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

Top headlines

  1. Ottawa to spend $2-billion on medical gear as Canadian industry retools to battle COVID-19
  2. A nursing home in Bobcaygeon, Ontario, reported three more deaths amid one of the worst known outbreaks in Canada
  3. Canadian transit agencies seek more than $1-billion in emergency funds

Have questions about the coronavirus? Email audience@globeandmail.com. The Globe’s paywall has been removed on coronavirus news stories.

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Indian homeless people and stranded migrant workers stand in circles marked on the ground to maintain social distancing, to receive free food from the disciples of Ramakrishna, a Hindu religious group, at Ramakrishna Ashram, as nationwide lockdown continued on March 31, 2020 in New Delhi, India.

Getty Images/Getty Images


Number of the day

235,000

There have been 235,000 tests in Canada for COVID-19, Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam said Tuesday afternoon.

  • 3.5 per cent are confirmed positive; and
  • More than 93 per cent confirmed negative.

Adults under 40 represent about 10 per cent of hospitalizations, Dr. Tam said. The introduction and spread of the virus in places where high-risk populations reside, including long-term care homes, remote First Nations and prisons is the biggest concern, she said.


Coronavirus in Canada

8,476 cases in Canada reported; with 1,150 recoveries and 95 deaths.

In Ottawa, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the government had finalized deals with Canadian startups to provide solutions that will allow for one million tests for coronavirus in the next year and the production of 500 ventilator units in the coming months. It’s part of a government plan to allocate $2-billion to purchase protective personal equipment.

Ottawa will waive airport rent from March through December. Finance Minister Bill Morneau says the measure will provide support worth up to $331.4-million to the struggling airline industry.

  • Also today: The federal government delayed announcing new details for the 75 per cent wage subsidy program. The Finance Minister is expected to provide a dollar figure for the program at a briefing tomorrow.

And: Canadian transit agencies are seeking immediate access to more than $1-billion in emergency federal funding and another $400-million per month to cover fare-box losses as long as the coronavirus pandemic continues to devastate ridership.


Coronavirus around the world

827,250 cases confirmed around the world, with 174,245 recoveries and 40,714 deaths reported.

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  • As people across Britain adjust to life under lockdown, some police officers and local officials have gone to extraordinary lengths to enforce new restrictions, which have sparked a flurry of complaints and led a retired Supreme Court judge to warn that Britain was becoming a “police state."
  • Italian health officials warned it was too soon to consider lifting lockdown restrictions, saying a deceleration suggesting fewer new daily cases of coronavirus should not raise hopes that the crisis was near an end.
  • The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees says he is “deeply concerned” about the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on refugees and communities that host them, prompting him to call for additional financial support and a co-ordinated international effort.
  • United States Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial distracted the federal government from the novel coronavirus as it reached the United States in January, despite warnings at the time from public health experts and members of Congress about the spread of the virus.
  • Russian lawmakers voted to give the government powers to declare a national emergency over the coronavirus, and approved penalties for violations of lockdown rules including, in extreme cases, jail terms of up to seven years.
  • A UN aid agency began delivering food to the homes of impoverished Palestinians instead of making them pick up such parcels at crowded distribution centres – part of an attempt to prevent a mass outbreak of the new coronavirus in the densely populated Gaza Strip.

As of Tuesday evening, the United States had the most cases worldwide, with more than 184,000 confirmed, and over 3,700 deaths.


Coronavirus and business:

What happened today?

The Bank of Canada is likely to buy about $200-billion of government debt after announcing its first quantitative-easing program, which would nearly triple the amount of assets on the central bank’s balance sheet, bond strategists estimate.

  • Canada’s economy gained 0.1 per cent in January, driven largely by higher manufacturing, Statistics Canada data showed.
  • However, the economy has been hit hard and could get worse over the coming months with the coronavirus outbreak. Household debt is at record levels and the price of oil, one of the country’s major exports, has collapsed since January.
Coronavirus and the markets:
  • On Bay Street: The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index closed up 2.6 per cent.
  • On Wall Street: The Dow fell 1.8 per cent. The S&P 500 dropped 1.6 per cent and the Nasdaq Composite finished the day down 0.95 per cent.

Have you had to self-quarantine because of the coronavirus? We’d like to hear your story. Email: tips@globeandmail.com


Question: How safe is it to pump gas right now?

Answer: If you really need gas, don’t let viral rumours keep you from filling up.

Touching a gas pump likely isn’t any riskier right now than touching door handles, bank machines or anything else that gets touched by a lot of other people.

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“Those surfaces are like any surfaces – they’re potential sources of infection,” says David Evans, a virologist and professor of medical microbiology and immunology at the University of Alberta. “When you get home, make sure the first thing you do is wash your hands.”

The Globe’s health columnist André Picard answered reader questions on a variety of topics and a bundle specifically about social distancing. Need more answers? Email audience@globeandmail.com


More Globe reporting and opinion:


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 audience@globeandmail.com

A care package from a neighbour.

Courtesy of family

Tulips, bath bombs, new friends

Rebecca Diem: “I picked up some fresh tulips while getting a few items at my corner grocery market, and tied one to my downstairs neighbours’ door with a note wishing them a happy Spring. That night they sent up a cute care package with soaps & bath bombs. New friends!”


Goats invade locked-down Welsh town

Un-baaaaa-lievable: This wild bunch is completely ignoring rules on social distancing.

A herd of goats walk the quiet streets.

Pete Byrne/The Associated Press

With humans sheltering indoors, mountain goats are taking advantage of the peace and space to roam in frisky clumps through the streets of Llandudno, a town in North Wales.

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The goats enjoy a snack.

CARL RECINE/Reuters

Andrew Stuart, a local video producer, said the goats normally keep largely to themselves, but now emboldened by the lack of people and cars, the long-horned animals are venturing deeper into the seaside town.

A goat ignores a reserved parking sign.

CARL RECINE/Reuters

“There’s no one around at the moment, because of the lockdown, so they take their chances and go as far as they can. And they are going further and further into the town,” Stuart said.


Information centre:

What are we missing? Email us: audience@globeandmail.com


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In the interests of public health and safety, our coronavirus news articles are free for anyone to access. However, The Globe depends on subscription revenue to support our journalism. If you are able, please subscribe to globeandmail.com. If you are already a subscriber, thank you for your support.

Your subscription helps The Globe and Mail provide readers with critical news at a critical time. Thank you for your continued support. We also hope you will share important coronavirus news articles with your friends and family. In the interest of public health and safety, all our coronavirus news articles are free for anyone to access.

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