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Good evening. The coronavirus pandemic continues to dominate the news. Let’s start with recent developments:

The federal government urged Canadians to avoid non-essential travel outside the country as it prepared an economic stimulus package (including an emergency cut to the overnight rate) to help relieve economic pressures associated with the outbreak of COVID-19. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke outside his Ottawa home, where he is in self-isolation after his wife, Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, tested positive for the coronavirus.

While Trudeau said no government ban on travel is in place, social distancing has become a measure many companies and organizations have encouraged in recent days. This morning, the Chief of the Defence Staff Jonathan Vance told The Globe and Mail’s Michelle Carbert that military personnel are banned from travelling internationally for three weeks. Also today, we learned that the House of Commons will suspend its operations until April 20, and Muslim leaders called on mosques to cancel Friday prayers.

As of 5 p.m. ET today, there were 158 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Canada. Health officials say tests for the virus are widely available, but some front-line physicians say they’re having trouble getting patients tested, Carly Weeks reports.

Meanwhile, U.S. President Donald Trump declared a national emergency this afternoon, after enduring several days of criticism over his handling of the crisis.

Coronavirus guide: The latest news on COVID-19 and the toll it’s taking around the world

Markets and business: Investors in the TSX were encouraged by stimulus announcements today after a long spell of heavy losses. At market close, the S&P/TSX Composite Index was up 8 per cent to 13,520.53. Oil was up 0.7 per cent but still sustained its biggest weekly slide since the 2008 financial crisis.

A new forecast by Royal Bank of Canada economists suggests there’s a recession ahead for Canada, while globally, central banks have been busy this week reducing interest rates to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

The airline sector is undoubtedly struggling to cope, with the union representing flight attendants at WestJet indicating it expects severe layoffs.

It’s not all dire. As Sean Silcoff reports, firms that provide technology to facilitate working from home are experiencing a surge in demand. Many companies are already telling workers to stay away from the office. And at least two Canadian ISPs are dropping their internet data caps to encourage remote work situations.

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IN OTHER CORONAVIRUS NEWS

Provinces: Governments across Canada scrambled to announce new measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19 today. In Quebec, schools and day cares will be closed for at least two weeks. In Manitoba, the school closures will last three weeks.

Arts: No industry escapes this kind of disruption unscathed, but as Barry Hertz writes, Canadian Screen Week has been cancelled and the film, TV and digital media sector is devastated.

Sports: The string of professional sports postponements and cancellations now includes the Masters, golf’s marquee event.

Health: For those wondering what they can do to slow the spread of COVID-19: watch this.

Opinon:

  • To survive moments such as this one, we need to invest in overcapacity. – Doug Saunders
  • Of all the ties that connect us, the most valuable and most fragile one is trust. – Andrew Coyne
  • The coronavirus is here, and one of the main fears is how will we wipe our butts. – Adrian Lee

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

ALSO ON OUR RADAR

The scene outside the Al Noor mosque, two days before the first anniversary of the Christchurch mosque shooting.SANKA VIDANAGAMA/AFP/Getty Images

Christchurch anniversary: The deaths of the 51 worshippers killed by a gunman in the Al Noor mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand, a year ago Sunday have been marked by mourners with flowers and messages left outside the mosque. The sombre anniversary is a chance “to come together as a community,” said a brother of one of the victims.

Seized Canadians return: A group of 13 Canadians who were accused by Ethiopia of practising medicine without authorization are back in Canada. Canadian Humanitarian, an Alberta-based charity, says the 10 volunteers and three staff members have been reunited with their loved ones.

Canadian detainee gets phone call: Michael Kovrig, one of two Canadians held in China since December, 2018, has been permitted to have a phone conversation with his ailing father. The Chinese embassy also says Kovrig and fellow captive Michael Spavor are begin given better food to strengthen their immunity during the COVID-19 outbreak.

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TALKING POINTS

From a Canadian perspective, Harvey Weinstein’s 23-year sentence is astonishing

Robyn Urback: “[L]ooking at general trends, the majority of Canadian offenders guilty of sexual assault (which of course, could include a vast range of criminal behaviours) will spend less than one year in custody. According to Statistics Canada data on known custody lengths for adult offenders, only 20 per cent spent 24 months or more in custody... . One could argue that keeping sexual offenders locked up for longer periods of time would serve little purpose without enhanced efforts at rehabilitation. That the difference between six months and six years will only delay the risk to the community – not eliminate it.”

Femicide is a very real public-health crisis, here and abroad

Elizabeth Renzetti: “The names of the victims are vital – the ones pasted on the walls of Paris and painted on the ground in Mexico City’s Zocalo square – because they add up to one public-health crisis, which is the crisis of violence against women. It is a crisis that involves not just those women, but their families and friends who are left behind and traumatized, the economies they would have contributed to, the societies they would have enriched... . Which is why it’s so disheartening to see femicides treated as unrelated incidents, flare-ups of violence that have nothing to do with each other – instead of recognizing them as systems of failure that can be fixed, with effort.”

Donald Trump has seen his future, and he’s running scared

Konrad Yakabuski: “Any presidential candidate who lives by the stock market deserves to die by it. And no U.S. president has taken as much personal credit for the rise in the Dow Jones Industrial Average during his tenure as Mr. Trump. It is only fitting that he be made to wear its collapse. ... Trillions of dollars have been erased from the value of American stock portfolios in recent days as investors anticipate a possible coronavirus-induced recession. The worst might have been avoided had Mr. Trump stepped up early on to co-ordinate a global response to halt the virus’s spread. Instead, he spooked markets by acting as if the coronavirus was not that big of deal.”

LIVING BETTER

Coronavirus has your kids home for weeks: tips to keep them entertained

Our roundup of tips for parents who care for youngsters at home during March Break and beyond includes things like creating structure, a list of great books to read, encouraging silliness and performance, kitchen activities, supporting your community and much more. We gathered tips from parents in our own newsroom and beyond.

See you later, Paw Patrol: The best streaming films to keep your kids occupied during a COVID-19 school break

How can you possibly entertain your housebound children without either poisoning their minds (and yours) with on-loop episodes of Paw Patrol, Ninjago and Lego Friends? Here, film editor (and perpetually anxious parent) Barry Hertz presents the best at-home film offerings across the streaming spectrum to keep your kids at bay and reasonably entertained these next few weeks.

LONG READ FOR A LONG COMMUTE (OR NO COMMUTE AT ALL)

Marsha Lederman's parents Gitla (Jean) and Jacob (Tadek) Lederman, around the time of their 1947 wedding in Belsen, Germany.

Amid news of coronavirus, I debate a long-planned journey to explore my family’s history

It was going to be the trip of a lifetime. More than a roots trip, it was a pilgrimage to the part of the world that kept my father alive during the Second World War, where my mother was liberated from a death march by U.S. soldiers, where my parents met and married and had their first child, my oldest sister – displaced persons in Germany, all of them.

Growing up, these stories were family lore. Especially the farm in Germany where my father spent most of the war. But the details were fuzzy and I was hoping to get some clarity on my visit. A few months ago, my sisters and I decided we wanted to see the village where my mother was liberated.

With the three of us living in different places and in different stages of life, it felt as if there were a million little challenges and details to iron out, but we pressed on. This was so important. And a rare opportunity for just the three of us to spend time together.

Little did we know that, just as we were in our final planning stages, the Germany trip would be threatened by a global health crisis that’s pitched us all into a dilemma.

Read Marsha Lederman’s full story here.


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