Canada now has more than 70,000 confirmed and presumptive coronavirus cases after Ontario reported 361 new cases on Tuesday, bringing the province’s total caseload to 20,907.
As of 6 p.m. ET, provinces and territories reported a total of 71,157 cases, with 34,055 listed as recovered or resolved. A CBC News tally of coronavirus-related deaths in Canada based on provincial data, regional health information and CBC’s reporting stood at 5,283.
The majority of the deaths have occurred in long-term care homes, and the disease has hit the elderly the hardest in Canada.
On Tuesday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised to help find long-term solutions to the tragedies unfolding in long-term care facilities, and said the government would provide additional aid to seniors, in the form of a one-time payment of up to $500 to help offset any increases in the cost of living due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Seniors who qualify for Old Age Security will be eligible for a one-time, tax-free payment of $300, and those eligible for the Guaranteed Income Supplement will get an extra $200.
Trudeau was also asked Tuesday about easing restrictions at the U.S.-Canada border.
Ontario, one of the hardest-hit provinces in Canada, is among the provinces urging Ottawa to keep the border with the U.S. closed, a message top officials in B.C. echoed on Monday. Late last week, Ontario Premier Doug Ford said he didn’t want the border reopened and called for a “tenfold” increase of screenings at airports and border crossings once restrictions are lifted.
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.
Trudeau told reporters Tuesday that Canada will be “very, very careful” when it comes to easing restrictions on international travel.
WATCH | Canada will be ‘very, very careful’ on easing border restrictions, Trudeau says:
Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.’s top public health official, 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.”
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.”
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.
Ottawa is looking at beefing up protocols around a requirement that any newcomers to the country self-quarantine for two weeks.
Trudeau said once Canada has controlled the spread of COVID-19, preventing transmission of the virus from outside the country into Canada “will be an essential part of ensuring that we don’t fall back into a second wave” that could be as serious or worse than the current outbreak.
WATCH | COVID-19: What has two months of physical distancing accomplished?
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.
Public health officials have cautioned that case numbers are likely higher than reported figures because those numbers don’t include people who haven’t been tested and cases still under investigation.
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 recorded seven new cases of COVID-19 Tuesday, bringing the number of people who have tested positive in the province to 2,360. Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.’s health officer, says there are no new community or long-term care outbreaks, although the province’s death toll reached 131 after another person died in a long-term care residence. Read more about what’s happening in B.C., where police say they are investigating another attack sparked by racist comments.
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 five new cases of COVID-19, all in the north. Three of the infections are in the Beauval area and two are in La Loche, where there continues to be a major outbreak. Read more about what’s happening in Saskatchewan, where the senior medical health officer for the Saskatchewan Health Authority is concerned that people are being stigmatized over being tested for COVID-19.
Manitoba health officials reported one new COVID-19 case Tuesday, bringing the province’s total to date to 290. The new case is related to a cluster at a workplace in the Prairie Mountain Health region in western Manitoba that has now reached 11 people. Officials say there is no cause for public concern about the cluster, as affected staff and their close contacts are all self-isolating. Read more about Manitoba.
The Ontario government on Tuesday extended its state of emergency until June 2, meaning it can continue to enforce measures such as prohibiting gatherings of more than five people, and limiting retirement and long-term care home staff to working in just one facility. . Read more about what’s happening in Ontario, including the cancellation of this year’s Canadian National Exhibition.
Quebec Premier François Legault says he hopes to see“as many Quebecers as possible” wearing a mask when they go out. The province had previously advised people to wear masks in situations where respecting the two-metre physical-distancing rule would be impossible. Read more about what’s happening in Quebec, including that McGill and the University of Montreal, say most classes will be online in the fall semester.
New Brunswick reported no new cases again on Tuesday. The 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 just one new case of COVID-19 on Tuesday, bringing the number of confirmed cases in the province to 1,020, with 864 of those considered resolved. But Dr. Robert Strang, the province’s chief medical officer of health, said while it’s “good news” to see the numbers go down, he wants to “caution everyone against reading too much into any single day or few days.” Read more about what’s happening in Nova Scotia, including Strang’s “slow, cautious approach” to reopening.
WATCH | Front-line workers hit hard by COVID-19:
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 reported no new cases again on Tuesday — the fifth straight day with no new cases in the province. Read more about what’s happening in N.L, where the Department of Health and Community Services told CBC News that 923 exemptions have been granted for people seeking to come into the province,
The Northwest Territories says it hopes to launch by mid to late May the first phase of its reopening, which would allow some schools and businesses to reopen and lift some restrictions on indoor and outdoor gatherings. The territory has had five cases of COVID-19 but has not had an active case since April 20. Read more about what’s happening across the North.
Here’s what’s happening in the U.S.
From Reuters and The Associated Press, updated at 1:45 ET
Leading U.S. infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci on Tuesday warned Congress that a premature lifting of lockdowns could lead to additional outbreaks of COVID-19, which has already killed more than 80,000 Americans and brought the country’s economy to its knees.
Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told a U.S. Senate panel that the outbreak is not yet under control in parts of the country.
“I think we’re going in the right direction, but the right direction does not mean we have by any means total control of this outbreak,” Fauci said during hours of testimony.
Fauci, who is also a member of the White House task force on coronavirus, also urged states to follow health experts’ recommendations to wait for positive signs, including a declining number of new infections, before reopening.
President Donald Trump has been encouraging states to end a weeks-long shuttering of major components of their economies.
WATCH | Highlights from Dr. Fauci’s testimony to the U.S. Senate:
Asked whether college students can feel safe if classes resume on campuses in late August or early September, Fauci said that expecting a treatment or vaccine to be in place by then would be “a bridge too far.”
He also clashed with Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky over school reopenings.
“As much as I respect you, Dr. Fauci, I don’t think you’re the end-all,” Paul said to Fauci during the hearing. “I don’t think you’re the one person who gets to make a decision.”
Fauci agreed he is not the end-all, but cautioned, “I think we’d better be careful that we are not cavalier in thinking that children are completely immune to the deleterious effects.”
Tesla’s Musk facing fines
Tesla CEO Elon Musk, meanwhile, reopened his California factory in violation of government orders, a move that was drawing both support and criticism online.
Tesla is restarting production today against Alameda County rules. I will be on the line with everyone else. If anyone is arrested, I ask that it only be me.
Among the supporters was Trump, who on Tuesday morning tweeted that Tesla’s San Francisco Bay Area factory should be allowed to open despite local health department orders that it stay closed except for minimum basic operations.
“It can be done fast & safely,” the president tweeted, joining many of Musk’s Twitter followers who back the defiance.
The restart defied orders from the Alameda County Public Health Department, which has deemed the factory a nonessential business that can’t fully open under virus restrictions. State law allows a fine of up to $1,000 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. It employs about 10,000 workers.
Here’s what’s happening around the world
From The Associated Press and Reuters, updated at 3:45 p.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.
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.
France‘s death toll from COVID-19 rose by 348 to 26,991 on Tuesday. Only the United States, Britain and Italy have more reported deaths from the illness. President Emmanuel Macron’s government reiterated that it was ready to tighten restrictions again if necessary to slow the spread.
French children went back to school on Tuesday as the country is gradually lifting confinement measures, following two months of lockdown. Classes are capped at 10 students at preschools and 15 elsewhere.
The move comes a day after Switzerland opened up classrooms to many students.
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.
China is reportedly set to test all 11 million residents of Wuhan province, the epicentre of China’s COVID-19 outbreak, over the next 10 days.
WATCH | Freelance reporter Patrick Fok reports on mass testing and worries over a 2nd wave of coronavirus after an outbreak in northeast China:
South Korean authorities combed through smartphone data, credit card statements and CCTV footage to identify people who visited nightclubs at the centre of one of Seoul’s biggest clusters. More than 100 new cases linked to the nightclubs have brought fears of a second wave of infections in a country held up as a coronavirus-mitigation success story.
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.
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.
The country’s biggest homeless population has begun succumbing to COVID-19, and activists warn the worst is yet to come as colder weather bears down and shelters risk becoming hotbeds for infection. At least 22 homeless people in Sao Paulo have died from COVID-19 so far, according to city hall, and there are hundreds of suspected cases throughout the state, both on the streets and in shelters.
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