The latest coronavirus news from Canada and around the world Monday. This file will be updated throughout the day. Web links to longer stories if available.
12:35 p.m.: The CFL will cancel its 2020 season Monday because of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a source familiar with the situation.
The source was granted anonymity by The Canadian Press because the decision hasn’t been publicly announced.
It will mark the first year the Grey Cup won’t be presented since 1919.
The decision will dash hopes of a shortened season in the hub city of Winnipeg. The move will come after the CFL couldn’t solve a number of issues in an effort to try to salvage a season.
The league was unable to secure financing from the federal government after presenting Ottawa with a $30-million, interest-free loan request Aug. 3 to stage an abbreviated 2020 season.
12:25 p.m.: Quebec is reporting 55 new cases of COVID-19 and one additional death linked to the novel coronavirus.
Health officials said today the death occurred between Aug. 10-15.
The province has reported a total of 61,206 cases and 5,721 deaths since the pandemic began.
Hospitalizations dropped by four to 145, although the number of people in intensive care remained unchanged at 25.
The province carried out 10,850 COVID-19 tests on Aug. 15, the last day for which testing data is available.
At least 53,930 people have recovered.
11:55 a.m.: A doctor who is suspected of triggering a COVID-19 outbreak in northern New Brunswick is facing a charge of violating the province’s Emergency Measures Act.
Dr. Jean Robert Ngola has been issued a notice to attend Campbellton provincial court on Oct. 26 for failing to comply with a direction or requirement of the act.
Ngola has said he travelled from Campbellton, N.B., to Quebec in May to pick up his four-year-old daughter because the girl’s mother had to attend a funeral in Africa.
He admitted that upon his return from the overnight trip he did not self-isolate for 14 days, but he says that was consistent with practices of his colleagues and superiors, and he believes he may have gotten the virus from a patient or another health professional.
At a news conference in late May, Premier Blaine Higgs did not name Ngola but referred to an “irresponsible”’ health worker and said the matter had been referred to the RCMP.
The cluster of cases in the Campbellton area involved about 40 people who tested positive for COVID-19, leading to two deaths.
His lawyer, Joel Etienne, says Ngola was not “patient zero” and the premier needs to apologize.
The lawyer says the potential charge is a regulatory matter and not a criminal charge.
11:45 a.m.: Health experts in New York City thought that coronavirus cases would be rising again by now. Their models predicted it. They were wrong.
New York state has managed not only to control its outbreak since the devastation of the early spring, but also to contain it for far longer than even top officials expected.
Now, as other places struggle to beat back a resurgence and cases climb in former success-story states like California and Rhode Island, New York’s leaders are consumed by the likelihood that, any day now, their numbers will begin rising.
The current levels of infection are so remarkable that they have surprised state and city officials: Around one per cent of the roughly 30,000 tests each day in the city are positive for the virus. In Los Angeles, it’s seven per cent, while it’s 13 per cent in Miami-Dade County and around 15 per cent in Houston.
In more than a dozen interviews with the New York Times, epidemiologists, public health officials and infectious disease specialists said New York owed its current success in large part to how New Yorkers reacted to the viciousness with which the virus attacked the state in April.
11:30 a.m.: Nova Scotia is reporting one new COVID-19 infection.
Health officials said today the case was identified Sunday in the northern health zone and is connected to a case reported last week.
Nova Scotia has reported a total of 1,075 positive COVID-19 cases and 64 deaths.
No one is currently being treated for the disease in hospital and 1,007 cases of COVID-19 are considered resolved.
Officials say the province has registered 68,638 negative test results.
The province has four active cases of COVID-19.
10:50 a.m.: There are 99 new cases of COVID-19 in Ontario, according to the Ministry of Health.
“Locally, 29 of 34 public health units are reporting five or fewer cases, with 21 of them reporting no new cases,” Health Minister Christine Elliott said Monday on Twitter.
No additional deaths were reported for the second straight day. There have been three fatal cases of COVID-19 in Ontario in the past week.
Elliott noted the province conducted 25,567 tests on Sunday up from 23,813 on Saturday.
There are 32 people in the province’s hospitals with the coronavirus, 16 of whom are in intensive care. Of those, 10 patients are on ventilators.
10 a.m.: With the pandemic leading to less demand for skilled labour, a smaller aging population to support, and a proliferation of travel restrictions, the future of human migration looks pretty grim post-COVID-19.
9:50 a.m.: Warning that Ontario faces “a tough road ahead,” Premier Doug Ford says Queen’s Park will spend what it takes to help municipalities struggling to recover from the pandemic.
In his first speech since Finance Minister Rod Phillips last week confirmed the province is in an economic recession and the Progressive Conservative government faces a record $38.5 billion deficit, Ford moved to assuage concerns.
“This virus has brought great hardship to your communities. I know that people out there are struggling,” the premier said Monday in a virtual speech to Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) delegates at their annual conference, which is online this year.
9:30 a.m.: The Toronto District School Board chair says the Ministry of Education’s lack of clarity on its school reopening guidelines are a problem. The Star’s Wanyee Li has the full story.
8:53 a.m. Hong Kong reported 31 local coronavirus cases Monday and extended social distancing restrictions after new clusters emerged, including at the main container shipping port where essential food and supplies are brought in to the city.
Eleven of the new local cases were of unknown origin, the health department said. Infections linked to Kwai Tsing Container Terminals rose by two, bringing the cluster to 65. Hong Kong’s death toll stood at 69.
New and growing clusters at the port and in settings such as dormitories for foreign workers suggest there’s still a “considerably high” risk of an explosive community outbreak, the government said in a statement Monday. Although Hong Kong’s worst outbreak has eased from its peak in mid-July, levels of infection aren’t yet showing a sustained drop.
“It is not yet the time for relaxation and there is no room for complacency in epidemic control,” a spokesman for the Food and Health Bureau said in the statement, warning that the third wave of infections is declining much slower than the second, despite more stringent border and social-distancing controls.
8:14 a.m. A conservative South Korean pastor who has been a bitter critic of the country’s president has tested positive for the coronavirus, health authorities said Monday, two days after he participated in an anti-government protest in Seoul that drew thousands.
More than 300 virus cases have been linked to the Rev. Jun Kwang-hun’s huge church in northern Seoul, which has emerged as a major cluster of infections amid growing fears of a massive outbreak in the greater capital region.
Officials are concerned that the virus’s spread could worsen after thousands of demonstrators, including Jun and members of his Sarang Jeil Church, marched in downtown Seoul on Saturday despite pleas from officials to stay home.
Jang Shi-hwa, a disease control expert in Seoul’s southern Gwangak district, said Jun was tested Monday morning at an area hospital, which later reported to her office that he had tested positive but did not exhibit any symptoms. Jun was seen smiling and talking on his cellphone, with his mask pulled down his chin, as he boarded an ambulance that took him to a different hospital in Seoul for isolated treatment.
South Korea reported 197 new cases of the virus on Monday, the fourth straight day of triple-digit increases. Most of the new cases in the past few days have come from the densely populated Seoul metropolitan area, home to about half of the country’s 51 million people.
8:10 a.m. Spain and Italy ordered the shuttering of discos and Greece restricted hours for bars and restaurants amid concerns that Europe’s summer partying is reigniting the spread of the coronavirus.
As the holiday season gradually winds down, European officials are wary about returning vacationers spreading COVID-19 at workplaces and schools. Spain has again emerged as a hot spot, triggering new travel warnings in another blow to the country’s $175 billion (U.S.) tourism industry.
In the past 14 days, Spain reported 116 new cases per 100,000 people, according to data from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. That compares with 41 in France, 19 in the U.K., 16 in Germany and 9.3 in Italy, the original epicenter of the outbreak on the continent.
Across the region, officials are caught between trying to foster an economic recovery after activity collapsed in the second quarter, and preventing a surge in infections that could stretch health systems and force even tighter restrictions.
“We cannot waste the sacrifices made in the past months,” Italian Health Minister Roberto Speranza wrote in a Facebook post late Sunday. Chancellor Angela Merkel told a meeting of her CDU party Monday in Berlin that rising infections in Germany are of concern, but still manageable. There is no scope currently for loosening restrictions, she said.
7:24 a.m. In the pitched battle over Ontario’s back-to-school plan, advocates say a glaring issue is being largely ignored, one that is critical for tens of thousands of families and increases the potential COVID-19 risk for elementary schools, even if class sizes shrink: Before- and after-school programs.
With September just weeks away, child-care advocates say there has been an “abdication of responsibility” by the province to ensure these programs are safe and viable, further fuelling parental anxiety and leaving child-care providers and school boards scrambling.
Before- and after-school care is a lifeline for many parents whose working hours don’t align with the school day but they can also see up to 30 kids mixing in a single space, often from different classrooms or even schools — meaning they could be part of two “cohorts” or even three, if they take the bus.
7:20 a.m. After spending hundreds of billions to prevent a major depression, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will make critical decisions in coming weeks on the next steps to support Canada’s economic recovery. That will include whether to keep or drop the only finance minister he has ever had.
The strains between Trudeau and Bill Morneau, the two most powerful men in the government, burst into public view last week. Bloomberg News reported Aug. 10 that the prime minister has been taking advice on an economic recovery plan from Mark Carney, the ambitious former Bank of Canada and Bank of England governor. The following afternoon, Trudeau was forced to issue an extraordinary statement expressing “full confidence” in Morneau, to quiet the drumbeat of speculation about the minister’s future.
A face-to-face meeting between the two men is scheduled for Monday, according to a person familiar with their calendars who spoke on condition of anonymity.
6:25 a.m.: Staff at two more long-term-care homes in Metro Vancouver have tested positive for COVID-19.
A release from Fraser Health says a rapid response team is at the Czorny Alzheimer Centre in Surrey and communication with residents and their families is underway.
The centre is owned and operated by the health authority, which says enhanced infection control measures are in place, including twice daily screenings of staff and residents.
A staff member at Arbutus Care Centre in Vancouver has also tested positive for the illness.
6:22 a.m.: Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has delayed New Zealand’s elections due to the coronavirus outbreak in Auckland. They’ll now be held on Oct. 17. The virus outbreak prompted a two-week lockdown in Auckland and halted election campaigning, and as of Monday, has infected 58 people.
Health authorities believe all the cases are connected and there’s no evidence of a wider outbreak. Authorities have been testing people at record levels since the outbreak was discovered last Tuesday.
Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield says the latest outbreak has given authorities pause for thought and New Zealand might not return to quite the same levels of freedom it had enjoyed until last week.
“I think we should aim to get back to life as normal as possible,” Bloomfield said. “But the new norm I think will include perhaps a little more physical distancing, more frequent and available use of hand gels, possibly even use of masks in some settings.”
6:21 a.m.: Australia’s hard-hit Victoria state on Monday recorded its deadliest day of the pandemic with 25 coronavirus fatalities. The death toll surpasses the previous 24-hour record of 21 set last week. Victoria’s Health Department recorded 282 new cases, slightly more than 279 new infections on Sunday but maintaining a downward trend. “We just can’t allow any sense of complacency to creep in here. This is an ultra-marathon and we just have to keep pushing forward each and every day,” Victoria state Premier Daniel Andrews said.
6:20 a.m.: India has now counted more than 50,000 deaths from COVID-19 with 941 deaths reported in the past 24 hours. With a total of 50,921 deaths, India has the fourth-most in the world, behind the United States, Brazil and Mexico. It has now counted more than 2.6 million cases of infection with 57,982 new cases reported by the Health Ministry on Monday. August has seen a big spike in fatalities with more than a quarter of the country’s total deaths coming in the past 17 days.
6:18 a.m.: South Korea counted its fourth straight day of triple-digit increases in new coronavirus cases Monday as the government urged people to stay home and curb travel.
The government had drawn up a special holiday on Monday with hopes of spurring domestic consumption. But as infections in the capital region increase, Health Minister Park Neung-hoo urged people to stay home and for residents in Seoul and nearby Gyeonggi province to avoid visiting other parts of the country for two weeks.
The 197 new cases announced by South Korea’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention brought the nation’s total to 15,515, including 305 deaths. The 279 new cases reported Sunday was South Korea’s biggest single-day jump since early May amid concerns about an outbreak in the densely populated Seoul metropolitan area.
The KCDC said 167 of the new cases came from the greater capital region, where about half of South Korea’s 51 million people live. Health workers have been struggling to track infections, but churches have emerged as a major source.
More than 300 have been linked to a northern Seoul church led by a conservative pastor who has frequently led anti-government protests against liberal President Moon Jae-in, including a rally attended by thousands of demonstrators in downtown Seoul on Saturday despite official pleas for them to stay home.
6:15 a.m.: Premier Doug Ford is set to speak at this year’s Association of Municipalities Ontario conference Monday morning.
The event is being held entirely online due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and will feature discussions and workshops about how municipalities can begin to recover from the outbreak’s economic ravages.
Also today, 10 cabinet ministers will participate in a forum on “supporting community well-being.”
They include Health Minister Christine Elliott and Education Minister Stephen Lecce.
The AMO has at times clashed with the provincial government during the COVID-19 pandemic, saying last month that emergency funds haven’t flowed to municipalities quickly enough.
They pointed the finger at “federal-provincial wrangling about how to share the costs.”
Sunday 10:45 p.m.: The CFL’s board of governors will meet Monday to determine the fate of the 2020 season after the league was unable to secure financial assistance from the federal government.
The CFL presented Ottawa with a $30-million, interest-free loan request Aug. 3 to stage an abbreviated 2020 season during the COVID-19 pandemic. But two sources familiar with the situation said Sunday night the plan fell through when the assistance couldn’t be provided to the league under the terms it sought.
The sources were granted anonymity because neither the CFL nor the federal government had divulged details of the loan request.
It wasn’t the first time the CFL had been unable to reach a deal for government assistance. Last month, the league ruled out a loan from the Business Development Bank of Canada because it felt the interest rate was too high.
Sunday 6:10 p.m. Reds players and staff were tested for COVID-19 again Sunday as Major League Baseball tried to determine if more than one Cincinnati player has been exposed to the novel coronavirus.
The last two games of a series between the Reds and Pittsburgh Pirates were postponed Saturday after the player tested positive. Both teams had days off Monday, creating an opportunity for a makeup doubleheader, but MLB was waiting on further testing.
The Pirates worked out Sunday at Great American Ball Park and returned to Pittsburgh, where they will start a three-game series against the Cleveland Indians on Tuesday.
Cincinnati is scheduled to go to Kansas City for a two-game series starting Tuesday night. The Reds then are scheduled to head to St. Louis for four games, followed by four in Milwaukee.
The Reds expect results of their latest tests on Monday, when a decision will be made whether they travel to Kansas City.
The Reds are the third MLB team to have games postponed because one of its players tested positive for COVID-19, joining the Marlins and the Cardinals.
As the Reds gathered on the field to celebrate an 8-1 win over the Pirates on Friday night, a coach took centre fielder Nick Senzel aside for a discussion. Senzel was upset as he walked off the field. Manager David Bell declined to discuss it after the game other than to say it was a “personal” situation and more information will be forthcoming.
Under medical privacy rules, teams aren’t allowed to identify players who test positive for COVID-19.
The Reds’ Matt Davidson confirmed that he tested positive during the opening series of the abbreviated, 60-game season, forcing him onto the injured list. After his return, Davidson said subsequent tests were negative, an indication that the original test yielded a false positive.
Three other Reds — Joey Votto, Mike Moustakas and Senzel — have missed games after feeling sick, but tested negative for the coronavirus and rejoined the team.
Sunday 5:30 p.m.: Toronto reports five new cases today for a total of 15,590 infections overall. Twelve more patients have recovered for 14,180 overall. There were no new deaths so the number remains at 1,164.
Trump claims Canada wants to open border with U.S. as closure extended to Oct. 21 – Global News
On the same day an extension of the U.S.-Canada border closure was announced, U.S. President Donald Trump claimed that the border would soon be reopened.
“We’re looking at the border with Canada. Canada would like it opened and, you know, we want to get back to normal business,” he said Friday.
Trump went on to praise the U.S.-Canada-Mexico trade agreement, and say that the border would be reopening “pretty soon” — potentially by the end of the year.
“Could be,” he said. “We’re working with Canada.”
Public Safety Minister Bill Blair took to Twitter earlier on Friday and announced the extension of the border closure, which was set to expire Sept. 21.
The U.S. and Canada border will remain closed until at least Oct. 21 in order to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
“We are extending non-essential travel restrictions with the United States until October 21st, 2020. We will continue to base our decisions on the best public health advice available to keep Canadians safe,” he tweeted.
Asked to respond to Trump’s statement, a spokesperson referred Global News to Blair’s previous tweet.
The Canada-U.S. border has been closed to travel like as vacations and shopping trips since mid-March — it does not cover trade or travel by air. The agreement has been extended on a monthly basis.
As of Friday, Canada has reported 142,879 coronavirus cases and 9,249 deaths. The U.S. has reported 6,678,382 cases and 197,696 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.
In June, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Canada would not be in a rush to open the border, as doing so may spark a second wave.
“If we take steps too quickly, if we are not sure of what we’re doing at each stage, we risk hitting a second wave … and having to close our economy again,” he said.
There had been a previous effort from U.S. Congress members to reopen the border with Canada amid the pandemic.
In early July, a bipartisan group of 29 federal lawmakers sent a letter to Blair and acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf, urging both countries to “immediately craft a comprehensive framework for phased reopening of the border.”
“Continuing to extend border restrictions at 30-day intervals is untenable for the communities that have been separated from family and unable to tend to their property for over three months,” the group argued.
In response to the letter, a spokesperson for the office of Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland said that while conversations between Canada and the U.S. about the border are ongoing, “both sides agree that the current measures in place” have “worked well.”
“Our absolute priority is the health and safety of Canadians,” Katherine Cuplinskas said in an email. “That is why we want to be clear that decisions about Canada’s border are made by Canadians, for Canadians.”
Thousands tried to visit Canada despite COVID-19 border closure
Although the Canada-U.S. land border remains closed until at least Oct. 21, Canadians can still fly into the U.S. as long as they have not recently been to countries such as China, Brazil or the United Kingdom.
The government of Canada still emphasizes that all non-essential travel outside of Canada must be avoided. The government has made it clear on its website that people deciding to travel during the pandemic could not only put themselves and others at risk of being infected with the novel coronavirus, it could also result in them becoming stranded.
New fence being built on U.S/Canada border
— With files from Global News’ Kerri Breen and Sean Boynton
© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
Trump claims Canada wants U.S. border reopened – CTV News
U.S. President Donald Trump says that Canada wants to see the Canada-U.S. border reopened, but the federal government says it’ll make the decision based on public health advice.
“We’re looking at the border with Canada. Canada would like it open, and you know we want to get back to normal business,” Trump said outside the White House on Friday.
“We’re going to be reopening the borders pretty soon,” Trump said, adding that he thinks the U.S. is “rounding the turn” in that country’s still massive COVID-19 outbreak.
To date there have been more than six million cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. and more than 198,000 Americans have died. Over the course of the crisis there have been 141,565 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Canada, and more than 9,000 deaths.
On Friday federal officials on both sides of the border announced that the Canada-U.S. border closure would be extended for at least another month, until Oct. 21.
The land border between the two countries has been closed to all non-essential travel since March 21, a move first made to limit the spread of the virus.
The agreement, as it stands, exempts the flow of trade and commerce, as well as temporary foreign workers and vital health-care workers such as nurses who live and work on opposite sides of the border.
Tourists and cross-border visits remain prohibited, though some restrictions on close family members have been eased allowing families to reunite, while others continue to call for further compassion for non-married couples and others who are still not permitted to cross.
Pandemic tensions have flared in Canada over prospective American visitors, some of whom have used loopholes in the rules to enter the country.
CTVNews.ca reached out to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s office for comment, and spokesperson Chantal Gagnon pointed to Public Safety Minister Bill Blair’s comments earlier on Friday about the continuation of the border restrictions.
“We will continue to base our decisions on the best public health advice available to keep Canadians safe,” Blair said in a tweet.
In the latest episode of CTV News’ podcast Trend Line, Chair of Nanos Research Nik Nanos said that “people in Canada see what’s happening in the United States, and they have significant concerns about the risks to Canadians because of the pandemic.”
Canada’s Public Health Agency president resigns amid rising coronavirus cases – Global News
Tina Namiesniowski, the president of the Public Health Agency of Canada, has resigned leaving the department in charge of leading country’s response to the coronavirus without a leader, amid rising cases of the virus in some of Canada’s most populous provinces.
In a letter to staff released by Health Canada, Namiesniowski said she needed “to take a break” and “step aside so someone else can step up” to lead the public health agency tasked with coordinating Canada’s response to COVID-19. Namiesniowski was appointed to the job in May 2019.
Her resignation comes as caseloads of the virus have surged in Ontario, B.C. and Quebec and criticism about the federal government’s response to the virus in the early stages of the pandemic has mounted.
A spokesperson for Health Canada said, “a replacement will be announced next week.”
“This is a very difficult decision for me but I think it’s the right one,” Namiesniowski said. “You really need someone who will have the energy and the stamina to take the Agency and our response to the next level.
“Even though I might not have accomplished everything I would have liked to have done, I truly hope the foundation for change I’ve championed through our work on PHAC of the future will help serve as a road map moving forward.”
According to her LinkedIn profile, Namiesniowski worked as the executive vice-president of the Canada Border Services Agency and served as an assistant deputy minister at Agriculture Canada and Public Safety Canada.
“I will support the transition of a new President and then I am going to take some time to reconnect with my husband, kids and aging father and think about my own next steps,” she wrote. “I do want to remind everyone about how much of a toll this relentless pace can have on each of us and our loved ones so please try and look after yourselves and each other.”
PHAC, which Namiesniowski formally headed, faced criticism over a depleted national emergency stockpile of personal protective equipment (PPE) and reports that the Global Public Health Intelligence Network (GPHIN) – a federal pandemic early warning system — was shut down last year.
Namiesniowski said in her email Friday, “it is hard to believe that close to ten months has elapsed since the Agency picked up the initial GPHIN signal on December 31st, 2019, about a cluster of cases in Wuhan of an unknown respiratory illness,” but did not mention the ongoing controversy around GPHIN.
Last week, Health Minister Patty Hajdu ordered a review over the warning system matter and reports that officials working on it were silenced, just months before the global outbreak of the coronavirus.
Hajdu said in a statement that a “full and expeditious independent review” has been requested.
“We were concerned to learn of reports that GPHIN analysts felt that they were not able to proceed with their important work, and that some scientists didn’t feel fully empowered. That’s why we have ordered a full and expeditious independent review of GPHIN,” said Hajdu’s office in a statement.
“This independent review is an important step in restoring GPHIN and ensuring that it can continue its valuable contributions to public health in Canada and around the world.”
© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
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