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How Canada and the world are faring against the novel coronavirus

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TORONTO —
A spokesman for the World Health Organization (WHO) says Canada is seeing success in battling back the novel coronavirus, but the faster-rising infection numbers around the world could pose trouble here, too.

“The curve is going up, globally, not down, despite the efforts and the successes in many countries,” the WHO’s Christian Lindmeier told CTV News Channel on Sunday.

“Central Europe is doing pretty well; Canada is doing pretty well.”

Lindmeier’s comments came shortly after the world surpassed 10 million confirmed cases of COVID-19, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University, and following a week in which the global health agency repeatedly warned that the pandemic is accelerating.

This week marks six months since Chinese health authorities first notified the world about a mysterious cases of pneumonia in Wuhan, in what is now considered the first evidence of the existence of the virus.

It wasn’t until April 2, more than three months later, that the world hit one million cases of COVID-19. The five-million mark was surpassed seven weeks later, and it took only a little over five weeks for the next five million cases to be detected – backing up the WHO’s claim that the pandemic situation is worsening on a worldwide basis.

Lindmeier said this acceleration should stop Canadians from thinking the battle has been won just because the curve here is relatively flat at the moment.

“It doesn’t help if one country is doing great and another is not,” he said.

“No country is in this alone. We have to fight this all together.”

THE NEW HOTSPOTS

The COVID-19 map looks a lot different today than it did even three months ago, when Canadians were waking up to the realization that business and school closures weren’t going to be short-term measures.

Forget about China, Italy and New York. If you want to know where the novel coronavirus is wreaking the most havoc now, focus on Latin America, India and Arizona. And Florida. And Texas. And some other southern states.

The U.S. is hitting record highs in its daily new case counts, largely driven by skyrocketing totals in states that had been among the first to reopen schools and businesses. Many aspects of life in these states are once again being closed, including bars in Texas and beaches in the Miami area.

Dr. Matthew Oughton, director of the infectious disease training program at McGill University Health Centre, told CTV News Channel on Sunday that these states had removed their lockdown-like measures “far too soon, before they were even close to having flattened their curve,” which directly caused the current high caseloads.

“This allowed lots of opportunities for the virus that was still there … to spread expotentially,” he said.

Dr. Ronald St. John, the first director-general of the Public Health Agency of Canada’s Centre for Emergency Preparedness, told CTV News Channel on Sunday that part of the blame for the escalating numbers lies with states being allowed to largely direct their own responses to the virus, without a strong overarching federal plan.

“There is no cohesive control across all of the different states,” he said.

While several southern states appear to be faring worse than the rest of the U.S. in repelling the virus, it is clear that COVID-19 remains a national problem. Only two states are reporting lower numbers of new cases than they were last week: Connecticut and Rhode Island.

Outside the U.S., the highest numbers of new daily cases are now being reported in India, Russia and Mexico. The Middle East, South Asia and Central and South America are heavily represented in the list.

St. John said that Peru is “having a terrible time” dealing with the virus and described the situation in Brazil as “almost chaotic.” Brazil’s president, Jair Bolsonaro, was ordered by a judge this week to wear a face mask in public.

Many European countries, meanwhile, have successfully flattened their curves and slowly reopened their societies. There has even been talk of reopening Europe to travellers from outside the continent – although at this point, it does not appear Americans will be among those allowed in.

The return of global travel poses another problem, as experts believe some asymptomatic COVID-19 patients will surely slip through the screening and unwittingly spread the virus into areas from which it had virtually been eradicated.

“No matter how much you screen at the airports or how much you screen on the airplane … there’s still this problem of [the] asymptomatic person who can spread the disease,” St. John said.

“We will have to be putting out fires all over the place.”

St. John said managing these outbreaks effectively will involve countries disclosing every time they learn of a new case, even though doing so will discourage other tourists from visiting. He pointed to China’s new lockdown affecting nearly 500,000 people outside Beijing, due to new cases linked to a wholesale food market, as a good example of this.

“That’s the kind of thing that we’re going to see, in different places at different periods of time,” he said.

Overall, China’s curve has remained relatively flat since March, with all of the new outbreaks being isolated in order to prevent them from suddenly ramping up the number of new cases. South Korea, another early COVID-19 hotspot that quickly got a handle on the virus, is now dealing with fears of a second wave amid new daily case counts in the dozens.

Lindmeier said it is still too early to determine when a second wave of the virus might hit or how severe it might be. However, he said that case levels increasing as countries reopen is to be expected, and should not be seen as a reason to return to blanket lockdowns.

“It’s important for our social lives, it’s important for the economy, it’s important for our physical and mental health – but it has to be done with caution,” he said, warning that strong programs of testing, isolating suspected cases and tracing the contacts of those who test positive will be necessary to keep the resurgence from growing out of control.

CANADA VS. THE WORLD

Canada’s curve has not yet flattened to the extent of China’s or even South Korea’s, but it is clear that the pandemic is slowly abating.

The new daily case counts this week were lower every day than had been recorded here since the big increases began in late March.

With more than 100,000 cases of COVID-19 now confirmed in the country, Canada’s total is higher than the official numbers from more populated nations such as China, Indonesia and Ukraine. Per capita, we’ve been hit harder than France, Germany and Greece, among others.

The Johns Hopkins data puts Canada among the top 20 countries in the world in total cases and top 15 in total deaths – and that’s with the tight border controls that have severely curtailed the number of new arrivals in the country.

Despite those overall numbers, Oughton said he sees reason for optimism in how Canada has handled the pandemic more recently.

“Canada, overall, is doing exceptionally well compared to many other countries,” he said.

“We certainly will still have many challenges in the weeks and months to come – but right now, we are certainly at a lull. Numbers continue to drop. Numbers of patients who are hospitalized in the ICU continue to drop.”

Canada also stands out, less positively, for its death rate. According to the Johns Hopkins data, 8.2 per cent of COVID-19 cases in Canada have resulted in death. That’s less than several countries in western Europe – France, the United Kingdom and Spain included – but more than most of the rest of the developed world. In the U.S., that number is five per cent. In South Korea, it’s 2.2 per cent. In Australia, it’s even less.

This can largely be explained by the crisis in Canada’s long-term care (LTC) homes. One recent study found that 81 per cent of all those who died of COVID-19 in Canada lived in LTC homes, while the average across the 17 developed nations studied was 42 per cent.

Other outbreaks have been linked to migrant worker camps and other facilities where distancing is a challenge. But as Canada reopens, new dangers are becoming clear, such as the nail salon in Kingston, Ont. that had been linked to 21 confirmed COVID-19 cases as of Sunday.

St. John said he hopes Canadians will take the lesson of the nail salon to heart, and understand that businesses reopening does not mean life is back to normal.

“I’m dismayed by the pictures that we get from the U.K. … and from Florida, of the people flocking, jamming the beaches, and basically ignoring the social distancing rules,” he said.

“Complacency is my biggest worry – that as we open, people start to say ‘I guess we’re back to normal and I don’t have to worry so much.’ We must avoid that complacency.”

Source:- CTV News

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Migrant workers in Canada stage multi-city protest, call for more COVID-19 protections – Global News

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Migrant workers and other non-permanent residents — many of whom have been working on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic — took to the streets in cities across Canada on Saturday, calling on Ottawa to grant them greater rights and protections.

Temporary foreign farm labourers, care workers, international students and undocumented workers who have been working throughout the pandemic as “essential workers” say they are being left behind by the Canadian government.






2:11
Growing COVID-19 outbreaks among migrant workers in Ontario


Growing COVID-19 outbreaks among migrant workers in Ontario

“Our people are literally starving. People are dying, not even to grow food, but to grow flowers and grapes for wine. Domestic workers are trapped in homes by employers who won’t let them out because migrants are seen as carriers of disease,” said Syed Hussan, executive director of Migrant Workers Alliance for Change.

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Read more:
Migrant farm workers ‘hid’ from coronavirus testing in Windsor-Essex: Doug Ford

“COVID-19 has exacerbated an existing crisis.”

Many migrant workers have fallen ill and cannot access medical treatment, while others have not received wage top-ups offered to other essential workers.

Meanwhile, migrant or undocumented workers and asylum seekers who have lost employment due to the pandemic are ineligible for emergency income supports such as the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit, making them even more vulnerable.

It all stems from their non-permanent status in Canada.






4:53
What’s behind the spike in COVID-19 cases among migrant workers?


What’s behind the spike in COVID-19 cases among migrant workers?

Canada’s labour laws, social services, health care and education systems offer different levels of access to non-permanent residents _ a reality that advocates have long decried as intrinsically unjust. The pandemic has now exacerbated those inequities and has placed migrant workers at significant personal risk, Hussan said.

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“What we weren’t planning for is the absolute misery and chaos that would be caused in a public health pandemic,” he said.

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Demonstrations organized by the Migrant Rights Network were held Saturday in Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver and Halifax in front of offices of members of Parliament, including the office of federal Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino.

Around 100 protesters plastered Mendicino’s Toronto office windows with posters of Juan Lopez Chapparo, Bonifacio Eugenio Romero, and Rogelio Munez Santos _ three migrant workers who died from the COVID-19 virus in June while working on Ontario farms.

Read more:
Ontario probing 17 temp agencies after coronavirus outbreaks on farms

Their demands to Mendicino and to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau were simple: provide full immigration status to all migrants who are working in Canada.

Alina Przybyl, a member of Migrant Students United, says the struggles migrants face in Canada are wide and vary from person to person, but that all migrants in Canada face a two-tier immigration system that favours the wealthy and privileged.

“I can’t speak for everyone but I think I can say that everyone (who has migrated to Canada) has a story like what we’re hearing here,” Pryzybyl said.

Participants in the Montreal demonstration, which was attended by a few hundred people Saturday morning, held signs that read, “Status for all” and “We are all essential,” among others.

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1:27
Coronavirus: Ford implores foreign workers with COVID-19 to come forward


Coronavirus: Ford implores foreign workers with COVID-19 to come forward

“It feels very sad that people who have been providing essential services to our society have been left behind,” said Elroy Ribas, a migrant worker from Mexico.

“One of the things that made me feel very proud about living in Canada is that people care. But in this context we haven’t seen that.”

The federal Liberals have said they are working on a program to grant permanent residency specifically to asylum-seekers working in health care during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Many of their refugee applications are in limbo due to a backlog at the Immigration and Refugee Board and further delays caused by the pandemic, meaning their status in Canada remains uncertain in the long term.






4:21
LGBTQ2 groups taking part in Paris Pride events demand racial justice action


LGBTQ2 groups taking part in Paris Pride events demand racial justice action

But Hussan says the government should commit to regularizing the status of all non-permanent residents, not just a select few.

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“Everyone must have the same rights, the same protections. That’s only possible if everyone has the same status,” Hussan said.

Floriane Payo, an asylum seeker from Cameroon who came to Canada last year, joined the rally in Montreal on Saturday to demand status for herself and others who’ve been working throughout the COVID-19 pandemic who are not in the health-care sector.

Payo was working in a call centre in Montreal at the height of the pandemic in March and April, but the company closed temporarily in April, she said, after a worker tested positive for COVID-19.

It would be unfair for the government to regularize the status health-care workers only, she said.

“We too are essential workers,” said Payo.

With files from Jillian Kestler-D’Amours in Montreal and Jake Kivanc in Toronto.

© 2020 The Canadian Press

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Today's coronavirus news: Toronto reports lowest daily total of new cases since March; Trump entices Fourth of July crowds while infections rise; Florida sets another record for cases – Toronto Star

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KEY FACTS

  • 5:30 p.m.: Toronto reports lowest daily total of new cases since March 26

  • 2:35 p.m.: Florida sets a new record

  • 12:22 p.m.: Raptors’ scrimmages are set

  • 10:28 a.m.: The Toronto Zoo is open, with precautions

The latest coronavirus news from Canada and around the world Saturday. This file will be updated throughout the day. Web links to longer stories if available.

8:32 p.m.: Mexico topped 30,000 COVID-19 deaths Saturday, overtaking France as the country with the fifth-highest death toll since the coronavirus outbreak began.

Officials reported 523 more confirmed coronavirus deaths for the day, bringing the nation’s total to 30,366 for the pandemic. Mexico’s total confirmed infections rose by almost 6,000 to 251,165, about on par with Spain, the eighth highest caseload.

Also Saturday, about 200 street vendors briefly blocked several major avenues in downtown Mexico City on Saturday to demand they be allowed to sell again amid the coronavirus pandemic.

6:47 p.m.: Officials across the U.S. pleaded with Americans to curb their enthusiasm for large Fourth of July crowds Saturday even as President Donald Trump enticed the masses with a “special evening” of tribute and fireworks staged with new U.S. coronavirus infections on the rise.

People wandered the National Mall in baking heat and took shade under the scattered trees while, not far away, music wafted from a party on the White House South Lawn. To come: the “Salute for America” celebration with Trump’s speech from the White House grounds, a military air show and a more ambitious fireworks display than has been seen in years.

The crowds on the Mall were strikingly thinner than the one gathered for last year’s jammed celebration on the National Mall. Many who showed up wore masks.

At the White House, several hundred invited guests assembled on the sweeping South Lawn, gathering around tables decorated with flowers and small U.S. flags as a military rock band played. Most guests were unmasked.

Trump’s guests were doctors, nurses, law enforcement officers and military members as well as officials from the administration, said Judd Deere, deputy White House press secretary. He said the event was a tribute to the “tremendous courage and spirit” of front-line workers and the public in the pandemic.

5:30 p.m.: As of 5 p.m. Saturday, Ontario’s regional health units are reporting a total of 37,675 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19, including 2,733 deaths, up a total of 117 new cases since Friday evening, according to the Star’s latest count.

As has been the case in recent weeks, the vast majority of new cases were reported in a handful of health units. Only Windsor-Essex (35 new cases), Peel Region (25 cases), York Region (21 cases) and Toronto (20 cases) reported increases in the double digits. The 20 cases in Toronto were the fewest in any day since March 26.

Meanwhile, just two more fatal cases were reported — both in Toronto. The daily rate of deaths has also fallen sharply since peaking in early May when the health units reported as many as 94 deaths in a single day.

Earlier Saturday, the province reported 150 patients are currently hospitalized with COVID-19, including 39 in an intensive care unit, of whom 26 are on a ventilator — numbers that are all near the lowest levels in data that goes back to early April.

The province says its data is accurate to 4 p.m. the previous day. The province also cautions its latest count of total deaths — 2,687 — may be incomplete or out of date due to delays in the reporting system, saying that in the event of a discrepancy, “data reported by (the health units) should be considered the most up to date.”

The Star’s count includes some patients reported as “probable” COVID-19 cases, meaning they have symptoms and contacts or travel history that indicate they very likely have the disease, but have not yet received a positive lab test.

4:46 p.m.: The latest numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Canada as of 4:46 p.m.

There are 105,317 confirmed cases in Canada.

Quebec: 55,784 confirmed (including 5,566 deaths, 25,280 resolved)

Ontario: 35,656 confirmed (including 2,687 deaths, 31,083 resolved)

(Note: the Star’s updated count as of 5 p.m. indicates 37,675 confirmed and probable cases, including 2,733 deaths. See above.)

Alberta: 8,259 confirmed (including 155 deaths, 7,532 resolved)

British Columbia: 2,947 confirmed (including 177 deaths, 2,608 resolved)

Nova Scotia: 1,064 confirmed (including 63 deaths, 998 resolved)

Saskatchewan: 796 confirmed (including 14 deaths, 711 resolved)

Manitoba: 314 confirmed (including 7 deaths, 302 resolved), 11 presumptive

Newfoundland and Labrador: 261 confirmed (including 3 deaths, 258 resolved)

New Brunswick: 165 confirmed (including 2 deaths, 162 resolved)

Prince Edward Island: 30 confirmed (including 27 resolved)

Repatriated Canadians: 13 confirmed (including 13 resolved)

Yukon: 11 confirmed (including 11 resolved)

Northwest Territories: 5 confirmed (including 5 resolved)

Nunavut: No confirmed cases, 1 presumptive

Total: 105,317 (12 presumptive, 105,305 confirmed including 8,674 deaths, 68,990 resolved)

4:43 p.m.: Migrant workers and other non-permanent residents — many of whom have been working on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic — took to the streets in cities across Canada on Saturday, calling on Ottawa to grant them greater rights and protections.

Temporary foreign farm labourers, care workers, international students and undocumented workers who have been working throughout the pandemic as “essential workers” say they are being left behind by the Canadian government.

“Our people are literally starving. People are dying, not even to grow food, but to grow flowers and grapes for wine. Domestic workers are trapped in homes by employers who won’t let them out because migrants are seen as carriers of disease,” said Syed Hussan, executive director of Migrant Workers Alliance for Change. “COVID-19 has exacerbated an existing crisis.”

Demonstrations organized by the Migrant Rights Network were held Saturday in Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver and Halifax in front of offices of members of Parliament, including the office of federal Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino.

4:34 p.m.: A First Nation in southern Alberta has implemented a curfew as its health workers monitor more than 200 people for signs they may have developed COVID-19.

Siksika Nation Chief Ouray Crowfoot said in video messages posted on Facebook that as of Thursday there were 21 known COVID-19-positive cases with links to the community west of Calgary, and that five separate and unrelated case clusters had been uncovered in the previous 12 days.

Crowfoot said that as of Wednesday, 258 Siksika Nation members were under “active investigation and daily followup” by the community’s health services team — a number he said had quadrupled in only three days.

On Friday, councillors approved a temporary curfew from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. local time, with exceptions that Crowfoot said can be made on an as-needed basis for work or other reasons.

4:11 p.m.: Quebec reported more than 100 new cases of COVID-19 for the first time in two weeks.

The province’s Health Department says authorities registered 102 new cases of COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, bringing the total number of infections in the province to 55,784. That’s the most since June 20, when the province reported exactly 100 cases.

The province also added six additional deaths linked to the novel coronavirus — three new and three others that occurred before June 26 — for a total of 5,566.

The number of hospitalizations and intensive care cases decreased in numbers released on Saturday. Hospitalizations were down by 17 for a total of 375, while the number of intensive-care patients dropped by four to 27 cases. The province has reported 25,280 recoveries.

2:35 p.m.: Florida reported a record number of coronavirus cases Saturday, the latest sign that the virus is surging in many parts of the United States, casting a pall over Fourth of July celebrations.

Officials and health authorities warned people to take precautions or simply stay home on Independence Day, as confirmed cases are climbing in 40 states. The U.S. set another daily record Friday with 52,300 newly reported infections, according to numbers kept by Johns Hopkins University.

The U.S. has more than 2.8 million confirmed cases — about a quarter of worldwide infections, according to the tally.

Florida reported 11,445 confirmed infections Saturday, bringing the statewide total to more than 190,000.

12:58 p.m.: Prince Edward Island is reporting three new cases of COVID-19 for the first time since late April, including one person who worked at a Charlottetown seniors home.

Dr. Heather Morrison, the province’s chief public health officer, says the three cases include a man in his 50s and two people in their 20s. None of the cases are related to seasonal residents or the opening of the Atlantic bubble this week.

The man in his 50s was an essential worker who had recently travelled outside the province and has self-isolated since returning home.

The other two cases are connected and involve a male in his 20s who travelled to Nova Scotia and came into contact with someone from the United States and is asymptomatic.

The female is connected to that person and is symptomatic, and worked at Whisperwood Villa, a seniors’ residence in Charlottetown where residents will be tested.

She wore protective equipment on the job, did not provide direct care to residents and left as soon as she felt unwell.

12:32 p.m.: Two of California death row’s most notorious inmates apparently died from COVID-19, bringing the number of inmates across the state to die after contracting the coronavirus to at least 24.

The men, convicted child killer Scott Thomas Erskine and Manuel Machado Alvarez, both died on July 3, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation said.

Both men were being treated at outside hospitals after being sickened by coronavirus inside San Quentin State Prison, where the virus has run rampant for nearly two weeks. Nearly 1,400 inmates, one in three housed in the famed Marin County facility, have tested positive for the virus, and the prison accounts for more than half of all infections in the CDCR system, according to its coronavirus dashboard.

In total, 5,280 inmates have been infected with the coronavirus in the state’s prisons since April, with 1,441 new cases since June 19.

12:22 p.m.: The Toronto Raptors will face their first competition in more than four months when they play the Houston Rockets in a scrimmage on July 24.

The NBA released the scrimmage schedule Saturday ahead of the July 30 restart. Each team will play three exhibition games at Disney World in Orlando.

The Raptors will also face Portland on July 26, and Phoenix on July 28.

Toronto opens the eight-game seeding round on Aug. 1 against the Los Angeles Lakers.

The NBA shut down March 11 due to COVID-19. The 22 teams playing in the seeding round are scheduled to arrive in Orlando next week.

12:07 p.m.: The MLS Is Back tournament match between FC Dallas and the Vancouver Whitecaps has been postponed after six FC Dallas players tested positive for COVID-19.

The group stage match was scheduled to take place Thursday. MLS officials announced the postponement Saturday and said a new time and date would come later.

FC Dallas confirmed Wednesday that players had tested positive upon their arrival in Florida for the month-long tournament. The entire FC Dallas delegation is quarantining in their rooms at the walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort.

Vancouver’s team is scheduled to arrive in Orlando on Monday.

FC Dallas will now play its first tournament match July 15 against the Seattle Sounders.

12:01 p.m.: Frances Tiafoe has tested positive for the coronavirus and withdrawn from the All-American Team Cup tennis tournament in Atlanta.

Tiafoe was scheduled to face Tennys Sandgren on Saturday in the weekend tournament involving eight top American men’s players at Life Time Fitness in Peachtree Corners. The event is allowing a limited number of fans and not requiring masks, though will provide them if requested.

Tiafoe defeated Sam Querrey on Friday, but was showing symptoms after the match and a test was positive.

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Tiafoe, a 22-year-old who reached the 2019 Australian Open quarterfinals, left the event site and was replaced by Christopher Eubanks. Top-ranked Novak Djokovic and three other pro players had tested positive for the virus after playing in a similar exhibition event in Europe. The pro tennis tours are suspended until August.

Tournament officials said they had begun deep cleaning and sanitizing the event site, along with alerting people who may have been exposed.

10:50 a.m.: (Updated) The latest numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Canada as of 10:50 a.m.:

There are 105,212 confirmed cases in Canada.

Quebec: 55,784 confirmed (including 5,566 deaths, 25,280 resolved) (UPDATED)

Ontario: 35,656 confirmed (including 2,687 deaths, 31,083 resolved) (NOTE: Ontario is reporting 121 cases Saturday, according to the Health Ministry. The Star will be doing its own updated count for Ontario.)

Alberta: 8,259 confirmed (including 155 deaths, 7,532 resolved)

British Columbia: 2,947 confirmed (including 177 deaths, 2,608 resolved)

Nova Scotia: 1,064 confirmed (including 63 deaths, 998 resolved)

Saskatchewan: 796 confirmed (including 14 deaths, 711 resolved)

Manitoba: 314 confirmed (including 7 deaths, 302 resolved), 11 presumptive

Newfoundland and Labrador: 261 confirmed (including 3 deaths, 258 resolved)

New Brunswick: 165 confirmed (including 2 deaths, 158 resolved)

Prince Edward Island: 27 confirmed (including 27 resolved)

Repatriated Canadians: 13 confirmed (including 13 resolved)

Yukon: 11 confirmed (including 11 resolved)

Northwest Territories: 5 confirmed (including 5 resolved)

Nunavut: No confirmed cases, 1 presumptive

Total: 105,212 (12 presumptive, 105,200 confirmed including 8,668 deaths, 68,864 resolved)

10:28 a.m.: The Toronto Zoo has opened its doors again to the public with safety precautions in place for visitors.

Visitors must now book their tickets in advance online within certain time slots due to a reduced capacity. Tickets will not be available on-site and all visitors will be required to wear masks inside closed buildings.

Restaurants inside the zoo are open as well as the gift shop and the African Rainforest Pavilion and Giraffe House. Rides, lockers, drinking fountains, all rental services and manual coin machines remain closed.

The zoo had earlier opened to members.

10:15 a.m.: The North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit says it has declared a COVID-19 outbreak at Belvedere Heights long-term-care facility in Parry Sound.

In a release, the health unit states, “The two individuals who tested positive are staff at the long-term-care home. The individuals are currently in isolation. No residents at Belvedere Heights have tested positive for COVID-19.”

The North Bay Parry Sound catchment area has experienced some of the lowest COVID-19 positive test rates in the province. In the district, the Belvedere Heights outbreak is the third documented in a retirement or long-term-care facility. The other two outbreaks in the district are considered “resolved.”

In the North Bay Parry Sound district, as of today, the health unit is reporting 14,195 total tests administered, with 33 positives resulting in 29 cases resolved, one death, one in isolation, plus the two most recent positives in Parry Sound.

According to the health ministry, “An outbreak in a long-term-care home is declared with a single, laboratory-confirmed case of COVID-19 in a resident or staff member. When only asymptomatic residents and/or staff with positive results are found as part of enhanced surveillance testing of residents and/or staff, it may not be necessary to declare an outbreak. An outbreak may be declared over when there are no new cases in residents or staff after 14 days.”

9:36 a.m.: Courthouses across Ontario are set to resume some in-person hearings Monday, according to the Ministry of the Attorney General, despite unions representing Crowns and court staff saying safety concerns remain unresolved.

“More precautions are required to adequately ensure courthouses are safe,” Paul Cavalluzzo, the lawyer representing the Ontario Crown Attorneys Association, said Friday.

Courthouses have been closed to in-person hearings for more than three months.

Click here for full story.

9:26 a.m.: U.S. media reported that Kimberly Guilfoyle, the girlfriend of Donald Trump Jr., and a top fundraiser for the Trump campaign, has tested positive for coronavirus.

“After testing positive, Kimberly was immediately isolated to limit any exposure,” said Sergio Gor, chief of staff for the Trump Victory Finance Committee, quoted by CNN. Gor said she was asymptomatic and Donald Trump Jr., the president’s son, tested negative.”

Guilfoyle is a top fundraiser for the campaign.

Guilfoyle tested positive in South Dakota before the president’s Mount Rushmore celebration, CNN reported.

9:21 a.m.: Authorities in northeast Spain ordered the lockdown of El Segria county around the city of Lleida, home to over 200,000 people, after health officials recorded a jump in 60 cases in 24 hours. The outbreaks are linked to agricultural workers in the rural area.

The area is in Catalonia, west of Barcelona.

9:17 a.m.: The pints are being poured and the unkempt hairdos are being cut and styled as England embarked Saturday on its biggest lockdown easing yet.

In addition to the reopening of much of the hospitality sector, including pubs and restaurants, for the first time in more than three months, couples can tie the knot once again and people can go and see a movie at the cinema.

Museums and libraries have also reopened but gyms, swimming pools and nail bars remain shut. Restrictions on travel and social contact have been eased — people from different households can now go into each other’s homes, for example.

“Let’s not blow it now,” British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said as some in England rushed to restaurants or barbers for the first time in more than three months.

Friday, 6 p.m. Ontario’s regional health units are reporting 37,558 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19, including 2,731 deaths, up a total of 164 new cases since Thursday evening, according to the Star’s latest count.

As has been the case in recent weeks, the vast majority of new cases were reported in a small handful of health units. Just Toronto (80 new cases), Peel Region (21 cases) and York Region (20 cases) reported increases in the double digits; of the remaining 31 units, just Windsor-Essex saw more than five new infections.

Meanwhile, three more fatal cases were reported Friday, two in Toronto, one in the Southwestern region. The daily rate of deaths has also fallen sharply since peaking in early May when the health units reported as many as 94 deaths in a single day.

Earlier Friday, the province reported 155 patients are hospitalized with COVID-19, including 40, who are in an intensive care unit, of whom 25 are on a ventilator. These numbers are all near the lowest levels in data that goes back to early April.

The province says its data is accurate to 4 p.m. the previous day. The province also cautions its latest count of total deaths, 2,682, may be incomplete or out of date due to delays in the reporting system. In the event of a discrepancy, “data reported by (the health units) should be considered the most up to date.”

The Star’s count includes some patients reported as “probable” COVID-19 cases. This means they have symptoms and contacts or travel history that indicate they very likely have the disease, but have not yet received a positive lab test.

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Two-thirds of Canadians support closing businesses again if COVID-19 cases spike: survey – CTV News

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TORONTO —
As scientists and policy-makers anticipate a second wave of COVID-19 later this year, a new survey suggests a majority of Canadians support closing non-essential businesses again if cases spike.

The new poll conducted by Nanos Research for CTV News surveyed 1,049 Canadians within the past week, and found that two-thirds of respondents support, or somewhat support, another round of business closures in the event of a significant rise in cases and hospitalizations.

Forty-two per cent of respondents said they support the closures, while another 28 per cent said they somewhat support them. About one in four Canadians oppose (16 per cent) or somewhat oppose (11 per cent) the idea.

Support for shutting down businesses during a second wave was strongest in Ontario (53 per cent) and weakest in Quebec (24 per cent). Those older than 55 — who are more susceptible to the virus — were more supportive of the closures, at 77 per cent, than younger Canadians aged 18 to 34, at 64 per cent support.

Businesses were hit hard in March when the pandemic forced many to shutter, leaving millions of Canadians without jobs.

To offset lost wages, the federal government has doled out monthly payments of $2,000 to more than 8 million Canadians without work through the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) since April. As of July 3, more than $53.5 billion had been paid out.

In mid-June the federal government extended CERB by eight weeks, offering more time for workers looking for a job. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said the government is looking for ways to incentivize returning to work rather than staying home and remaining on the program.

In recent months, business has slowly returned to normal as provinces expand their lists of which businesses are allowed to reopen.

4-IN-5 SUPPORT MANDATORY MASKS

The poll also found that most Canadians support the mandatory wearing of masks in all public spaces, with 54 per cent in support and 25 per cent somewhat supportive. Nearly one in five respondents said they opposed (11 per cent) or somewhat opposed (nine per cent) mandatory face masks.

Support for mandatory face masks was highest in Ontario, at 65 per cent. While Ontario Premier Doug Ford has repeatedly rejected this idea, Toronto — which accounts for 12 per cent of Canada’s total caseload — recently made it mandatory to wear a face mask in all enclosed public spaces, such as grocery stores and public transit.

Ottawa’s mayor said he’d be open to a similar rule, if it’s supported by the city’s top doctor.

Support for mandatory masks in public was lowest in the Prairies, which still saw a majority of support at 68 per cent.

A group of Canadian doctors and scientists have been pushing for masks to be mandatory in all public spaces, saying the step is a simple and effective way to quash the outbreak. Many public transit authorities already recommend or require that passengers wear masks, including in Vancouver, Ottawa, Hamilton and Guelph.

Canada Masks 02

CANADIANS EXPECT A SECOND WAVE

The number of daily cases of COVID-19 has been steadily trending downward for months. For example, the country reported 286 new cases of COVID-19 on June 30, a sizeable drop from 772 new cases May 30.

But epidemiologists have been warning for months that, based on what is known about how coronaviruses spread, a second wave of cases is likely in the winter or fall.

This message appears to resone among Canadians. According to the Nanos poll, nearly nine in 10 Canadians say a second wave of COVID-19 infections in the next six months is likely (57 per cent) or somewhat likely (32 per cent). Just five per cent say it’s not likely, with three per cent saying it’s somewhat not likely.

METHODOLOGY

Nanos conducted an RDD dual frame (land- and cell-lines) hybrid telephone and online random survey of 1,049 Canadians, 18 years of age or older, between June 28th and July 2nd, 2020 as part of an omnibus survey. Participants were randomly recruited by telephone using live agents and administered a survey online. The sample included both land- and cell-lines across Canada. The results were statistically checked and weighted by age and gender using the latest Census information and the sample is geographically stratified to be representative of Canada.

Individuals randomly called using random digit dialling with a maximum of five call backs. The margin of error for this survey is ±3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. This study was commissioned by CTV News and the research was conducted by Nanos Research.

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