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

Top headlines:

  1. Quebec announces Montreal schools won’t reopen until fall at the earliest
  2. Federal spending on pandemic measures now at $151.7-billion
  3. Parks Canada to allow limited reopening of national parks June 1

In Canada, 73,330 cases have been reported, more than double the number from 25 days ago. There have also been 35,936 recoveries and 5,468 deaths. Health officials have administered 1,257,759 tests.

Worldwide, 4,405,365 cases have been confirmed; with 1,576,678 recoveries and 300,108 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

People sell snacks and water to passengers at bus station in Lagos, Nigeria. As strict restrictions in the country began to ease on Monday, its confirmed cases of coronavirus continued to increase. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)Sunday Alamba/The Associated Press


Number of the day

37 per cent

The COVID Impact Survey found 37 per cent of unemployed Americans ran out of food in the past month and 46 per cent were worried about running out.

Roughly 36 million people have filed for jobless aid in the two months, the Labor Department said Thursday.


Coronavirus in Canada

There are currently at least 3,015 hospitalized cases, a 1-per-cent drop from a week ago. Of those, 408 are in intensive care.

  • Elementary school students in Montreal, Quebec will not return to the classroom until September at the earliest. Speaking from Montreal, Premier François Legault said, "The situation is fragile here.” Public daycares will not reopen until at least June 1.
  • Phase one of Ontario’s reopening plan starts next Tuesday, with construction, stores outside malls, and some medical procedures able to resume. The province released 95 safety guidelines for businesses and expanded testing to anyone with symptoms. An announcement on the future of the school year will be made next week.
  • In Saskatchewan, 12 rural emergency rooms are being temporarily closed to create capacity in case coronavirus cases surge.

In Ottawa, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a $470-million benefit for fish harvesters.

  • Fish harvesters who expect a 25-per-cent drop in income will get support to cover 75 per cent of losses up to $10,000.
  • Non-repayable grants of up to $10,000 will be available for business owners.

Also today: Ottawa will contribute $2.3-million to the response effort in northern Saskatchewan, site of the largest outbreak in the province. The virus was brought in by workers returning from a northern Alberta oil sands camp.

And: Starting June 1, some national parks will reopen - including some trails, day-use areas and green spaces, Parks Canada said today. Camping facilities will remain closed until June 21 at the earliest.


Coronavirus around the world

  • The French government said all countries should have an equal right to a COVID-19 vaccine should it be developed by Paris-based Sanofi, after the company’s CEO said the U.S. had a right to the largest preorder.
  • Africa’s largest economy, Nigeria, is facing one of the biggest crises in its history as it struggles with a surging pandemic and collapsing oil revenue that threatens to destroy its capacity to respond. [For subscribers]
  • Russia’s education minister has caught coronavirus, making him at least the sixth senior official to become infected in the country.
  • Whistleblower Dr. Rick Bright, who says he was removed from his post as director of the U.S. government’s Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority for raising concerns about coronavirus preparedness, told a congressional hearing on Thursday that the United States could face “the darkest winter” of recent times if it does not improve its response to the pandemic.
  • Watch: Hundreds of residents in Wuhan, China, have been lining up at hospitals to be tested as a flurry of new infections threatens a second lockdown, prompting a new mass-testing campaign.
  • Watch: The United Nations warned that a mix of death, job loss, and uncertainty brought on by the pandemic is fueling a global mental health crisis.

Coronavirus and business

Federal relief spending totals $151.7-billion, up nearly $6-billion since the government’s last report on April 29.

  • The Liberal minority government is required to submit a full cost breakdown of pandemic spending measures, as part of an agreement with the opposition parties.
  • Spending in the last two weeks included: $240.5-million for virtual care and mental-health online programs, and $2.5-billion in one-time payments to Canadian seniors,
  • Spending for the recently-announced benefit for large employers is “to be determined,” the report said.

The grand total of all liquidity support and capital relief measures is $686.4-billion, this week’s report said.

And: More than one in four Canadian workers were significantly affected by lockdown restrictions either losing a job, or seeing hours cut.

A deeper look at what Canada’s labour market lost shows the destruction was not evenly felt:

  • “Vulnerable workers” experienced the greatest job losses over the past two months.
  • Of the newly unemployed in April, 97 per cent said they were on temporary layoff and expected to return to work once lockdown conditions are eased.
  • The smaller the company, the more likely it was to slash its payroll.
  • Young Canadians have experienced disproportionate job losses.

Finally: Canadian manufacturing sales fell 9.2 per cent in March, the biggest drop since December 2008.


Question and answer

Canadians are being asked not to travel unless necessary, not even to their cottages. And sometimes not just asked, but ordered. Walls are even going up between provinces. With the long weekend arriving, some may wonder, don’t I have property rights?

Question: First, what barriers are there? Beyond strongly-worded advice.

Answer: It’s not a short list. Start with the provinces. Quebec, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador have restrictions on who may enter. So do the territories. Generally, the message is that the border crossing needs to be essential or involve permanent residents; seasonal arrivals aren’t welcome.

Q: And within provinces?

A: Saskatchewan and Manitoba have internal restrictions, aimed at protecting vulnerable northern communities. Quebec has had a series of restrictions but is now phasing them out. And, a single health district in Ontario – Haldimand-Norfolk, in the south – has barred outsiders, even if they own a second home and pay taxes inside.

Q: Wait – just one has barred cottagers?

A: Partly it’s an enforceability issue. If the province were to make such an order, police and bylaw inspectors could help enforce it, says Charles Gardner, medical officer of health for the Simcoe-Muskoka District Health Unit. But when a health unit makes the order, only public health officials can enforce it, he said. Simcoe-Muskoka typically has 80,000 seasonal residents and guests in addition to 60,000 permanent residents, he said. And public health officials are “completely deployed” at the moment.

The Globe’s Sean Fine answered more questions about cottages and the law here.


An act of kindness

Spotted owl chick Chick J is photographed here at 11 days old. (The Canadian Press/HO-Northern Spotted Owl Breeding Program)The Canadian Press/HO-Northern Spotted Owl Breeding Program

Chick J

A northern spotted owl chick, a rare breed of owl, hatched April 20 after being artificially incubated in British Columbia for 32 days.

Chick J, as he is known, was then hand-reared for nearly two weeks before being returned to its parents, Sedin and Amore, on May 3.

A webcam is now recording the two adult birds as they continue to raise this chick, their second in as many years, as part of the breeding program.

Chick J bolsters a population that may number fewer than 10 of the birds in Canada’s wild.

Ms. McCulligh says, with the COVID-19 pandemic continuing, it makes it even more special to “spread some joy” by sharing the live stream of Chick J and its parents on the nest.

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


Distractions

For those in need of a little stress-relief: Self-care doesn’t have to mean spending money, in spite of what the robust self-care economy tries to sell, but instead doing the things that bring you pleasure. If all else fails, squeeze in time for a nap.


More Globe reporting and opinion

  • Andrew Coyne: “Even as federal finances appear to be sliding off a cliff, the air is thick with assurances that, in fact, there is nothing to worry about. It’s true the government had no choice: The economy had to be shut down, and workers and companies had to be supported while it was. However great the cost, the costs of not doing so would almost certainly have been worse.”
  • Eric Hoskins: “When I was collecting data for my PhD thesis in epidemiology at the University of Oxford, my professor would often pull out a favourite saying of his: “Garbage in, garbage out.” The message? Flaws in data-collection lead to faulty conclusions. He might say the same thing today, about what we’re facing with the COVID-19 numbers.”
  • Robyn Urback: “Quebec Premier François Legault is gambling. We don’t know the odds, because so many of the characteristics of COVID-19 are still unknown. But the stakes are clear. And yet, Mr. Legault’s government has moved ahead with plans to reopen the province anyhow, despite the fact that Quebec has more coronavirus deaths and infections than all of the other provinces in Canada combined.” [For subscribers]
  • The Griffin Prize Gala is the one night each year when Canadian poets get to dress up, drink expensive cocktails and mingle with people who get to their cottages by private float plane – all in the name of celebrating great verse. Like almost every other major cultural event, however, the gala has had to adjust to the new COVID-19 reality.
  • Quebecor Inc.’s chief executive says a quick resolution is needed to rescue Cirque du Soleil from its downward spiral as he reaffirmed the telecommunications company’s interest in owning the famed circus troupe.

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