by St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton. Dr. Ninh Tran, associate medical officer of health for the city, said two other residents found places to stay with family or friends. Read more about what’s happening in Ontario.

People wait to be tested for COVID-19 at a mobile clinic in Montreal on Sunday. (Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press)

Manitoba marked its sixth straight day with no new cases on Sunday. The total number of cases in the province remains at 289. Read more about what’s happening in Manitoba.

Saskatchewan reported one new case in the far north on Sunday, bringing the total number of cases in the province to 592, with 142 considered active. 

The province also said 11 more people have recovered from the virus, but five remain in hospital, including three in intensive care. As of Sunday, Saskatchewan has performed 40,806 tests. Read more about what’s happening in Saskatchewan.

Alberta is relaxing restrictions around outdoor gatherings, Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw announced Friday. Outdoor gatherings can now consist of as many as 50 people, as long as members of different households stay two metres apart. 

Earlier, Hinshaw said the province should know within a week if the reopening of bars, restaurants and some other businesses in most areas will lead to a surge in new cases. Read more about what’s happening in Alberta

In British Columbia, an investigation is underway into what caused a Canadian Forces Snowbirds plane to crash in Kamloops on Sunday. Witnesses say the Tutor aircraft was following another jet when it appeared to veer upward and circle the tarmac before going into a nosedive.

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix went into the long weekend urging residents to stay close to home to mitigate transmission of COVID-19 before some businesses reopen on Tuesday. Read more about what’s happening in B.C.

People pose for a photo beside a COVID-19 notice at Commissioners Park in Ottawa on Sunday. (Justin Tang/The Canadian Press)

The Northwest Territories is entering the first phase of its COVID-19 recovery plan, affecting both indoor and outdoor gatherings, as well as the reopening of some businesses. Read more about what’s happening across the North, including Yukon’s announcement that it will also begin to ease restrictions.

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

As of 5:30 a.m. ET on Monday, there were more than 4.7 million confirmed cases of coronavirus around the world, according to a database tracking system maintained by the coronavirus resource centre at Johns Hopkins University. More than 1.48 million cases are in the United States.

According to the tracking system, COVID-19 has killed roughly 315,000 people globally.

A person wearing a face mask walks past a store with encouraging messages painted on the boarded up windows and doors in Vancouver on Sunday. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press)

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Canada has an army of volunteers ready to help fight COVID-19 — so why aren't we using them? – CBC.ca

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Thousands of Canadians have volunteered their time to help track COVID-19 cases across the country, but even Canada’s hardest-hit provinces haven’t used them.

The National COVID-19 Volunteer Recruitment Campaign was launched by the federal government in early April, calling on Canadians from coast-to-coast to step up and help. 

“We need you!” the campaign urgently stated. 

“We are building an inventory of volunteers from which provincial and territorial governments can draw upon as needed. We welcome ALL volunteers as we are looking for a wide variety of experiences and expertise.” 

Canada’s chief public health officer, Theresa Tam, tweeted the campaign on April 12 to Canadians wondering how they could help with the COVID-19 response. 

Volunteers were called on to help with three key areas: case tracking and contact tracing, assessing health system surge capacity, and case data collection and reporting. 

Health Canada and The Public Health Agency of Canada said 53,769 people signed up to assist in the effort by the time the posting closed on April 24. 

But weeks later, the volunteer database does not appear to have been used in any province or territory — even in Ontario and Quebec, where 90 per cent of Canada’s new COVID-19 cases are now occurring.

“As contact tracing responsibilities fall under each provincial and territorial jurisdiction, they are determining when and how they will train and deploy volunteers to meet their evolving needs,” a spokesperson for Health Canada and PHAC said.

CBC News reached out to every provincial and territorial health ministry in the country and none could confirm they had used any of the volunteers.

Health Canada said it also shared names from the volunteer database with the Canadian Red Cross to help personnel in long-term care facilities. 

But a spokesperson for the organization said they have only “recently started the initial process of reaching out to some of the individuals who submitted their names.”


This is an excerpt from Second Opinion, a weekly roundup of eclectic and under-the-radar health and medical science news emailed to subscribers every Saturday morning. If you haven’t subscribed yet, you can do that by clicking here.


Canadians ready to help

Toronto teacher Shalini Basu found herself unexpectedly unemployed due to the global coronavirus pandemic, after her contract ended in March and schools across Ontario closed for the remainder of the school year. 

“I read about volunteers for the database on Twitter and thought it would be a great way to use my time and be useful, seeing as though I have a lot of free time these days,” she said.

“I follow the news very closely and it seemed like there was an urgent need for volunteers.” 

She filled out an extensive questionnaire online and was excited to help at a time when there wasn’t much else she could do for others — aside from staying home. 

But Basu still hasn’t heard anything. 

Volunteers said they were extensively questioned on whether they had medical experience, military experience and even veterinary experience to gauge where they could be best put to use. 

But despite calling on people with a “wide variety of expertise,” many volunteers are left wondering who exactly the federal government was hoping to use. 

“I hope by not being called it also means that a lot of Canadians applied and they filled their quota,” Basu said. 

“I’ve been wondering how much this initiative actually got underway.”

More than 53,000 people signed up to volunteer from April 12 to 24. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

Paul Baker also wanted to help. 

The retired Guelph, Ont., senior has a background in marketing and felt he could be put to use reaching out to confirmed COVID-19 cases by phone to help track their close contacts. 

“There is that first step that’s got to be taken in contact tracing, which is calling the person that’s positive and they know they’re positive, so it’s not going to be a stressful situation,” he said. 

“Then you turn that over to somebody who’s got more training in how to actually call somebody and say, ‘You might be COVID positive.'” 

Baker spent 45 minutes filling out the questionnaire, and hoped to be called on to help in other areas of the province or the country that had a high volume of new cases or outbreaks in long-term care homes.

But weeks later, he hasn’t received an update. 

‘Federal-provincial divide’

Raywat Deonandan, an epidemiologist and associate professor at the University of Ottawa, says the motivation for the campaign was commendable and compared it to a “wartime effort.” 

“Congratulations to the government for having that initiative up front, because they recognize contact tracing would be a big part of this,” he said. 

“But there clearly wasn’t a subsequent plan to use the roster in a strategic way and there wasn’t a subsequent plan to navigate the federal-provincial divide.” 

Because each province and territory has individual public health units that allocate resources and make decisions at a local level, Deonandan says a national database of volunteers would be challenging to roll out effectively. 

“I’m not really surprised,” he said.

Even one of his PhD students in epidemiology volunteered and never heard back, Deonandan said.

“What needs to happen, obviously, is for the provinces to take over the contact tracing capacity in a meaningful way and maybe even restart the volunteer rostering process — because I’m still getting people contacting me asking how they can get involved.” 

While more advanced interventions could be left to professionals, volunteers feel they could help make initial contact with COVID-19 patients over the phone to trace their close contacts. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

Dr. Michael Warner, medical director of critical care at Michael Garron Hospital in Toronto, has been calling on Ontario to step up contact tracing as the province continues to move toward reopening despite a steady stream of high caseloads

“Anyone who knows what it’s like to go after something, can use a telephone and has a high school education can be trained to do the work,” he said. Both his parents — one of whom is a university professor — had volunteered and never heard back.

“I think public health is so overwhelmed that even managing a bunch of new people, whether they’re hired or volunteers, is probably something they can’t handle.” 

Contact tracing key to stopping spread 

A recent study published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases journal found isolating positive cases and contact tracing played a key role in controlling the spread of COVID-19 in Shenzen, China.  

Patients that were found to have COVID-19 because they reported symptoms of the disease were identified at an average of 4.6 days after they reported getting sick. 

But contact tracing of those close to them, such as in the same household, reduced that time to just 2.7 days on average. 

Another recent study published by JAMA Internal Medicine examined the first 100 confirmed COVID-19 patients in Taiwan and found they were most infectious in the days leading up to showing symptoms and in the five days after. 

That study stresses the need to identify potential cases that may have been unknowingly exposed, but not know they’re sick yet, to effectively contain the spread of the disease.

“These findings underscore the pressing public health need for accurate and comprehensive contact tracing and testing,” Robert Steinbrook wrote in an editor’s note. “Testing only those people who are symptomatic will miss many infections and render contact tracing less effective.”

Ontario needs to increase contact tracing in order to curb the spread of COVID-19 in the province, says Dr. Michael Warner. 9:11

The World Health Organization also says contact tracing is “an essential public health tool for controlling infectious disease outbreaks” that can “break the chains of transmission” of COVID-19.  

Volunteers could help not only with tracing contacts of COVID-19 patients, but also with cutting down the time it takes to notify public health units of positive cases, Warner said. 

“One of the biggest sources of a lag in effective contact tracing is the time it takes from the moment the patient is swabbed to the time that piece of paper arrives in the fax machine at the public health office,” he said. 

“We’ve got we’ve got people on the bench willing to work, but they probably don’t even have the capacity to open that list and look at those names because they can’t even do the job they’ve been tasked to do.”


To read the entire Second Opinion newsletter every Saturday morning, subscribe by clicking here.

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Provincial border bans during pandemic anger barred Canadians, spark lawsuits – CBC.ca

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Lesley Shannon of Vancouver was infuriated when New Brunswick rejected her request last month to enter the province to attend her mother’s burial. 

“I’m mystified, heartbroken and angry,” said Shannon on Wednesday. “They’re basically saying my mother’s life has no value.” 

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island and the three territories have temporarily barred Canadian visitors from entering their borders unless they meet specific criteria, such as travelling for medical treatment. 

The provinces and territories say the extreme measures are necessary to protect their residents from the spread of the novel coronavirus that causes the COVID-19 illness. 

But the border bans have fuelled criticism from civil rights advocates who argue barring fellow Canadians is unconstitutional. The travel restrictions have also angered Canadians denied entry for travel they believe is crucial. 

“I’m not trying to go to my aunt’s or cousin’s funeral. This is my mother, my last living parent,” said Shannon, who grew up in Rothesay, N.B.

Lesley Shannon of Vancouver, right, pictured with her late mother, Lorraine, was infuriated when New Brunswick rejected her request last month to enter the province to attend her mother’s burial. (Submitted by Lesley Shannon)

Protecting health of its citizens

On Thursday, shortly after CBC News asked for comment on Shannon’s case, the New Brunswick government announced it will reopen its borders starting June 19 to Canadian travellers with immediate family or property in New Brunswick. It also plans to grant entry to people attending a close family member’s funeral or burial.

The province’s Campbellton region, however, remains off limits.

Shannon was happy to hear the news, but is unsure at this point if she’ll be allowed to enter the province in time for her mother’s burial. She would first have to self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival, as required the province, and the cemetery holding her mother’s body told her the burial must happen soon.

“I’m just hoping that [permission comes] fast enough for me.”

New Brunswick told CBC News that restricting out-of-province visitors has served as a key way to protect the health of its citizens.

“It’s necessary because of the threat posed by travel: all but a handful of New Brunswick’s [COVID-19] cases are travel cases,” said Shawn Berry, spokesperson for the Department of Public Safety, in an email.

Legal challenges

Kim Taylor of Halifax was so upset over being denied entry in early May to attend her mother’s funeral in Newfoundland and Labrador she launched a lawsuit against the province.

“I certainly feel like the government has let me and my family down,” she said.

It’s not right. No province in Canada can shut its borders to Canadian citizens.– John Drover, lawyer

Shortly after speaking publicly about her case, Taylor got permission to enter the province —11 days after initially being rejected. But the court challenge is still going ahead — on principle.

“It’s not right. No province in Canada can shut its borders to Canadian citizens,” alleged Taylor’s lawyer, John Drover. 

Kim Taylor said Newfoundland and Labrador’s decision to deny her entry into the province following her mother’s death exacerbated her grief. (CBC)

Violates charter, CCLA says

The Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA) has joined the lawsuit and has sent letters to each of the provinces and territories banning Canadian visitors, outlining its concerns. 

The CCLA argues provinces and territories barring Canadians violates the country’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which states that every Canadian has the right to live and work in any province. 

The CCLA said if a province or territory limits those rights, its reasons must be justified. 

“So far, what we’ve seen from these governments hasn’t convinced us that there is good evidence that these limits are reasonable,” said Cara Zwibel, director of CCLA’s fundamental freedoms program.

“The existence of a virus in and of itself is not enough of a reason.”

Cara Zwibel is director of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association’s fundamental freedoms program. The CCLA argues provinces and territories barring Canadians violates the country’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms. (Submitted by the Canadian Civil Liberties Association)

Newfoundland and Labrador also face a proposed class-action lawsuit launched this month, representing Canadians denied entry who own property in the province.

“The issue that our clients take is that this [restriction] is explicitly on geographic grounds and that seems to be contrary to the Charter of Rights,” said Geoff Budden, a lawyer with the suit, which has not yet been certified.

The Newfoundland and Labrador government told CBC News it’s reviewing the lawsuits. They have both been filed in the province’s Supreme Court.

On Wednesday, Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Dwight Ball defended the province’s travel restrictions, arguing they remain necessary to avoid spreading the virus.

“This is put in place to protect Newfoundlanders and Labradorians; it’s not about shutting people out,” he said. 

WATCH | Inside the fight against COVID-19:

[embedded content]

What about a 14-day isolation?

The rest of Canada’s provinces have each advised against non-essential travel for now but are still allowing Canadian visitors to enter their province. Nova Scotia and Manitoba, however, require that visitors self-isolate for 14 days. CCLA’s Zwibel said that rule may be a less restrictive way for a province to protect its residents during the pandemic. 

“The Charter of Rights does require that if governments do place limits on rights, they do so in a way that impairs them as little as possible,” she said. 

Back in Vancouver, a frustrated Shannon points out that New Brunswick is already allowing temporary foreign workers into the province — as long as they self-isolate for 14 days. However, her invitation is still pending.

“It’s very upsetting to think I’m less welcome in New Brunswick than somebody who was not even born in Canada,” she said.

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Ontario, Quebec continue to account for majority of Canada’s new novel coronavirus cases – Globalnews.ca

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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.


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How many Canadians have the new coronavirus? Total number of confirmed cases by region

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).

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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.

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Manitoba reported two new cases, bringing its total to 289 cases and seven deaths, while Saskatchewan reported one new case.

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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.

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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.

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