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

Top headlines:

  1. Second outbreak at a Cargill meat plant, in Quebec, infects 34 per cent of facility’s workforce as some of Quebec’s children set to return to school Monday
  2. Concerns raised over whether pandemic could delay the promised June delivery of a national action plan on missing and murdered Indigenous women.
  3. New clusters of infection as some countries ease restrictions could forewarn a second wave, experts say

In Canada, 68,752 cases have been reported, more than double the number from 22 days ago. There have also been 31,924 recoveries and 4870 deaths. Health officials have administered tests.

Worldwide, 4,080,938 cases have been confirmed; with 1,395,206 recoveries and 281,302 deaths.

Sources: Canada data is compiled from government websites, Johns Hopkins and COVID-19 Canada Open Data Working Group; international data is from Johns Hopkins University.


Coronavirus explainers: Updates and essential resourcesCoronavirus in maps and chartsLockdown rules and reopening plans in each province


Photo of the day

PICKERING, ON - MAY 10: Laurie Robinson and her daughter Rachel Robinson chalk draw a Mother's Day message for her mother Donna Laycock in her driveway on May 10, 2020 in Pickering, Canada. Ontario has begun to slowly open parts of the economy as new cases of COVID-19 continue to rise at a slowed rate. (Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images)Cole Burston/Getty Images


Number of the day

142

Quebec reported its second-highest number of daily new coronavirus deaths on Sunday, as 142 people succumbed to the virus. There were also 735 new cases, for a total of 37,721.

The majority of the province’s cases are found in the Montreal region, where there are 19,197 cases, while the surrounding Laval and Monteregie areas each have more than 4,000.

Premier François Legault said last week that elementary schools, daycares and retail stores with outdoor entrances in Montreal can reopen on May 25, pushing back the date for a second time.


Coronavirus in Canada

There are currently at least 2,968 hospitalized cases, up 3 per cent in the last week. Of those, 439 are in intensive care.

  • In Quebec, a Cargill meat-processing plant south of Montreal announced it will close its doors, after at least 64 workers tested positive for COVID-19.
  • Ontario asked long-term care facilities hardest hit by coronavirus to outline their plans to control the spread internally. Meanwhile, the province reported its lowest daily growth rate of cases since March.
  • British Columbia’s provincial health officer Bonnie Henry said the province is developing plans to allow family members to return to long-term care facilities to visit relatives.

Armed Forces

The Canadian Armed Forces is postponing the deployment of a warship and surveillance aircraft to help enforce United Nations’ sanctions against North Korea because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The delay is one of numerous changes the Armed Forces is making to its overseas missions following a detailed analysis of the roughly 20 operations that the military is either already conducting or which were due to begin in the coming months.

Indigenous communities

Amid reports of a sharp rise in violence against Indigenous women as coronavirus restrictions keep families stuck in their homes, concerns are being raised about whether the pandemic could delay the promised June delivery of a national action plan on missing and murdered Indigenous women.


Coronavirus around the world

  • British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is facing criticism for his plan to ease the country’s lockdown, with adversaries stating is outline is unclear. Public-health experts and regional leaders questioned why Johnson changed the government’s key message from “stay at home” to “stay alert.”
  • Some countries that have begun to reopen their economies – like Germany and China – are experiencing clusters of new infections that experts worry could signal an impending second wave of infections.
  • In the United States, three members of the White House coronavirus task force, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, placed themselves in quarantine after contact with someone who tested positive for coronavirus.
  • Iran said it is ready for unconditional prisoner swap talks with the United States because of fears that the coronavirus could put the lives of the prisoners at risk, Iranian media reported.

Coronavirus and business

Cash-strapped Cirque du Soleil has launched a formal search for a deep-pocketed backer to carry the entertainment company until its contortionists and acrobats can return to the stage.

Montreal-based Cirque hired National Bank of Canada last week to advise its board of directors on either selling the company or negotiating a significant cash injection from its existing owners. National Bank confirmed on Friday it is working for Cirque, but declined to comment on the project.

Quebecor Inc. announced last week it made a preliminary offer for Cirque. The telecom and media company said it is willing to put several hundred million dollars into the business, in part to pay 4,700 laid-off employees. To date, Cirque and Quebecor have not held formal talks and Quebecor has not seen the privately owned Cirque’s financial statements.


Question and answer

Question: In the absence of a vaccine, what responsibility do employers have to provide a safer work environment for employees?

Answer from André Picard: For white-collar workers: How are we going to get people in 64-floor buildings? I can’t wrap my mind around that. So what does the research say about this? It says you have to do physical distancing, keep people apart as much as we can.

The other term we are going to become quite familiar with is ‘temporal distancing,’ – that is, spreading your workers over time. Instead of having 50 workers at 9-to-5, start at 5 a.m., then another shift at 1 p.m. We will likely see staggered workplaces to make offices emptier.

Blue-collar workers – people in factories – that’s really tough. We are seeing what’s happening in meat plants now: When people work side by side, that’s where the risk really exists. Now, those workers have face shields and masks, but that’s not where they get the virus. They get infected when they go to the lunchroom, the washroom, when they take off the gear – they touch their mouths or faces, and that’s really hard to control.

The Globe’s health columnist André Picard answered reader questions on social distancing and many additional topics.


An act of kindness

Philadelphia Orchestra helps salvage a student’s cancelled recital

In this Friday, May 1, 2020, photo, violist Brooke Mead poses for a photograph in Philadelphia. Devastated by the cancellation of her graduate recital because of coronavirus concerns, Mead was invited to perform instead on the Philadelphia Orchestra’s live webcast. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)The Associated Press

Devastated after her graduate recital was cancelled due to coronavirus concerns, Brooke Mead nearly gave up. Faced with recording the concert alone, at home, the 23-year-old viola student stopped practicing altogether.

But then, the music took an amazing turn.

After seeking out advice in an online question-and-answer session with the Philadelphia Orchestra, she was invited to perform her recital on the renowned body’s live webcast as the lead-in to a rebroadcast of one of its performances.

That allowed her to reach hundreds of classical music fans around the world who otherwise wouldn’t have gotten to hear her play, had her performance gone on as originally planned at Temple University’s Philadelphia campus.

“It’s been a bit of a roller coaster emotionally, just thinking about going from a packed hall to no hall, to having possibly to record yourself, to then having this virtual audience,” Mead said.

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


Distractions

For those of us yearning for the gym 🏋️‍♀️

GoodLife Fitness like many other gyms in the country, started offering free online workout classes soon after it closed its doors in mid-March as part of the COVID-19 lockdown.Deborah Baic/The Globe and Mail

Pandemic shows you don’t need a gym to work out

Olivia Jones was a frequent gym-goer at GoodLife Fitness until early March, when she became scared to contract the novel coronavirus.

The 24-year-old from Chatham, Ont., was bothered by equipment sharing and frequent surface touching – both boons for viral spread. Luckily for her, GoodLife Fitness, like many other gyms in the country, started offering free online workout classes soon after it closed its doors in mid-March as part of the COVID-19 lockdown. Jones likes that the virtual offering saved her money and she is now contemplating whether or not she will return to in-person workouts after the lockdown is lifted.

“The free alternatives have made working out at home more enjoyable and I have actually been motivated,” said Jones. “I think it will be a while before I return to a larger gym setting.”


More Globe reporting and opinion

  • Home isolation is inflaming serious issues in people’s intimate relationships. Couples are feeling cooped up, divorce filings are on the rise, child custody battles are flaring and domestic violence has surged. In tense times, some are turning outside their marriages for a release valve.
  • Canadian cybersecurity companies are combatting a significant increase in attacks on companies, as the rapid shift to working from home has created vulnerabilities.
  • Jeff Nielsen: “It wouldn’t be fair to say that farmers were disappointed with Tuesday’s emergency-funding announcement for agriculture by the Prime Minister. Disappointment would suggest we expected more support from the federal government to begin with.”
  • Naomi Buck: “Mothers. We do what needs to be done, be it snacking on afterbirth or running home schools during pandemics. There’s not much glory in it, and certainly no money, but we do it anyway, generation after generation.”

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