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- Liberal government proposes measures to extend the use of COVID-19 emergency spending powers through to the end of the year.
- Politicians must not put pressure on Health Canada to approve rapid COVID-19 tests: Freeland
- Fear of a repeat of spring’s brutal lockdown is keeping the Italian pandemic in check
In Canada, there have been at least 149,094 cases reported. In the past week 8,227 new cases were announced, 38 per cent more than the previous week.
There have also been at least 128,707 recoveries and 9,249 deaths. Today, six new deaths were reported, compared to nine yesterday.
Worldwide, there have been at least 31,779,835 cases confirmed and 975,104 deaths reported.
Sources: Canada data are compiled from government websites, Johns Hopkins University and COVID-19 Canada Open Data Working Group; international data are from Johns Hopkins.
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Number of the day
In the United States, about 26 million Americans claimed jobless benefits in early September. The new figures are a signal that the country’s economic recovery is running out of steam amid diminishing government funding.
- Initial claims for state unemployment benefits rose 4,000 to a seasonally adjusted 870,000 for the week ended Sept. 19. Data for the prior week was revised to show 6,000 more applications received than previously reported. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast 840,000 applications in the latest week.
Coronavirus in Canada
- Quebec’s ombudswoman says nothing was done to resolve well-known problems – such as understaffing, employee burnout, lack of qualified staff – in the long-term care network before the COVID-19 pandemic hit.
- Asymptomatic individuals should not go to assessment centres in Ontario, Premier Doug Ford said today. Low-risk asymptomatic people could get tested at a pharmacy, as the province shifts its testing guidance to focus on people with symptoms or who have come into contact with a case. Meanwhile, a Toronto-area school board separated its virtual learners and assigned them to classes alphabetically by surname, inadvertently creating groups that were not racially diverse.
- Manitoba’s chief public health officer is warning of a trend in Winnipeg as half of people who have tested for COVID-19 in recent weeks had visited bars, pubs or restaurants.
In Ottawa, the Liberals moved to extend emergency spending powers beyond the Sept. 30 expiry date until the end of the year.
- The bill includes details on the income support plan announced in August: replacing CERB with expanded EI, and introducing new benefits for those who do not qualify for EI.
- The legislation creates the Canada Recovery Benefit, setting payments at $500 a week, and creates the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit.
The government defended the emergency spending powers – introduced in March to strong criticism from the opposition – saying the powers are clearly limited to spending on matters related to COVID-19.
Also today: Parents left scrambling for COVID-19 testing as common cold symptoms disrupt schools and daycares
And: Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland said politicians must not put pressure on Health Canada to approve rapid COVID-19 tests. The federal government is “lining up advance deals” to buy rapid tests for COVID-19 so the technology can be put to work as soon as it is approved for use in Canada.
Coronavirus around the world
- Italians have remained vigilant in reducing the spread of COVID-19, keeping cases lower than some nearby European countries, because of fears of repeating the surge of cases that prompted the world’s longest and tightest lockdown in the spring.
- On the third day of the United Nations annual gathering of world leaders, Africa’s 54 countries said they need an estimated US$100-billion in support annually for the next three years, pointing out that it’s a fraction of the trillions of dollars some richer countries are using to revive their economies.
- President Vladimir Putin urged Russians to stick to physical distancing rules and said he wanted to avoid another strict lockdown on Thursday, when the daily tally of new COVID-19 cases was the highest in more than two months.
Coronavirus and business
Canada’s flight industry is taking some heart in signals from the Throne Speech that federal financial help is on the way but wants to see quick, clear action to support the sector, which has been devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
- The government’s Speech from the Throne Wednesday pledged “further support for industries that have been the hardest hit, including travel and tourism.”
- The National Airlines Council of Canada says Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government needs to “immediately come forward with a ... concrete plan” to help the travel sector recover.
- The council, which represents the largest Canadian carriers, such as Air Canada and WestJet Airlines Ltd., says passenger numbers are down 94 per cent from 2019 amid travel restrictions.
Canadian Airports Council president Daniel-Robert Gooch says tens of thousands of air industry jobs have been lost since March as costs and debt pile up, with the Throne Speech offering “some hope” to staunch the bleeding.
And: Cinema operator Cineworld fears new coronavirus curbs will hurt its business.
- Globe editorial: "This space has long argued that fighting the pandemic has to be ‘Job No. 1’ for all levels of government. Keeping the number of infections from exploding is surely the way to keep the economic recovery from going into reverse gear. The Trudeau government’s Throne Speech adopts almost the same language. Adopts it, and then orphans it.”
- Gary Mason: “As virus numbers begin to rise again in Canada and around the world, this is the challenge our public health and political leaders face: telling people that the relative taste of freedom they enjoyed over the summer is over. The virus is surging and as dangerous as ever.”
- Robyn Urback: “Looking ahead to what will likely be a tough fall and winter, the [federal Liberal] government should have read the room and, at least for now, shelved the lectures about drinking straws.”
- A top official at the International Monetary Fund says the global economic outlook is somewhat less dire than expected
- If working from home is permanent, companies need to draft long-term strategies to make it a success
🚢 For the uninspired: With his season cancelled, ecotourism ship operator Kevin Smith launched a new expedition: Clearing 130 tonnes of plastic debris from the shoreline.
- When Mr. Smith floated the idea of a massive garbage removal project to other ecotourism boat operators, they enthusiastically agreed.
- “We have the skills, the boats and the time,” Mr. Smith says. “It was a chance to do the type of cleanup I’ve always dreamed about.”
This is part of Stepping Up, a series introducing Canadians to their country’s new sources of inspiration and leadership. Last week, we profiled Abdul Rashid, who is on a mission to get his Toronto neighbourhood walking.
- Rob Carrick’s 10-point checklist of things you should have done by now to protect or improve your money situation. Tips for minimizing damage to your credit score; how to manage retirement anxiety during difficult times; and things to think about if you’re considering home delivery.
- Here are the expectations for self-isolation; tips for managing anxiety and protecting your mental health; and what to do if you think you have the virus. Wash your hands. How to break a bad habit (like touching your face). Is flying safe?
- The best foods to eat to maintain an immune system-friendly diet; and how to keep a healthy diet while working from home; four eating tips when working from home; and five mistakes that might cause you to gain unwanted weight. Here are the essentials to stock up on and how to shop safely for groceries; the best pantry staples and how to stop stress-eating. What to cook with rhubarb (aside from pie).
- Here’s what you should do if you are newly laid off; how to apply for CERB, EI, and other financial benefits; how the CRA might identify CERB fraud; and other coronavirus and employment questions answered. What to do if your employees don’t return to work because they want to collect CERB.