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Today's coronavirus news: 118969 cases in Canada, 103433 resolved; Canadian man with COVID dies in U.S. immigration custody; Ontario reports 107 new cases – Toronto Star



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

7:37 p.m The latest numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Canada as of Friday evening.

There are 118,984 confirmed cases in Canada.

_ Quebec: 60,241 confirmed (including 5,687 deaths, 50,886 resolved)

_ Ontario: 39,897 confirmed (including 2,783 deaths, 36,024 resolved)

_ Alberta: 11,430 confirmed (including 208 deaths, 10,097 resolved)

_ British Columbia: 3,934 confirmed (including 195 deaths, 3,353 resolved)

_ Saskatchewan: 1,409 confirmed (including 20 deaths, 1,221 resolved)

_ Nova Scotia: 1,071 confirmed (including 64 deaths, 1,005 resolved)

_ Manitoba: 476 confirmed (including 8 deaths, 351 resolved), 15 presumptive

_ Newfoundland and Labrador: 266 confirmed (including 3 deaths, 263 resolved)

_ New Brunswick: 176 confirmed (including 2 deaths, 168 resolved)

_ Prince Edward Island: 36 confirmed (including 36 resolved)

_ Yukon: 15 confirmed (including 11 resolved)

_ Repatriated Canadians: 13 confirmed (including 13 resolved)

_ Northwest Territories: 5 confirmed (including 5 resolved)

_ Nunavut: No confirmed cases

_ Total: 118,984 (15 presumptive, 118,969 confirmed including 8,970 deaths, 103,433 resolved)

6:10 p.m. A Canadian man who contracted COVID-19 while in the custody of U.S. immigration authorities has died, leaving his family shaken and looking for answers from governments on both sides of the border.

James Hill, 72, died at a Virginia hospital on Wednesday, four weeks after being transferred there from a nearby detention facility run by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Hill, a former Louisiana doctor, had been in ICE custody for three months after serving more than 13 years in prison for health-care fraud and distributing a controlled substance. A statement from ICE says a judge ordered his deportation in May.

His daughter says Hill was due to fly home to Toronto in early July, but ICE says he began to experience respiratory issues and was rushed to a local hospital on July 10. He tested positive for COVID-19 the next day.

Read more here.

5:30 p.m. As of 5 p.m. Friday, Ontario’s regional health units are reporting a total of 41,954 confirmed or probable cases of COVID-19, including 2,821 deaths for the second day in a row with no new fatal cases reported.

The province continues to be at its lowest rate of new infections since well before the pandemic first peaked in Ontario in the spring. Ontario has averaged 93 cases per day over the last seven days, down from a mid-April peak of nearly 600 daily.

Friday did see the daily jump above the 100-mark — with 107 new reported infections — but that included an administrative spike in Peel Region, which resumed to reporting via its online dashboard, including some older cases. The region had suspended updates on its dashboard while it transitioned to a new reporting system that’s being rolled out across the province.

Once again, just three health reported more than 10 new cases Friday: Peel, with 28, Ottawa at 15 and Toronto at 12.

Meanwhile, 16 of Ontario’s other 31 health units reported no new cases.

Chatham-Kent remains the only area of the province that’s currently experiencing its worst rate of infection since the beginning of the pandemic — a still-relatively low 9.9 cases per day over the last week.

The vast majority of the province’s COVID-19 patients have since recovered; the province lists fewer than 4,000 active cases of the disease.

Earlier Friday, the province reported that 66 Ontarians are currently hospitalized with COVID-19, including 28 in intensive care, of whom 12 are on a ventilator.

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.

The province cautions its separate data, published daily at 10:30 a.m., 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.”

3:52 p.m. Ontario’s primary electricity provider says it’s extending a ban on disconnecting homes from the power grid until further notice.

Hydro One first issued the ban towards the beginning of the province’s COVID-19 outbreak, saying customers needed to be able to rely on electricity while they were kept at home during the pandemic. A spokesman for the utility says the ban was initially set to expire at the end of July, but has now been extended without a fixed end-date.

Hydro One says the move is necessary given the ongoing restrictions posed by the pandemic, as well as persistent hot weather across much of the province.

It says it’s also planning to extend a financial relief program to help customers struggling to pay their hydro bills.

2:36 p.m. A Barrie man is facing a charge under the Quarantine Act for not complying with a self-isolation order, police say.

Barrie police went to a home in the city on Aug. 6 to check on a man after the Public Health Agency of Canada told police he had just returned to Canada following international travel.

Police say the man was in the Caribbean and stopped in the United States before returning to Canada.

“There was no answer at the door,” Peter Leon, spokesperson for the Barrie Police Service, said. “We followed up with the night shift and they were able to make contact with the individual.”

Leon said an investigation revealed the man had not been complying with the mandatory 14-day self-isolation order for travellers under the federal Quarantine Act. The 45-year-old Barrie man is facing a $1,000 fine, plus a $125 victim surcharge.

Police say the man hosted a gathering at his home over the long weekend, “barely” a week into the 14-day self-isolation period.

Police said people who attended the gathering had no knowledge the man was supposed to be self-isolating. It is strongly suggested people who were at the gathering get tested and monitor themselves for COVID-19 symptoms.

“He’s potentially put other people at risk,” Leon said. “It comes down to common sense and respect for other people.”

This is the second charge of this nature Barrie police have laid since the pandemic began.

On April 11, a 45-year-old woman was charged for violating Ontario’s Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act when she hosted a birthday party with guests in excess of the public health guidelines for gatherings at that time.

2:15 p.m. Premier Doug Ford is sticking with his back-to-school plan despite COVID-19 a new warning from Toronto Public Health about elementary class sizes being too large, but pledges the province will be “flexible” as the pandemic evolves.

“The last thing I want parents to worry about is whether their child is safe,” Ford said Friday, a day after Toronto’s public health department cited “concerns” with the provincial plan and told the Toronto District School Board class sizes should be “smaller than usual” to improve physical distancing and reduce the risk of spreading the virus.

“We have to be flexible and we have been flexible. We have to be adaptable. We’re still about a month away moving into the school year,” Ford told a news conference at the legislature.

The issues raised by Toronto Public Health echo concerns from teacher unions, parent groups aired repeatedly since the back-to-school plan was released last week.

Read the full story from the Star’s Rob Ferguson: Doug Ford is sticking with his back-to-school COVID-19 plan despite warnings over class size

2 p.m. A doctors association in Saskatchewan is urging the provincial government to be more cautious about reopening schools.

The Saskatchewan Medical Association says in a news release its leaders recently met with the chief medical health officer and other ministry officials to discuss the plan unveiled earlier this week.

Premier Scott Moe’s government plans to send students back to class in as normal a way as possible — with some restrictions in place, but not including mandatory masks or reduced class sizes.

The Ministry of Education says school divisions have developed more detailed safety plans and encouraged teachers and parents to take a look.

The medical association says doctors have concerns with the plan in respect to physical distancing and mask use.

In particular, it says physicians want to see more clear direction when it comes to wearing masks.

“Saskatchewan doctors think it’s prudent to set the safety bar higher at the outset, then lower it when we know what we are dealing with,” association president Dr. Barbara Konstantynowicz said in the release Friday.

“Closed spaces with poor ventilation, crowded spaces with many people, and close-contact settings with close-range conversations are not uncommon in schools and these realities need to be front and center in back to school plans.”

1:55 p.m. Fatalities linked to COVID-19 continue to rise in Florida, as the state on Friday reported another 180 deaths.

While devastating, the total is fewer than the record for a daily report, 257, posted one week ago. The latest daily totals are not reflective of deaths in the past 24 hours, but rather recent weeks.

The state Department of Health says at least 8,051 people have died from COVID-19 complications since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

Newly reported COVID-19 infections are holding steady. Officials reported 7,686 cases on Friday, just a hair more than the 7,650 cases added on the previous day.

The state says the overall total is now at 518,075 people who have tested positive for infections.

1:42 p.m. California has surpassed 10,000 deaths from the coronavirus, making it the U.S. state with the third-highest deaths since the start of the pandemic.

The figure was reported Friday by Johns Hopkins University, with 10,024 dead since the outbreak began in California in February.

New York has the highest number of deaths at more than 32,000, followed by New Jersey with nearly 16,000. California is the nation’s most populous state with 40 million people.

The first known COVID-related death in the U.S. occurred in early February in the San Francisco Bay Area county of Santa Clara. Nearly half of California’s deaths are in hard-hit Los Angeles County, where more than 4,800 of its 10 million residents have died.

Gov. Gavin Newsom was the first in the nation to issue a stay-home order in mid-March, but the virus began to surge after the Memorial Day holiday as the state relaxed some measures.

The current infection rates are unclear because California’s system is beset by technology problems, delaying the reporting of test results.

1 p.m. British officials say there were about 3,700 new coronavirus infections a day in England in the week to Aug. 2, down from the previous weekly average of nearly 4,200 a day.

The Office for National Statistics says the coronavirus may have levelled off after a rise following the easing of the lockdown in June. There were 98 more deaths reported by the government on Friday.

British authorities are extending a ban on different households meeting up to a northwest England city where coronavirus infections are increasing. The Department of Health says the town of Preston will be added to restrictions on social life starting Saturday.

The move comes a week after the government barred different households from meeting indoors in nearby Greater Manchester and surrounding areas of Lancashire and West Yorkshire counties.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock says infection rates in those areas have not fallen and restrictions will continue.

Britain’s official coronavirus death toll stands at more than 46,000, the highest in Europe and fourth highest in the world.

1 p.m. Spain reported 1,895 new coronavirus cases Friday, more than 200 from the previous day.

It’s the highest daily increase in coronavirus infections since the country ended a lockdown in June.

The Health Ministry says the Madrid region, with 567, and the Basque country, with 403, accounted for around half of the new cases in the last 24 hours.

But the report didn’t include the Aragón region, which on Thursday had the highest number of new cases with more than 300. The Health Ministry says Aragón had technical problems in reporting.

Since the outbreak began, Spain has confirmed 314,362 cases and more than 28,500 deaths.

1 p.m. The number of daily new coronavirus cases in Italy has surged, with 552 confirmed infections on Friday.

That’s a 38 per cent increase from the previous day’s new caseload. Italy hasn’t seen a such a high daily figure since late May.

The northeastern region of Veneto, which performed some 16,500 swab tests since Thursday, registered roughly a third of the new cases at 183, according to Health Ministry on Friday. Veneto Gov. Luca Zaia says the new infections were found in residents who recently returned home from travel to Spain, Peru, Malta, Croatia and Greece.

Italy’s total known infections stand at 249,756. Three more deaths since Thursday raised Italy’s overall confirmed death toll to 35,190.

1 p.m. Greek authorities have reported 151 confirmed coronavirus infections in the past 24 hours, one of the highest daily numbers since April, but no new deaths.

Data released Friday showed 12 of the new cases were people visiting from abroad, while another 17 involved a wedding in the northeastern town of Alexandroupolis.

The country of about 11 million has a total of nearly 5,300 confirmed cases and 210 deaths. On Thursday, 153 new infections were recorded, prompting a partial tightening of restrictions.

11:49 a.m. New York’s governor said Friday that he would allow children statewide to return to classrooms for the start of the new school year, citing the state’s success in battling the coronavirus pandemic.

The announcement by Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo clears the way for schools to offer at least some days of in-person classes, alongside remote learning.

“Everywhere in the state, every region is below the threshold that we established,” Cuomo said during a conference call with reporters. “If there’s a spike in the infection rate, if there’s a matter of concern in the infection rate, then we can revisit.”

Many New York school districts have planned to start the year with students in school buildings only a few days a week, while learning at home the rest of the time.

11:44 a.m. Quebec is reporting 108 additional COVID-19 cases and no new deaths linked to the novel coronavirus in the past 24 hours.

The province has recorded a total of 60,241 cases of COVID-19 and 5,687 deaths attributed to the disease.

Health authorities said today 13 fewer patients were in hospital compared with Thursday, for a total of 152.

Among those patients, 19 are in intensive care, the same as the prior day.

Quebec says authorities conducted 16,367 COVID-19 tests Aug. 5, the last day for which testing data is available.

Later today, Horacio Arruda, Quebec’s director of public health, will speak to reporters in Montreal about the evolution of the pandemic in that city.

11:05 a.m. A 7-year-old boy with COVID-19 has become the youngest known person to die in Georgia since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

The African-American boy had no other chronic health conditions, according to data released by the state. The case is from Chatham County, which includes Savannah, the Georgia Department of Public Health reported.

The boy’s death comes amid nationwide debate ahead of the school year about the risks that children face for infection or spread of the coronavirus. There is no indication in the health department’s reports about where or when the child contracted the virus.

Georgia’s previous youngest death involved a 17-year-old African American in Fulton County who had undisclosed health issues in addition to COVID-19. More than 30 people in their 20s have died, state data shows.

Georgia recently topped 4,000 deaths and more than 200,000 confirmed cases.

11:05 a.m. Germany’s President Frank-Walter Steinmeier has apologized for posing for a picture with five other people without a mask and no social distancing during a vacation in northern Italy.

The Neue Suedtiroler Tageszeitung newspaper published a picture showing Steinmeier standing with a group of four musicians and the governor of Italy’s German-speaking South Tyrol region, Arno Kompatscher, in late July.

In comments Friday to German daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung, Steinmeier described it as the result of “five seconds of inattentiveness that I blame myself for and shouldn’t have happened.”

10:57 a.m. Ontario Premier Doug Ford is lashing out at U.S. President Donald Trump over his administration’s new aluminum tariffs.

Trump announced Thursday that he would be reimposing a 10 per cent tariff on aluminum imported from Canada, saying the step was necessary to defend the U.S. aluminum industry.

Ford says he’s disappointed in the president for potentially compromising a historically strong trade relationship.

He notes Trump’s decision also comes in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, when industries around the world are struggling with ongoing economic fallout.

In response, the premier is urging Ontario residents to “hit ‘em where it hurts,” describing the province and its consumer base as an economic powerhouse.

He says Ontario manufacturers should more aggressively label their goods as “made in Ontario” to help consumers buy local products.

10:56 a.m. A union representing workers at a meat-processing plant in Manitoba says four more employees have tested positive for COVID-19.

A total of eight employees at the Maple Leaf pork plant in Brandon have now tested positive since the weekend.

Jeff Traeger, president of the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 832, says he expects the number to continue to increase.

The union, which represents nearly 2,000 workers at the plant, is renewing its call to have the company halt production there until the situation is under control.

Maple Leaf has said the cases are not linked to workplace spread but to an outbreak in the community.

Public health and workplace safety authorities inspected the plant Thursday, and the company says the results support its decision to continue operations.

10:30 a.m. The government is planning to transition many of those millions of people on CERB to the existing Employment Insurance (EI) program. It has also promised to add a benefit program for gig and contract workers who don’t currently qualify for EI, and promised other changes to the existing program so that more people qualify. But as the CERB winds down, workers and labour advocates are worried the EI program won’t be able to handle what’s coming.

Read more from the Star’s Rosa Saba:

‘The EI program is not up to the task’: Millions of CERB recipients will transfer to EI next month and many will fall through the cracks

On CERB and concerned about the move to EI next month? Here’s what we know so far

10:16 a.m. The entire football team and marching band at a small-town Alabama high school are under quarantine after exposure to the coronavirus.

Oneonta High School coach Phil Phillips told WBMA-TV that a fifth player has tested positive for the virus that causes COVID-19. It’s the second quarantine of the summer for the team.

“I looked my wife in the eyes Monday night before I went to bed and I said, ’You know I sure hope we didn’t kill anybody’s grandmother today by having a football practice,” Phillips said. “You’re torn because the kids want to play so bad.”

The team stopped summer workouts in late July after two coaches and four players tested positive for the coronavirus. The virus causes mild to moderate symptoms for most people but can be deadly to the elderly or people with other health problems.

Band director David Bearden says one of 135 students tested positive in his group, so a band quarantine was needed.

The town of 6,600 people is located about 35 miles northeast of Birmingham.

10:16 a.m. A Louisiana school district will delay the reopening of its schools by one week after nearly 20 teachers were infected or exposed to the coronavirus and other staff members quit.

The Zachary Community School Board voted unanimously Thursday to postpone its first day of classes to Aug. 17. Classes werer originally set to begin Aug. 10 under a hybrid model of in-person and virtual learning.

Seven teachers in the district outside of Baton Rouge have either tested positive for or are suspected of having the coronavirus and 12 reported possible exposure, according to Zachary Superintendent Scott Devillier. Some tested positive before reporting to work on Monday, while others were identified afterward, he says.

Devillier asked those at the special meeting to consider applying to work for the district, saying its schools are facing a teacher shortage for the first time, The Advocate reported. Some substitute teachers have requested removal from the district’s list.

10:16 a.m. Egypt is requiring non-citizens to test negative for the coronavirus before travelling to the country.

The new regulation, announced by Prime Minister Mostaf Madbouly, says arrivals should have a test for the virus no more than 72 hours before travelling.

Egypt confirmed more than 95,000 total cases of the coronavirus and 4,951 deaths as of Friday, according to the country’s health ministry. Deaths have declined in recent weeks.

Egypt reopened its borders to tourists in July after months of an international flight ban. Foreigners were allowed access to its coastal resort towns, but regulations kept most from Cairo and other urban hotspots where there have been more cases.

(Updated) 10:04 a.m. The Ontario and federal governments are announcing new funding to help support child care in the province.

Premier Doug Ford says the two governments have earmarked $234.6 million for childhood and early-years settings among licensed daycare facilities.

The money comes as part of the Safe Restart agreement, a deal struck between Ottawa and the provinces that will see Ontario receive $7 billion in additional funding.

Ford says the child-care money will be used to enhance cleaning and public safety protocols for facilities including licensed daycare providers and First Nations Child and Family programs.

The government says it will be providing face coverings to all those settings, but did not immediately offer details of other measures the money would help fund.

Ontario’s daycare centres, which have been operating in a limited capacity since mid-March, are allowed to fully reopen as of September 1.

10 a.m. For the fifth consecutive day, Ontario is reporting fewer than 100 cases of COVID-19, with 88 new cases today, Health Minister Christine Elliott reported on Twitter. With 118 more resolved, the persistent decline in active cases continues. Yesterday, the province processed over 25,000 tests. Hospitalizations, ICU admissions and vented patients all declined. Locally, 27 of Ontario’s 34 public health units are reporting five or fewer cases with 18 of them reporting no new cases at all.

9:57 a.m Toronto Public Health’s recommendations that the Toronto District School Board reduce class sizes below provincial guidelines is the latest knock against Premier Doug Ford’s schools reopening plan.

“The number of students in the classroom should be smaller than usual class sizes,” in order to ensure proper physical distancing and reduce the risk of virus spread, the letter dated Thursday sent from associate medical officer of health Vinita Dubey said, noting Toronto Public Health has “concerns” about the board’s plan that is in keeping with the province’s decision on class sizes.

Read the full story from the Star’s Jennifer Pagliaro: Toronto Public Health has ‘concerns’ with Ford government’s schools reopening plan

8:48 a.m. Statistics Canada says the country’s labour market gained 419,000 jobs last month as more parts of the economy were allowed to reopen.

The agency says the national unemployment rate was 10.9 per cent in July, down from the 12.3 per cent recorded in June.

The figures beat market expectations, with the average economist estimate from financial markets data firm Refinitiv was for a gain of 400,000 jobs in July and an unemployment rate of 11 per cent.

Combined with the 953,000 jobs gained in June and the 290,000 in May, the country was within 1.3 million jobs from pre-pandemic level.

About 266,0000 more people were looking for work in July, rising for the third consecutive month, but still down almost 300,000 from where it was in February.

The agency says the unemployment rate would have been 13.8 per cent in July if it had included in calculations those who wanted to work but didn’t look for a job.

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8:45 a.m. Three workers hired to help set up the Democratic National Convention in Milwaukee have tested positive for the coronavirus, according to the event’s organizers.

Daily screening began last week for people working at the Wisconsin Center in preparation for the Aug. 17-20 convention, which will be largely virtual because of the coronavirus.

The Journal Sentinel reports the staff at the Wisconsin Center “followed the guidelines set forth by our client regarding daily health screens,” the centre district said in a statement.

8:45 a.m. The United States has issued a travel advisory calling on Americans to “reconsider travel to Greece” due to the coronavirus.

Similar advisories were issued by the U.S. for many European countries. However, Greece has seen an increase in new daily confirmed cases of the virus, with lockdown restrictions eased and the summer holiday season is in full swing.

There were 153 new cases on Thursday, one of the highest daily spikes in Greece since the outbreak began. The increase is partly attributed to people ignoring protective measures such as social distancing and wearing masks.

On Friday, a partial lockdown went into effect on the island of Poros, where a cluster of 13 cases had been reported. So far, Greece has a total of 5,123 confirmed infections and 210 deaths.

8:45 a.m. U.N. organizations are stepping up efforts to help the people of Beirut after a chemical explosion, expressing concerns about food shortages and a lack of COVID-19 protective gear.

World Health Organization spokesman Christian Lindmeier flagged an initial WHO appeal for $15 million for emergency trauma and humanitarian health support. He says 17 containers laden with personal protective equipment — much needed for fighting the coronavirus outbreak — were destroyed in the blast.

UNICEF spokeswoman Marixie Mercado says areas around the blast faced the most active community transmission of coronavirus, and it’s difficult for those affected to practice safe distancing.

World Food Program spokeswoman Elisabeth Byrs says it is allocating 5,000 food parcels to families in Beirut, noting Lebanon imports 85 per cent of its food, much of it through the now-damaged Beirut port.

8:45 a.m. Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam says the semi-autonomous Chinese city will offer free coronavirus testing for all its 7.5 million residents beginning in two weeks.

Lam says such universal testing will help gauge the level of transmission in the community, find those who may be carrying the virus but not showing symptoms and reassure the public.

She told reporters, “Put simply, anyone in the community who wants to do a test can take the test. We won’t care if they come from high-risk groups or not.”

Lam says tests would be carried out in a manner to avoid lines and maintain social distancing. Lam’s government has already cited such concerns as the reason for postponing elections for the city’s Legislative Council originally scheduled for September in what the opposition camp called a political move.

Hong Kong has been struggling to contain a new outbreak that has seen it adding around 100 new cases per day. The city has registered more than 3,800 cases with 46 deaths.

8:45 a.m. The vaccines alliance GAVI says it has agreed to a deal with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the world’s biggest vaccine producer, India’s Serum Institute, to speed the manufacturing and delivery of up to 100 million doses of coronavirus vaccines to developing countries in 2021.

The collaboration will give upfront capital to the Serum Institute so that once any effective COVID-19 vaccine is licensed, the company can mass produce the shots at scale, as early as the first half of 2021.

In a statement on Friday, GAVI CEO Dr. Seth Berkley said the deal was aimed at making sure rich countries would not be the only ones with access to coronavirus vaccines.

He says, “If only the wealthiest countries in the world are protected, then international trade, commerce and society as a whole will continue to be hit hard as the pandemic continues to rage across the globe.”

Numerous countries including Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Switzerland and the U.S. have already signed multiple deals with pharmaceuticals for access to COVID-19 vaccines before they have been even licensed. Activists warn that rich countries are essentially hoarding limited vaccine supplies and that few will be left for the developing world.

The Serum Institute says the vaccine candidates from AstraZeneca and Novovax, will be available for about $3 a dose, a price subsidized by investment from partners including the Gates Foundation. GAVI is heading an international plan to buy vaccines for low and middle income countries and is aiming to raise $2 billion for the effort.

8:45 a.m. Officials in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania have shut down two schools after new cases of coronavirus were confirmed only days after the northeastern German state became the country’s first to resume classes.

The dpa news agency reported Friday that a high school in Ludwigslust was shuttered after a teacher tested positive for the virus and a primary school in Graal-Mueritz was closed after a student was confirmed to have COVID-19.

The sparsely populated state has been Germany’s least affected by the pandemic, with 910 positive tests for COVID-19 and 20 virus-related deaths among its 1.6 million residents.

Schools fully reopened on Monday with no mask or distancing requirements, but with children divided into fixed groups for classes in an effort to compartmentalize possible outbreaks.

The development raises concerns as Germany’s most populous state, North Rhine-Westphalia, prepares to send its 2.5 million students back to school next week. It has the country’s strictest guidelines, including a mask requirement at all times in school buildings.

8:03 a.m. England’s cricket tour of India that was scheduled to start in late September has been postponed until next year, the England and Wales Cricket Board said on Friday.

The move comes after the men’s T20 World Cup, scheduled to be played across Australia in October and November, was also postponed because of the ongoing pandemic. No new dates for the rescheduled tour have been announced.

England’s white-ball tour of the subcontinent was set to include three one-day internationals and three Twenty20 matches. It was intended to serve as a warm-up for the T20 World Cup.

The ECB said the postponed tour will now take place in early 2021. It added that it was working with the Board of Control for Cricket in India to confirm the schedule for India’s test tour of England set for next summer.

6:25 a.m. Australia’s prime minister on Friday rejected demands from within his own conservative party to publicly attack the centre-left Victoria state government over its flawed handling of the nation’s worst coronavirus outbreak and an economically damaging lockdown.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has been widely applauded for attempting to rise above party politics in the national response to the pandemic. State governments ruled by the conservative Liberal Party as well as those governed by the centre-left Labor Party are sending nurses and other medical resources to Victoria, the only state struggling to curb a second wave of infections.

But Victoria’s decision to throw 250,000 people out of work in Australia’s second-most populous city, Melbourne, with the country’s toughest lockdown threatens to fracture the fragile political truce.

Morrison said while his Liberal-led coalition tried to influence Victoria’s Labor government in confidential meetings on its pandemic responses, “states have compIete and total control over those types of restrictions.”

“I don’t see a great advantage of engaging in that process in some sort of public spectacle,” Morrison said. “I don’t think that would be good for public confidence. I don’t think that would be good for public assurance.”

Compared to the United States, Australia has largely succeeded in keeping partisan politics out of the nation’s pandemic response.

6:11 a.m. Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam says the semi-autonomous Chinese city will offer free coronavirus testing for all its 7.5 million residents beginning in two weeks.

Lam says such universal testing will help gauge the level of transmission in the community, find those who may be carrying the virus but not showing symptoms and reassure the public.

She told reporters, “Put simply, anyone in the community who wants to do a test can take the test. We won’t care if they come from high-risk groups or not.”

Lam says tests would be carried out in a manner to avoid lines and maintain social distancing. Lam’s government has already cited such concerns as the reason for postponing elections for the city’s Legislative Council originally scheduled for September in what the opposition camp called a political move.

Hong Kong has been struggling to contain a new outbreak that has seen it adding around 100 new cases per day. The city has registered more than 3,800 cases with 46 deaths.

6 a.m. As India hit another grim milestone in the coronavirus pandemic on Friday, crossing 2 million cases and more than 41,000 deaths, community health volunteers went on strike complaining they were ill-equipped to respond to the wave of infection in rural areas.

Even as India has maintained comparatively low mortality rates, the disease trajectory varies widely across the country with the burden shifting from cities with relatively robust health systems to rural areas, where resources are scarce or nonexistent.

The Health Ministry reported 62,538 cases in the past 24 hours, raising the nation’s total to 2,027,074. Also, 886 people died, for a total of 41,585.

The ministry said that recoveries were also growing. India has the third-highest caseload in the world after the United States and Brazil. It has the fifth-most deaths but its fatality rate of about 2 per cent is far lower than the top two hardest-hit countries. The rate in the U.S. is 3.3 per cent, and in Brazil 3.4 per cent, Johns Hopkins University figures showed.

The caseload in the world’s second-most populous country has quickly expanded since the government began lifting a monthslong lockdown hoping to jump-start a moribund economy. India is projecting negative economic growth in 2020.

Life cautiously returned to the streets of the capital of New Delhi and financial hub Mumbai, which appear to have passed their peaks.

5:15 a.m. A group of 20 leading Spanish experts in public health and epidemiology are urging the government to undertake “an independent and impartial evaluation” of why the coronavirus pandemic has hit Spain so hard.

Spain is the western European country with most COVID-19 cases — 309,855, Johns Hopkins University figures show.

The Spanish scientists said in a letter published in the Lancet medical journal Friday that the government should appoint a panel of Spanish and foreign experts to evaluate what has happened.

They said potential explanations include lack of pandemic preparedness, a slow official response, an aging population and funding cuts in the public health system.

5 a.m. The Swiss federal government has struck a deal with Moderna to supply Switzerland with 4.5 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine if the U.S. biotech firm successfully develops one.

The Federal Office of Public Health says the agreement aims “to guarantee Switzerland early access to the vaccine of Moderna” and is one of the first such deals by any government with the company.

An office statement on Thursday says the government wants to ensure that the Swiss population has rapid access to a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine. At the same time, it says Switzerland is supporting multilateral projects for the fair distribution of a future vaccine.

The Moderna deal would make it possible to vaccinate 2.25 million people, because expectations are that two doses would be needed, it said.

5 a.m. Thousands of young doctors in South Korea staged a one-day strike Friday against government medical policy, causing concerns about treatment of patients amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The striking doctors are interns and resident doctors who oppose the government’s plan to expand admissions to medical schools to resolve the shortage of physicians in South Korea.

The doctors call the plan “a populist policy” that would waste taxpayers’ money and nurture low-quality medical schools. In a statement posted on their website, they accused the government of offering little financial support for their practicing programs and complained of extremely low salary.

There were no immediate reports of major disruption of medical services.

Earlier Friday, South Korea reported 20 additional coronavirus cases, taking the country’s total to 14,519 with 303 deaths.

South Korea’s virus outbreak has gradually eased since it reported hundreds of cases every day in late February and early March. In recent weeks, the country has recorded roughly 20-60 cases each day.

4:30 a.m. Sergio Perez will miss a second Formula One race at Silverstone this week after again testing positive for the coronavirus.

The Mexican driver had hoped to return after spending seven days in quarantine, but his Racing Point team said Friday morning he had tested positive.

“He is physically well and recovering,” the team said. “The whole team wishes Sergio and his family well and we look forward to his return.”

That means German veteran Nico Hulkenberg again fills in for Sunday’s 70th Anniversary Grand Prix after having also replaced Perez for the British Grand Prix at the same venue last week. Hulkenberg did not start that race because of an engine problem.

There are two consecutive weekends of racing at Silverstone as Formula One tries to pack in races following the pandemic-delayed start to the season.

4:30 a.m. Global shares were mostly lower Friday in lacklustre trading, as trade tensions between the U.S. and China overshadowed optimism about more fiscal stimulus for the ailing U.S. economy.

Investors were also awaiting a U.S. report on jobs later Friday for another gauge of the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic. U.S. shares have been rising as investors wait for Congress and the White House to reach a hoped-for deal on more aid for the American economy.

4 a.m. Hand sanitizers have come under scrutiny lately with more than 50 brands now recalled by Health Canada, leading some to wonder about the safety of products they’re using daily.

Colin Furness, an epidemiologist with the University of Toronto who specializes in hand hygiene, says hand sanitizers are still safe and effective, when made and used properly.

While quality-grade ethanol is the ingredient that makes hand sanitizers effective, there are two impurities that experts say are dangerous substitutions: methanol and ethyl acetate.

The molecular distinction between methanol and ethanol is quite small, Furness says, so it’s easy to mess up during the production process if the manufacturer doesn’t know what they’re doing.

“Methanol and ethanol will look similar and behave similarly,” he said. “The difference is one is quite dangerous.”

Health Canada has a growing list of hand sanitizers that have been recalled recently. The most updated version, released Wednesday, included 51 different brands containing certain types of alcohol that are “not acceptable for use in hand sanitizers.”

Most of the products in this round of recall contain ethyl acetate, which may be used in manufacturing products such as glue or nail polish removers.

Others contain methanol, which makes fuel or antifreeze.

Friday 4 a.m. Ontario’s sprawling northern and rural school boards are working to interpret the province’s back-to-school plan for smaller communities, saying they don’t yet have all the answers for questions that parents are asking.

Catherine Shedden, a spokeswoman for the Trillium Lakelands District School Board, said she’s fielded questions from parents about COVID-19 outbreak protocols and busing students to different schools.

But with a month to go before classes resume, she said those questions remain unanswered — and they keep piling up given the unprecedented nature of the situation.

“We keep having people say, ‘Oh, did you think of this?’ I’m like, ‘No, we did not,’” Shedden said. “It really is an ongoing exercise.”

In its plan released last week, the Ministry of Education said elementary students would return to school full-time in September, with their regular class sizes. To curb the spread of the novel coronavirus, elementary students would not be allowed to mix with other classes.

High schoolers in all but 24 boards are also to return to class full-time. Those 24 boards will see students attend only half the time, while doing distance learning for the other half.

Masks will be mandatory for students in Grades 4 through 12 and will be encouraged for younger kids.

The province is leaving it up to parents to decide on whether to send their kids to school for the term, or opt for remote learning as was done for the latter part of the last school year.

Shedden said it’s difficult to develop a detailed plan without further guidance from the province and public health officials, which the board is still waiting on.

The board also needs to hear from parents about whether they’ll be sending their kids back to class.

Once that happens, she said, they’ll be able to tackle one of the biggest issues: busing.

Like other school boards outside big urban centres, the Trillium Lakelands District board covers a vast swath of land: roughly 11,500 square kilometres from the southern Kawartha Lakes up to Huntsville.

There are 16,000 students, and of those, Sheddon said, 15,000 are bused.

The board also runs buses for “co-terminus” boards — Catholic school boards that cover the same ground.

Friday 2 a.m. China’s exports rose by an unexpectedly strong 7.2 per cent in July as the world’s second-largest economy recovered from the coronavirus pandemic.

Sales to the United States jumped 12.5 per cent despite a plunge in U.S. economic activity and a lingering tariff war with Washington, customs data showed Friday.

Global exports accelerated from June’s 3 per cent gain and exceeded forecasts of little to no growth.

“There is an overall improvement in exports in July from June, not just medical supplies which had previously been the main contributor,” said Iris Pang of ING in a report. She pointed to gains in shipments of electronics, autos and clothing.

Imports weakened by 1.4 per cent in financial terms due to falling commodity prices but the total volume increased.

China, where the pandemic began in December, was the first economy to shut down to fight the coronavirus and the first to reopen after the ruling Communist Party declared victory over the disease in March.

Thursday 5:30 p.m.: As of 5 p.m. Thursday, Ontario’s regional health units are reporting a total of 41,845 confirmed or probable cases of COVID-19, including 2,821 deaths, up 85 new infections and deaths in 24 hours.

The province continues to be at its lowest rate of new infections since well before the pandemic first peaked in Ontario in the spring. Ontario has averaged 94 cases per day over the last seven days, down from a peak of nearly 600 daily, seen in mid-April.

On Thursday, just three health reported more than 10 new cases: Toronto with 21, Ottawa at 19, and Peel Region at 13. All three have seen among the most new infections in the province since late July.

Meanwhile, 22 of Ontario’s other 31 health units reported no new cases Thursday.

Chatham-Kent remains the only area of the province that’s currently experiencing its worst rate of infection since the beginning of the pandemic — a still-relatively low 9.3 cases per day over the last week.

The vast majority of the province’s COVID-19 patients have since recovered; the province lists fewer than 4,000 active cases of the disease.

Earlier Thursday, the province reported that 71 Ontarians are currently hospitalized with COVID-19, including 29 in intensive care, of whom 13 are on a ventilator.

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.

The province cautions its separate data, published daily at 10:30 a.m., 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.”

Read Thursday’s file

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Ontario reports 821 new cases of COVID-19, 2nd-most since resurgence began in August –



Ontario reported 821 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, the second-most on a single day since a resurgence of the illness began in the province in mid-August.

Toronto once again saw the most with 327, while 136 were recorded Peel Region and 79 in Ottawa.

The new case count is the highest number the province has seen in the second wave, since 939 cases were reported on Oct. 9. The seven-day average of new daily cases, which had been slowly dropping over the last several days, ticked back up with today’s update and is now about 743. 

Notably, just over 24,000 tests were completed yesterday — the lowest number of tests Ontario has processed on  a single day since Sept. 9. The province previously said it aimed to be processing 50,000 tests per day by mid-October, and as many as 68,000 daily by mid-November. 

The number of confirmed, active infections of the novel coronavirus in Ontario is 6,237, an all-time high.

Hospitalizations, as well as the number of patients in intensive care and using ventilators, all went up. Hospitalizations rose from 252 yesterday to 274 today, ICU patients went from 69 yesterday to 72 today, and people in the ICU using ventilators went from 40 to 45. 

The province is also reporting three more deaths.

Premier appeals to people with symptoms to get tested

Asked Tuesday about the relatively low levels of testing in the last 24 hours, Premier Doug Ford said the province’s labs have now cleared through a backlog of tests that once ballooned to more than 90,000 and that there is capacity for as many as 50,000 daily, but that people can’t be forced to be tested.

Ford said the province has set up additional testing units in hotspots, but some people seem to be holding back from getting an assessment.

The province changed its testing guidelines last month, making COVID-19 tests available only to symptomatic people by appointment at its assessment centres.

The change came after the government was heavily criticized for hours-long lineups at walk-in testing centres that assessed people with or without symptoms.

Meanwhile, Ontario is extending most of its emergency orders until Nov. 21 as the province faces a resurgence of COVID-19.

In a news release Tuesday, the provincial government announced the extension will be in place for 30 days with exceptions for orders around pandemic pricing on electricity and electronic access to personal health records.

“With the cold and flu season upon us and the continuing high number of COVID-19 cases in certain parts of the province, it’s critical we continue to take the necessary steps to protect the health and safety of Ontarians,” said Solicitor General Sylvia Jones.  

Masks not required in dance studios, province says

The province has also updated its pandemic rules to allow dance classes to resume in Ontario’s four hot spot areas.

Asked Tuesday why small fitness studios aren’t allowed to open under the current regulations but dance studios are, Ford drew a distinction between the two saying that unlike fitness studios, dance studios are cohorted.

The province announced this week that dance classes will be allowed to resume in hotspot areas as long as dances are pre-registered and physical distancing is observed.

Masks are not required inside the studios.

Asked why that is, Health Minister Christine Elliott told reporters Tuesday, “It’s because of the distance and the separation between the dancers that can be maintained such that the masks aren’t necessarily required.”

Airborne transmission of COVID-19 however has not been ruled out, with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updating its guidance this month to say infections can be spread by exposure to virus in small droplets that can linger in the air for minutes to hours. 

NDP bring motion to eliminate for-profit LTCs as some face insurance woes

Also Tuesday, NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said she would introduce a motion to remove for-profit companies from the long-term care system and replace them with an “all non-profit and public system.”

“We need to take action to protect seniors and fix the long-term care system for good, and we have to do it now,” Horwath said in a tweet.

A vote on the motion is expected this afternoon. 

Meanwhile, some of Ontario’s long-term care homes are having trouble securing liability insurance for COVID-19, a situation that could force some of them to close, says a group representing more than 70 per cent of the province’s homes.

The Ontario Long-Term Care Association says its homes are being offered new policies without a key provision: coverage for infectious diseases, including COVID-19.

The association has now turned to the federal government for help, saying potential claims could place a burden on the homes’ finances, and that loans could be denied over the lack of coverage.

Previously, long-term care homes received $5-million to $10-million coverage for damages or claims related to infectious diseases, CEO Donna Duncan said.

Now, insurance companies are including a “contagious disease exclusion endorsement” in policies for the homes, she said.

Her association has pleaded its case to the federal government in a letter sent late last week, asking Ottawa to provide a “backstop” and essentially insure the insurance companies.

Ontario to provide COVID-19 liability protection to some workers, businesses

Also Tuesday, Attorney General Doug Downey introduced a new bill that would provide liability protection to some workers, businesses and non-profits against COVID-19 exposure-related lawsuits. 

Downey says the bill, if passed, would ensure anyone making an “honest effort” to follow public health guidelines while working or volunteering not be exposed to liability. The bill will not prevent lawsuits against those who willfully, or through “gross negligence”, endanger others, he said.

The government says health-care workers and institutions, front-line retail workers, and charities and non-profits would be covered by the bill.

The legislation would also cover coaches, volunteers and minor sports associations.

Outbreak at CAMH worsens   

Toronto’s Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) is reporting three more patients have tested positive for COVID-19 on a unit at its Queen Street site.

It follows confirmation Sunday of an outbreak at the unit, when it said two people had COVID-19.

Two other Toronto hospitals also confirmed outbreaks over the weekend. 

The centre says it has implemented standard infection prevention and control procedures for respiratory outbreaks, including closing the unit to admissions and transfers. 

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How Nigerian forces opened fire on Protest in Lagos



Protest in Lagos against police brutality  turned bloody on Tuesday despite a state-wide curfew, with eyewitnesses telling News Media that multiple demonstrators have been shot by soldiers.

Demonstrators have taken part in daily protests across the country for nearly two weeks over widespread claims of kidnapping, harassment, and extortion by a police unit know as the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS). Tuesday saw the state governor impose a 24-hour curfew and deploy anti-riot police to the city.
One witness at the protests, Akinbosola Ogunsanya, said the shooting began after the lights were turned off at the Nigerian city’s Lekki tollgate. “Members of the Nigerian army pulled up on us and they started firing,” he said. “They were shooting, they were firing straight, directly at us, and a lot of people got hit. I just survived, barely.”
Ogunsanya added that barricades on either side of the scene were blocking ambulances.
Another witness, Temple Onanugbo, said he heard what he believed were bullets being fired from his home nearby and that the sound lasted “for about 15 to 30 minutes.”
Speaking to News Media from the scene of the shooting, Onanugbo said he saw “multiple bodies laying on the ground,” when he arrived to help those injured.
The State Government has ordered an investigation into the incident, according to the Lagos Governor’s spokesman, Gboyega Akosile. According to a tweet by Akosile, Lagos Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu has also “advised security agents not to arrest anyone on account of the curfew.”
The protests at the Lekki toll gate have been mostly peaceful, with demonstrators singing the national anthem, staging sit-ins, and praying.
Earlier in the day, Sanwo-Olu had imposed a 24-hour curfew, including the closure of all Lagos schools. Only essential service providers and first responders have permission to be on the streets of Lagos, which has an estimated population of more than 20 million people.
“Dear Lagosians, I have watched with shock how what began as a peaceful #EndSARS protest has degenerated into a monster that is threatening the well-being of our society,” Sanwo-Olu tweeted as he announced the 4 pm (local time) curfew.
SARS was disbanded on October 11 and a new police unit to replace it will be trained by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Reuters reported Monday. Protest in Lagos are demanding further protections against the police, including independent oversight and psychological evaluation of officers.
Death and severe injuries amid the protests have been reported since the weekend.
Amnesty International said on its Twitter account Tuesday that it has received “credible but disturbing evidence” of “excessive use of force occasioning deaths of protesters.”
A 17-year-old died in police custody on Monday in Kano, a city in the north of the country, after allegedly being tortured, according the human rights group. Many protestors and journalists were assaulted by police and thugs in the capital Abuja on the same day. Videos on social media show dozens of cars belonging to protestors burning and Amnesty International said three people died.
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Canada sees 2,341 new coronavirus cases as deaths near 10,000



Canada added 2,341 new cases of the novel coronavirus on Tuesday, bringing the country’s total case count to 203,476.

Health authorities in Canada’s provinces also said another 16 people have died after testing positive for COVID-19.

The new fatalities bring the country’s total death toll to 9,794.

News of the new infections comes as health officials work to slow the spread of the virus as Canada faces a second wave of the pandemic.

Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the fight against the virus is “far from over.”

“And to win it, we have to keep working together,” he said. “Canada is a big country, the pandemic is playing out differently in different provinces and territories.

“That’s why I’m asking everyone to keep following the guidelines of their local public health authorities.”

In Ontario, 821 new cases were reported, and health officials said three more fatalities had occurred.

The new infections bring the province’s total case count to 65,896, and its death toll to 3,053.

However, 56,606 people have recovered from the virus, while 4,714,326 tests have been administered in Ontario.

Meanwhile, in Quebec, 877 new cases of the respiratory illness were detected and health authorities confirmed 11 more people have died.

Since the pandemic began, 95,216 people have contracted the respiratory illness in the province.

Thus far, 80,468 people have recovered from COVID-19 in Quebec, while 2,839,254 people have been tested.

Forty-three new cases of the virus were reported in Saskatchewan on Tuesday, but the province’s death toll remained at 25.

A total of 233,017 tests for the novel coronavirus have been administered in Saskatchewan, while 1,987 people have recovered after falling ill.

Manitoba saw 109 new cases of the virus, but no new deaths.

Since the pandemic began, 1,703 people have recovered after contracting the illness, while 235,530 tests have been conducted.

Further west in Alberta, 323 new cases were reported, and health authorities said one more person had died, bringing the province’s death toll to 293.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, Alberta has seen 22,996 COVID-19 infections, however, 19,500 people have recovered.

To date, 1,653,361 tests for the novel coronavirus have been administered.

British Columbia health officials said 166 new cases have been detected, and one more person has died.

The new infections bring the province’s total case load to 11,641.

One epidemiologically-linked case was also reported, meaning it has not yet been confirmed by a laboratory.

B.C. has seen 9,871 people recover from the respiratory illness and health officials have administered 736,637 tests.

No new infections or deaths related to COVID-19 were reported in New Brunswick, meaning the province’s total case count remained at 313.

So far, 215 people have recovered after becoming sick.

Provincial health authorities have administered 93,656 tests to date.

Nova Scotia did not report any new cases or deaths relating to the virus, either.

This means the province’s case count and death toll remained at 1,097 and 65, respectively.

A total of 106,748 tests for the virus have been conducted in Nova Scotia, while 1,027 have recovered after contracting COVID-19.

One new coronavirus case was detected in Prince Edward Island, bringing the province’s total case load to 64.

However, 61 of those cases are considered to be resolved.

The island, which has not yet seen a death associated with COVID-19, has conducted 42,377 tests.

Newfoundland did not detect any new infections or deaths on Tuesday.

The province, which has seen 287 confirmed cases, has not reported a new case since Thursday.

So far, 272 people have recovered from the virus, while 49,117 have been tested.

New case in the territories

One new case was reported in the Northwest Territories on Tuesday, bringing the total case count in the region to six.

However, five of those cases are considered to be resolved. The territory has tested 5,939 people to date.

In the Yukon, 17 cases of the virus have been confirmed, 15 of which are considered to be resolved.

The territory has not yet seen a COVID-19 related death, and has tested 3,785 people.

Nunavut has not yet seen a confirmed case of the virus.

Global cases approach 41 million

The number of novel coronavirus cases remained under 41 million on Tuesday.

According to a tally from Johns Hopkins University, by 7:20 p.m. ET there were a total of 40,652,097 COVID-19 cases around the world.

Since the virus was first detected in China late last year, it has claimed 1,122,036 lives.

The United States remained the country with the greatest amount of COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, with more than 8.2 million infections.

So far, more than 220,000 people have died in the U.S. after testing positive for coronavirus.

India has reported the second-most cases at 7.5 million, and has seen over 115,000 fatalities.



Source:- Global News

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