What to know
Good evening – here are the coronavirus updates you need to know tonight.
- President Donald Trump declared a national emergency, unleashing as much as $50-billion for state and local governments.
- The Bank of Canada cut its key interest rate; Finance Minister Bill Morneau announced that $10-billion of immediate credit will be available to Canadian businesses.
- The federal government urged Canadians to avoid non-essential travel.
- Parliament is suspended for five weeks.
- Toronto closes daycare facilities, rec centres and libraries; Mayor John Tory in self-isolation.
Number of the day
0.75 per cent
The key overnight lending rate after the Bank of Canada announced an emergency cut of 50 basis points.
- “There are significant measures happening today and next week which I think people should see as a co-ordinated and very powerful package,” said the bank’s Governor, Stephen Poloz.
Coronavirus in Canada
- 157: total confirmed cases in Canada.
- Quebec, British Columbia and Alberta restricted gatherings of more than 250 people.
- Quebec closed all schools, universities and daycares for two weeks.
- Manitoba will close schools for three weeks starting Monday. The health minister recommended all events with more than 250 people be postponed. The provincial NDP delayed its annual convention.
- In Ontario, Toronto closed daycare facilities, recreational centres and libraries. The city’s top medical officer said anyone returning from international travel should self-isolate for 14 days. Mayor John Tory is in self-isolation, following a trip to London this week.
While under self-isolation, Prime Minister Trudeau addressed reporters at Rideau Hall. He urged Canadians to avoid non-essential travel outside, a sentiment echoed by the chief public health officer and Health Minister in a separate news conference.
Finance Minister Bill Morneau announced $10-billion in immediate credit support for businesses. A “significant stimulus package” will be unveiled next week. “These are extraordinary times and that means we are ready to take extraordinary means,” Morneau said.
- Elsewhere: Military personnel are banned from travelling internationally. The measure is meant to help “flatten that curve to protect the most vulnerable in our population,” the Chief of the Defence Staff said.
And: In a move supported by all parties, Parliament is suspended. The House of Commons will return April 20; the Senate will resume April 21.
Coronavirus around the world
- In the United States, President Trump declared a national emergency. Trump also announced $8.3-billion in spending, including low-interest loans and deferring tax payments.
- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced a deal with the Trump administration for an aid package that would provide free tests, sick pay for workers and bolster food programs.
- Italy is set to approve €12-billion in spending, but has not yet made specifics of the plan public.
Coronavirus and markets:
What happened today?
At market close, the S&P/TSX Composite was up 8 per cent, buoyed by stimulus announcements; however, for the week, the index was on track to fall about 15 per cent.
The price of oil had its biggest weekly slide since 2008, despite settling 0.7 per cent up today.
What does it mean?
Economists at RBC and CIBC predict a recession is coming later this year, caused by coronavirus and plunging oil prices.
- CIBC said fiscal and monetary stimulus will cushion the downside, but "business confidence won’t roar back, until we have the virus under control, a better treatment, or a vaccine.”
While fiscal and monetary stimulus will cushion the downside, an economic recovery will be prevented by persistent low oil prices.
Have you had to self-quarantine because of the coronavirus? We’d like to hear your story. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Question: What’s the deal with toilet paper? Why are stores running out? Why are people stockpiling?
Answer: The empty toilet paper aisle in the grocery store has become an iconic image of the coronavirus outbreak. People are being told to prepare for the worst – which means two weeks of isolation – by stocking up on essentials.
One of the staples in every home is toilet paper. But the reason stores are being emptied out is not because people are buying more Charmin than Ramen noodles, it’s because TP is a big bulky item and stores have limited space. Psychologically, seeing those empty shelves makes us want to buy more – panic begets panic.
One cheeky Australian newspaper printed eight blank pages and told readers they could use them as emergency toilet paper if they run out. Yet another reason to subscribe to a newspaper.
- Opinion: Forget toilet-paper hoarding. In the time of coronavirus, let’s seize the bidet
- The CEO of Canada’s largest TP producer says there’s no shortage. “We’re essentially selling it at exactly the same price to all our customers,” the CEO added.
More Globe reporting:
- In Italy, quarantine and shutdown decrees mark the most radical changes to everyday life since the Second World War, Eric Reguly writes.
- An epidemiologist says drive-thru coronavirus testing could help reduce spread in Canada.
- Rob Carrick: “People should not have to go without grocery basics because someone else got to the store before them and cornered the market on Charmin and Kraft Dinner.”
- Andrew Coyne: Our way of life is fragile. Only trust can preserve it.
- Doug Saunders: Governments had their chance to fight pandemics through investing in intensive-care beds, years ago. But even as the coronavirus rages on, it’s not too late to change course.
- How to help slow the spread of the new coronavirus
- What essentials to buy
- How to prepare for travel
- What to do if you think you have the virus
- How to clean effectively
- Tips to keep your kids entertained while home from school
- Coronavirus guide: The latest news on COVID-19 and the toll it’s taking around the world
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