Coronavirus: What's happening in Canada and around the world April 21

Health officials in provinces across Canada are reminding people to stick with public health measures, even as some regions see a drop in new cases of COVID-19. Here's what's happening in Canada, the U.S. and around the world.

Trudeau announces $350M community support fund; Quebec surpasses 1,000 deaths

Trudeau asked about planes returning from China without their PPE cargoes

2 years ago
Duration 1:45
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke to reporters on Tuesday

The latest:

Speaking during his daily COVID-19 update on Tuesday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a new $350-million emergency community support fund meant to help vulnerable Canadians, as he said the pandemic has worsened inequalities throughout the country. 

That fund is aimed at helping community organizations, charities and non-profits, which have had to change how they help groups like seniors and those experiencing homelessness, Trudeau said. 

"Their mission has always been to support people in their time of need, and that hasn't changed," Trudeau said. "But COVID-19 is putting a tremendous amount of pressure on those organizations, because more people need help." 

Trudeau also said the government is launching a calculator for businesses to use when applying for the emergency wage subsidy, which gives employers up to $847 dollars per employee each week. That calculator, which will be hosted on the Canada Revenue Agency website, will allow companies to determine exactly how much the subsidy will cover.

Applications for the program will open on April 27, he said. At a later press briefing, Treasury Board President Jean-Yves Duclos said the government anticipated 90 per cent of applications would be processed by May 5.

Trudeau also spoke of the difficulties Canadians have gone through while practising physical distancing for nearly six weeks. He said there are early signs that those measures have helped reduce the spread of COVID-19. Health officials in provinces across Canada are reminding people to stick with public health measures, however, even as some regions see a drop in new cases of COVID-19.

WATCH | Trudeau on why planes came back from China with supplies:

Trudeau questioned about COVID-19 outbreaks in meat packing plants

2 years ago
Duration 1:00
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke to reporters on Tuesday

Ontario on Monday released updated modelling that suggested community spread of COVID-19 appears to have peaked. But the health experts who presented the updated information noted that the spread of the virus in long-term care is still growing.

"We're at peak in the community, but still in that accelerating upswing of the curve in long-term care," said Adalsteinn Brown, dean of the University of Toronto's public health department.

The World Health Organization said Tuesday that rushing to ease coronavirus restrictions will likely lead to a resurgence of the illness, a warning that comes as governments start rolling out plans to get their economies up and running again.

"This is not the time to be lax. Instead, we need to ready ourselves for a new way of living for the foreseeable future," said Dr. Takeshi Kasai, the WHO regional director for the Western Pacific.

He said governments must remain vigilant to stop the spread of the virus, and the lifting of lockdowns and other physical distancing measures must be done gradually and strike the right balance between keeping people healthy and allowing economies to function. UN agencies on Tuesday made an appeal for more funding to help the most vulnerable, saying: "In this race against an invisible enemy, all countries must fight back, but not all begin from the same starting line."

As of 7 p.m. ET on Tuesday, Canada had 38,422 confirmed and presumptive coronavirus cases. The provinces and territories that provide public information on recoveries listed 13,201 cases as recovered or resolved. A CBC News count of coronavirus-related deaths based on provincial data, local public health information and CBC's own reporting has recorded 1,910 coronavirus-related deaths in Canada. There have been two reported COVID-19-related deaths of Canadians abroad.

According to a case tracking tool maintained by U.S-based Johns Hopkins University, there are more than 2.5 million confirmed cases worldwide of the novel coronavirus, which causes an illness called COVID-19. 

The Public Health Agency of Canada says COVID-19 is a "serious health threat" in Canada. "The risk will vary between and within communities, but given the increasing number of cases in Canada, the risk to Canadians is considered high."

The novel coronavirus, formally known as SARS-CoV-2, was first reported in China in late 2019. There are no proven treatments or vaccines for the virus, though researchers around the world are racing to find answers as to what might be effective against it.

Read on for a look at what's happening in Canada, the U.S. and around the world.

Here's a look at what's happening in the provinces and territories

British Columbia's Vancouver Coastal Health has declared an outbreak of COVID-19 among staff at a chicken processing plant. Twenty-eight employees of United Poultry Company have tested positive for COVID-19. Read more about what's happening in B.C., including about how a Vancouver Island doctor is taking part in COVID-19 treatment experiments.

In Alberta, one day after the closure of a meat-processing plant in High River, another facility with dozens of COVID-19 cases among its employees says it is down to one shift due to "increased absenteeism" but will continue to operate. ​​The JBS plant in Brooks had 67 confirmed cases, but no one has been laid off.  Read more about what's happening in Alberta.

WATCH | Trudeau addresses outbreak in Alberta meat processing plants:

Manufacturing picks up at some workplaces after COVID-19 shutdown

2 years ago
Duration 1:16
France and South Korea begin to open some workplaces with new safety rules and more modest production targets.

Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe is expected to announce a plan for how some businesses and services may be allowed to start reopening if case numbers stay low. The province reported four new confirmed cases of COVID-19 Tuesday, bringing the provincial total to 320. Read more about what's happening in Saskatchewan.

Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister said he's taking a 25 per cent pay cut as he pushes for cuts in the public sector. Pallister is asking public sector workers to accept reduced work weeks, job sharing or temporary layoffs to help the government redirect spending to health care during the pandemic. Read more about what's happening in Manitoba.

Shoppers are separated by rows of wood pallets to help with physical distancing as they line up to enter a Costco store in Burnaby, B.C., on Sunday. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press)

Ontario's numbers climbed to 11,735 as the province announced 551 new cases Tuesday morning, a day after models suggested community spread has peaked. The number of cases in long-term care homes in the province is still on the rise, though. Read more about what's happening in Ontario, including an analysis of the latest projections and what they mean for people in the province.

One long-term care home in Toronto reported Tuesday that five residents have now died of COVID-19. Three residents died overnight Monday at Hawthorne Place Care Centre, executive director Gale Coburn said in a statement. The centre has 51 positive cases, she added.

WATCH | Ontario COVID-19 cases may have peaked in general population:

Quebec saw 102 additional deaths on Tuesday, becoming the first province with more than 1,000 deaths, with 850 of them having occurred in long-term care homes. The professional organizations representing doctors and nurses in the province announced Tuesday they would be looking into two such facilities that have seen a high number of deaths. The treatment of residents as a result of staff shortages in those facilities has also come under scrutiny. Read more about what's happening in Quebec.

On Tuesday, New Brunswick reported no new cases for the third straight day, although Premier Blaine Higgs warned residents they would "need to adapt to a new normal" once the province begins to gradually reopen. Read more about what's happening in N.B.

Newfoundland and Labrador also marked their third straight day with no new cases, though the province's chief medical officer emphatically stated that the struggle isn't over.  "No new cases to report over the last couple of days is indeed promising, but we must remain cautious with our optimism. I cannot stress enough that we are not yet in the clear," Dr. Janice Fitzgerald Tuesday. Read more about what's happening in N.L.

Nova Scotia reported one COVID-19 death on Tuesday at a long-term care facility in Halifax. That brings the total number of deaths to 10, while 16 new reported COVID-19 cases bring the province's case total to 737. Read more about what's happening in Nova Scotia, which is still reeling after at least 22 people were killed by a man who also died in an hours-long shooting rampage over the weekend.

Prince Edward Island reported no new cases on Tuesday, and the province is looking at lifting some restrictions put in place by early May, Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Heather Morrison said. Read more about what's happening in P.E.I.

In the Northwest Territories, an emergency loan program has provided $1.6 million, but a third of applicants were rejected Read more about what's happening across the North, including a look at how Yukon businesses are trying to prepare for an expected drop in tourism.

Here's a look at what's happening in the U.S.

From The Associated Press and Reuters, updated at 4:30 p.m. ET

U.S. President Donald Trump announced Tuesday he will be placing a 60-day pause on the issuance of certain immigration green cards in an effort to limit competition for jobs in a U.S. economy wrecked by the coronavirus.

He told reporters during the White House briefing that the move would not impact those in the country on a temporary basis and would apply only to those looking for green cards in hopes of staying.

Much of the immigration system has already ground to a halt because of the pandemic. Almost all visa processing by the State Department has been suspended for weeks. Travel to the U.S. has been restricted from much of the globe, including China, Europe, Mexico and Canada. And Trump has used the virus to effectively end asylum at U.S. borders, turning away even children who arrive by themselves — something Congress, the courts and international law hadn't previously allowed.

The U.S. is now reporting more COVID-19 cases than any other country in the world, with more than 800,000 Americans infected, according to figures compiled by Johns Hopkins University. Nearly 45,000 have died.

With health authorities and many governors warning that far more testing is needed before the U.S. economy can be safely reopened, New York state launched the nation's most ambitious effort yet to screen the general population for exposure to the virus.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said testing has to get up to scale before reopening can happen, adding that he was aware some people were unhappy they had to wear masks or engage in physical distancing. "It's not a question of happy — it's a question of life and death."

At least three more states — South Carolina, Colorado and Georgia — have moved to loosen restrictions on commerce.

Stay-at-home orders and widespread business closures imposed in most states to slow the spread of the virus have stifled the U.S. economy and thrown at least 22 million people out of work, a level of unemployment not seen since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

A medical worker, centre, takes a sample from the nose of a woman at a coronavirus testing tent outside MGH Healthcare Center on Monday in Chelsea, Mass. (Steven Senne/The Associated Press)

The economic damage has led to increasing agitation for relaxing physical distancing restrictions, especially as the rate of coronavirus hospitalizations and other indicators of the outbreak's severity have begun to level off in parts of the country in recent days. In Pennsylvania, where Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf has pledged to veto a bill in the Republican-led General Assembly that would force him to reopen some businesses, several hundred demonstrators, some in cars with horns blaring, rallied in Harrisburg, the state capital.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, who is a member of the White House coronavirus task force, told ABC News there would be no real economic recovery until authorities got the virus under control and jumping the gun could lead to a big spike in cases.

Here's a look at what's happening around the world

From The Associated Press and Reuters, updated at 4:30 p.m. ET

In Japan, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe expressed concerns Tuesday that people haven't followed physical distancing measures as much as they're supposed to under a state of emergency he declared two weeks ago to fight the spread of the coronavirus. Abe asked citizens to do more to prevent Japanese health-care systems from collapsing.

Abe made a stay-at-home request on April 7 to reduce social interactions by as much as 80 per cent in an effort to limit infections. But surveys show movement of people was not down that much at major train stations, and even less in downtown areas where restaurants and grocery stores are still operating.

WATCH | Manufacturing picks up at some workplaces after COVID-19 shutdown

How to physical distance in tricky situations

2 years ago
Duration 3:23
Physical distancing has radically changed how we socialize. But there’s still some scenarios where it’s difficult to limit our physical contact with others. Here’s how to best navigate them.

The Netherlands extended its three-month ban on major public events on Tuesday. Prime Minister Mark Rutte said the ban would now be in place until Sept. 1, although he added that an "encouraging" slowing of the spread of the coronavirus would enable elementary schools and daycare centres to reopen in May.

WATCH | How to handle physical distancing in tricky situations:

Ireland also banned major events on Tuesday until the end of August, while the government will decide what to do about smaller gatherings closer to May 5 when restrictions put in place on March 24 are due to expire. 

Spain cancelled its July running of the bulls in Pamplona, the more than 400-year-old event made famous by Ernest Hemingway's 1926 novel The Sun Also Rises. The event was also called off during the Spanish Civil War in the 1930s. 

The country did slightly loosen some restrictions on Tuesday, announcing children would be allowed to go for walks beginning next weekend. The change came hours after the government first announced that young children, who are currently banned from leaving home under any circumstances, would be allowed to accompany their parents on essential trips such as to buy food or medicine. 

Crowds of youths in the outskirts of Paris targeted riot police with fireworks and torched rubbish bins in a third night of unrest, in areas where a heavy police presence to enforce a lockdown has exacerbated tensions. Trouble first flared in Villeneuve-La-Garenne on Saturday after a motorcyclist crashed into the open door of a police car, with unrest also breaking out Monday night into Tuesday in the neighbouring districts of Gennevilliers, Clichy-La-Garenne and Asnieres. 

France's lockdown permits people to leave home only to buy groceries, go to work, seek medical care or exercise. French President Emmanuel Macron said schools and shops would gradually reopen from May 11, but restaurants, hotels, cafés and cinemas would remain shut for longer.

A trash bin burns in the street during clashes in Villeneuve-la-Garenne, in the northern suburbs of Paris, early on Tuesday. Tension with the police initially flared after a motorcycle accident involving a police cruiser on Saturday. (Geoffroy Van der Hasselt/AFP/Getty Images)

Italy will announce before the end of this week its plans for the gradual reopening from lockdown, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said on Tuesday.

The lockdown, which closed most Italian businesses and prevented people from leaving their homes for all but essential needs, has been in place since March 9, putting a major strain on the eurozone's third-largest economy.

"I wish I could say: let's reopen everything. Immediately. We start tomorrow morning.... But such a decision would be irresponsible. It would make the contagion curve go up in an uncontrolled way and would nullify all the efforts we have made so far," Conte wrote in a Facebook post.

Germany's Oktoberfest has been cancelled because of the coronavirus crisis, the southern state of Bavaria said on Tuesday. Around six million partygoers gather every year in Munich for the two-week-long festivities, held in packed tents with long wooden tables and oompah bands.

A teacher cleans and disinfects chairs and tables at the the Phoenix Gymnasium secondary school in Dortmund, western Germany, on Tuesday. Students preparing for the Abitur high-school graduation exams taking place in May are allowed to return to school from Thursday. (Ina Fassbender/AFP/Getty Images)

Britain is marking Queen Elizabeth II's 94th birthday with silence Tuesday, foregoing the usual gun salutes and ringing of bells. With thousands dead amid the outbreak, the monarch decided that the celebratory display of military firepower would not be appropriate.

Meantime, the British Parliament went back to work Tuesday — mostly virtually. A few dozen legislators sat, well-spaced, in the House of Commons, and agreed on arrangements for lawmakers to ask questions from home using videoconferencing program Zoom beamed onto screens erected around the wood-panelled chamber. Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab will continue to stand in for Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who is still recovering from a bout of COVID-19.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo has banned people in the world's most populous Muslim-majority country from returning to their hometowns to celebrate Eid al-Fitr, the end of the dawn-to-sunset fasting during Ramadan. The announcement came amid warnings from health experts that Indonesia could face an explosion of coronavirus cases that could infect more than a million people after Ramadan unless the government imposes stricter measures.

Migrant workers wearing protective face masks collect catered food distributed by volunteers on Monday in Singapore. Migrant workers in the construction industry have been served with a 14-day stay home notice starting from April 20 in order to curb the transmission of the coronavirus at work sites. (Ore Huiyiung/Getty Images)

A northwestern province on the front line of China's coronavirus battle reported its first cases in nearly three weeks on Tuesday, all Chinese nationals returning from overseas, as imported infections started to level off elsewhere. 

At the same time, with over 2.5 million coronavirus cases reported worldwide, China is warning its citizens against travelling abroad. The consular department of China's foreign ministry said that Chinese citizens should fully assess the "serious" risk of getting infected and not being able to return.

Singapore said on Tuesday it had preliminary confirmation of 1,111 new coronavirus cases, taking the city-state's total infections to 9,125. The health ministry said most of the cases were migrant workers living in dormitories, a group that accounts for more than three-quarters of the city-state's total infections.

With files from The Associated Press, Reuters and The Canadian Press

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