Coronavirus: What's happening in Canada and around the world on Sunday

A masked pedestrian walks in the rain in the ByWard Market in Ottawa on Sept. 13 in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Justin Tang/The Canadian Press) The latest: Two miners who were exposed to COVID-19 in their home jurisdictions before travelling are being monitored in Nunavut. Dr. Michael Patterson, Nunavut's chief public health officer, announced the cases at the Hope Bay gold mine in a news release Saturday issued by the territorial government. These are the first cases of the infection to be reported in Nunavut since the pandemic began, but since they didn't originate in the territory they'll instead be counted in other jurisdictions, said Cate Macleod, spokesperson for Premier Joe Savikataaq. "Both miners are asymptomatic and were immediately isolated and swabbed for the virus," Patterson said. No residents from the territory itself work at the site, 125 kilometres southwest of Cambridge Bay, so it's believed the risk of community spread remains low. In Quebec, Premier François Legault said he has tested negative for COVID-19. Legault and his wife were tested after meeting with Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole last Monday. O'Toole tested positive for the virus Friday. In a message posted Saturday to social media, Legault said he will remain in isolation until Sept. 28. This comes as Quebec reported its highest total of new cases since late May, as well as five additional deaths. The 427 new cases bring the provincial total to a national high of 67,080 confirmed infections, with 5,797 deaths. WATCH | Ontario Premier Doug Ford limits social gatherings provincewide: Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced the province is lowering the number of people allowed at social gatherings across Ontario. 1:25 Ontario saw its caseload jump by 407 on Saturday for a total of 46,484, with 2,865 deaths. Premier Doug Ford announced a tightening of restrictions on private social gatherings. People in every region of the province can only gather in groups of 10 people indoors, and 25 outdoors under orders continuing until Oct. 22.  Police in Hamilton, Ont., dispersed a crowd on Saturday night that they say was well over the new allowable limits for outdoor social gatherings. An example of the impact the #COVIDAlert app can have. Download it today for free to help break the cycle of #COVID19 infections. https://t.co/GQCfsuMG6A https://t.co/kf1gfTXquC —@CPHO_Canada Officers from nearby Peel and York regions, along with Ontario Provincial Police, joined efforts to shut down what police called an "impromptu car show" in a parking lot. People had brought about 500 cars to the parking lot at Cineplex Cinemas Ancaster for the event, said Staff Sgt. Richard Vanderboom of Hamilton Police Mountain Station. He declined to estimate how many people were there. As of 8:30 a.m. ET on Sunday, Canada had 142,774 confirmed or presumptive coronavirus cases. Provinces and territories listed 124,187 of those as recovered or resolved. A CBC News tally of deaths based on provincial reports, regional health information and CBC's reporting stood at 9,251. What's happening around the rest of Canada In downtown Calgary, a restaurant owner says he's near the point of having to hire security because staff are facing harassment from customers who do not want to wear face coverings. Interactive How close are we to a vaccine for COVID-19? Stephen Deere, owner of Modern Steak, says the level of disrespect from patrons refusing to wear a mask has been escalating in recent days. "We're in a democracy, and I believe you have the right to have your opinion and you have the right to protest," Deere said. "But when you're taking it out on the front-line workers and retail and hospitality, and they're feeling threatened up to the point that violence could occur, it's time to ring the alarm." Calgary council voted earlier this month to keep masks mandatory in indoor public spaces, including restaurants, and on public transit, with the next update on masks coming in December. What's happening around the world According to Johns Hopkins University, the global total of confirmed coronavirus cases stands at more than 30.8 million. More than 957,000 people have died, while 21 million have recovered. In London, England, hundreds of people gathered on Saturday to protest the latest COVID-19 restrictions. There were scuffles between demonstrators and police who moved in to disperse the crowd in Trafalgar Square. Protesters attend a rally Saturday at Trafalgar Square in London to protest against restrictions aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19. (Hollie Adams/Getty Images) Many held placards calling for "freedom" from the restrictions, while some called the pandemic a hoax. The U.K. reported more than 4,400 new COVID-19 cases on Saturday, it's highest single-day spike since May. In Spain, people protested in Madrid on Sunday against the handling of the coronavirus pandemic by the city's regional head, who has placed new restrictions on neighbourhoods with the highest contagion rates. Wearing face masks and trying to maintain distancing, protesters clapped in unison while shouting for regional President Isabel Diaz Ayuso to step down. Demonstrators gather in front of the Assembly of Madrid on Sunday to protest against the new restrictive measures announced by regional authorities. (Oscar del Pozo/AFP/Getty Images) The restrictions affect around 860,000 people who won't be able to leave their neighbourhoods except for essential activities, including work or a medical appointment. Parks in the area are closed and shops and restaurants have to limit occupancy to 50 per cent. Spain is struggling to contain a second wave of the novel coronavirus, which has killed at least 30,400 people, according to the Spanish health ministry. Madrid's rate of transmission is more than double the national average, which already leads European contagion charts.

Continue Reading Coronavirus: What's happening in Canada and around the world on Sunday

Coronavirus: What's happening in Canada and around the world on Saturday

Servers wait for clients at a restaurant terrace on the Place Jacques-Cartier in Montreal on July 28. Police will be visiting restaurants and bars throughout Quebec this weekend to ensure COVID-19 safety measures are being followed. (Eric Thomas/AFP/Getty Images) The latest: Chief medical officer of health points to 'indicator of accelerated epidemic growth.' Nearly 20 per cent of COVID-19 infections among health-care workers. Quebec police to visit bars and restaurants to ensure rules are followed. Conservative leader tests positive for COVID-19; Quebec premier self-isolating. COVID-19 task force worries Trump's rush to approve vaccine will spook Canadians. Canada's Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Theresa Tam has urged Canadians to "redouble their efforts" to help slow the spread of the novel coronavirus after the country reported an average of 779 new cases daily during the week, more than double the level in July. "The ongoing increase in the national daily case counts is an indicator of accelerated epidemic growth. This situation increases the likelihood that we could lose the ability to keep COVID-19 cases at manageable levels," Tam said on Friday. Her warning came as Ontario reported its highest one-day increase in cases since early June, with 401 new cases. Among other provinces reporting new cases, the highest counts were in Quebec, with 297 newly reported infections, British Columbia with 139, and Alberta with 107. Ontario's higher count was reported a day after the province increased fines for those organizing large social gatherings to $10,000 and cut down the maximum size of gatherings in three hot spot regions. In Toronto, Ottawa and Peel Region, only 10 people will be allowed to gather indoors — down from the current limit of 25 — while the number for outdoor gatherings will drop to 25 from 100. WATCH | Premiers from 4 provinces hardest hit by COVID-19 ask Ottawa for funding: Four of Canada's premiers meet in Ottawa with an urgent request: more money for health care. 1:50 Quebec, meanwhile, has announced a blitz to enforce COVID-19-related public health rules, which will send officers to 1,000 bars and restaurants across the province over the weekend. Pandemic rules prohibit food and alcohol from being served after midnight. Physical distancing must also be maintained between tables, while dancing and karaoke are not permitted. "We have to use every tool and every gesture at our disposal to avoid a second wave in Quebec," Public Security Minister Geneviève Guilbault told reporters in Quebec City as the police operation was announced Friday. WATCH | Quebec plans major policing blitz to curb COVID-19: Quebec's various security forces will visit hundreds of establishments this weekend to enforce public health measures meant to limit the spread of the coronavirus. 2:04 Figures released this month from the Canadian Institute for Health Information say 19.4 per cent of those who tested positive for COVID-19 were health-care workers. The numbers cover up to late July and are almost double the 10 per cent figure gathered by the World Health Organization for health-care workers infected worldwide. Linda Silas, president of the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions, said governments in Canada weren't prepared for the virus, although research as early as March showed it was possible the virus could be airborne. WATCH | B.C. becomes first province to use COVID-19 spit tests for children: B.C. puts in place spit and gargle COVID-19 tests for children as a convenient alternative to the nasal swab. 2:01 Silas said her federation has launched an investigation into why Canada didn't better protect its health-care workers. As of 9:00 a.m. ET on Saturday, Canada had 141,911 confirmed or presumptive coronavirus cases. Provinces and territories listed 123,723 of those as recovered or resolved. A CBC News tally of deaths based on provincial reports, regional health information and CBC's reporting stood at 9,245. What's happening around the rest of Canada Two federal party leaders have now tested positive for COVID-19, and one premier may have been exposed. Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet and his wife, Nancy Déziel, have both tested positive and are in isolation until the end of September, the party confirmed on Friday. It was also announced on Friday that federal Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole had a COVID-19 test come back positive and he is now isolating. Quebec Premier François Legault and O'Toole met one-on-one last Monday in Montreal for the federal Conservative leader's first official visit to a sitting premier. Legault said he will be getting a test for COVID-19 and self-isolate. WATCH | Toronto commuters from communities at high risk for COVID-19 left with little choice: For Toronto commuters who rely on public transit, some buses remain extremely crowded — especially in one neighbourhood already hit hard by COVID-19. 3:07 Members of the federal government's COVID-19 vaccine task force are casting worried eyes at the Trump administration's political push to get a vaccine approved before the U.S. presidential election in November. Dr. Joanne Langley, the task force co-chair, and member Alan Bernstein said they are concerned about "vaccine hesitancy" in Canada, the phenomenon where people have doubts about taking a readily available vaccine because of concerns about its safety. Langley said that when a vaccine against COVID-19 is eventually found, governments and health-care professionals will have to mount a vigorous information campaign to counter opposition. And it won't help that U.S. President Donald Trump has said a pandemic-ending vaccine could be rolled out as soon as October, stoking concern that he is rushing the timeline to further his re-election chances on Nov. 3. Countering concerns that an apparent hurry to approve a vaccine could spook people out of getting it is an ongoing concern among the approximately one dozen health experts on the government's vaccine advisory panel. It's tasked with recommending which vaccine candidates the government should be spending money on. "All the decisions are made based on the evidence of science, which includes the immune response, how well it protects, all of the adverse events," Langley said. "And really, politicians have nothing to do with that." What's happening around the world According to Johns Hopkins University, the global total of confirmed coronavirus cases stands at more than 30.5 million. More than 952,000 people have died, while 20.8 million have recovered. The state at the centre of a coronavirus outbreak in Australia recorded its lowest number of daily new coronavirus cases since June on Saturday. Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews praised Victorians and said they should be hopeful for the weeks ahead. Police patrol in Elsternwick Park in Melbourne, Australia on Saturday. Anti-lockdown protesters gathered in the park as the city remained under pandemic restrictions that included a curfew. (Darrian Traynor/Getty Images) There were 21 new infections in the past 24 hours. An average between 30 and 50 is the key target for lockdown restrictions in Melbourne to be further relaxed on Sept. 28. Seven more people have died — six of those deaths are linked to care homes for seniors. Andrews' comments came as police broke up anti-lockdown protests in Melbourne on Saturday. He said reopening further would not be viable "if we don't first get these numbers down to a low level." India has maintained its surge in coronavirus cases, adding 93,337 new confirmed infections in the past 24 hours. The country's health ministry on Saturday raised the nation's caseload to more than 5.3 million out of its nearly 1.4 billion people. The ministry said 1,247 more people died in the past 24 hours for a total of 85,619. The country has over a million active cases with a recovery rate of about 80 per cent. India has been reporting the highest single-day rise in the world every day for more than five weeks. It's expected to become the pandemic's worst-hit country within weeks, surpassing the United States. A health worker takes a swab sample from a man to test for COVID-19 along a road in Allahabad in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh on Saturday. (Sanjay Kanojia/AFP/Getty Images) Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government has faced scathing criticism from opposition lawmakers in India's parliament for its handling of the pandemic amid a contracting economy that has left millions jobless. More than 10 million migrant workers, out of money and fearing starvation, poured out of cities and headed back to villages when Modi ordered the nationwide lockdown on March 24. The migration was one key reason that the virus spread to the far reaches of the country, while the lockdown caused severe economic pain. The economy contracted nearly 24 per cent in the second quarter, the worst among the world's top economies.

Continue Reading Coronavirus: What's happening in Canada and around the world on Saturday

Coronavirus: What's happening in Canada and around the world on Wednesday

Kindergarten children line up before entering class at Portage Trail Community School in Toronto. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press) The latest: Pressure mounts on Health Canada to approve rapid COVID-19 testing devices. Ontario premier warns province may move some regions back into lockdown. Bloc Québécois leader in isolation after wife tests positive for COVID-19. New UN General Assembly president warns unilateralism will only strengthen the pandemic. Head of WHO says school closures should be a 'last resort.' Global economy not doing as badly as previously expected: OECD report. As schools reopen across much of the country, some are voicing concern about the rising number of COVID-19 cases among students and worrying that not enough is being done to protect both children and teachers.  As of 11 a.m. ET on Wednesday, Canada had 139,118 confirmed or presumptive coronavirus cases. Provinces and territories listed 121,994 of those as recovered or resolved. A CBC News tally of deaths based on provincial reports, regional health information and CBC's reporting stood at 9,230. Ontario's Windsor-Essex Catholic District School Board has confirmed its first student case of COVID-19 at one of its schools, marking the region's first reported infection in a school.  Stella Maris Catholic Elementary School in Amherstburg, Ont., was first notified of the diagnosis Tuesday morning, board officials said, and classmates of the COVID-positive student were dismissed through the day and asked to self-isolate for two weeks. WATCH | How the first day of school looks in a pandemic: The National follows a Toronto family on their first day of school during the COVID-19 pandemic. 3:24 "As soon as we were made aware of the positive case we contacted the health unit," said Melissa Farrand, the school board's COVID-19 lead. She said the health unit then worked with the school principal to find those who had been in close contact. Five positive cases of COVID-19 have also been recorded within the Saskatoon school and daycare systems since students began returning to class last week. "Due to the block scheduling and safety protocols that are currently in place, the SHA has determined the risk to be very low for our school community and there is no evidence of community transmission," said a letter shared with parents. Meanwhile, in Hamilton, Ont., educators and their unions are becoming increasingly worried about what they say is a large number of students not wearing masks in local public schools. A teacher looks out into the hallway at Hunter's Glen Junior Public School in Toronto. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press) Jeff Sorensen, president of the Hamilton-Wentworth Elementary Teachers' Local, told CBC News there are complaints coming from staff at schools, with one school apparently reporting 25 per cent of students not wearing masks. Families can opt out of mandatory masking in Hamilton schools if their children have medical issues that would prevent them from using a face covering or mask or if they have difficulty breathing in one. But they don't need to provide any proof. "It's alarming," Sorensen said. Internationally, the head of the World Health Organization (WHO) said closing schools again should be a "last resort" and only applied in places with high levels of transmission. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus touted the importance of keeping schools open, when possible, and warned that the more kids are out of school, the less likely they are to return in many places. "Distance learning" should be available where possible, Tedros said.  WATCH | Students ask: What do we do with masks at recess? An infectious diseases specialist and epidemiologist answer questions about COVID-19 and back to school, including what to do with masks during recess and whether reusable lunch kits should be avoided. 7:13 In Canada, the transition to virtual schooling has not been a smooth one, with issues like parents feeling left in the dark, postponements, enrolment lists in flux and technical hiccups. "I have zero faith that [schools are] organized... The feeling I get is that they don't have a plan, they're not prepared," said Ashley St John, a Toronto mother of a blended family of five children between the ages of two months and 12 years. Parents in Calgary are also decrying a lack of key information and details about the Calgary Board of Education's Hub online learning program, which was slated to begin as early as Monday. "We just don't have any information as to what time we need to be home and in front of our computers to be able to let the kids connect with their teachers," said Tamara Rose, who is working from home full time due to multiple autoimmune diseases.  What's happening around the rest of Canada In Quebec, the wife of Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-Francois Blanchet said she is in self-isolation after testing positive for COVID-19. In a tweet, Nancy Deziel said she was tested Monday after losing her sense of smell. Deziel said she and those close to her will be in isolation until next Tuesday. She's continuing to work remotely as a scientist and city councillor in Shawinigan, Que. Blanchet himself, along with the Bloc Québécois caucus, was already in isolation as a precaution, after a member of his staff tested positive Monday. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's wife, Sophie Gregoire Trudeau, tested positive for COVID-19 early in the pandemic but has recovered. Ontario will lower the limits on social gatherings in a bid to stem a recent increase in COVID-19 cases. Premier Doug Ford's office has confirmed the move but won't say when the new health guidelines will be available. The current limit on social gatherings is 50 people indoors and 100 outdoors. Provincial health officials have attributed the spike in cases largely to people not following public health guidelines at social gatherings. Ford has promised to take actions in the regions where most of the cases have emerged — Toronto, Peel, and Ottawa. He has also not ruled out further lockdowns in those areas if virus case numbers aren't brought under control. Ontario reported another 315 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday — more than half of which are in people under 40. With a sudden spike in cases prompting more people to get tested, Canadians are coping with hours-long lineups at COVID-19 testing centres across the country — and some medical experts are calling on Health Canada to approve new devices to deliver faster results. WATCH | How Ford says Ontario is preparing for a second wave:  Saying a second wave of COVID-19 may be even more complicated than the first one, Ontario Premier Doug Ford said his government has been working around the clock to prepare for it. 3:05 Concerned parents and their children faced four-hour waits at Ottawa's primary testing facility on Monday. A similar scene greeted those looking for a test on Tuesday. At Toronto's William Osler drive-thru testing centre, residents were kept waiting for more than three hours. Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada's chief public health officer, said Tuesday that one approach to the crush of people looking for tests could be the deployment of rapid-testing devices. Seven months into this pandemic, these devices still are not available for use in Canada because Health Canada regulators haven't yet approved them. "I totally agree with a number of comments from experts that we need to augment the portfolio of testing capabilities in Canada," Tam told a news conference. Health officials in Ottawa are urging people who don't have symptoms or have not been referred to stop clogging up test sites. There have been what they've described as record-breaking lines at testing centres recently as the city's positive tests surge to levels not seen since early May. Officials say most people coming for testing don't need to be there, which is causing a backlog.  "Most simply [get tested] if you have symptoms or you've been referred by public health," said Vera Etches, Ottawa's medical officer of health, in a news conference Tuesday.  What's happening around the world The new president of the United Nations General Assembly is warning that unilateralism will only strengthen the COVID-19 pandemic and is calling for a new commitment to global co-operation including on the fair and equitable distribution of vaccines. Turkish diplomat and politician Volkan Bozkir, who took over the reins of the 193-member world body on Tuesday, announced that the General Assembly will hold a high-level special session on the COVID-19 pandemic in early November, though diplomats said the date may slip. Bozkir told diplomats from UN member nations, seated at physically distanced spaces in the assembly chamber, that "no state can combat this pandemic alone," and it is the members' responsibility "to strengthen people's faith in multilateral co-operation and international institutions, with the UN at their centre." A worker opens a COVID-19 test site in South London on Wednesday. The Department of Health has appealed to the U.K.'s biomedical sector for 400 further laboratory technicians as the nation's return to school increases demand for tests. (Dan Kitwood/Getty Images) Spain's official death toll for the coronavirus surpassed 30,000. The total cases increased beyond 600,000, as Spain became the first European country to reach that threshold. The Health Ministry added 9,400 new confirmed infections to the total and 156 deaths. The country has been experiencing one of Europe's steepest second curves of contagion, with new cases increasing since mid-July. More than half of the newly infected didn't develop symptoms and are mostly between 20 and 60 years old who didn't end up requiring treatment. Amid growing anger over a bottleneck in the United Kingdom's creaking coronavirus testing system, the government promised on Wednesday to do whatever it takes to boost laboratory capacity, which has left people across the land with no way to get a COVID-19 test. In an attempt to slow one of the highest coronavirus death tolls in the West, Prime Minister Boris Johnson promised in May to create a "world-beating" system to test and trace people exposed to the virus. A cleaner disinfects a street of Palma de Mallorca, Spain, in the early hours of Wednesday morning. (Jamie Reina/AFP/Getty Images) But repeated attempts by Reuters reporters to get COVID-19 tests failed, while at a walk-in testing centre at Southend-on-Sea in eastern England, hundreds of people were queuing to get a test — some from as early as 5 a.m. GMT. "Laboratory capacity has been an issue. We are working our way through that," Justice Secretary Robert Buckland told Sky News. The global economy is not doing as badly as previously expected, especially in the U.S. and China, but it has still suffered an unprecedented drop due to the coronavirus pandemic, an international watchdog said Wednesday. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) said in a report that the world's gross domestic product is projected to decline by 4.5 per cent this year — less than the six per cent plunge the OECD had predicted in June. WATCH | Respirologist describes 'alarming' wait times for COVID-19 testing: Testing capacity for the coronavirus could be boosted with a rapid testing device, even if it's not entirely accurate, says Dr. Samir Gupta, an associate professor at the University of Toronto. 5:48 The global economy is expected to rebound and grow by five per cent next year, the organization said. Yet the OECD notes that its outlook is "subject to considerable uncertainty" as the pandemic continues, and assumes that "sporadic local outbreaks will continue" and that a vaccine will not be available until late in 2021.

Continue Reading Coronavirus: What's happening in Canada and around the world on Wednesday