Connect with us

News

Many Canadians dealing with mental health issues due to coronavirus: survey – Global News

Published

 on


The mental health of Canadians is still being affected by the coronavirus.

A new survey, released Tuesday by the Conference Board of Canada and the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC), reveals that COVID-19 continues to cause anxiety when it comes to employment status, income level and the availability of coping strategies.

The survey, conducted between April 27 and May 15, asked more than 1,800 people to rate their level of mental health concerns based on 15 key indicators.


READ MORE:
Top doctor expresses concern over Canadians’ mental health amid coronavirus

A whopping 84 per cent, reported that their mental health concerns had worsened since the onset of the pandemic.

[ Sign up for our Health IQ newsletter for the latest coronavirus updates ]

Among their biggest concerns were well-being and family wellness, their personal future, isolation and loneliness, and anxiousness or fear.

Story continues below advertisement

“We cannot address the mental health impacts of COVID-19 if we don’t understand their root causes,” MHCC president and CEO Louise Bradley said. “It’s not enough to assume that mental health has declined because of the pandemic — we need to pinpoint specifics so we can find tailored solutions.”

The survey showed that those who engaged in at least one coping strategy had lower mental health concern scores.






2:55
Queen’s University project explores the social, emotional and mental health impacts of COVID-19


Queen’s University project explores the social, emotional and mental health impacts of COVID-19

Among the top coping strategies were exercise and connecting with family and friends.

Telemedicine and talking to a mental health professional were the most common strategies for people seeking help.

The survey also indicated that employers had an important role in boosting the resilience of Canada’s workforce.

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

News

Today's coronavirus news: Ontario reporting 538 cases of COVID-19, 3 new deaths; Some Ontario in-school vaccination programs moved to clinics; Partial lockdown measures begin in 3 Quebec regions – Toronto Star

Published

 on


KEY FACTS

  • 10:37 a.m. Ontario is reporting 538 new cases of COVID-19

  • 10:07 a.m. South Africa has reopened to international flights

  • 8:40 a.m. Russian health officials reported nearly 9,000 new coronavirus cases

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

10:52 a.m. Madrid and its suburbs prepared Thursday to enter a soft lockdown that restricts trips and out of the Spanish capital following a weeks-long political turf fight that experts say has prevented an effective response to the coronavirus in Europe’s latest infection hot spot.

Regional President Isabel Díaz Ayuso said she would implement new national health regulations that impose restrictions on movement and business and social activity in large Spanish cities with high infection rates while Madrid also mounts a legal challenge to the national government order requiring the measures.

The Spanish Health Ministry’s new standards give the country’s 19 regions two days to cap social gatherings to a maximum of six people and limit shop and restaurant hours in large cities that have recorded a 2-week infection rate of 500 cases per 100,000 residents or above. The regulations also mandate restrictions on entering and leaving such cities.

10:37 a.m. (updated) Ontario is reporting 538 new cases of COVID-19 today and three new deaths from the illness. Health Minister Christine Elliott says 229 cases are being reported in Toronto, 101 cases in Peel Region, 66 in Ottawa, and 43 in York Region.

She says 60 per cent of the new cases are among people under the age of 40. In total, 162 people are hospitalized in Ontario due to COVID-19, including 36 in intensive care. The province conducted 39,646 tests since the last daily report.

10:18 a.m. The NFL postponed Sunday’s Pittsburgh Steelers game at Tennessee until later in the season after one additional Titans player and one personnel member tested positive for COVID-19.

The announcement Thursday came one day after the league said it hoped to play the game on Monday or Tuesday. The NFL said a new game date would be announced “shortly.”

“The decision to postpone the game was made to ensure the health and safety of players, coaches and game day personnel,” the league said. “The Titans facility will remain closed and the team will continue to have no in-person activities until further notice.”

On Tuesday, the Titans (3-0) placed three players on the reserve/COVID-19 list, including key players defensive captain and lineman DaQuan Jones and long snapper Beau Brinkley. Outside linebacker Kamalei Correa became the fourth on that list Wednesday.

With the two new cases, the Titans’ total is now 11: five players and six other organization members. That doesn’t include outside linebackers coach Shane Bowen whose positive result came back last Saturday, preventing him from travelling with Tennessee to Minnesota for a 31-30 win.

10:07 a.m. South Africa has reopened to international flights, ending a more than six-month ban on international travel that was part of its restrictions to combat the spread of COVID-19.

A Lufthansa plane from Germany was the first international flight to arrive Thursday morning at Johannesburg’s O.R. Tambo International Airport. Flights from Kenya, Zambia, and Zimbabwe quickly followed. Airports in Cape Town and Durban have also resumed international traffic.

Travellers arriving on international flights must provide a negative COVID-19 test issued no more than 72 hours before their departure.

South Africa still maintains restrictions on international travel. Tourists are not permitted from a list of more than 50 countries, including Russia, Britain and the U.S, which are deemed high risk because of their levels of COVID-19 cases. The list will be reviewed every two weeks.

Travellers must also have proof of travel insurance to cover a COVID-19 test and quarantine costs, should they have symptoms during their visit.

9:40 a.m. Unemployment rose for a fifth straight month in Europe in August and is expected to grow further amid concern that extensive government support programs won’t be able keep many businesses hit by coronavirus restrictions afloat forever.

The jobless rate increased to 8.1 per cent in the 19 countries that use the euro currency, from 8 per cent in July, official statistics showed Thursday. The number of people out of work rose by 251,000 during the month to 13.2 million.

While Europe’s unemployment rate is still modest compared with the spike seen in many other countries, economists predict it could hit double digits in coming months as wage support programs expire. A resurgence in infections in many countries has meanwhile led to new restrictions on businesses and public life may that may have to be broadened and could lead to more layoffs.

European governments have approved trillions of euros to help businesses, setting up or bolstering programs to keep workers on payrolls.

9:13 a.m. Managing through this next phase of the pandemic, when the adrenalin of the initial crisis has long worn off and there’s no finish line yet in sight, is going to take a new level of adjustment for families.

We’ve hit what Aisha Ahmad, a University of Toronto associate professor of international security described in a viral Twitter thread as “the six-month wall” — just as we levelled up the uncertainty of COVID-19 living with our kids returning to school.

Drawing on experience living in disaster zones while conducting field research in places such as Afghanistan and Somalia, Ahmad defined the six-month wall as a slump she inevitably hit when her desire to escape or “make it stop” was overwhelming. Inevitably, however, it passes after a few weeks, she explained. The key is to be gentle with ourselves while we do some resetting that will get us through the months ahead.

“Just don’t expect to be sparklingly happy or wildly creative in the middle of your wall,” she wrote. “Right now, if you can meet your obligations and be kind to your loved ones, you get an A-plus.”

Read the full story from Brandie Weikle

9:02 a.m. On his first day of school this month, nine-year-old Lionel was nervous and excited — a combination as old as time when September rolls around. Excited, because he wanted to know who his teacher would be for the fourth grade. But his nerves weren’t about new classmates, harder lessons or other typical adjustments to a new school year.

“I felt nervous because I didn’t want to get COVID-19,” Lionel wrote in a journal entry during his first week back to class. He described, on the page, the things that had changed since last year. “We have to wear masks, some of my friends left and when we go to the classroom we can’t go straight to our chair, we have to go in a circle wash my hands and then go to our seat.”

The main target of his ire was wearing a mask during school hours, evident in all capital letters: “I DO NOT LIKE IT AT ALL!!!”

But other frustrations showed through, too: “I have a hard time social distancing because I want to play with my friends.”

Lionel is one of more than a thousand children living in Toronto’s shelter system during the pandemic. Following a Star story in August, where families and kids in shelters revealed their struggles keeping up with online learning this spring, the Star invited Lionel and several other kids living in shelters to keep journals of their first week back to class.

Read the full story from the Star’s Victoria Gibson

8:48 a.m. The Italian league soccer match between Genoa and Torino on Saturday has been postponed because 15 players and staff at Genoa tested positive for the coronavirus. Local health authorities in Genoa have banned the team from training. The league did not immediately set a new date for the game.

Genoa already had last weekend’s game at Napoli postponed for several hours while players awaited test results.

8:46 a.m. Turkey stopped announcing all of its coronavirus cases months ago and has instead been disclosing only the number of “patients” who test positive and show symptoms.

Health Minister Fahrettin Koca acknowledged the change on Wednesday, as he responded to an opposition lawmaker’s claims that the government has been vastly understating the number of COVID-19 infections. His remarks outraged medical groups who have accused the government of fueling the country’s outbreak.

The decision to stop counting people who are infected but don’t need treatment was made because of the high number of asymptomatic cases detected by widespread testing, according a person with direct knowledge of the matter. It was made shortly before the ministry on July 29 tweaked the wording in its COVID-19 updates to report new “patient” numbers instead of new “cases,” the person said.

8:40 a.m. Russian health officials reported nearly 9,000 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, one of the largest increases in months.

The 8,945 cases are almost twice as many as health officials were registering in late August. The new cases brought the country’s total to more 1.18 million, fourth highest in the world. There have been 20,796 confirmed deaths — 12th highest globally — according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.

Despite the increases, authorities have repeatedly dismissed a second lockdown or other major restrictions. However, Moscow officials last week asked the elderly to stay at home, and employers to allow people to work from home. The mayor of Moscow also extended school holidays that start Oct. 5 to two weeks.

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday urged Russians to remain vigilant.

8:39 a.m. Elora’s annual Monster March Halloween parade has been cancelled, but the downtown monster displays are still going up and other events are moving forward.

Kirk McElwain, chair of Sensational Elora who own and manage the displays, confirmed the Monster March parade is cancelled and are trying to develop an alternative virtual event but nothing is finalized yet.

However, Tim Murton’s Twilight Zoo sculptures are still going up and McElwain said it will be a bigger and better display than usual.

“We normally charge local businesses for putting up the monster on their building,” McElwain said, explaining that it covers storage and repairs.

“This year we’re doing it all for free just as a thank you to the businesses because of COVID and how it may have affected some businesses.”

This resulted in many businesses willing to go ahead with having the displays on their building or property.

All of October would normally be packed with events in Centre Wellington for Monster Month but many have also been cancelled this year.

8:31 a.m. India on Thursday reported 86,821 new coronaviruses cases and another 1,181 fatalities, making September its worst month of the pandemic.

The Health Ministry’s update for the past 24 hours raised India’s total to more than 6.3 million people infected and 98,678 dead from COVID-19. India added 41 per cent of its confirmed cases and 34 per cent of fatalities in September alone.

India is expected to become the pandemic’s worst-hit country within weeks, surpassing the United States, where more than 7.2 million people have been infected.

The government announced further easing of restrictions to start Oct. 15. Cinemas, theatres and multiplexes can open with up to 50 per cent of seating capacity, and swimming pools can also be used by athletes in training.

The government also said India’s 28 states can decide on reopening of schools and coaching institutions gradually after Oct. 15. However, the students will have the option of attending online classes.

International commercial flights will remain suspended until Oct. 31. However, evacuation flights will continue to and from the United States, Britain, Australia, Canada, France, Japan and several other countries.

8:14 a.m. Health Canada has given the green light to a rapid test for coronavirus, but experts say people shouldn’t expect the testing backlog — and lineups — will disappear anytime soon.

“It’s sort of sold as reducing the backlog,” Dr. Zain Chagla, an infectious disease specialist with McMaster University, said about the newly approved ID Now test. “I’m uncomfortable with this. I don’t think this is going to significantly reduce the backlog by any means.

“It is nice to have another tool to get people tested, but this is probably not the test that’s going to change the provincial testing queues altogether.”

Ottawa announced Wednesday it approved the test developed by Abbott Laboratories, which can deliver results in less than 15 minutes of a patient being swabbed, without having to first send the sample to a lab for processing.

Read the full story from the Star’s Nicholas Keung and May Warren

8:03 a.m. The Canadian economy faces a long, slow recovery from COVID-19, and some industries are never bouncing back to where they were, according to a new forecast from a business think tank.

The prediction, from the Conference Board of Canada, says things won’t get back to anywhere close to normal until there’s a vaccine to battle COVID-19, likely sometime next June.

“Until we’re seeing COVID fully behind us, it’s going to be a rough ride. We won’t see a complete recovery until there’s a vaccine and this has been brought under control. The biggest risk is if a vaccine ultimately isn’t found,” said Conference Board chief economist Pedro Antunes in an interview.

Read the full story from the Star’s Josh Rubin

8:02 a.m. Touted as one of the only things that could finally bring the pandemic to heel, anticipation for a COVID-19 vaccine is building.

But while Canadians wait, thousands of drug company employees, government officials and front-line workers in China are reportedly already rolling up their sleeves.

To back up a step, or 10, there are serious questions about the safety of those vaccines and the willingness of the test subjects. But with several Chinese companies claiming their vaccines could clear clinical testing as early as year’s end the question is being asked. Could China win the vaccination race and, if so, what does that mean for Canada and the rest of the world?

Read the full story from the Star’s Alex Boyd

8 a.m. In what’s being called a “shocking” misuse of personal health information, Ontario police services made unauthorized searches of the province’s COVID-19 first-responder data portal — including querying entire postal codes to find active cases of the virus, according to documents obtained by two civil rights groups.

In a memo addressed to all police chiefs in June, Ontario’s Ministry of the Solicitor General said an audit of the COVID-19 database — a controversial and now-shuttered portal for first responders — revealed “many” searches violating the province’s directive that the tool be used cautiously and with precision.

The audit raised “concerns that the portal is being used beyond the express purpose that the government intends,” wrote Richard Stubbings, assistant deputy minister of the public safety division, in a June 11 letter.

Loading…

Loading…Loading…Loading…Loading…Loading…

Among the unauthorized searches listed: “broad-based” municipal searches with no specific address, including queries of postal codes or of another municipality, and searches of a specific name unrelated to an active call for service.

Read the full story from the Star’s Wendy Gillis

7 a.m. The U.S. government will provide its latest picture Thursday of the pace of layoffs which have remained high as some sectors of the economy have rebounded since the viral pandemic erupted in March while others remain depressed.

The still-elevated number of people seeking unemployment benefits each week reflects an economy that has recovered only about half the 22 million jobs that were lost to the pandemic. Many employers, especially small retailers, hotels, restaurants, airlines and entertainment venues, are still struggling. And millions of Americans are facing unemployment with vastly diminished aid since the expiration of a $600-a-week federal benefit this summer.

At the same time, some newly laid-off people are facing delays in receiving unemployment benefits as some state agencies intensify efforts to combat fraudulent applications and clear out backlogged claims. California, the largest state, has stopped processing new applications for two weeks as it seeks to reduce backlogs and pursue suspected fraud.

6:31 a.m.: The U.S. government will provide its latest picture Thursday of the pace of layoffs in the country, which have remained high as some sectors of the economy have rebounded since the viral pandemic erupted in March while others remain depressed.

The still-elevated number of people seeking unemployment benefits each week reflects an economy that has recovered only about half the 22 million jobs that were lost to the pandemic. Many employers, especially small retailers, hotels, restaurants, airlines and entertainment venues, are still struggling. And millions of Americans are facing unemployment with vastly diminished aid since the expiration of a $600-a-week federal benefit this summer.

At the same time, some newly laid-off people are facing delays in receiving unemployment benefits as some state agencies intensify efforts to combat fraudulent applications and clear out backlogged claims. California, the largest state, has stopped processing new applications for two weeks as it seeks to reduce backlogs and pursue suspected fraud.

5:25 a.m.: The Israeli government has approved a measure to limit protests and worship to within a kilometre (mile) of a person’s home, a controversial step to curb the spread of the coronavirus that critics say is aimed at quashing weekly protests against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The Cabinet also approved late Wednesday a three-day extension of the country’s nationwide lockdown, imposed Sept. 18, until Oct. 14.

Defence Minister Benny Gantz defended the protest measure in an interview with Israel Radio, saying that at the moment there was “a need for a postponement” in the demonstrations to halt the spread of the disease. He said the lockdown would likely remain for several more weeks.

Israel has seen a major increase in the number of new confirmed COVID-19 cases in recent weeks, and reached a new daily high of nearly 9,000 on Thursday.

5:23 a.m.: Rolls-Royce Holdings plans to raise 2 billion pounds ($2.6 billion) by selling shares to existing investors after airlines around the world cut flights in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, slashing revenue for the jet-engine maker.

The London-based company said Thursday it also plans to raise at least 1 billion pounds by selling bonds, and it may increase borrowing by up to 2 billion pounds.

The financing package comes after the company earlier this year announced plans to cut at least 9,000 jobs and reduce costs by up to 1.3 billion pounds by the end of 2022. About 4,800 people had left the company by the end of August.

Chief Executive Warren East says, “the capital raise announced today improves our resilience to navigate the current uncertain operating environment.”

5:19 a.m.: Singapore will allow entry to travellers from Vietnam and Australia, excluding its coronavirus hot spot Victoria state, from Oct. 8.

The tiny city-state last month welcomed visitors from Brunei and New Zealand, and is cautiously reopening its borders after a virus closure to help revive its airport, a key regional aviation hub. The aviation authority has said there is a low risk of virus importation from the two countries.

Travellers must undergo a virus swab test upon arrival, travel on direct flights without transit and download a mobile app for contact tracing. Singapore’s move is not reciprocated by the other four countries.

5:14 a.m.: India on Thursday reported 86,821 new coronaviruses cases and another 1,181 fatalities, making September its worst month of the pandemic.

The Health Ministry’s update for the past 24 hours raised India’s total to more than 6.3 million people infected and 98,678 dead from COVID-19. India added 41% of its confirmed cases and 34% of fatalities in September alone.

India is expected to become the pandemic’s worst-hit country within weeks, surpassing the United States, where more than 7.2 million people have been infected.

The government announced further easing of restrictions to start Oct. 15. Cinemas, theatres and multiplexes can open with up to 50% of seating capacity, and swimming pools can also be used by athletes in training.

The government also said India’s 28 states can decide on reopening of schools and coaching institutions gradually after Oct. 15. However, the students will have the option of attending online classes.

5:07 a.m.: Three Quebec regions face partial lockdown measures starting today after reaching the highest COVID-19 alert level earlier this week.

People living in the greater Montreal, Quebec City and Chaudiere-Appalaches region south of the provincial capital will live with the new restrictions for at least 28 days as the province tries to get COVID-19 cases under control.

Bars, casinos, concert halls, cinemas, museums and libraries are to be shuttered in those regions and restaurants will be limited to takeout.

Private gatherings are prohibited and people cannot have any visitors from another address at their homes with few exceptions, like caregivers or maintenance workers.

Outdoor gatherings are forbidden, masks are mandatory for demonstrations and police have the power to hand out hefty fines to those who flout the rules.

5:03 a.m.: Four major home-care providers are asking the Ontario government to increase support for their sector, saying it would reduce pressure on a health-care system burdened by COVID-19.

The companies — Bayshore HealthCare, Closing the Gap Healthcare, VON Canada, and SE Health — say bolstering home care will allow long-term care homes and hospitals to operate more efficiently.

The group has launched a campaign today on their call for support.

The CEO of Closing the Gap Healthcare says COVID-19 transmission rates in home-care settings are much lower than in congregate care.

Leighton McDonald says by focusing on community-care, the province can help keep more people safe from the virus.

According to provincial data through the height of the first wave of COVID-19 until the end of May, there were 235 virus cases related to home care, compared to 4,518 in long-term care homes.

5 a.m.: Vaccines normally offered in school to Grade 7 students will instead be delivered at community clinics and doctors’ offices in parts of Ontario, meaning parents will have to make arrangements to ensure their children are immunized.

The Ministry of Health says local public health units, which are responsible for immunization programs including those in schools, are working to let residents know where they can access the vaccines.

Students in Grade 7 are typically given vaccines for Hepatitis B, Human Papilloma Virus and Meningococcal disease in school. Some of those shots require more than one dose.

Those programs have been disrupted due to COVID-19, which has seen thousands of students choose virtual lessons over in-person classes.

In Ottawa and Toronto — two regions experiencing a surge in COVID-19 cases — public health officials say clinics will prioritize administering the flu vaccine this fall.

But they say vaccination clinics for students will be held in the community at a later date to replace the in-school programs.

4 a.m.: Nearly half of students at public elementary schools in a COVID-19 hot spot west of Toronto are learning online, according to data provided by the school board.

Upwards of 54,600 elementary students have opted for remote learning this year at the Peel District School Board and 57,300 have returned to the classroom.

That compares to roughly 35 per cent of elementary students who are learning online at the Toronto District School Board — the province’s largest.

Meanwhile, the Peel board’s high schools are running on an adapted model, with students who chose in-class learning only attending school half the time to minimize contact with their peers.

Still, the board says 27 per cent of high schoolers — around 11,200 — are learning fully online.

Peel Public Health says it’s seen 9,707 cases of COVID-19 throughout the pandemic, 8,396 of whom have recovered, and 329 deaths.

Wednesday 10:06 p.m.: Fans can take themselves out to the ball game for the first time this season during the National League Championship Series and World Series at new Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas.

Major League Baseball said Wednesday that approximately 11,500 tickets will be available for each game. That is about 28 per cent of the 40,518-capacity, retractable-roof stadium of the Texas Rangers, which opened this year adjacent to old Globe Life Park, the team’s open-air home from 1994 through 2019.

“Any time there’s fans in the stands there’s maybe a heightened sense of, this is a real game and it might raise everybody’s play,” said Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw, who lives in the Dallas area during the off-season.

The World Series is being played at a neutral site for the first time in response to the coronavirus pandemic. It has not been played at one stadium since the St. Louis Cardinals defeated the Browns at Sportsman’s Park in 1944.

While Texas is allowing up to 50 per cent capacity at venues, MLB did not anticipate having government permission for fans to attend post-season games at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles or Petco Park in San Diego, where American League playoff games are scheduled.

Click here to read more of Wednesday’s COVID-19 coverage.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

News

Should I stay or go? Canadians ponder returning home as coronavirus cases spike in U.K. – CBC.ca

Published

 on


After Prime Minister Justin Trudeau sounded the alarm in March that it was time for Canadians abroad to “come home” as the coronavirus pandemic took hold, Megan Stewart found herself faced with a difficult decision.

While her loved ones were back home in Canada, it had always been her dream to live and work in London. Having arrived in the U.K. capital in November after spending hundreds of dollars to obtain a visa, the 29-year-old was desperate to stay.

Not long after making the decision to remain in the U.K., however, Stewart, who is from Midland, Ont., faced another hurdle in keeping her London dream alive. She became one of millions of people in the U.K. to be put on furlough during the pandemic.

Under the British government’s furlough scheme, she was receiving only 80 per cent of her salary at Go Ape, an outdoor adventure company, making it difficult to afford the high cost of living in the city without tapping into her savings.

“It wasn’t enough to pay my rent and that’s not even including my phone bill or food.” 

Despite the difficulties and pressure to return home, Stewart, who celebrated her 30th birthday alone in April under London’s lockdown, said: “I was stubborn enough to stay.” 

Staff work at an outdoor bar in London on Sept. 24, 2020, after British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a range of new restrictions to combat the rise in coronavirus cases in England. (Kirsty Wigglesworth/The Associated Press)

While Stewart was able to return to work over the summer, the threat of another lockdown in London, where coronavirus cases are on the rise, has left her facing a decision shared by other Canadians living in Britain: should she stay put or think about returning home?

“I’m a bit worried…. I don’t want to lose out on all that money that I had to pay to get here, but I’m being realistic about it,” she said. “If we go into another lockdown and I don’t get furlough pay, I will more than likely have to leave and that absolutely devastates me.”

‘It’s been a bit of a rough deal’

Mark Sultana has heard many stories like Stewart’s during the coronavirus pandemic. He’s an entrepreneur born in Etobicoke, Ont., and now based in the U.K. who heads up Canadians in London, a social group for expats with more than 6,500 members. 

“I think that when the pandemic happened there were a lot of people stuck and not just Canadians.”

With as many as 95,000 Canadians estimated to have been living in the U.K. in  2019, according to data from Britain’s Office for National Statistics, it’s likely many of them have faced similar scenarios.

“There were a lot of people who paid money for visas who were not able to come over,” Sultana said. 

While the British and Canadian governments have made efforts to support expats living in the U.K., including offering visa extensions, not all visa holders are able to extend. In some cases, the same visa can only be applied for once. 

People wearing masks board a bus outside Waterloo station in London on Sept. 23, 2020. (Dominic Lipinski/The Associated Press)

For those who don’t have visa concerns, Sultana said, many are desperate to be reunited with their families, if even for a short time. However, it can be difficult to decide whether to risk the flight home during a pandemic and potentially end up stuck on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean.

Even Sultana has had to grapple with that question. He cancelled plans to fly home to celebrate his mother’s 85th birthday early in the pandemic.

His mother has dementia, Sultana said, and it has been hard to be far from home as her condition has “declined so much” since the pandemic started. 

Now, he said, he feels he has “missed the window” to see her during better times. 

‘A really big decision’

For Torontonian Laura Watt, 31, being far from family during the pandemic has weighed heavily on her and her boyfriend, who is also Canadian.

Having made the move to London in July 2019, Watt said the couple “stuck it out” during the first coronavirus wave. 

Now, however, coronavirus cases are rising sharply in the U.K., with the country seeing its biggest surge since the pandemic began, with 7,143 cases reported Tuesday within a 24-hour time period. Watt and her boyfriend have been struggling with the decision to stay in London. 

“My family has pressured me to return home, making it a tough decision to be here,” Watt said. 

However, she said, staying put during a pandemic feels like a responsible decision, while returning home would be “a big commitment, especially when you’ve sort of established your life here and you have a full-time job and a relationship…. It’s a really big decision to make.”

‘I’ve struggled with the idea of staying here’

Jahan Kotowski, a 29-year-old from Calgary studying Spanish at Birkbeck, University of London, is determined to put off the decision of whether to return home for as long as she can. 

While she said she loves living in London, she has struggled to justify paying high international student fees to stay in a city that is unlikely to be fully open in the coming months. 

Kotowski works part-time as a model, but her visa only permits her to work a maximum of 20 hours a week, limiting her ability to make an income.

With the possibility of a second lockdown “and with the Christmas season coming, I’ve struggled with the idea of staying here,” Kotowski said.

“I do think if [the government] was like, ‘We’re going to do a six-month or even a two-month lockdown,’ I might have to move.”

‘It’s a good thing I stayed’ 

One Canadian in London with no plans of moving back to Canada any time soon is Natasia Kalajdziovski, a 32-year-old PhD student from Toronto.

For Kalajdziovski, the decision was effectively taken out of her hands in March when she contracted COVID-19.

Having lived in London “on and off” for more than a decade, the city had long felt as much like home for Kalajdziovski as her hometown. However, when the pandemic struck, she felt the urge to return to Canada to be closer to family. 

Natasia Kalajdziovski, a 32-year-old PhD student from Toronto, had been considering returning home from London when she started to experience coronavirus symptoms at the start of the pandemic. (Chantal Da Silva/CBC)

After debating whether to fly home after hearing Trudeau’s call for Canadians to make their way back, Kalajdziovski hesitated to book a flight.

“It’s a good thing I stayed, because the week I potentially would have flown home, I ended up becoming symptomatic for COVID.” 

What began as a small cough quickly turned into something more serious, with Kalajdziovski ending up in hospital, struggling to breathe. 

Months later, the 32-year-old said she still has residual symptoms, including severe headaches. The experience of surviving the virus not only took a physical toll, but also an emotional one, she said.

“Going through something like this really does make you question the idea of your own mortality and what that looks like, especially when you’re young.” 

Knowing what might have been had she boarded a flight home unknowingly carrying COVID-19, Kalajdziovski said that with coronavirus cases rising in the U.K. and Canada, “this time around, I’m staying put.”

A ‘weird uncertainty’ 

While many expats have made the decision to remain in London during the pandemic, some have returned home, uncertain of whether their future will lie in Canada or back in Britain.

Keith Wong, a 43-year-old working in advertising, said he decided to return to Toronto’s east end in March, concluding it would be better to be “half an hour away from my family than in another time zone.”

Initially, he planned to return to Britain in May, but as the months went on and the future remained uncertain, Wong kept pushing back his return date.

Eventually, he said, he hopes to return to London, where he has built a close-knit community of friends and has had to leave the majority of his possessions in storage. The questions he struggles with most are when to go back and for how long. 

“There’s just this weird uncertainty that’s sitting on top of all us,” he said. 

“I mean, do I come back? When do I come back? It turns into a big confusing thing no one knows the answers to.” 

Until answers do become clearer, Wong said, “I’m just torn between two places.”

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

News

COVID-19 rules were relaxed. Cases soared. How do we get them down again? – CBC.ca

Published

 on


Canada is experiencing numbers of COVID-19 cases not seen since the height of the pandemic in the spring. In some provinces, they are even higher. 

Ontario registered 700 new cases of coronavirus on Monday, the most on a single day since the outbreak began in late January.  

Quebec recorded more than 800 new daily cases twice this week, including 896 on Sunday, its highest daily increase since May. 

And both Alberta and B.C. are also seeing high daily numbers with case counts in the hundreds. 

The premiers of the country’s two biggest provinces blame people that they say are socializing too much and too closely, foregoing social distancing and their bubbles. 

The question is: what will it take to get people back on board?

Mixed messaging

There is evidence that people have relaxed when it comes to observing some public health guidelines. Some analysts blame fatigue with the rules — or the feeling that certain individuals believe they aren’t at risk of becoming sick. 

But behavioural and medical experts suggest it’s more complicated than that, attributing people’s change in behaviours since the height of the lockdown on confusing and inconsistent messaging from political or health officials — and a loosening of rules that came too early. 

“If they’re saying you can have larger gatherings, isn’t that saying there’s less of a risk?” said Susan Michie, a professor of health psychology and director of the Centre for Behaviour Change at UCL in London, England. “And if it’s less of a risk, then people will relax.”

“When we have restaurants and bars open, we telegraph to people that it is okay to be in a large gathering with no masks on as long as you’re in a restaurant,” infectious disease epidemiologist Colin Furness told CBC News. “And therefore why not in your living room? The mixed messaging is a real problem.” 

WATCH | Furness says rules need to be clear and consistent:

Infectious disease epidemiologist Colin Furness says restrictions need to be tougher, messaging clearer and specific areas targetted in order to control surging COVID-19 cases in Canada. 6:02

People want to follow rules

Michie said political officials’ approach to rule-breakers is key. Most important, she said: don’t play the blame game and threaten fines.

“If [certain people] are not adhering, understand why they’re not. What are the problems? Try and solve those problems. Enforcement should only be a very last resort.”

She said it’s usually a small minority who are not following the rules; and it’s often not because they don’t want to. 

“The data shows that often people do … intend to. But it’s either a problem of again being confused about what they are, or are not, meant to be doing or it’s a case of opportunity.” 

She advises governments to consult with representatives of the groups who are most often not adhering to the rules and work from the bottom up.

(CBC News)

Approach is key

“Target especially the groups that are most challenged in terms of adhering to restrictions and work with them to co-create strategies. Listen to them… understand … what are the real barriers?”

For example, she said, some people may not self-isolate because they have to go to work to put food on the table or because they may lose their job. They may need to care for someone outside their home. Or they may want to maintain a two metre distance from others while getting outdoors, but live in a crowded city where park space fills up fast.

Officials have to be aware there are real challenges, she said. “Don’t just say we’re all in this together. Show us we are.” 

Simon Bacon agrees the approach officials take is key. The professor of behavioural medicine at Concordia University is co-leading an ongoing study into Canadians’ adherence to pandemic measures, including handwashing, distancing and avoiding gatherings. 

He said the vast majority of Canadians are adhering to the rules. 

When they were first introduced in the spring, about 90 per cent of Canadians were following them “most of the time,” he said. The messaging from health and political officials was clear. 

The practice of handwashing and social distancing slipped to about 80 per cent through June and July. But in that same time frame, avoiding gatherings dropped to 53 per cent in June, as some restrictions were loosened, he said. 

Adherence to the main measures has since come back up, but Bacon said that is likely due to the end of summer, with reduced opportunities to “hang out,” rather than a concerted effort to stop gathering.

Young people gather at the Break Water Park, near Gord Edgar Downie Pier, without any physical distancing in Kingston, Ont., Sunday, Aug. 30, 2020. (Lars Hagberg/The Canadian Press)

Reinforcement of a positive

“A lot of the messaging that has come out of most governments is, ‘you need to do these behaviours so that … you keep people safe. You don’t kill granny,'” he said. 

“What’s more motivating for people is not that, but seeing people do well,” he said, observing that most Canadians are quite altruistic and concerned about the impact the virus is having on others. “So it’s not the absence of a negative. It’s the reinforcement of a positive.”

Kim Lavoie, co-lead on the iCare project and Canada Research Chair in behavioural medicine at the University of Quebec at Montreal, also advocates a positive approach to messaging.

“You’ve got to thank everybody for their sacrifices and how difficult it’s been. You need to acknowledge sort of all the good that people are doing,” she said.

That means reinforcement of good behaviour, less calling out the bad and fewer threats of consequences, she added. “You need to make sure … the people who are adhering keep adhering. We don’t want to lose them.”

Basic human behaviour

She said it comes down to understanding basic human behaviour — that people aren’t just going to do what they’re told. 

“The government needs to have a plan,” she said. “Share the plan and delineate very clearly what’s going to happen if we stick to the plan versus not,” while explaining how it will be made possible and how the population will be supported. 

Above all, say both Lavoie and Bacon, be consistent. 

Ontario Premier Doug Ford, right, sits with Quebec Premier Francois Legault as they drink beer ahead of the Ontario-Quebec Summit, in Toronto, Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2020. (Chris Young/The Canadian Press)

“Here in Quebec … if you go into a store, you’ve got to wear a face mask. If you’re on a bus or on a train, you’ve got to wear a face mask. But if you’re a kid in a class of 30 other kids, it doesn’t matter,” said Bacon.

Quebec has not mandated mask-wearing in class. Students in grade 5 and up must wear them while moving in common areas, such as hallways, but once a student is inside the classroom, the mask rule does not apply. 

Bacon said such inconsistencies create disconnects and give people the opportunity to ignore the guidelines.

“You give people the opportunity to go, wow, you know what? Wearing a mask doesn’t align with my personal desires. And you’ve just told me that perhaps they’re not that important because a large segment of society doesn’t need to use them, Bacon said. “Guess what? I’m going to align with that.”

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Trending