Pope Francis said Saturday that the COVID-19 pandemic has challenged many assumptions.
In a message ahead of the 4th World Day of the Poor, which will be marked on Nov. 15, the pope said that “we feel poorer and less self-sufficient because we have come to sense our limitations and the restriction of our freedom.”
He said the loss of jobs along with the chance to spend more time with loved ones “suddenly opened our eyes to horizons that we have long since taken for granted,” and that the period of lockdown allowed many to rediscover “the importance of simplicity, and of keeping our eyes fixed on the essentials.”
He also said that the pandemic “has made us all the more aware of the presence of the poor in our midst and their need for help” and that its sudden arrival sparked “a powerful sense of bewilderment and helplessness” that also demonstrated “our own need for an outstretched hand.”
The novel coronavirus has infected more than 7.7 million people worldwide and killed more than 429,000, according to Johns Hopkins University.
Infections have been reported in more than 210 countries and territories since the first cases were identified in China in December 2019.
What’s happening with COVID-19 in Canada
As of 5:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, there were 98,408 confirmed and presumptive coronavirus cases in Canada, with 59,353 cases considered recovered or resolved. A CBC News tally of deaths based on provincial data, regional health information and CBC’s reporting stood at 8,163.
Read on to see what’s happening around the world.
New Zealand on Saturday became one of the first nations in the world to welcome hordes of fans back into a packed sports stadium, thanks to the country’s remarkable success in eliminating the coronavirus.
After instituting a strict lockdown in March, New Zealand has not reported any new cases of the coronavirus for more than three weeks, and says all those who contracted the disease have now recovered. Earlier in the week, the country removed just about every remaining virus restriction, with the notable exception of keeping the border closed.
That meant there were no masks or social distancing required when more than 20,000 fans poured into the Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin to watch Saturday’s rugby match between the local Highlanders and the Chiefs, who had traveled from Hamilton.
In China, Beijing has locked down 11 residential communities near a wholesale food market to try to stem a new outbreak of COVID-19.
Beijing officials said Saturday that 45 workers at the Xinfadi market tested positive for the coronavirus, though they showed no symptoms. That was in addition to an earlier announcement of seven people with symptoms, including six who had visited or worked at the market. Forty environmental samples taken at the market also tested positive, city officials said.
The city, which had not had a locally transmitted infection in more 50 days, reversed some recent moves to relax coronavirus restrictions. Authorities delayed the planned reopening of schools on Monday for first to third graders and suspended athletics events.
African leaders say China will ensure the supply of 30 million testing kits and 10,000 ventilators each month for the continent as the coronavirus pandemic accelerates there.
A statement by the South African president’s office says the supplies will be available for purchase via a new continental platform that African nations set up to negotiate cheaper prices for urgently needed medical equipment amid intense global competition.
The head of the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said each African nation will be given a quota based on its population and number of virus cases. The South African statement says Canada, the Netherlands, South Korea and France also have been partners in the effort.
India reported another record daily spike in infections as the country passed the grim milestone of 300,000 cases. The Health Ministry reported 11,458 new cases on Saturday and 386 deaths, driving total fatalities to 8,884. India’s total caseload reached 308,993, the fourth-highest in the world, including more than 150,000 recoveries.
India’s caseload jumped by about 100,000 cases in a week, which coincided with the reopening of shopping malls, houses of worship and restaurants.
In the capital of New Delhi, most public hospitals are full, and crematoriums and graveyards are struggling to manage a rash of bodies. Delhi’s government has projected that cases in the capital area alone could expand to more than half a million by late July, and is considering taking over luxury hotels and stadiums to convert into field hospitals.
Ukraine has recorded its highest daily count of new coronavirus infections for the third day in a row, more than double the count earlier in the month.
The Health Ministry on Saturday reported 753 new cases, compared with 683 the previous day.
In early June, Ukraine was recording fewer than 350 new cases a day. Overall, Ukraine counts 30,506 confirmed infection cases and 880 deaths.
Egypt on Saturday confirmed 1,677 new coronavirus cases and 62 deaths, the health ministry said, the highest daily increase for both counts.
Egypt — a country of around 100 million people — has registered 42,980 cases including 1,484 deaths, the ministry said in a statement.
The country is considering reopening mosques in least affected provinces starting from July 1 and will hold end-of-year exams for pupils in the final year of high school as scheduled later this month.
In the U.S., daily coronavirus hospitalizations in Texas have reached a new high for a third time in four days as state officials continue to loosen restrictions on public activities.
Health officials said Friday that 2,166 patients were in Texas hospitals with COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus. That is 13 more than the previous high reached Wednesday. Nineteen more COVID-19 deaths also were reported Friday, bringing the state’s overall toll to 1,939.
Officials said almost 2,100 new coronavirus infections had been confirmed, bringing the state’s total to 83,680.
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