Good evening, here are the coronavirus updates you need to know tonight.
- Ottawa and the provinces in discussions about reopening the Canadian economy in phases, but Trudeau says current restrictions will be in place for weeks.
- IMF sees Canadian economy shrinking 6.2% this year; warns of worse hit if pandemic persists
- Eric Reguly: Greece learned from Italy’s and Spain’s mistakes and used rapid response to keep its virus deaths low
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Number of the day
6.2 per cent
The IMF predicted the Canadian economy will shrink 6.2 per cent this year, and warned that if the pandemic persists, so too will economic pain.
- In 2021, Canada’s economy will rebound by 4.2 per cent, the IMF forecast in the World Economic Outlook report.
- The global economy will contract by 3 per cent this year, the IMF said, before rebounding 5.8 in 2021.
- The predictions are based on an assumption that “the pandemic fades in the second half of 2020 and containment efforts can be gradually unwound.”
The IMF also called for a joint international effort to fight both the health and the economic challenges from the pandemic.
Coronavirus in Canada
26,897 cases have been reported, more than double the number from 11 days ago. There have also been 8,173 recoveries and 898 deaths. Health officials have administered 461,807 tests.
- In Ontario, the state of emergency declaration was extend for another 28 days. Premier Doug Ford says it is too soon to relax current restrictions. In Toronto, 30 people who are homeless tested positive for COVID-19.
- As Quebec reported another 75 deaths, Premier Francois Legault said the province’s biggest problem is in understaffed long-term care centres.
- In Nova Scotia, at least three people died in long-term care homes. The province has 517 confirmed cases.
- The Premier of Saskatchewan said plans to reopen the economy could be ready as early as next week. Actually reopening the economy is contingent on case numbers remaining low.
- In Newfoundland and Labrador, a cabinet minister tells the public not to panic buy.
- Prince Edward Island released modelling data showing the province could see up to nine deaths by June 1.
In Ottawa, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the government is in talks with the provinces to slowly and gradually reopen the economy.
- However, current restrictions will remain in place for weeks, the Prime Minister said. Yesterday, officials indicated the Canada-U.S. land border will likely remain closed to non-essential travel for at least a few more weeks.
- Reopening the economy and easing restrictions depend on the availability of a vaccine and different conditions in different parts of the country, Trudeau said.
“We know there is more to do," the Prime Minister said. Support for those businesses – in the tourism, aviation, and oil and gas sectors – as well as individuals who do not qualify for existing aid programs will be announced this week, he said.
- Related: The Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada called on the federal government to make aid programs accessible to Indigenous ventures.
Coronavirus around the world
1,970,916 cases confirmed around the world, with 470,107 recoveries and 124,619 deaths reported.
- The number of new cases of coronavirus is easing in some parts of Europe, including Italy and Spain, but outbreaks are still growing in Britain and Turkey, the World Health Organization said on Tuesday. A WHO spokeswoman said we’re ‘not seeing the peak’ of the coronavirus outbreak yet.
- India extended until May 3 a countrywide lockdown for its 1.3 billion people as the number of coronavirus cases crossed 10,000.
- Greece was able to keep its death count down by listening to its scientists and moving much faster than most other countries to lock down the economy.
- U.S. President Donald Trump’s May 1 target for restarting the economy is “overly optimistic,” his top infectious disease adviser said, after a battle erupted between Trump and state governors over who has the power to lift restrictions aimed at curbing the pandemic.
- Turkey’s parliament passed a law allowing the release of tens of thousands of prisoners to ease overcrowding in jails and protect detainees from the coronavirus, but which critics slam for excluding those jailed on terrorism charges.
Coronavirus and business
Canada’s largest banks approved more than $5-billion in no-interest loans to small businesses in the first five days of an emergency government program, but many small-business owners say they won’t qualify because of restrictions around payroll criteria.
- The loans of up to $40,000, intended to bolster cash flow for businesses suffering from the impact of the new coronavirus, are interest free until the end of 2022.
- Major banks processed tens of thousands of applications by Monday, approving loans that add up to more than one-fifth of the $25-billion earmarked for the program by the federal government.
Entrepreneurs say a requirement that small businesses prove they had a payroll between $50,000 and $1-million in 2019, according to their tax forms, is preventing many business owners from accessing the program, called the Canada Emergency Business Account.
Many small- and medium-sized businesses already feel left behind because the federal government’s key programs for entrepreneurs are focused on loans that add to a company’s debt, including the CEBA.
Question: How can you get exercise or go outdoors?
Answer: Peter Donnelly, Public Health Ontario’s president and chief executive officer, says people should exercise on their own, or in very small groups of people with whom they already live.
Those who don't follow the public-health rules of staying six feet away from others also risk getting ticketed in some jurisdictions.
Crowded parks, boardwalks and beaches are a no-go.
Andrea Boggild, an infectious-disease specialist at the University of Toronto, says to avoid picnic tables, playgrounds and even sports courts, calling all of them “high-touch areas.”
An act of kindness
Flowers in the neighbourhood
Someone in my neighbourhood has been posting inspirational messages on trees, with some accompanied by pots of daffodils tied to them. I suspect this person lives in my building and want to acknowledge this special gesture and thank her for being such a kind soul. She brings joy during a very stressful time. – Karen Battersby in Vancouver
Every night in neighborhoods across the country, Canadians step out onto porches and balconies to cheer the efforts of our health-care workers who are battling the coronavirus pandemic. Do you have a story or anecdote you’d like to share about those on the frontline? Share it here.
In times of trouble, music can bring a sense of tranquility. Asked to identify their go-to songs these days, Shania Twain, Murray McLauchlan, Laila Biali and Hannah Georgas picked tunes and pieces of music that console and relax. Mad Mad World rocker Tom Cochrane, on the other hand, chose songs of defiance. Whatever works.
More Globe reporting and opinion
- Lawrence Martin: “While there have been examples of media partisanship, Mr. Trump has earned the lion’s share of his negative coverage. The reporting in the great majority of instances has held up to scrutiny. Truth is not biased.”
- Gary Mason: The next COVID-19 crisis? Canada’s cash-strapped cities
- Irwin Cotler and Judith Abitan: “There is authoritative … evidence that if President Xi Jinping’s Chinese Communist Party had intervened and reported on its coronavirus outbreak three weeks earlier, transmission of COVID-19 could have been reduced significantly around the world."
- The Canadian Cattlemen’s Association is calling for a federally co-ordinated program that would enable producers to keep their animals longer by feeding them a maintenance, rather than a growth, diet.
- “I was broke”: Millennials who graduated in the late aughts recall the sparse job offerings and widespread financial anxiety. As a result, they’re feeling more prepared for whatever’s coming now.
- What is it like working in a downtown Vancouver hospital right now? “Like we’re in a lifeboat in the ocean,” said one healthcare worker.
- Canadian labour leaders say they will push to permanently improve pay and working conditions for grocery store clerks, personal support care workers and other workers deemed essential.
- 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 social distancing right; measures condo buildings are taking to encourage social 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 (like touching your face) and what to do if you think you have the virus.