Good evening, here are the coronavirus updates you need to know tonight.
- The first Canadian clinical trials for a coronavirus vaccine to be conducted by Halifax research team that also was involved in trials that led to an Ebola virus vaccine
- Group urges Quebec to respect patients’ rights during COVID-19 pandemic, as hundreds complain about confinement measures imposed on vulnerable seniors
- Communities and businesses feel the pain of cancelled cruise ships as tourist season begins amid travel restrictions
In Canada, 76,944 cases have been reported, more than double the number from 27 days ago. There have been 38,476 recoveries and 5,781 deaths. Health officials have administered 1,360,318 tests.
Worldwide, 4,685,623 cases have been confirmed, with 1,720,750 recoveries and 313,105 deaths.
Sources: Canada data are compiled from government websites, Johns Hopkins and COVID-19 Canada Open Data Working Group; international data are from Johns Hopkins University.
Coronavirus explainers: Updates and essential resources • Coronavirus in maps and charts • Lockdown rules and reopening plans in each province
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The World Health Organization has warned that as many as 190,000 Africans could die in the first year of the pandemic and countless more from other diseases as the continent’s limited medical resources are stretched even further.
But across West Africa, countries are finding it increasingly difficult to keep mosques closed during Ramadan even as confirmed virus cases mount and testing remains limited. The holy month is already a time of heightened spiritual devotion for Muslims, and many say prayer is now more important than ever.
Last week, Niger and Senegal allowed mass prayers to resume, and Liberia is reopening its houses of worship beginning Sunday. In Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country, several states recently signalled the reopening of mosques even as the number of confirmed cases countrywide exceeded 5,000.
Coronavirus in Canada
There are currently at least 2,832 hospitalized cases, down 2 per cent from a week ago. Of those, 383 are in intensive care.
- A Quebec patients’ rights group urged the province to respect the fundamental rights of seniors living in care facilities during the COVID-19 pandemic, as the province reported 79 more deaths.
- Ontario reported another 340 cases and 23 new deaths related to the virus. There are now 22,653 confirmed cases in the province, which include 1,881 deaths and 17,360 resolved cases.
- British Columbia’s Provincial Health Officer urged residents to stay close to home during the Victoria Day weekend in order to mitigate transmission of COVID-19 before some businesses reopen on Tuesday.
- The Alberta government said a report from a panel exploring the province’s role in Confederation is complete but won’t be released to the public until after the worst of the pandemic is over.
- Toronto is asking for increased funding and testing from the provincial government for its homeless shelters. Two shelter clients have died this week after contracting COVID-19.
- Licensed daycares in New Brunswick can begin reopening Tuesday. And while children will not have to wear masks, they will be separated into small groups as a safety precaution.
The first Canadian clinical trials for a possible COVID-19 vaccine will be conducted by a Halifax research team that was also involved in trials that eventually led to a vaccine for the Ebola virus.
- Trials will be conducted at the Canadian Centre for Vaccinology at Dalhousie University.
- The centre’s director, Dr. Scott Halperin, said it’s possible an “emergency release” could happen in Canada with a potential COVID-19 vaccine if it shows potential and is deemed safe, expediting a process that usually takes a number of years to complete
Dr. Halperin cautions there’s much work to be done before a COVID-19 vaccine could be approved for use.
The Halifax researchers will be following up on work by Chinese manufacturer CanSino Biologics, which is already conducting human clinical trials for the vaccine.
Coronavirus around the world
- Former U.S. president Barack Obama told graduating college students Saturday that the country’s leaders weren’t even “pretending to be in charge” of the coronavirus pandemic.
- In a letter to the WHO, Canada and seven major allies said the agency’s continuing exclusion of Tawain has caused a public-health concern during the coronavirus crisis.
- India said on it would privatize state-run companies in non-strategic sectors and stop fresh insolvency cases for a year as the country battles with the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.
- United Arab Emirates-based Emirates airline is planning to cut about 30,000 jobs to reduce costs amid the coronavirus outbreak, which will bring down its number of employees by about 30 per cent, according to Bloomberg.
Coronavirus and business
Canadian communities and businesses are feeling the pain of cruise cancellations as what would normally be the tourist season begins amid COVID-19 travel restrictions.
- Cruising has grown annually in Canada and had an annual economic impact of $4.1-billion in 2018, up from $3.2-billion two years earlier.
- In Atlantic Canada, 873,000 passengers generated more than $373-million in direct and indirect impact to the economies of the four provinces last year, says Jeff Stevens, executive director of the Atlantic Canada Cruise Association.
- Before COVID-19, the number of passengers to Atlantic Canada was forecast to grow 14 per cent to about one million in 2020.
- The estimated impact to B.C. from the delayed season is nearly $1.5-billion, according to the Port of Vancouver
The economic damage from COVID-19 is unprecedented, said Donna Spalding of Cruise Lines International Association – North West & Canada
“I have never seen anything that has impacted cruising and tourism overall, for that matter, in the way that this has if we think of the impact on our day-to-day lives,” she said from Vancouver.
Question and answer
Question: Is contact tracing during the pandemic an opportunity for smart regulation?
Answer from technology journalist Kara Swisher: "I’m not particularly worried about contact tracing. We have been doing contact tracing in health crises forever. Going back to 1918, they did a version of contact tracing with pencils and paper. That is not, per se, the difficulty. And actually, Google and Apple, who are trying to do [contact tracing] together, have been very transparent.
Government really needs these tech giants to help them do their job, and so what does that mean? It is not necessarily a bad thing, because these are the companies that are good at these things.
It’s just a question of what does that mean? What does that mean when Microsoft and Amazon fight over a major defence contract, which they have been doing? These tech companies are moving into not just communications and apps and games and entertainment. They’re also moving into defence, security, surveillance, health care, transportation, in ways that are really at the heart of society and the control of society."
Working from home? Seven easy snack recipes to get you through the day
Chefs and food aficionados offer some delicious snacking options to keep those working from home energized.
From George Brown College culinary professor Bashir Munye: Almond and hummus-stuffed dates
“One of my favourite snacks during Ramadan, and any other time of the year, are Medjool dates stuffed with toasted almonds and topped with beet hummus, fresh mint and orange zest. I love this recipe as I have all these ingredients, and individually they all make great snacks as well. It’s sweet, chewy, crunchy, creamy, bright, earthy and nutrient-dense all at once. To make this snack, blend four beets (cooked, peeled and cubed), 100 grams of cooked chickpeas, a few spoonfuls of tahini, the juice and zest of two lemons, a chopped garlic clove and ground cumin and salt to taste. Open the dates and discard the pit, add toasted almonds, spoon the hummus on top and garnish with orange zest and chopped fresh mint. Enjoy it as one bite.”
More Globe reporting and opinion
- Professional investment to help finance commercial court cases is on the rise in Canada and a recent Supreme Court ruling paves the way for its use in insolvency matters, which are expected to balloon as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- If you’re a glass-half-full type who believes brighter days will soon be here, the pandemic could turn out to be worse for you than those who are bracing for catastrophe.
- Gary Mason: “Whenever I need a reminder of the strange times in which we live, I just gaze into the mirror. The person looking back at me resembles Drew Doughty, or any of his NHL-playing brethren who consider it perfectly normal to parade around with missing teeth.”
- Paul Abela: “We’re not here wrestling with the aftermath of a man-made catastrophe such as a nuclear exchange. Nor is it – as in the economic crash of 2008 – a disaster brought on by hubris and greed. No, we’re in a standoff with a microscopic, mindless, nano-sized killer.”
- Barry Campbell: “As the COVID-19 virus advanced, infectious disease specialists warned that it could stick to surfaces. ‘This may include hard currency,’ one said. If not already queasy about handling money and coins, that warning likely did it for you.”
- Here’s what you should do if you are newly laid off; how to apply for CERB, EI, and other financial benefits; and other coronavirus and employment questions answered.
- How to minimize 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.
- How to get physical distancing right; measures condo buildings are taking to encourage physical distancing; and what you can do to help slow the spread of coronavirus.
- Here are the essentials to stock up on and how to shop safely for groceries; the best pantry staples; foods to eat to maintain an immune system-friendly diet; and how to keep a healthy diet while working from home.
- How to break a bad habit (such as touching your face) and what to do if you think you have the virus.
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