Good evening, here are the coronavirus updates you need to know tonight.
- Ottawa speeds up processing on 1.6 million backlogged Employment Insurance claims
- Trudeau to recall Parliament for a ‘Team Canada effort’ on emergency relief
- Banks will start offering government-backed loans to small businesses next week
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Banks will offering government-backed loans of up to $40,000 to small businesses as soon as next week. The loans will be interest-free until the end of 2022. The loans are part of a package of measures announced last week by the federal government to support small- and medium-sized businesses.
Coronavirus in Canada
At least 9,550 cases reported, which is more than double the number from five days ago. There have also been at least 1,460 recoveries and 107 deaths. Health officials have administered more than 255,753 tests.
- In Ontario, Toronto’s health official issued a mandatory order to ensure people with COVID-19, and those suspected of having it, stay in self-isolation. Those who disobey could face fines up to $5,000 a day. Two more residents of the Pinecrest nursing home have died. Fourteen residents and the spouse of a resident have now died.
- In Quebec, the Premier said one in four nursing homes in the province have at least one case of COVID-19. The government announced new travel restrictions which limit entry into the province to only those with essential work or medical reasons.
- In Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia, work is underway to build makeshift hospitals to accommodate the anticipated influx of COVID-19 patients. In B.C., a convention centre will be converted; in Quebec, thousands of hotel rooms are earmarked; and in Ontario, hospitals will lease space in other buildings.
- In Manitoba, some health-care workers have tested positive, leading to other health workers having to self-isolate.
What are the coronavirus rules in each province? A guide to what’s allowed and open, or closed and banned
In Ottawa, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he is recalling Parliament again. Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer said the emergency bill passed last week needs legislative amendments to raise the wage subsidy.
- The Prime Minister said the 75 per cent wage subsidy will only be available to employers who commit to paying the remainder of an employee’s salary.
- At a press conference in Toronto, Finance Minister Bill Morneau said the expanded wage subsidy will cost the federal government $71-billion.
Also today: The government will expedite the process to clear backlogged of 1.6 million EI claims.
- Of the 2.13 million EI claims received over the last two weeks, only 430,000 have been processed.
The accelerated process will clear 400,000 claims per day.
And: Canada’s response to COVID-19 has been hampered for weeks by shortages of testing supplies and backlogs at laboratories, but the rollout of new Canadian-made testing technology means provinces may soon be able to ramp up testing in a significant way.
It remains unclear, however, whether health officials will follow the advice of many infectious-disease experts and start using the new technology.
Coronavirus around the world
926,095 cases confirmed around the world; with 193,031 recoveries and 46,413 deaths reported.
- India’s coronavirus lockdown has sparked mass migrations, an economic catastrophe and a crisis of faith in Prime Minister Narendra Modi. As hundreds of thousands move from cities to the countryside, fears mount of new contagions and a worsening humanitarian disaster.
- Japan will ban entry to foreigners from 73 countries and ask everyone arriving from abroad to quarantine themselves for two weeks as it struggles to contain the coronavirus; a senior minister warned the country had been pushed “to the brink.”
- A team of Chinese scientists has isolated several antibodies that it said are “extremely effective” at blocking the ability of the new coronavirus to enter cells, which eventually could be helpful in treating or preventing COVID-19. The country observed its first rise in cases in five days on Wednesday.
- In the United States, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo cracked down even harder on public gatherings, calling residents who disregarded stay-at-home rules “selfish” as California’s Governor warned his state will run out of hospital beds by next month.
- Prince Charles, who has recovered after testing positive for coronavirus, praised the selfless devotion of health care workers. Britain is in a state of virtual lockdown, with the public told they must stay at home other than for essential trips.
- Watch: A group of American students have tested positive for the coronavirus after returning from their spring break trip in Mexico.
- Watch: While most European countries go into lockdown, Sweden has allowed restaurants, bars and schools to stay open, simply asking citizens to observe social distancing.
Coronavirus and business:
What happened today?
Canadian medical device startups are getting major boost this week as the federal signed deals with domestic companies to secure medical supplies.
- Ottawa announced deals with two startups: Spartan BioScience, which makes portable DNA testing machines, and Thornhill Research, which makes portable intensive care units.
- Normally, government procurement deals take months to complete but the $78-million contract closed just five days after Ottawa signed a letter of intent with Spartan.
Observers in the innovation sector say the speed at which these deals have come together stands in stark contrast to normal times, when cash-starved startups either didn’t have the time to wait out long public-sector procurement cycles or found themselves frozen out as buyers turned to larger, more established suppliers.
Question: We’re being asked to wash our hands constantly but why not wash our faces? Since our ears are connected to our nose and throat, why don’t doctors tell us to not touch our ears?
Answer: Regular handwashing is recommended. Not touching your face – and your mouth and nose in particular – is also important. That’s because the coronavirus enters the body principally through the mouth and nose. Viruses rarely enter the body through the ears – even those that give us earaches – because they are not an efficient entry point.
More Globe reporting and opinion:
- Across Canada, truck drivers and couriers are being barred from restrooms while they deliver essential goods, such as food and medical equipment. It’s pushing them to the brink even as their critical role in Canada’s supply chains becomes obvious.
- The coronavirus pandemic could lead to shortages of drugs and medical devices in Canada
- Commercial property landlords push back against rent relief requests from big companies
- Aviva, the company that provides insurance for dentists, says it will “stand by" its pandemic coverage for dentists who followed provincial orders to close.
- Rob Carrick: After a decade of economic stability, we got a bit sloppy in some of our personal-finance habits
- Andrew Coyne: The notion that economic costs must be taken into account as we simultaneously try to save lives is not entirely wrong
- Jen Agg: The government has done so much – but small businesses with hefty rent due have been left to die. We need relief, and quick
An act of kindness
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 email@example.com
Phil Tucker downloaded a popular template for a medical face shield with a plastic headband – essentially a splash guard for your face – to make using his personal 3D printer. His printer’s been running ever since.
He is part of a group of Canadians using their expertise to produce much-needed medical supplies for the health care workers fighting COVID-19. Tinkerers have come together in a group called Project Northern Lights, an effort to design, build and deliver everything from masks to portable intensive care units.
The project has attracted a small army of developers, engineers and designers, all looking to help fight the pandemic. Read more.
Here are some recommendations for what to read, watch and activities to do.
Joel Plaskett has done a lot of adapting in his life.
The Juno-award winning singer and songwriter spent the nineties playing power pop with his high-school best friends, the 2000s toying with Americana, rock and traditional folk, and the 2010s becoming an entrepreneur with his own studio and storefront. Along the way, he’s toured the country countless times, and won legions of devoted fans.
Now he’s staying isolated like the rest of us – just as he prepares to release 44, an ambitious quadruple-record box set that celebrates sounds and collaborators from across his career.
Join us for a special in-studio show Thursday night
- What are the coronavirus rules in each province? A guide to what’s allowed and open, or closed and banned
- How many coronavirus cases are there in Canada? The latest maps and charts.
- Coronavirus guide: The latest news on COVID-19 and the toll it’s taking around the world
- Here’s what you should do if you are newly laid off; how to apply for 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; 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.
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