Good evening – here are the coronavirus updates you need to know tonight.
- Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Canada will close its border to most non-Canadians, with some exceptions. He also said financial help is coming.
- British Columbia reported three additional coronavirus deaths at a long-term care home in North Vancouver.
- The TSX fell 9.9 per cent, and the dollar weakened.
- Some scientists believe the effects of the pandemic could last months, not weeks.
- Premier Doug Ford asked Ontario bars and restaurants to voluntarily close.
Number of the day
13 per cent
- On Bay Street, the TSX closed down 9.9 per cent, a four-year low. The Canadian dollar weakened more than 1 per cent, and energy was down 18.2 per cent.
What it means: Measures taken by central banks around the world – like the Federal Reserve cutting interest rates to near zero – have failed to calm markets.
Coronavirus in Canada
407: total confirmed cases in Canada.
- Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said an emergency stimulus package, including financial for families without Employment Insurance, could be announced as early as Tuesday.
- While the trajectory of the coronavirus pandemic in Canada is unknown, some scientists believe its impact impacts could last months, not weeks.
- British Columbia reported three more deaths, all stemming from a care home in North Vancouver where the first Canadian death was reported.
- In Ontario, Premier Ford announced his government is drafting legislation to protect the jobs of those who cannot work due to COVID-19. The province will ask all bars and restaurants to close voluntarily. In Toronto, Mayor John Tory announced a task force to help the city’s economy.
- The Bank of Canada unveiled new measures to keep Canada’s financial system flowing and support mortgage markets, including broadening the eligible forms of collateral under its term repo facility.
- The chief medical officer for Alberta is in self-isolation, awaiting coronavirus test results. In Calgary, Mayor Naheed Nenshi declared a local state of emergency.
- Saskatchewan suspended classes indefinitely and the ban on large gatherings was extended to places of worship.
- Schools and regulated daycare centres in Newfoundland and Labrador will close indefinitely starting this week.
Prime Minister Trudeau said Canada will close its borders to most non-Canadians with exceptions for U.S. citizens and diplomats. Trudeau also announced:
- Airline operators will be ordered not to allow anyone with symptoms, including Canadians, onto planes bound for Canada; any individual with symptoms will be denied entry. Financial support will be made available for Canadians who still need to return home.
- Starting Wednesday, the only airports allowed to accept international flights will be in Vancouver, Calgary, Montreal and Toronto.
- All travellers returning to the country must self-isolate for 14 days.
“If you are abroad, it is time for you to come home,” Mr. Trudeau said.
- And: The CBSA said it will begin to to add new screening measures “as quickly as possible, in the coming days” to all of Canada’s international airports. An image posted to Twitter shows a screen asking travellers to acknowledge they are being asked to self-isolate.
Coronavirus around the world
- U.S. President Donald Trump urged Americans to avoid social gatherings of more than 10 people, as well as bars, restaurants and food courts. White House adviser Larry Kudlow said the U.S. government was readying $400-billion boost to economy.
- British supermarkets urged shoppers to stop panic buying, saying purchasing more than they need would mean others will go without.
- In photos: Spain joined Italy in national lockdown. The total number of Europeans in quarantine is now more than 100 million.
The WHO said countries must “test, test, test” every suspected COVID-19 case. Following a teleconference, G7 leaders called response to the coronavirus pandemic a “foremost priority.” In a statement that vowed cooperation, the leaders said they are “mobilizing the full range of instruments” to support the “workers, companies and sectors most affected.”
Coronavirus and business:
What happened today?
In a move aimed at maintaining liquidity in Canada’s financial system, the Bank of Canada said it will broaden the eligible forms of collateral under its term repo facility. It also said it “stands ready, as a proactive measure,” to purchase Canada Mortgage Bonds.
- "The Bank of Canada is taking concerted action to support the Canadian economy during this period of economic stress. Our measures will help ensure that financial institutions can continue to extend credit to both households and businesses,” the central bank said in a statement.
RBC and Scotiabank said they would reduce their prime rates to 2.95 per cent, with other banks likely to follow.
- Some banks and telecom companies offered help for customers facing financial hardship as the coronavirus crisis deepens. BMO will offer “a financial relief program that is tailored to each individual’s circumstances,” a spokesperson said. Rogers, Fido and Chatr announced they will relax long-distance rules.
- This morning, Canadian executives issued an open letter which urged businesses to “immediately shift focus to the singular objective” of halting the spread of coronavirus. The 30 signatories include CEOs from some of the country’s biggest corporations and the six big banks.
- Companies across Canada are cutting operations or shutting down as consumers retreat homeward, and Canadian markets are taking a serious hit.
International business news:
The world’s largest airlines joined together to call on governments to help offset losses caused by the coronavirus outbreak. An airline industry analyst issued a dire warning that, by the end of May, 2020, "most airlines in the world will be bankrupt.”
- Air Canada halved its flight capacity and withdrew its earnings forecast for 2020 and 2021 amid “unprecedented challenges.” [For subscribers]
- In the country’s first statistical report card of the year, the Chinese data marks “the sharpest fall in almost 50 years.” Some five million jobs have been lost, with unemployment rising by 0.9 per cent.
Have you had to self-quarantine because of the coronavirus? We’d like to hear your story. Email: email@example.com
Question: Can I know if I have coronavirus without being tested?
Answer: If you are infected, you will likely develop symptoms such as dry cough, fever and shortness of breath, two to 14 days after exposure. Public-health officials recommend that you call 811 (or 1-866-797-0000 in Ontario) where you will be asked some screening questions and told if you should be tested or not. Keep in mind, however, that the testing guidelines are changing rapidly, especially now that tests are running low. 811 lines are overwhelmed. You may get a busy signal or wait hours for a call back. To avoid making unnecessary calls, first use self-assessment tools. One of the best is on the Alberta Health Services website.
However, if you have symptoms such as serious shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, confusion, the inability to be aroused, or bluish lips or face (signs of oxygen deprivation), you should call 911 immediately.
More Globe reporting:
- Ian Brown: “The coronavirus is the first foe we have faced together, for which none of us can be blamed: our enemy in this case is just nature, a biological survival mechanism.”
- André Picard: “These are sacrifices. They will last for a while. But we’ve survived much worse. No one is being sent to war – except perhaps our selfless health care workers, who could soon find themselves in battlefield conditions.”
- Niall Ferguson: many investors, seeing the extraordinary market volatility of the past week conclude that they are in a financial crisis. “This is not a true financial crisis; it is a public-health emergency with financial symptoms.”
- Lawrence Solomon: Will Britain’s ‘herd immunity’ approach to coronavirus work?
- ‘All crises end’: Crucial financial lessons for the coronavirus crash, learned from past collapses [For subscribers]
- Cancelled or postponed: Canadian Music Week, set for May, is postponed; StatsCan will suspend media lockups; NHL pushed back timeline of season restart; retailers Lululemon and Aritzia closed their doors [For subscribers]
- How to self-isolate
- How to get social distancing right
- How to help slow the spread of the new coronavirus
- What essentials to buy if you need to self-isolate
- What to do if you think you have the virus
- How to clean effectively
- Tips to keep your kids entertained while home from school
- Coronavirus guide: The latest news on COVID-19 and the toll it’s taking around the world
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