B.C. officials want border with U.S. to remain shut to visitors

The latest:

B.C.’s top doctor and provincial health minister said Monday that they don’t want the Canada-U.S. border reopened in the weeks ahead, saying free movement of visitors isn’t the right step at this point in the coronavirus pandemic.

The current border deal with the United States, which prohibits non-essential travel between the two countries, is set to expire on May 21. Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland said Monday that talks between the federal government and the U.S. were ongoing.

Dr. Bonnie Henry weighed in on the border question on Monday, saying that while there could be room for some leeway around issues like family reunification, “broad reopening of the borders is not in our best interest.”

Shawn Olsen, left, a dual Canadian-U.S. citizen who lives on Whidbey Island in Washington, spends Mother’s Day with his mom, Phyllis Dendy, 78, of Abbotsford, B.C., separated by a ditch along the Canada-U.S. border. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press)

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix reiterated that message and said Premier John Horgan had made his position known to the federal government.

“The premier has also repeatedly made this point to the prime minister: it’s our view that the border should not open to visitors at this time.”

Ontario Premier Doug Ford had a similar message late last week when he said he didn’t want to see the border reopened and called for stepped-up screening of cross-border travellers. 

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Even without an easing of restrictions, Freeland said Monday that the volume of essential cross-border travel is expected to increase as more businesses gear up in both countries.

“That does mean that the federal government will need to do even more at all of our borders to keep Canadians safe and well, and that is something that we are working on right now, and we’re very focused on,” Freeland said.

As of 8 a.m. ET on Tuesday, Canada had reported 69,981 confirmed and presumptive coronavirus cases, with 33,007 of those cases listed by provinces and territories as resolved or recovered. A CBC News tally of coronavirus deaths based on provincial data, regional health information and CBC’s reporting stood at 5,100.

Public health officials have cautioned that the numbers are likely higher, as reported figures don’t include people who haven’t been tested and cases still under investigation. 

The novel virus, named SARS-CoV-2, causes an illness called COVID-19. There’s no proven vaccine or treatment for the virus, which first emerged in China. The novel coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or death.

Read on for a look at what’s happening in Canada, the U.S. and around the world.

Here’s what’s happening in the provinces and territories

British Columbia has recorded 23 new cases of COVID-19 in the last two days, bringing the number of people who have tested positive in the province to 2,353, with 1,719 considered recovered. B.C.’s death toll has reached 130 after one more person died. Read more about what’s happening in B.C.

Alberta has released an online tool for businesses ahead of reopening. Dr. Deena Hinshaw, the province’s top public health official, says there’s no decision yet around whether to move into the next phase, but she said she sees some positive signs. “Hospitalizations and ICU admissions are down, recovered case numbers are up, and I am encouraged to see fewer daily new cases than even one week ago.” Read more about what’s happening in Alberta.

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Saskatchewan is reporting a decline in new COVID-19 cases from the far north. La Loche has been dealing with a spike in cases, but after days of reporting double-digit increases in new cases, the province announced four new ones on Monday. Read more about what’s happening in Saskatchewan.

Manitoba reported two new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, bringing the provincial total to 289, with 247 of them considered recovered. Chief Provincial Public Health Officer Dr. Brent Roussin said two more cases have also been linked to a workplace cluster in the Prairie Mountain Health region, bringing the total to 10. Read more about Manitoba.

Health officials in Toronto reported the first known COVID-19-related death of someone living in the shelter systemThe man, who was in his 50s, died in hospital, officials said. Read more about what’s happening in Ontario, where a group of MPPs will come together for a physically distant question period on Tuesday.

Two major Quebec universities, McGill and the University of Montreal, say most classes will be online in the fall semester. Read more about what’s happening in Quebec, where some primary aged students outside the Montreal area returned to class for the first time in months on Monday.

New Brunswick has now gone five days without any new coronavirus casesThe province has a total of 120 reported cases, with all but two considered resolved. Read more about what’s happening in New Brunswick.

Nova Scotia reported one new death related to COVID-19 on Monday, bringing the province’s total to 48. Health officials said the death occurred at the Northwood long-term care home in Halifax, which has been linked to the majority of the province’s coronavirus deaths. Read more about what’s happening in Nova Scotia.

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Prince Edward Island reported no new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, keeping the province’s number of confirmed cases at 27 — all of which are considered recovered. Read more about what’s happening on P.E.I.

Newfoundland and Labrador entered a new level in its reopening plan on Monday. “While moving to the next level is indeed a positive thing, I can’t emphasize enough the importance of proceeding with extreme caution as we gradually lift some of the public health measures in place,” said Dr. Janice Fitzgerald, the province’s chief medical officer of health. Read more about what’s happening in N.L.

The Northwest Territories government is taking applications from businesses for money in a fund meant to help plan for the post-coronavirus recovery. Read more about what’s happening across the North.

Here’s what’s happening in the U.S.

From The Associated Press, updated at 8:40 a.m. ET

The government’s leading infectious disease expert says he intends to warn the nation Tuesday that “needless suffering and death” will result from a rushed reopening of the economy.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, will appear before the Senate health, education, labour and pension committee at a hearing assessing reopening plans.

In an email to the New York Times, Fauci said his major message will concern the danger of trying to open the country.

Dr. Anthony Fauci , director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, is set to appear remotely before a Senate committee on Tuesday. (Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)

“If we skip over the checkpoints in the guidelines to Open America Again, then we risk the danger of multiple outbreaks throughout the country,” Fauci wrote. “This will not only result in needless suffering and death, but would actually set us back on our quest to return to normal.”

This puts Fauci at odds with President Donald Trump, who has repeatedly urged governors to lift business closings and stay-at-home orders.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk is restarting the company’s California factory in defiance of local government efforts to contain the coronavirus.

In a tweet Monday, Musk practically dared authorities to arrest him, writing that he would be on the assembly line and if anyone is taken into custody, it should be him.

State law allows a fine of up to $1,000 US a day or up to 90 days in jail for operating in violation of health orders.

The plant in Fremont, a city of more than 230,000 people south of San Francisco, had been closed since March 23.

Here’s what’s happening around the world

From The Associated Press and Reuters, updated at 8:40 a.m. ET

Lebanon’s government agreed on a “full closure” of the country for four days, the presidency said as the cabinet met on Tuesday to try to ward off a second wave of coronavirus infections. The closure starts on Wednesday night.

Authorities have warned of a resurgence in recent days as the number of cases jumped to its highest point in more than a month after the government eased some lockdown restrictions.

Spain is reporting 176 new confirmed deaths for coronavirus during the past 24 hours, bringing the country’s total death toll to 26,920. New infections confirmed by laboratory tests are up on Tuesday by 426. The total contagion, including antibody tests, stands at 269,520.

The figures were slightly up from a day before, but records usually see an increase on Tuesday as unreported data over the weekend shows up in official statistics. Nearly 140,000 people have recovered after contracting the virus, Spain’s Health Ministry said. 

A dentist and clinical assistant prepare before performing a dental surgery on a patient near Madrid on Monday. (Oscar Del Pozo/AFP/Getty Images)

Roughly half of Spaniards are starting to enjoy a looser version of the country’s stringent lockdown adopted in mid-March. On Tuesday, the government published a new set of rules requiring all incoming visitors from overseas to quarantine for two weeks if they arrive after May 15.

French children start going back to school on Tuesday as the country is gradually lifting confinement measures, following two months of lockdown.

Authorities say 86 per cent of preschools and primary schools are reopening this week.

Most schools across the country start accommodating children on Tuesday. In Paris, schools will reopen Thursday.

Classes are capped at 10 students at preschools and 15 elsewhere. Students are required to keep physical distance from each other and wash their hands several times a day. Teachers must wear a mask.

The move comes a day after Switzerland opened up classrooms to many students.

Teacher Julie Rechtya conducts a lesson in Geneva on Monday during the first day back to school as Switzerland eased some of the lockdown measures imposed to deal with COVID-19. (Denis Balibouse/Reuters)

School attendance is not compulsory. The government has allowed parents to keep children at home amid fears prompted by COVID-19, as France is one of the hardest-hit countries in the world. Junior high schools in regions with fewer virus cases are expected to reopen next week. A target date hasn’t been scheduled yet for high schools.

As of Tuesday, French authorities reported nearly 140,000 people infected with the virus and more than 26,000 deaths.

Italy said it would give regions the power to roll back restrictions, in a move that is likely to see most remaining curbs lifted next week.

Indonesia’s death toll from the coronavirus outbreak breached the 1,000 mark on Tuesday, making it the country with the most COVID-19 deaths and the highest fatality rate in Southeast Asia. The COVID-19 task force spokesperson Achmad Yurianto confirmed 16 new deaths in the last 24 hours, taking the country’s death toll to 1,007.

The number of coronavirus fatalities has come under scrutiny in recent days as media reports and medical experts said the national death toll was likely more than double the official figure.

A woman stands outside a sports hall as people wait during a mass rapid test for COVID-19 for supermarket visitors in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, where the local government said a cluster of cases was detected. (Ulet Ifansasti/Getty Images)

Indonesia has one of the lowest testing rates in the world and some epidemiologists say that has made it harder to get an accurate picture of the infections in the world’s fourth-most populous country.

Chinese health authorities called for vigilance to be maintained as new clusters emerge, even though the peak of the epidemic has passed.

South Korean authorities combed through mobile phone data, credit card statements and CCTV footage to identify people who visited nightclubs at the centre of one of the capital’s biggest clusters.

Senegal announced the reopening of mosques and churches and easing of other restrictions, even as the largest one-day jump in cases was recorded on Monday.

Men disinfect an empty supermarket in Dakar, Senegal, on Monday. Big supermarkets are being closed down on specific days for a few weeks in order to disinfect them amid the spread of the novel coronavirus. (John Wessels/AFP/Getty Images)

The U.S. government has donated 1,000 ventilators to South Africa to help the country respond to COVID-19. South Africa has the most confirmed cases of the disease in Africa with more than 10,600, including 206 deaths. 

Brazil reported 5,632 new cases and 396 additional deaths, bringing the national tally to 168,331 and 11,519 deaths. President Jair Bolsonaro declared gyms and hair salons as essential services that can stay open.

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