Canadian businesses and non-profit organizations that see a drop of at least 30 per cent in revenue due to COVID-19 will qualify for the government’s 75 per cent wage subsidy program, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Monday.
The number of employees will not be a factor in eligibility for the subsidy, Trudeau said at his daily media briefing outside his Rideau Cottage residence.
That reassurance came after Canada’s chief public health officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, urged Canadians over the weekend to “stay strong” and not let up on measures like physical distancing and proper hand hygiene, saying it will be a critical week in the fight against COVID-19’s spread.
It was confirmed as the week began that Newfoundland and Labrador had recorded its first death due to the novel coronavirus. The patient — a retired man in the Eastern Health region — died Sunday, about three days after being hospitalized. Read more about what’s happening in the province.
In eastern Ontario, meanwhile, nine residents of a long-term care facility have died of COVID-19 complications since early last week, and the facility’s medical director said Monday they are all believed to be linked to the virus. CBC Toronto previously reported that nearly three dozen staff members at Pinecrest Nursing Home in Bobcaygeon, Ont., have experienced COVID-19 symptoms.
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Across Canada, a domestic travel ban for those showing symptoms went into effect at noon ET Monday.
COVID-19 is the illness caused by the novel coronavirus, which first emerged in China in late 2019. For most people, it causes mild or moderate symptoms. Health officials have said older people and those with underlying health issues are most at risk of severe disease and death, but they caution that younger people can also develop serious illness.
The pandemic has countries scrambling to contain the spread of the virus and quickly scale up health systems struggling with a shortage of protective gear. Governments are also trying to tackle the economic fallout that has accompanied the pandemic as many businesses cut jobs, scale back operations or close.
As countries adopt measures such as physical distancing, the World Health Organization (WHO) urged governments to ensure that the needs of vulnerable people were met — including food, sanitation and other essential services.
“In implementing these measures, it’s vital to respect the dignity and welfare of all people,” said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO’s director general, during Monday’s daily coronavirus news briefing.
WATCH l WHO chief says ‘humility and kindness’ vital in fight against COVID-19:
Tedros said he was encouraged by the efforts of G20 countries to work together “to improve the production and equitable supply of essential products.”
“In the eye of a storm like COVID, scientific and public health tools are essential, but so are humility and kindness.
“With solidarity, humility and assuming the best of each other, we can — and we will — overcome this together,” Tedros said.
Read on for a look at what’s happening in Canada, the U.S. and some other hard-hit areas.
Here’s what’s happening in the provinces and territories
Canada’s provinces and territories reported more than 7,300 confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases, though public health officials have cautioned that those numbers don’t capture the full picture. That’s because there are people who haven’t been tested, people who are still being investigated as possible cases, and people who are awaiting test results. A total of 1,014 cases have been listed as recovered or resolved.
There have been 82 COVID-19 deaths reported in Canada, plus another two COVID-19-related deaths of Canadians abroad — one in Japan and one in Brazil.
For a more detailed look at what’s happening in Canada, including detail on the limitations of relying on recorded cases, visit CBC’s interactive case tracker.
In Ontario, CBC Toronto has obtained copies of COVID-19 reports issued daily by Critical Care Services Ontario, a branch of the province’s Ministry of Health. The latest report, from Saturday, shows 92 patients in critical-care wards have tested positive for COVID-19, while another 342 ICU patients are considered “suspected” cases.
This means confirmed or suspected COVID-19 cases now account for roughly one out of every four patients currently in Ontario’s intensive care units — the first crucial medical resource to be overwhelmed by the spread of the virus in Italy, Spain and New York City. Read more about what’s happening in Ontario.
Quebec surpassed 3,000 cases on Monday, and reported three new deaths, bringing its total to 25. Still, Premier François Legault said there is cause for hope as fewer people than expected were hospitalized. On Sunday, he said that total cases in the province appeared to be “stabilizing.” The Quebec government also announced $133 million in emergency funds for seniors residences, while a Hasidic Jewish community is seeking help from officials following a spike in COVID-19 cases. Read more about what’s happening in Quebec, including stepped-up enforcement of public health orders in Montreal.
Following two years of catastrophic flooding, COVID-19 border closures and physical distancing rules are the latest threats to New Brunswick farmers. Questions over how foreign workers will enter Canada and how long they will have to self-isolate are especially worrying, while the president of the Agricultural Alliance of New Brunswick is asking for the entire food-supply chain to be declared an essential service in order to protect the industry. Read more about what’s happening in N.B.
Prince Edward Island’s businesses and health resources are being forced to adapt as COVID-19 changes islanders’ needs and buying habits. Internet providers are reporting an uptick in demand, mental health and addictions support have moved online and rural grocery stores are experiencing significantly higher volumes as people attempt to shop local. Read more about what’s happening in P.E.I.
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Teachers in British Columbia are back on the job Monday, working on plans to teach students from home. To that end, on Friday the province launched a new education resource website for caregivers, who will likely be helping with their child’s education for the remainder of the school year. Also over the weekend, grocery stores were told they should not allow customers to use their own reusable bags, and the B.C. government announced it is sending $3 million in emergency funding to the province’s food banks, which are facing an increase in demand as people struggle to make ends meet. Read more about what’s happening in B.C.
In Alberta, some people applying for a provincial one-time funding program meant to tide them over until federal supports are in place are having problems with the process. “It’s absolutely frustrating and I really do need it,” said one self-employed worker who is trying to access the Emergency Isolation Support program. Read more about what’s happening in Alberta, which recorded its third COVID-19-related death over the weekend.
Saskatchewan has recorded its first deaths related to COVID-19. The Ministry of Health announced two patients in their 70s died from complications related to the virus. It says they died in hospital in different parts of the province, and one was travel related. Read more about what’s happening in Saskatchewan.
Nova Scotia confirmed its first case of community transmission on Monday. The province reported five new cases, bringing its total to 127 infections. It comes after Premier Stephen McNeil said over the weekend that the province will “escalate” their response to people breaking self-isolation rules. McNeil directed law enforcement to shift from education to enforcement, while Halifax Regional Police issued their first ticket under the Nova Scotia Emergency Management Act on the same day. Read more about what’s happening in N.S.
Manitoba is shutting down all non-critical services as of April 1. The province’s chief public health officer, Dr. Brent Roussin, made the announcement on Monday, closing any place that serves food for dine-in service, as well as bars, hair salons and massage therapy offices. Grocery stores will still remain open. Read more about what’s happening in Manitoba.
In Canada’s North, the Northwest Territories will help Indigenous families who want to head out on the land as an alternative to physical distancing. The N.W.T government says it will administer a $2.6-million grant to help families buy the proper gear and supplies needed to head out to fishing and hunting camps. Meanwhile, Nunavut announced a $5,000 relief grant for small businesses. Read more about what’s happening in the North.
Here’s what’s happening in the United States
From Reuters and The Associated Press, updated at 3:30 p.m. ET
With more than 140,000 people infected, the United States has the most recorded cases of the coronavirus of any country in the world, followed by Italy and Spain.
New York state has been especially hard hit and Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued an urgent appeal for medical volunteers Monday as the number of deaths in the state climbed past 1,200.
New York City hospitals have been overrun with patients. To ease the pressure, construction of a 68-bed field hospital began on Sunday in the city’s iconic Central Park. The white tents evoked a wartime feel in an island of green typically used by New Yorkers to exercise, picnic and enjoy the first signs of spring.
The makeshift facility, provided by Mount Sinai Health System and non-profit organization Samaritan’s Purse, is expected to be ready to accept patients on Tuesday but will not take walk-ins, and admissions and transfers will be managed by Mount Sinai, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said.
The mayor, who is among a growing chorus of officials voicing frustration at U.S. President Donald Trump and his administration’s handling of the crisis, said the death toll in his city would rise soon if Washington did not provide more medical supplies and assistance.
Trump, who just last week said he hoped the country would be “opened up and just raring to go” by Easter, changed course on Sunday and announced that the physical distancing guidelines would be in place until at least April 30.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the U.S. government’s top infectious disease expert, said the decision to extend the federal guidelines — which advise against social gatherings and urge people at higher risk of developing severe illness to stay home — was a “wise and prudent” move, given the projections for case numbers if mitigation efforts aren’t strong enough.
Among those dying from coronavirus complications in the U.S. were musicians Joe Diffie, a country star in the 1990s, and Alan Merrill, who co-wrote the smash Joan Jett made famous, I Love Rock ‘N Roll.
Acclaimed singer-songwriter John Prine was said to now be in stable condition on Monday, after his family had previously announced he was critically ill with symptoms.
Here’s what’s happening in Europe
From Reuters and The Associated Press, updated at 12:45 p.m. ET
Italy reported its total number of coronavirus cases has surpassed 100,000, reaching 101,739 on Monday. The country has also registered more COVID-19-related deaths than anywhere else in the world, with 11,591 people killed, accounting for about one-third of the global death toll.
Spain’s total number of coronavirus cases rose to 85,195 on Monday, as the infections surpassed those reported in China, at 81,470, according to the latest data. Some 12,298 Spanish health workers have tested positive, deputy health emergency chief Maria Jose Sierra said. The death toll from the virus in Spain rose to 7,340 on Monday from 6,528 on Sunday, the health ministry said.
Spain and Italy account more than half of the known 34,800 deaths worldwide from the disease.
In France, army helicopters transported COVID-19 patients fighting for their lives from the eastern part of the country to hospitals in Germany and Switzerland as French authorities battle to free up space in life-support units. The Grand Est region was the first in France to be overwhelmed by a wave of infections that has rapidly moved west to engulf the greater Paris region, where hospitals are desperately adding intensive care beds to cope with the influx.
The number of confirmed cases in Germany has risen to 57,298 and 455 people have died of the disease. Cases rose by 4,751, compared with the previous day, while the death toll climbed by 66.
Hungary’s parliament on Monday approved a bill giving Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s government extraordinary powers during the coronavirus pandemic. The bill was approved by Orban’s Fidesz party and other government supporters, but is being criticized by opposition parties, international institutions and civic groups for failing to include an expiration date for the government’s ability to rule by decree.
WATCH | Lessons to be learned from Germany’s handling of COVID-19:
In Britain, Prime Minister Boris Johnson is warning in a letter to 30 million households that things will get worse before they get better, as he self-isolates in Downing Street to recover from the coronavirus. Johnson’s chief adviser, Dominic Cummings, is the latest senior government figure to show symptoms of the coronavirus, which are described as mild. Britain has reported 17,089 confirmed cases of the disease and 1,019 deaths and the peak of the epidemic in the country is expected to come in a few weeks.
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Prince Charles, 71, says the Prince of Wales is in good health and out of self-isolation after consulting with his doctor.
Here’s what’s happening in the rest of the world
From The Associated Press and Reuters, updated at 12 p.m. ET
China’s National Health Commission on Monday reported 31 new COVID-19 cases, among them just one domestic infection, while the others were individuals recently arrived from abroad.
The country is now easing the last of the controls that confined tens of millions of people to their homes while they sought to contain the spread of the virus. At the peak of China’s restrictions, some 700 million people were in areas covered by orders or official requests to stay home and limit activity.
Shopkeepers in Wuhan — the city where the outbreak began — were reopening Monday, but customers were scarce.
The focus of China’s prevention measures has shifted to overseas arrivals, with virtually all foreigners barred from entering the country starting Saturday.
South Korea has reported 78 new cases of the coronavirus and six more deaths, bringing its totals to 9,661 infections and 158 fatalities. Starting Wednesday the country will enforce two-week quarantines for all passengers arriving from overseas as authorities scramble to prevent the virus from re-entering amid broadening outbreaks in Europe, North America and beyond.
Iranian state-run media say prisoners in southern Iran broke cameras and caused other damage during a riot. It’s the latest in a series of violent prison disturbances in the country, which is battling the most severe coronavirus outbreak in the Middle East. Iran had temporarily released around 100,000 prisoners as part of measures taken to contain the pandemic, leaving an estimated 50,000 people behind bars, including violent offenders and so-called “security cases,” often dual nationals and others with Western ties. Iran has reported more than 38,000 infections and 2,640 deaths from COVID-19.
In India, a lockdown covering the country’s 1.3 billion people has put untold numbers out of work and left many families struggling to feed themselves. Tens of thousands in New Delhi were forced to flee their homes, with no way to pay the rent, journeying back to their native villages. Women in saris held babies on their hips. Others toted their belongings in bags normally used for cement. Prime Minister Narendra Modi apologized for the hardships but said, “These tough measures were needed to win this battle.”
In Israel, the prime minister’s office said Benjamin Netanyahu will go into quarantine after his adviser for parliamentary affairs, Rivka Paluch, tested positive. More than 4,300 Israelis have been infected with the virus and 15 have died.
Indonesian President Joko Widodo said on Monday he planned stricter rules on mobility and physical distancing as a study presented to the government warned of a risk of more than 140,000 coronavirus deaths by May without tougher action.
Medical experts have said the world’s fourth-most populous country must impose tighter movement restrictions as known cases of the highly infectious respiratory illness have gone from zero in early March to 1,414, with 122 deaths, nearly half of the 250 deaths reported from across Southeast Asia.
Finally, Olympic organizers wasted no time in announcing a new date for the 2020 Tokyo Games, which were postponed last week after countries like Canada said they would not participate due to the coronavirus risk. The targeted date is now July 23 to Aug. 8, 2021.
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