Good evening, here are the coronavirus updates you need to know tonight.
- Ottawa to spend $2-billion on medical gear as Canadian industry retools to battle COVID-19
- A nursing home in Bobcaygeon, Ontario, reported three more deaths amid one of the worst known outbreaks in Canada
- Canadian transit agencies seek more than $1-billion in emergency funds
Number of the day
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.
- Three more residents of the Pinecrest Nursing Home in Bobcaygeon, Ontario have died. The government has already promised an inquiry for the “tragic” situation after nine residents died and 34 Pinecrest staff showed symptoms of COVID-19. On Tuesday, the province extended school closures to May 4. In Toronto, the mayor cancelled all city-led events and events requiring a permit until the end of June.
- The public health official in Montreal, Quebec confirmed two deaths 19 and 12 cases at a long-term care facility in the suburb of LaSalle. The provincial health director released figures showing more than 400 seniors facilities in the province have reported cases of COVID-19.
- In the next two days, politicians in Alberta will return to the legislature to pass emergency bills and set new rules on social distancing. Just 20 members will meet in the 87-person seat legislature.
- The Manitoba government is closing elementary, junior and high schools indefinitely. Assignments and learning will continue as teachers will work remotely.
- The Nova Scotia government said all public schools will be closed until at least May 1st.
- Newfoundland and Labrador announced a ban on funerals. Many of the province’s coronavirus cases can be traced to two funerals earlier this month.
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.
- 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.
- 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: email@example.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.
“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.”
More Globe reporting and opinion:
- The federal government is in a race against time to bail out Canadians who live paycheque to paycheque. That’s a tall order in Canada where the COVID-19 disruptions could send many already indebted households into a financial tailspin.
- Thousands of Canadian dentists who followed industry recommendations to shut down their practices nearly two weeks ago have still not received insurance payments despite taking out business interruption policies that include pandemic coverage.
- Montreal has emerged as Canada’s COVID-19 hot spot with about one-quarter of the country’s COVID-19 cases. The province, with 22 per cent of Canada’s population, has about half of the country’s cases. Here’s why Quebec’s coronavirus cases have skyrocketed
- Robyn Urback: “Experts have been warning us that the only way to get on top of the resulting COVID-19 disease is to get ahead of it. That is, to implement the measures today that will only really seem necessary weeks from now. If in the end, it looks like we overreacted, we can be confident that our containment efforts ultimately were successful.”
- Andrew Coyne: “The notion that economic costs must be taken into account as we simultaneously try to save lives is not entirely wrong.”
- Gary Mason: Now that President Trump realizes "the only way he’s going to resuscitate the American economy is by stopping [the coronavirus] spread, he’s decided to go all-in on his country’s response to it – at least until that no longer seems like a good strategy.”
- Ken Boessenkool: “To its credit, the federal government’s three-pronged response has not been tepid. But proactively sending a direct deposit or cheque to the 28.5 million Canadians who filed income taxes last year remains a more effective and efficient plan.”
- Bryan Borzykowski: Dogs in the time of coronavirus: “Ocho, a six-month-old labradoodle, joined the family and instantly breathed new life into our home.”
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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!”
Un-baaaaa-lievable: This wild bunch is completely ignoring rules on social distancing.
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.
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.
“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.
- 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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