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Good evening, here are the coronavirus updates you need to know tonight.

Top headlines:

  1. In B.C., the tone has shifted from a soft urging to “do the right thing” to stern, fearful COVID-19 warnings
  2. India passes 3 million cases, behind only the U.S. and Brazil
  3. All mail-in Conservative leadership ballot-counting delayed by malfunctioning machines, high turnout

In Canada, there have been at least 124,279 cases reported. In the last week 2,621 new cases were announced, 2% fewer than the previous week. There have also been at least 110,600 recoveries and 9,062 deaths. Health officials have administered more than 5,359,807 tests.

Worldwide, there have been at least 22,678,483 cases confirmed and 793,698 deaths reported.

Sources: Canada data is compiled from government websites, Johns Hopkins and COVID-19 Canada Open Data Working Group; international data is from Johns Hopkins University.

Coronavirus explainers: Updates and essential resourcesCoronavirus in maps and chartsLockdown rules and reopening plans in each provinceGlobal rules on mask-wearing

Photo of the day

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People wearing protective masks carry an idol of the Hindu god Ganesh, the deity of prosperity, for immersion off the coast of the Arabian sea during the Ganesh Chaturthi festival in Mumbai, India, on Sunday. REUTERS/Francis MascarenhasFRANCIS MASCARENHAS/Reuters

Number of the day

3 million

The number of coronavirus infections in India crossed the 3 million mark, with 69,239 new cases reported on Sunday. Federal health ministry data showed the country’s case total, 3.04 million, was behind only the United States and Brazil.

India on Sunday issued guidelines to open up its media production industry with norms for social distancing, crowd management and sanitization. Film production and theatres had been shut nationwide after Prime Minister Narendra Modi imposed a more than two-month-long lockdown in March to curb spread of the virus.

Deaths in India from COVID-19 rose by 912 to 56,706.

Coronavirus in Canada

  • As British Columbia grapples with an upswing of cases, the tone of provincial public health messaging has become sterner. The resurgence has emerged primarily among young adults who have grown weary of physical distancing. Victoria police broke up two parties over the weekend at a downtown apartment complex for not following physical distancing rules.
  • A group of Quebec educators rallied against the provincial government’s back-to-school plan Sunday, saying more needs to be done to ensure the safety of students and staff ahead of an unprecedented school year.
  • In Ontario, activists gathered in front of a federal immigration office in downtown Toronto on Sunday to protest what they say is unjust treatment of migrant workers during the pandemic. Demands for equal status have come to a head in recent months as COVID-19 spread throughout several farms in Ontario.

In Ottawa

Foreign Affairs Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne is heading to Lebanon this week to get a firsthand look at the devastation caused by this month’s deadly explosions in Beirut.

The trip will mark Champagne’s first overseas travel since March, when countries around the world, including Canada, closed their borders to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Conservative race: A record number of votes for the Conservative leadership race and malfunctioning mail-opening machines delayed the party from revealing the winner of the race on Sunday night. Results were initially scheduled to be revealed around 6 p.m. ET.

Even if an election doesn’t come soon, the next Conservative leader will take over during a rocky time in Ottawa. As the governing Liberals turn their attention to economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, the Conservatives will seek to assert themselves as the country’s voice of fiscal discipline.

Coronavirus around the world

  • U.S. President Donald Trump is reportedly considering fast-tracking an experimental vaccine being developed by AstraZeneca PLC and Oxford University ahead of the election, and announced the emergency authorization of convalescent plasma for COVID-19 patients.
  • Italy’s health minister said the country will not go back into lockdown, despite a recent uptick in cases. The country reported 1,071 new coronavirus infections on Saturday, exceeding 1,000 cases in a day for the first time since the government eased its rigid lockdown measures in May.
  • Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced he had agreed to extend contentious budget talks with his main rival, preventing a national election. He cited the new opportunities created by his recent historic agreement to establish diplomatic relations with the United Arab Emirates, combined with the economic and public-health challenges caused by the coronavirus crisis.

Coronavirus and business

Canada’s largest banks are expected to report improved third-quarter earnings thanks in part to deferred payments on troubled loans and easing pressure to build reserves against losses. But with persistent challenges still to come, the rebound could amount to a “head fake,” as one banking analyst put it.

  • When the country’s Big Six banks release financial results for their fiscal third quarter this week, most are expected to report a sharp decrease in provisions for credit losses – the funds banks set aside to cover bad loans – compared with the prior quarter.
  • Provisions could fall 30 to 40 per cent from the $11-billion total set aside in the second quarter according to some estimates, though they will still be dramatically higher than they were a year ago, before the coronavirus pandemic hobbled the global economy.

The banks’ capital levels could also stabilize or even improve slightly after taking a second-quarter dip. And surging trading activity, as well as demand to issue new debt, could help capital markets divisions deliver generous returns for the second consecutive quarter.

Yet some of the scars the pandemic is carving into banks’ balance sheets may be harder to erase.

Also today:

  • The economic uncertainty wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic has turned Toronto’s rental market upside down, industry insiders said.
  • Despite a massive hit to the economy from COVID-19, consumers are still spending – and that’s created a windfall for companies that can thrive under pandemic restrictions.

Globe opinion

  • Rita Achrekar: “As a risk management executive who has built and overseen risk frameworks at large, complex organizations, and as a mother of two daughters (now young adults) who attended public school, I believe we are missing a system that measures and communicates risk levels on an ongoing basis to parents, teachers and administrators.”
  • Ismail Ibrahim and Joey Jamil: “There is no silver bullet that will solve all the problems faced by landlords and tenants. Legislation and financial assistance will help, but governments have to be careful to not choose winners and losers resulting from the COVID-19 crisis. Any new legislation needs to balance the needs of tenants, landlords and taxpayers.”


For the bookworm 📚: Margaret Atwood’s September book club pick is Obsidian by Thomas King

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Join The Globe and Mail on Thursday, September 24, for a livestream conversation between Margaret Atwood and Thomas King.

Margaret Atwood is returning to host the next Globe and Mail Book Club and has selected as her author-guest Thomas King, whose work she has championed since the early days of his career. Atwood first reviewed King long before he was named to the Order of Canada and won the Governor-General’s Award, the RBC Taylor Prize for his 2012 book The Inconvenient Indian.

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