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

Top headlines:

  1. The Canada-U.S. border is expected to stay closed to non-essential travel until June 21 to limit the spread of COVID-19, according to sources with knowledge of the bilateral talks
  2. Ottawa announces new, partly forgivable loan program for small and medium-sized businesses
  3. Dramatic surge of new cases overwhelming hospitals in Tanzania following government secrecy around new cases

In Canada, 72,278 cases have been reported, more than double the number from 24 days ago. There have also been 35,177 recoveries and 5,304 deaths. Health officials have administered 1,229,785 tests.

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Worldwide, 4,329,776 cases have been confirmed, with 1,538,625 recoveries and 295,565 deaths.

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 province


Photo of the day

A worker disinfects a shopping mall as a preventive measure in Caxias do Sul, Brazil, on May 13, 2020. Silvio Avila/Getty Images.

SILVIO AVILA/AFP/Getty Images


Number of the day

9

At least nine women and girls across Canada were killed in what are believed to be domestic homicides between April 1 and May 4.

  • At least three of the men who killed these women also then killed themselves. Others were charged with their homicides.
  • One alleged killer is still missing and wanted by police.

The nine deaths were tracked by Battered Women’s Support Services and confirmed through local media reports by The Globe and Mail.


Coronavirus in Canada

There are at least 3,049 hospitalized cases, of those, 417 are in intensive care.

  • Eight temporary farm workers in British Columbia have developed COVID-19 symptoms while under provincial quarantine in government accommodation. The mandatory two-week quarantine is an effort to prevent the spread of the virus to farms, which would force them to temporarily close.
  • In Ontario, the province invoked emergency measures to take over management of long-term care homes with staffing shortages or a high number of infections. Governments in Quebec, British Columbia and Alberta have also taken control of private-care homes in recent weeks.
  • The Quebec National Assembly sat today in person for the first time since March 17, with 37 members present and practising physical distancing. The majority of questions centred on the government’s handling of the pandemic and its controversial reopening plan. Flags at the legislature were at half-mast, in recognition of the province’s COVID-19 victims.
  • The Premier of Manitoba said the province will join the federal wage top-up program for front-line workers. On average, workers may get a one-time payment of about $1,000.
  • An Indigenous leader told RCMP officers to stay off reserve land after armed officers were dispatched to break up a sacred ceremony over the weekend in Saskatchewan. Public-health orders, which in the province limit gatherings to 10 people, do not supersede First Nations law, the leader said.
  • Alberta is moving ahead Thursday with the first stage of its plan to relaunch its economy, but Calgary and Brooks will have to wait until May 25 for hair salons and food services to resume. The launch will allow retail stores and daycares to reopen. Elsewhere in the province, restaurants and pubs that open will have to do so at half capacity and must follow physical-distancing guidelines.

Elsewhere in the province, restaurants and pubs that open will have to do so at half capacity and must follow physical-distancing guidelines.

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In Ottawa: The Canada-U.S. border is expected to remain closed to non-essential travel until June 21, sources told The Globe and Mail. Non-essential travel was first restricted on March 21.

  • Sources told The Globe that Canada asked for a 30-day roll over, which Washington is expected to accept.
  • A senior official told The Globe the hard debate will come next month when there will likely be different views on when to begin to lift the restrictions.

Yesterday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said stronger testing measures will be needed at the border as more people cross. Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam has urged extreme caution must be taken in reopening the border.

Also today: The first three months of 2020 did not register an unusual spike in deaths in Canada, according to a Statistics Canada report.

  • The figures provide a look at “excess deaths” – that is, additional deaths that go beyond what could be expected given trends from past years and the deaths already attributed to the novel coronavirus.
  • However, experts warn the report is too limited and lacking in data to be useful. Data from Ontario, the most populated province, is missing, as well as cause of death.

These statistics could eventually help paint a more accurate picture of the impact of COVID-19 beyond hospitals and long-term care homes.

And: Many cities, including Winnipeg, Calgary and Vancouver, are looking at making it easier for the hard-hit restaurant industry to expand seating into public space to accommodate physical distancing.


Coronavirus around the world:

  • The U.S. embassy announced today that hospitals in Tanzania have been overwhelmed with a surge of coronavirus cases, after the East African country stopped issuing official updates on new cases in late April.
  • Watch: A woman who worked at one of London’s busiest train stations has died after having been spat at by a man who said he had the coronavirus.
  • After two months of lockdown, people across Britain were allowed to enjoy outdoor activities and return to work if they could not do so from home.
  • Citing the coronavirus pandemic, the Trump administration has expelled hundreds of young migrants – some as young as 10 – who are seeking asylum with relatives already living the United States.
  • Lebanon is in talks with the International Monetary Fund as the country seeks around US$10-billion in aid to counteract economic loss related to the pandemic.
  • As countries around the world reopen their economies to surges of new COVID-19 infections, WHO official Michael Ryan warned “this virus may never go away” without a vaccine.

Coronavirus and business

Almost $1-billion in partially forgivable loans is now available for Canadian small and medium-sized businesses.

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  • The $962-million program, announced April 17, will largely help SMBs that were ineligible for other federal programs. SMBs account for more than half of Canada’s economic output.
  • Businesses can start applying for the program today through a regional development agency office.
  • Interest-free loans of up to $40,000 will be one-quarter forgivable if the business meets repayment terms.
  • Larger loans will also be available for some businesses, but not necessarily forgivable; grants will be available to not-for-profits.

Agencies are encouraged to use their regional expertise to disburse funds to sectors and businesses that need it most. [For subscribers]

Also today: Statistics Canada will no longer prerelease its labour force survey to government officials, following a leak last week.

  • The labour force survey is a key economic indicator that often moves the stock markets.
  • The Finance Minister’s department called the leak “unacceptable.” An internal investigation is under way at Statistics Canada.
  • The prerelease is sent by secure channels, along with a confidentiality agreement.

Also today: A survey of shoppers in 11 countries, including Canada, found people are buying more produce and fewer ready-made meals. At-home cooks are also throwing away less food, while consumption of salty snacks held stable, early results of a research project found.


Question and answer

Question: Should women delay doctor visits for reproductive and other specialized care issues during the pandemic?

Answer: The short answer from sexual-health experts across Canada is a resounding no.

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Lori Brotto, a psychotherapist and director of the University of British Columbia Sexual Health Laboratory in Vancouver, says the message must be loud and clear “that critical screening practices absolutely should continue.”

Pap smears that screen for cervical cancer and mammograms, which can detect breast cancer, are particularly important for women who either have a family history of cancers or have had irregular tests in the past.

Brotto says reasons for wanting to delay appointments during the pandemic can vary. Some women may resist out of fear of visiting a medical facility, while others are facing financial burdens that make accessing care and treatment more difficult. No longer having a job or health benefits to cover prescription medication such as birth control can be particularly problematic, the doctor notes.

The Globe’s health columnist André Picard answered reader questions on social distancing and many additional topics.


An act of kindness

Letters to front-line grocery store workers and medical providers

“Thank you for going to work every day so we have food to eat”, wrote Brando. “We really appreciate you helping people feed better and recover from COVID-19, twin sister Allegra wrote. Allegra and Brando Vitullo, Grade 3, live in Kleinburg, Ont.

Have you witnessed or performed acts of kindness in your neighbourhood? Share your stories, photos and videos and they might be included in The Globe and Mail. Email audience@globeandmail.com

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Distractions

📚For the parent raising bookworms: Eight books to read with your kids, a sampling

  • West Coast Wild Babies by Deborah Hodge: A story about gray wolf pups, cougar kittens, orca calves and bald eaglets and what their early lives are like.
  • The Eagle Mother by Hetxw’ms Gyetxw: This book is an celebration of the deep connections that are essential to the relationships between mothers and their children in the animal world.
  • My Ocean is Blue by Darren Lebeuf: This book explores a day at the seaside through a poetic text that is beautifully mirrored by exquisite watercolour, pencil crayon and collage illustrations.

More Globe reporting and opinion

  • A second employee, Benito Quesada, at Cargill’s High River, Alta., slaughterhouse has died from COVID-19. The slaughterhouse is the largest single site outbreak in Canada. Roughly half of the plant’s 2,000 unionized workers have tested positive for the virus that causes COVID-19.
  • Uber, the ride-hailing app, will require all drivers, delivery workers and passengers to wear face masks.
  • Lawrence Martin: “With Mr. Trump beaten up for having made America sick again through his shaky handling of the coronavirus pandemic, it shouldn’t be all that surprising that in trying to deflect attention from the crisis, he would target Mr. Obama – yet again."
  • Konrad Yakabuski: “It is hardly surprising that former prime minister Stephen Harper would choose The Wall Street Journal – or it, him – to weigh in on the extraordinary spending Western governments have been undertaking to support businesses and individuals hurt by coronavirus-related economic shutdowns.” [For subscribers]
  • Robin C. Williams and Jean Clinton: “Parenting self-care is just as important as parenting. Parents need time and space to deal with feelings of anxiety, or anger, or frustration or sadness – all of which are normal in the face of so much togetherness.

Information centre

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