P.E.I. confirms 1st COVID-19 case: Here’s what’s happening in Canada and around the world Saturday

Some of the latest developments:

  • P.E.I. confirmed its first case of COVID-19 on Saturday.
  • Ontario announces total number of cases has increased to 101.
  • U.S. to expand travel ban to include U.K. and Ireland as of Monday night.
  • Spain to restrict movement of people and close shops after seeing 1,500 new cases.
  • Egypt suspends schools and universities for two weeks.
  • Saudi Arabia halts all international flights to the kingdom for two weeks.
  • Denmark is closing its borders to travellers until April 13.
  • Second Cup no longer accepting cash at its coffee shops.
  • CBC/Radio-Canada and TV distributors make 24-hour news channels widely available.

Countries around the world on Saturday continued to close borders, impose strict entry and quarantine requirements and restrict large gatherings in efforts to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus. The virus has infected more than 145,000 people worldwide and more than 5,400 have died.

The Canadian government says any citizen who’s abroad should get back home while it’s still possible. That’s a step up from previous advice, which urged travellers outside the country to think about coming home.

Foreign Affairs Minister François-Philippe Champagne warned on Twitter that commercial travel options might not remain available amid the COVID-19 pandemic, as some countries have already taken measures such as stopping or sharply limiting air traffic.

Previously, the government had advised Canadians to avoid all international travel. Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer, cautioned that people who do travel abroad could get caught up in a quarantine or travel bans imposed by the countries they visit.

Tam, who has reiterated throughout the outbreak the importance of protective measures like proper hand hygiene and staying home while sick, said Friday that people in Canada should take extra steps to stay safe, including measures like social distancing.

“This means avoiding crowded places and non-essential gatherings, considering shopping or taking public transport in off-peak hours and greeting one another with a wave or elbow instead of a handshake, kiss or hug.”

Medical staff participate in a training session as they prepare for the opening of the COVID-19 Assessment Centre at Brewer Park Arena in Ottawa, during a media tour on Friday. (Justin Tang/The Canadian Press)

Back in Canada, Ontario announced an increase in coronavirus cases Saturday to 101, including two in Ottawa. Quebec Premier François Legault announced a health emergency decree in the province, and asked all people aged 70 and over to avoid leaving their homes.

Children in four Canadian provinces, including Ontario, will be out of school for an extended period as health officials and governments across the country strive to slow the spread of a pandemic that has sparked states of emergency in the U.S. and Spain.

On Friday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau addressed the nation from outside his home, where he is in self-isolation after his wife tested positive for COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus that was first identified in China. Trudeau said his government would be introducing a “significant” fiscal package in the days ahead.

WATCH | Trudeau warns against leaving the country:

Speaking from self-isolation, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced new measures to combat COVID-19, warning against international travel. 2:27

“We do not want any Canadian to have to worry about whether or not they’re going to be able to pay their rent, whether or not they’re going to be able to buy groceries, or care for their kids or elderly family members.”

The prime minister’s remarks came ahead of a slew of announcements from his cabinet ministers, who offered details around what Canada will do on everything from international airline travel to a $10-billion credit facility for businesses dealing with the fallout from the virus and economic uncertainty.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia. The vast majority of people recover from the new virus in a matter of weeks.

Here’s a look at what’s happening in provinces with COVID-19 cases

For full detail about what’s happening in every province — including those that do not yet have cases — visit your local site.

Ontario, which has reported the most cases in Canada to date, reported an increase of 22 confirmed cases on Saturday, bringing the provincial total to 101.  One of those confirmed cases is a health care worker in London, who has no recent travel history. The province announced on Thursday that schools would be closed for two weeks in addition to the scheduled spring break. Cities across the province made their own plans, calling for the closure of non-essential services like rec centres. At the same time, there were moves to set up temporary, stand-alone screening centres for COVID-19, like this one in Ottawa.  Early on Saturday, hundreds descended on another testing site in the city, though most were turned away as they didn’t meet the criteria to be swabbed for signs of the virus. Read more about what’s happening in Ontario.

People leave a COVID-19 assessment centre on Saturday in Ottawa. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)

In B.C., officials have asked people who travel outside Canada to self-isolate for 14 days. Premier John Horgan said on Twitter that the province is doing “all we can to break the chain of transmission” of the novel coronavirus. The province has also directed organizers to cancel events of more than 250 people, while B.C.’s major universities have switched to online classes for the term and B.C.’s Supreme Court cancelled all jury selection until the end of May. Both Horgan and the province’s top doctor noted that doesn’t mean people need to avoid restaurants, or stop shopping or attending things like family events. Read more about what’s happening in B.C. here.

In Alberta, the premier announced a change to the labour code that would allow people who need to self-isolate or care for someone else who is isolated to do that for two weeks without losing their jobs. The government, which had planned cuts to the province’s health service, also announced Friday that cuts to front-line workers wouldn’t be going forward during the coronavirus outbreak. The University of Alberta announced it is moving classes and exams onlineRead more about what’s happening in Alberta here.

Quebec’s premier announced Saturday that the launch of a health emergency decree, giving more power to the province’s health minister. That will allow some health-care consultations to happen over-the-phone, while the minister will also reach out to recently retired health-care workers to ask for help. The premier asked those 70 and older to stay home, while visits to retirement homes will be forbidden. Schools — from daycares right up through to college and university — will also close for two weeks, while hospitals in Montreal restricted visitors — and in some cases, banned them entirely. Read more about what’s happening in Quebec here. 

A COVID-19 information sign is shown in a shopping mall in Montreal on Saturday. (Graham Hughes/Canadian Press)

Manitoba confirmed its fourth case on Saturday, and announced that its students would also be out of school for an extra two weeks. “We need to stay ahead of the virus, instead of running behind it,” Education Minister Kelvin Goertzen said Friday. Read more about what’s happening in Manitoba here.

P.E.I. had its first confirmed case of COVID-19 on Saturday, while Premier Dennis King said Friday that he and his family are self-isolating for 14 days.  The province has put up signs on its Confederation Bridge and at Charlottetown Airport directing all international travellers to self-isolate for 14 days upon their return. Read more about what’s happening in P.E.I. here. 

The Northwest Territories’ chief public health officer said that the territory started planning for a pandemic weeks ago, basing strategy on lessons learned from the 2009 spread of H1N1. As the territory’s health systems can be overburdened in the best of times, there are plans for “alternative sites” for care, such as school gyms, community halls, and “isolation tents.” Read more about what’s happening in the N.W.T. here.

Health officials in Saskatchewan, which has two presumptive cases, have ordered events of 250 people or more to be cancelled as of Monday. “This does not include settings where people are distributed into multiple rooms or buildings, such as schools, universities or workplaces,” a statement from the government said. Read more about what’s happening in Saskatchewan here. 

New Brunswick announced its second presumptive case on Saturday along with its sole confirmed case which was announced on Wednesday. The province has also moved to close schools for two weeks, with an exemption for daycares.  “I want to be proactive,” Premier Blaine Higgs said. Read more about what’s happening in New Brunswick.

CBC News teams are tracking preparations and gathering the latest information on what’s happening in Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia and across the North.

As of late Saturday morning, Canada was reporting more than 200 cases. To date, the death of a resident of a B.C. long-term care facility is the only known death linked to COVID-19 in Canada.

Here’s what’s happening in the U.S.

The Trump administration is expected to extend a ban on travel from Europe to Britain and Ireland, which would go into effect on Monday night, U.S. and airlines and officials said.

The White House announced Saturday that it is now conducting temperature checks on anyone who is in close contact with President Donald Trump and Vice-President Mike Pence.

The move is being taken out of an abundance of caution in response to the outbreak, according to Judd Deere, a White House spokesperson.

WATCH | Trump declares national emergency:

U.S. President Donald Trump declares a national emergency to contain the coronavirus and free up $50 billion to help state and local governments. 2:00

Trump spent time last weekend at his private club in Florida with at least three people who have now tested positive.

The U.S. now has more than 50 coronavirus deaths. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Saturday announced the state had recorded its first COVID-19 death, an 82-year-old woman with an underlying health condition who died at a Manhattan hospital.

California also recorded the state’s sixth COVID-19 fatality, an elderly woman in Santa Clara County south of San Francisco. Most deaths have occurred in Washington state, which reported six more on Friday, bringing its total to 37.

Florida has 25 new cases, with six in Miami and nine in Broward County, the Miami Herald reports.

Members of the Colorado Air National Guard test people who suspect they are infected with coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at a drive-thru testing station, in Denver, Colorado, U.S. March 14, 2020. (Jim Urquhart/Reuters)

The U.S. House approved legislation early Saturday to provide direct relief to Americans suffering physically, financially and emotionally from the coronavirus pandemic. President Donald Trump on Friday declared the outbreak a national emergency, freeing up money and resources to fight it, then threw his support behind the congressional aid package.

From the Rose Garden, Trump said, “I am officially declaring a national emergency,” unleashing as much as $50 billion US for state and local governments to respond to the crisis.

Trump also announced a range of executive actions, including a new public-private partnership to expand coronavirus testing capabilities with drive-through locations, as Washington tries to subdue the new virus whose spread is roiling markets, shuttering institutions and disrupting the lives of everyday Americans.

But he denied any responsibility for delays in making testing available as his administration has come under criticism for being too slow to respond. Trump said, “I don’t take responsibility at all” for the slow rollout of testing.

A tally maintained by Johns Hopkins University was reporting  nearly 2,174 cases in the U.S. as of early Saturday.

Jack Ma, founder of the Chinese tech giant Alibaba, says his foundation will donate 500,000 COVID-19 testing kits and 1 million masks to the U.S.   

WATCH | How scientists at Johns Hopkins University are tracking COVID-19:

Scientists at Johns Hopkins University had predicted the COVID-19 outbreak and are now working to track the virus. 2:03

As the House prepared to vote late Friday, Speaker Nancy Pelosi trumpeted the hard-fought package that will provide free testing, sick pay for workers, enhanced unemployment benefits and bolstered food programs.

“We did what we said we were going to do: Put families first,” said Pelosi, flanked by Democratic lawmakers, including many freshmen. The House passed the bill after midnight on a bipartisan vote, 363-40. It now goes to the Senate.

Trump’s tweet of approval instilled fresh energy in the package, all but ensuring that wary Republicans would join with a robust vote. “I encourage all Republicans and Democrats to come together and VOTE YES!” Trump wrote, “Look forward to signing the final Bill, ASAP!”

The crush of late-day activity capped a tumultuous week in Washington as the fast-moving virus left ordinary Americans suddenly navigating self-quarantines, school closures and a changed way of life.

Here’s what’s happening in business

Canadian coffee retailer Second Cup is suspending the use of its self-serve stations in stores and will no longer be accepting cash. Franchise partners will have the option of temporarily closing their cafés, the company said in a statement.

McDonald’s says it will temporarily close PlayPlaces at restaurants across Canada and postpone Wednesday Family Night activities and has asked its staff to focus on sanitizing surfaces.

Tech giant Apple is closing its stores outside of China for two weeks and will only sell online as part of efforts to fight the global viral pandemic. The measure will be in place until March 27. Workers will continue to be paid and office staff will work remotely if possible, CEO Tim Cook said.

A sign for the price of a regular litre of gas is shown at a gas station near Montreal on Saturday. (Graham Hughes/Canadian Press)

The Bank of Canada on Friday announced an emergency rate cut from 1.25 to 0.75 per cent. The cut is meant to be a “proactive measure taken in light of the negative shocks to Canada’s economy arising from the COVID-19 pandemic and the recent sharp drop in oil prices,” the bank said in a statement.

Lobster prices are tumbling as the seafood industry deals with a worldwide slowdown in imports because of the virus. The wholesale price for live 1.25-pound lobsters in March is $7.78 US — 18 per cent behind last year and 33 per cent behind March 2018, according to statistics from business publisher Urner Barry.

Here’s what’s happening in Europe

From The Associated Press, Reuters and CBC News, updated at 3:00 p.m. ET

Spain’s government is set to announce Saturday that it is placing tight restrictions on movement and closing restaurants and other establishments as part of a two-week state of emergency to fight the sharp rise in coronavirus infections.

Health authorities say the country’s coronavirus cases have reached 5,753 people, of which almost 3,000 are in the capital, Madrid. That represents a national increase of more than 1,500 in 24 hours. No new figures for deaths were immediately announced, but as of Friday, Spain had recorded 120 COVID-19 deaths.

WATCH | Spain decalres state of emergency:

Spain’s cabinet meets on Saturday to declare two-week state of emergency as 1,500 new cases are reported. 2:41

Already cooped up most of the day in their homes under Italy’s nationwide lockdown to fight the coronavirus, millions of Italians woke up on Saturday to find themselves deprived of one of the few simple pleasures left: a walk in the park.

Mayors of many cities, including Rome and Milan, had decided by late Friday to close public playgrounds and parks. 

The death toll in Italy rose to 1,441 on Saturday, up from the 1,266 total reported a day earlier, the civil protection authority said. The total number of cases rose to 21,157 from 17,660.

Italy remains the worst affected country in Europe and second only to China. The agency said 1,966 patients had recovered from the disease.

WATCH | Family physician explains how to stop the spread of COVID-19:

A family physician explains how to stop the spread of COVID-19 with preventative measures that protect our ‘personal borders.’ 1:08

France will shut most shops, restaurants and entertainment facilities from midnight on Saturday as part of measures to contain the spread of the new coronavirus, Prime Minister Édouard Philippe said. The country also reported 12 new deaths, bringing the total toll to 91, and the number of infections rose to 4,499.

Denmark is closing all its borders to travellers, starting at midday local time Saturday until April 13, in a bid to tackle the spread of the virus. The country has confirmed 827 cases. 

“I know that the overall list of measures is very extreme and will be seen as very extreme, but I am convinced that it’s worth it,” Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said.

Russia says its land borders with Norway will be closed to foreigners beginning Sunday, as will the borders of Russia’s Kaliningrad exclave with Poland. Belarus citizens, foreigners with legal residence in Russia and members of official delegations are excepted. In turn, Norway’s prime minister said Saturday it will shut its ports and airports on Monday, with the exception of returning citizens and incoming goods.

Here’s what’s happening in China, South Korea and Japan

From Reuters and The Associated Press, updated at 5 a.m. ET

While infections continue to climb around the world, in mainland China the number of new cases is falling. The number of new coronavirus cases imported into mainland China from overseas surpassed the number of locally transmitted new infections for the first time on Friday, data released by the National Health Commission showed on Saturday.

Mainland China had 11 new confirmed cases on Friday, up from eight cases a day earlier, but only four of those — all in the virus epicentre of Hubei province — were locally transmitted. Hubei has now seen new infections fall for nine straight days. All four of the new cases on Friday, down from five a day earlier, were in provincial capital Wuhan.

The flu-like virus has infected 80,824 people in mainland China, the commission said.

A member of a Chinese association, right, distributes masks and bottles of sanitizer gel in Paris on Saturday. (Rafael Yaghobzadeh/The Associated Press)

In South Korea, the country’s war against the coronavirus is broadening despite a notable decline in new cases. Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun is urging vigilance after the emergence of infection clusters in areas including Seoul and warning of the possibility that the virus re-enters the country from abroad amid widening outbreaks in the West.

Chung’s comments during a government meeting on Saturday came as infections continued to slow in the worst-hit city of Daegu, which has reported daily increases of 60 to 70 cases over the past three days after averaging around 500 new cases per day a week ago.

South Korea reported 117 new cases and five more fatalities, bringing its total numbers to 8,086 cases and 72 deaths. Officials said 204 people were released from hospitals, making Saturday the second consecutive day that recoveries outnumbered new infections.

WATCH | South Korea praised for handling of COVID-19 outbreak:

South Korea has been comparatively successful containing the spread of COVID-19 despite not instituting a mass-lockdown as in countries such as Italy. Tina Park of the Canadian Centre for the Responsibility to Protect says the South Korean government’s collaboration with labs to provide access to testing and early diagnosis was a leading factor. 4:57

Here’s a look at some other COVID-19 news from around the world, including hard-hit nations like Iran and Japan

From The Associated Press and CBC News, last updated at 12:25 p.m. ET

  • Saudi Arabia said Saturday that it would halt all international flights to the kingdom for two weeks in the latest effort to contain the spread of the new coronavirus. Gulf nations have been scrambling to contain the pandemic, which has spread to more than 100 countries and infected more than 130,000 people. Of special concern is nearby Iran, where one of the worst outbreaks has infected more than 11,000 and killed more than 500.

  • Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe says his country still intends to host the Olympic Games in Tokyo as planned, July 24-Aug. 9. The number of cases in the country has risen to 1,423 as of Saturday, including nearly 700 from the Diamond Princess cruise ship. The virus has claimed 28 lives in Japan.

  • Indonesia reported 27 more coronavirus cases, bringing the total number of confirmed infection to 96 in the Southeast Asian country, Achmad Yurianto, a health ministry official said on Saturday. The total number of deaths from coronavirus rose to five, Yurianto said.

  • Egypt will suspend schools and universities for two weeks starting March 15, according to a presidential statement.

  • Colombia’s president has ordered his nation’s border with Venezuela closed as a coronavirus containment measure.

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