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The latest: How many coronavirus cases are there in Canada, by province, and worldwide?

If you are returning to Canada from anywhere, you need to self-isolate: Here’s how

Explainer: What you need to know about COVID-19 and its toll around the world

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Caution tape surrounds playground equipment at Toronto's waterfront on March 26, 2020.Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail

11:50 p.m. EDT

Cuba suspends arrival of international flights to stop coronavirus

Cuba said on Tuesday it was suspending the arrival of international passenger flights and asking all foreign boats to withdraw from the Caribbean island’s waters to curb the spread of the new coronavirus.

Cuba, which has confirmed 186 cases of the fast-spreading disease, partially closed its borders last week, banning the arrival of foreign tourists and the departure of Cubans.

- Reuters

8:15 p.m. EDT

Cottage owners from outside P.E.I. asked to stay away

Prince Edward Island’s chief health officer is urging cottage owners from outside the province to think twice before heading to the Island for their summer vacation — at least until the COVID-19 pandemic has subsided.

Dr. Heather Morrison said Tuesday anyone coming to P.E.I. must isolate themselves from others for two weeks, which means they would require support from the community to get food and other provisions.

In P.E.I., health officials recorded three new confirmed cases, which brought the Island’s total to 21.

- Canadian Press

6:30 p.m. EDT

U.S. will add 500 troops at Mexico border during coronavirus pandemic

The Pentagon will send roughly 500 troops to the U.S.-Mexico border to assist federal border agents amid the coronavirus pandemic, three U.S. officials told Reuters.

The sources said the Pentagon approved a request by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

The United States already maintains an average of 5,000 troops at the southwest border to support Border Patrol by performing non-law enforcement duties. The latest deployment will bolster those ranks as border agents grapple with possible exposure to COVID-19, the disease cause by the virus.

Mexico declared a health emergency on Monday and issued stricter rules aimed at containing the fast-spreading coronavirus after its number of cases surged past 1,000 and the death toll rose sharply.

– Reuters

4:45 p.m. EDT

Quebec warns of possible equipment shortage as COVID-19 cases soar above 4,000

Quebec reported more than 700 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday as Premier Francois Legault warned that the province could face a shortage of medical equipment in the coming days.

Legault said the feared shortage mainly affects protective equipment such as masks, gloves and gowns.

“For certain equipment, we have enough for three to seven days, which is tight,” he said. “But we have orders that should be coming in the next few days, and we have hopes of being able to get by.”

Quebec’s confirmed COVID-19 cases rose to 4,162 Tuesday, an increase of 732 from the previous day.

There were also six more deaths due to COVID-19, bringing the province’s death toll to 31.

Dr. Horacio Arruda, the province’s public health director, said hundreds of residences serving elderly people have been affected, including 184 long-term care homes and 114 seniors’ residences.

The bright spot was the number of patients in intensive care, which rose by only four to 82, Legault said.

- Canadian Press

4:30 p.m. EDT

Pride parade among casualties as Toronto cancels all public events through June 30

Toronto’s late June weekend of Pride parades, a three-day celebration that has become a huge crowd magnet and local economic boost, is the most high-profile casualty as the city cancels festivals, conferences, concerts and other events for the next three months.

Mayor John Tory said Tuesday afternoon that the blanket cancellation encompasses all city-led events, as well all events for which city permits have to be issued, and is in effect through the end of June.

“This pandemic is changing how we go about our daily lives in our city,” he told a city briefing.

“I know that these measures are hard. Festivals and events are treasured moments in neighbourhoods across the city, but the sooner we heed the advice of our medical experts on a consistent and sustained basis, the sooner we can get back to the things that we all enjoy and love.”

In a statement issued shortly after Mr. Tory spoke, Pride organizers confirmed the cancellation of the three-day event known as Festival Weekend.

“In alignment with the City of Toronto’s statement, Pride Toronto will no longer host the Festival Weekend on June 26-28,” the group said in a post on Twitter. "Stay proud and stay safe, Toronto.”

Mr. Tory cited advice from experts and a provincial law preventing public gatherings as forcing the move to cancel the next three months of events.

Eileen de Villa, the city's Medical Officer of Health, warned that even stricter rules were under consideration, after saying too many Torontonians were not heeding physical distancing orders now in place.

"I am in active discussions with all of our partners about the potential for other increased measures, and I will soon share what that means and what that looks like," Dr. de Villa said.

She warned that the longer it takes the city to comply, the longer emergency rules would stay in place: “I need each and every one of us to make our very best effort now to prevent the situation we are seeing in other jurisdictions.”

- Oliver Moore, Jeff Gray

4:15 p.m EDT

Montreal health officials report two COVID-19 deaths, 12 cases in seniors facility

Public health officials in Montreal have confirmed two deaths from COVID-19 and 12 cases at a long-term care facility in the suburb of LaSalle.

The regional health authority says all affected residents have been moved to a single floor to prevent further spread of the virus.

Staff members who were in close contact with infected residents have been placed in isolation and are awaiting test results.

The news comes Tuesday as Quebec public health director Horacio Arruda released figures showing more than 400 seniors facilities in the province have reported cases of COVID-19.

Those include 184 long-term care centres like the one in LaSalle, 114 seniors residences, and 112 other facilities.

The CHSLD de LaSalle, where the deaths occurred, is home to about 200 people.

- Canadian Press

3:10 p.m. EDT

Liberals delay release of wage subsidy details

Canadian businesses desperate for details about the federal government’s promised wage subsidy program will have to wait a little longer for answers.

On Monday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said his finance minister would lay out the details of the program during a briefing on Tuesday.

That never happened and now Finance Minister Bill Morneau says he and Small Business Minister Mary Ng will instead provide more details during a Wednesday briefing.

Small businesses have been anxious to see the fine print of the program since the Liberals expanded its eligibility and value in recent days. Businesses of all sizes whose revenues have decreased by at least 30 per cent because of the COVID-19 pandemic are to be eligible for the subsidy, which is to be backdated to March 15.

It will cover 75 per cent of each employee’s wages, to a maximum of $847 a week. The Liberals had previously said the subsidy program would be good for three months. Increasing the subsidy to 75 per cent from the originally proposed 10 per cent will increase direct financial aid from federal coffers to combat the shock from the pandemic.

Morneau is expected to provide a dollar figure for the promise.

TD Economics has previously estimated that the increase would cost about $25-billion, while RBC separately estimated its value at $28-billion.

The federal bailout package to date is now valued at more than $200-billion, including $52-billion in direct spending, $85-billion in tax deferrals for individuals and businesses, and $65-billion in loans.

- Canadian Press

2:30 p.m. EDT

U.S. coronavirus death toll climbs past 3,500

The U.S. death toll from the coronavirus climbed past 3,500 Tuesday, eclipsing China’s official count.

New York’s mammoth convention centre started taking patients to ease the burden on the city’s overwhelmed health system and the tennis centre where the U.S. Open is held was being turned into a hospital.

Worldwide, more than 800,000 people have been infected and over 39,000 people have died, according to a tally kept by Johns Hopkins University. Italy and Spain accounted for half the deaths, while the U.S. had around 3,550 by midday, eclipsing China’s official toll of about 3,300.

New York was the nation’s deadliest hot spot, with about 1,550 deaths statewide, the majority of them in New York City.

- Associated Press

1:45 p.m. EDT

UN chief warns world faces most challenging crisis since Second World War

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is warning that the world faces the most challenging crisis since the Second World War, confronting a pandemic threatening people in every country that will bring a recession “that probably has no parallel in the recent past.”

The UN chief said at the launch of a report Tuesday on the socioeconomic impacts of COVID-19 there is also a risk that the combination of the disease and its economic impact will contribute to “enhanced instability, enhanced unrest, and enhanced conflict.”

Guterres called for a stronger and more effective global response to the coronavirus pandemic and to the social and economic devastation that COVID-19 is causing.

He stressed that this will only be possible “if everybody comes together and if we forget political games and understand that it is humankind that is at stake.”

“The magnitude of the response must match the scale of the crisis – large-scale, co-ordinated and comprehensive, with country and international responses being guided by the World Health Organization,” the secretary-general said, noting that not all countries are following WHO guidelines.

- Associated Press

1:30 p.m. EDT

Ontario extending school closures to May 4

Ontario says it will extend school closures until May 4 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Premier Doug Ford confirmed the decision at a news conference today, saying he’s following the advice of medical experts.

Earlier this month, Education Minister Stephen Lecce ordered schools closed for two weeks following March break.

The premier said last week that schools would not be reopening April 6 as originally planned. School boards across the province have been working on plans to help children learn from home.

- Canadian Press

12:45 p.m. EDT

More than 235,000 have been tested in Canada

Canada’s chief public health officer says there have now been 236,000 tests in Canada for COVID-19.

Dr. Theresa Tam says 3.5 per cent are confirmed positive, and more than 93 per cent confirmed negative.She says adults under 40 represent about 10 per cent of hospitalizations.

Dr. Tam says the greatest concern at the moment is the introduction and spread of the virus in places where high-risk populations reside, including long-term care homes, remote First Nations and prisons.

- Canadian Press

12:40 p.m. EDT

Italian health official says nation has hit the ‘plateau’ in its infection rate

The head of Italy’s national institutes of health says the country has hit the “plateau” in its coronavirus infection rate, three weeks into a national lockdown.

Dr. Silvio Brusaferro says the country should start to see a decline in new cases in the epicentre of Europe’s pandemic. But he stressed it would be folly to relax Italy’s productivity shutdown and stay-at-home restrictions now, even though the rate of new virus infections is slowing.

“The curve suggests we are at the plateau,” he said. “We have to confirm it, because arriving at the plateau doesn’t mean we have conquered the peak and we’re done. It means now we should start to see the decline if we continue to place maximum attention on what we do every day.”

12:30 p.m. EDT

Manitoba announces indefinite closure of schools

The Manitoba government is closing elementary, junior high and high schools indefinitely due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The province originally planned a three-week shutdown that was to end Monday, April 13th.

But the education minister now says schools will be closed for the remainder of the school year unless health officials say they can be reopened.

Kelvin Goertzen says assignments and learning will continue as teachers conduct their work remotely.

- Canadian Press

10:40 a.m. EDT

Alberta Medical Association says province going ahead with ’irresponsible’ changes

The Alberta Medical Association says the government is going ahead with its proposed health-care restructuring, despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

Association president Dr. Christine Molnar says in a letter to members that she met with Health Minister Tyler Shandro Friday to try to work together.

She says he committed to get back to her before the changes come into effect on Wednesday.

More than 800 Alberta doctors added their voices to the issue Monday by sending an open letter that asked the government to delay the changes and allow physicians to focus on the COVID-19 pandemic.

Shandro said in a statement responding to the letter that he was working with the medical association to come to a solution.

But Molnar says she received word from the government late Monday that the changes were going ahead.

-The Canadian Press

10:20 a.m. EDT

Hamilton cops charge man with selling cocaine, operating non-essential business

Hamilton police have laid trafficking charges against an alleged drug dealer — and slapped on a fine for operating a non-essential business.

Const. Jerome Stewart says drug unit officers began following an aggressive driver on Friday.

He says the driver allegedly made several stops to conduct drug deals before officers arrested him for trafficking around 8 p.m.

Stewart says police seized cocaine and cash.

He says they also issued the man a ticket under Ontario’s Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, invoked in mid-March in an effort to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

Stewart says drug dealing is not an essential service, and the man faces a $750 fine if found guilty on that charge.

-The Canadian Press

10:15 a.m. EDT

Ottawa waives rent for airport authorities

The federal government is waiving the monthly rent paid by airport authorities to Ottawa for the rest of the year as revenues plummet amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Finance Minister Bill Morneau says the measure will provide support worth up to $331.4 million in ground lease rents from March through December.

The move applies to 21 airport authorities as well as PortsToronto, which operates Billy Bishop airport and pays a charge to the federal government.

Morneau says the air transportation sector has “suffered tremendously,” as airlines cancel the vast majority of their flights and lay off thousands of staff.

-The Canadian Press

10:05 a.m. EDT

Newfoundland and Labrador bans funerals

All funerals, wakes and visitations are now banned in Newfoundland and Labrador to avoid further transmissions of COVID-19.

The province announced Atlantic Canada’s first death yesterday from the disease, noting the original infection was tied to a funeral.

The province has already stated that most of its positive tests are linked to two funerals held at Caul’s Funeral Home in St. John’s earlier this month.

The province confirmed yesterday a 78-year-old-man with underlying health problems died after attending a funeral service where several people were infected.

-The Canadian Press

Business donates $1-million to N.B. food banks

JD Irving Limited is donating $1-million to help offset the growing demand on New Brunswick’s network of 60 food banks due to the financial hardships caused by the COVID-19 outbreak.

It’s anticipated that there will be a 50-per-cent increase in the meals that Food Depot Alimentaire will need to provide across New Brunswick.

In addition to increased demand, many food banks have lost their ability to raise funds — thrift stores and other venues have had to close.

With school closures and the cancellation of other youth programs, there is also a need to replace breakfast and other meal programs.

-The Canadian Press

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A cleaner wipes down lockers at Eric Hamber Secondary school in Vancouver, Monday, March 23, 2020.JONATHAN HAYWARD/The Canadian Press

N.S. schools to remain closed until at least May

The Nova Scotia government says all public schools will remain closed until at least May 1st.

As well, all licensed childcare providers in the province will remain closed until May 1st.

The decision is based on recommendations from Dr. Robert Strang, the province’s chief medical officer of health.

Premier Stephen McNeil tod a new conference yesterday that all exams and school trips have been cancelled — and he confirmed that all Grade 12 students who were on track to graduate will do so — despite the interruption in the academic year.

-The Canadian Press

9:45 a.m. EDT

Restaurant price growth to slow: report

Restaurant costs for 2020 will be much lower than initially forecast as consumers spend more of their dining-out budgets at grocery stores instead, according to an updated food price report that predicts annual restaurant sales will be slashed in half.

“It all comes down to ... the result of people having to change the way they buy and consume food,” said Simon Somogyi, a University of Guelph associate professor who co-authored the report with Dalhousie University professor Sylvain Charlebois.

-The Canadian Press

Economic growth slowed in January

Statistics Canada says economic growth slowed in January in a snapshot of the economy before the COVID-19 outbreak hit home.

The agency says real gross domestic product grew 0.1 per cent in the first month of 2020 compared with an advance of 0.3 per cent in December.

The result for January matched the expectations of economists, according to financial markets data firm Refinitiv.

Statistics Canada says reduced trade with China and advisories against non-essential travel to the country affected potential growth in January. Since then, the agency says, the pandemic and a collapse in oil prices has significantly affected the economy.

In January, manufacturing rose 0.8 per cent as both durable and non-durable manufacturing increased. The finance and insurance sector increased 0.9 per cent.

The transportation and warehousing sector fell 1.7 per cent in January.

-The Canadian Press

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Six-year-old Peyton Denette works on her speech and language skills with speech-language pathologist Olivia Chiu of Two Can Talk remotely from her home in Mississauga, Ont., on Monday, March 30, 2020. Denette along with many other children are having to adapt to online learning due to the coronavirus.Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press

8:10 a.m. EDT

Ontario expected to reveal online learning plan this afternoon

Ontario’s education minister is expected to announce an e-learning plan for the province’s students during COVID-19 school closures.

Earlier this month, Stephen Lecce ordered schools closed for two weeks following March break, and the premier said last week schools will not be reopening April 6.

Lecce and Colleges and Universities Minister Ross Romano are set to join Premier Doug Ford for an announcement today.

The government has been looking at ways to keep course work going while school closures continue, including through online classes.

The director of education at the province’s largest school board told parents Monday night they are developing a plan to connect teachers to students and “restore teacher-led learning to the greatest extent possible as of April 6.”

TDSB’s John Molloy says staff have been trying to determine the devices and internet access families have in the meantime.

- The Canadian Press

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Workers and a resident wave at passing cars honking their horns in support for Pinecrest Nursing Home after several residents died and dozens of staff were sickened by coronavirus disease in Bobcaygeon, Ont., March 30, 2020.CARLOS OSORIO/Reuters

8 a.m. EDT

Ontario nursing home reports three more deaths

Three more residents of the Pinecrest Nursing Home have died, bringing to 12 the total number of seniors presumed to have died of COVID-19 at the small Bobcaygeon, Ont. facility.

Michelle Snarr, the home’s medical director, told The Globe and Mail that one resident died Tuesday morning and another two residents died overnight.

The 65-bed Pinecrest home is the site of one of the worst known outbreaks of the coronavirus in Canada. Twenty-four workers had tested positive for the virus as of Monday, according to the Haliburton Kawartha Pine Ridge District Health Unit.

- Kelly Grant

Transparency on COVID-19 response crucial, former public safety minister says

Former Liberal public safety minister Ralph Goodale says the federal government must be as transparent as possible about how it is choosing to respond to COVID-19.

Goodale says in an emergency situation Canadians must be able to have absolute trust in their officials and, unless the government is forthright, that won’t happen.

He says that includes keeping Parliament, provinces and the public in the loop.

The Liberals faced major criticism last week when their emergency aid bill for COVID-19 contained broad taxing, spending and borrowing powers that would extend well over a year.

Goodale says he’s not sure why the government did that, but doesn’t believe they were trying to hide anything as they did give the bill to the opposition parties ahead of time for review.

One of the outcomes over the ensuing debate was a guarantee that House of Commons committees would continue to meet by teleconference to scrutinize the government, a process that gets underway today.

-The Canadian Press

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People walk past a Canada Post office in Toronto in this 2019 file photo.Christopher Katsarov/The Globe and Mail

Canadians asked to wash mailboxes, keep dogs at bay, to ensure safe mail delivery

The union representing Canada Post employees is asking Canadians to disinfect their mail boxes to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

And the post office itself is asking Canadians with dogs to keep their doors closed during deliveries, where possible.

The Canadian Union of Postal Workers says daily washing and disinfecting of letter boxes, along with handrails and door knobs, will help keep mail carriers safe.

CUPW national president Jan Simpson says Canadians are relying on the postal system to keep packages and letters flowing to them as they self-isolate in their homes.

And she says they need to know their mail is safe.

With so many people home during the day now, Canada Post says the number of interactions between postal carriers and dogs has been increasing, making physical distancing difficult and increasing the risk of dog bites.

-The Canadian Press

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Three early morning walkers practise social distancing as they take in the sunrise over Lake Ontario in Toronto on Friday, March 27, 2020.Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press

Canadians support punishing those who disobey social distancing rules

Most Canadians are doing what they’re told to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and would support harsher measures to punish those who aren’t, a new poll suggests.

Of the 1,590 adults surveyed between March 27 and 29, the vast majority said they were practising social distancing (97 per cent), keeping at least two metres apart from others (95 per cent), washing their hands more frequently than usual (95 per cent), going out only for necessities (94 per cent) and coughing or sneezing into their elbows (92 per cent).

As well, 86 per cent said they’ve asked family and friends to practice social distancing. However, 15 per cent said they’ve visited friends or family.

Fully 64 per cent said they’ve personally witnessed people not respecting the measures implemented to curb the spread of the deadly virus.

A whopping 92 per cent they’d agree if governments authorized police to fine such people as some jurisdictions have begun doing; 82 per cent would agree to police arresting those who disrespect the measures.

And 77 per cent said they’d agree to a complete quarantine of an entire city if necessary, allowing no one to enter or leave except for essential services.

For now, however, the poll, conducted jointly by Leger and the Association for Canadian Studies, suggests Canadians are broadly satisfied with the measures their governments have been taking to deal with the crisis.

Seventy per cent of respondents said they were very or somewhat satisfied with the federal government’s response, up five points from last week. Seventy-nine per cent were satisfied with their provincial government’s response, fuelled by a 92 per cent satisfaction rate in Quebec, while 67 per cent were satisfied with their municipal government’s response.

-The Canadian Press


March 29: Canada to make sure Chinese masks meet quality standards, Trudeau says; 5,866 COVID-19 cases nationally, 63 deaths

March 30: COVID-19 devastates Bobcaygeon, Ont. nursing home; Ford extends Ontario’s state of emergency; Trudeau says businesses, non-profits, charities all eligible for wage subsidy

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