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

Top headlines:

  1. Schools across Canada report COVID-19 cases linked to teachers or staff, fanning fear of what’s to come
  2. Health Minister orders independent review into shutdown of Canada’s pandemic early warning system
  3. Ottawa extending its widely criticized pandemic rent-relief program for small businesses

In Canada, there have been at least 132,017 cases reported. In the past week 3,068 new cases were announced, 7 per cent fewer than the previous week. There have also been at least 116,397 recoveries and 9,145 deaths. Health officials have administered more than 6,195,285 tests.

Worldwide, there have been at least 27,103,845 cases confirmed and 883,339 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-wearingBack to school

Photo of the day

Monica Lee and her sons Ronan Lee and Braydon Lee wait for the school bus in Vernon Bridge as thousands of students across Canada return to the classroom on Sept. 8JOHN MORRIS/Reuters

Number of the day


In Ottawa, officials today told 193 students and seven staff to stay home after linking them to coronavirus infections.

Multiple provinces reported COVID-19 cases linked to schools just as thousands more students returned to class, raising fears over what’s in store for a segment of the population largely sheltered from exposure over the past six months.

The cases in Ottawa were associated with five French-language Catholic schools where some students returned earlier this month, and officials said they were not contracted in the school setting.

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer emphasized the importance of reducing community transmission in order to shield schools from infection, and told parents to keep their kids at home if they develop symptoms.

Coronavirus in Canada

  • Quebec announced a four-level, colour-coded alert system for coronavirus cases in a bid to stifle a second wave. Each alert level carries varying restrictions depending on the severity of an outbreak. As well, three Quebec cabinet ministers and Montreal Mayor Valerie Plante are self-isolating after a suburban mayor contracted COVID-19.
  • A judge in Ontario ruled that a child, caught in a custody battle waged by his separated parents, will attend school in person. This is the third Canadian ruling to deal with parents who disagreed over their child’s return to school. Meanwhile, Health Minister Christine Elliot said Ontario will not loosen public-health measures currently in place to limit the spread of COVID-19 for another month.
  • Health officials in Nova Scotia say the measures the province has in place – such as mandatory masks and required quarantines for returning students – mean the province is “well positioned for what’s to come.”

In Ottawa, Theresa Tam said she doesn’t want to pre-empt the independent review of Canada’s pandemic early warning system, but will be looking closely at any recommendations made.

  • Yesterday, the government announced that it ordered an outside review of the global health unit after a Globe report that it was was effectively silenced in May, 2019.
  • Dr. Tam said the purpose of the review is to strengthen the global early warning system.

Back to school: Thousands of elementary and high school students in six provinces returned to classrooms today.

COVID-19 and childbirth: Midwives in Canada are taking on more demands and making sacrifices to keep working during the pandemic.

Also today: Museums, which normally welcome children on school trips, are figuring out how to reach students this year in the face of COVID-19 restrictions.

Coronavirus around the world

  • South Africa is in the depths of a recession, largely as a result of the country’s strict lockdown throughout April and May. The halt to most economic activity during the shutdown caused heavy declines in South Africa’s manufacturing, transport and retail sectors, according to the country’s statistics body, StatsSA. [For subscribers]
  • The U.S. Senate aims to vote Thursday on a scaled-back, US$300-billion COVID-19 aid bill, Majority Leader Mich McConnell said, despite opposition from Democrats. Barring a breakthrough, it could be the final attempt to pass a fifth coronavirus aid bill before the Nov. 3 presidential and congressional elections.
  • Nine leading U.S. and European vaccine developers pledged on Tuesday to uphold the scientific standards that their experimental immunizations will be held against in the global race to contain the pandemic.

Coronavirus and business

Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland confirmed that CECRA, the commercial rent relief program, will be extended for a final month as Ottawa considers changing its structure.

  • As The Globe first reported on Saturday, the commercial rent relief program will be extended until the end of September. The program offers landlords forgivable loans worth half their tenants' rent if they absorb a quarter of the rent and the tenants pay the final quarter.
  • The program has been criticized for being too onerous for landlords and has seen weak uptake from eligible businesses. Only about a quarter of eligible businesses have accessed the combined $1.32-billion from federal and provincial governments.

Last week, the budget watchdog forecast that Ottawa would spend less than 40 per cent of the $2.4-billion it earmarked for the program.

Also today: Toronto-based airline Porter Airlines delays the restart of its flight operations to Nov. 12, five weeks after its previously announced target. The company grounded its fleet on March 21, and repeatedly pushed back its restart, citing travel restrictions and strict quarantine measures.

And: School disruption related to COVID-19 will cause a skill loss that could result in a 1.5 per cent drop in global economic output for the rest of this century, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development said.

Globe opinion

  • André Picard: “One of the important lessons to draw from this is that we need to follow the evidence. Public-health officials changing their guidance is not flip-flopping – it’s adapting."
  • Dr. Reut Gruber: “As we look for ways to reduce the number of interactions between students in schools so that physical distancing is feasible, there is an obvious solution: Follow teens' delayed sleep biology.”
  • Bruce MacLellan and Ethan Teclu:" If employers want to safeguard the future of the Canadian work force, it is time to step up for our students for the long term. And as we reflect on several systemic issues that are fuelling current inequalities, let’s include unpaid student interns on that list."

More reporting

  • Rental housing markets across Canada are seeing weaker demand this fall as some postsecondary students pivot to online learning and stay in their hometowns
  • A wave of consolidation is bearing down on Canada’s oil patch as smaller companies exhaust their survival options and large players see bargains
  • An economic rebound in commercial retail amid the continuing COVID-19 pandemic may be right under our feet – in the sidewalks we walk on.


🍿 For the movie buff celebrating TIFF at home: The 45th edition of the the festival begins this Thursday, Sept. 10 with a mix of in-person and virtual events for the 50 films premiering. Here’s what to eat and drink.

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