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Coronavirus: What's happening in Canada and around the world on April 4

British Columbia said Saturday the curve in the number of coroanvirus cases in the province appears to be flattening, while Trudeau has addressed concerns about the urgent need for medical protective equipment to help curb the spread of COVID-19.

PM says cargo flight carrying millions of masks is headed for Canada

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British Columbia's medical health officer said Saturday the curve in the number of coronavirus cases in the province appears to be flattening as the province reported it saw just 29 new cases.

Dr. Bonnie Henry said she's heartened by a decrease in the number of B.C. residents being diagnosed with COVID-19, saying if the province had continued to see the previous acceleration of about 25 per cent she would have been very concerned.

She said the decrease could allow for better health care for those who need help both for COVID-19 and other illnesses. 

B.C. recorded three more deaths Saturday for a total of 38 deaths. The province has 1,203 cases, of which 704 are considered recovered or resolved. 

Meanwhile, other provinces are working to map and contain the spread of the coronavirus.

WATCH | Paramedic describes front-line fight against COVID-19:

Iggy Chan says coronavirus has made his job more dangerous because he is fighting an 'invisible' enemy. 4:41

Three of Atlantic Canada's four provinces say they will attempt to provide COVID-19 modelling projections sometime next week. Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and P.E.I. all say they will provide numbers, although Newfoundland and Labrador says it doesn't have sufficient data to do so.

On Friday, Ontario released its provincial projection and modelling information related to the pandemic, which projects the coronavirus crisis could last 18 months to two years and kill 3,000 to 15,000 people, even with public health measures in place.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Saturday officials at the federal level are "working on getting the rest of the provinces' scenarios" in order "to be able to prepare proper projections" on a nationwide basis. He expects more modelling and predictions to be released in the coming days.

WATCH | Trudeau says Ottawa collecting data to make broader COVID-19 predictions:

Trudeau says that the federal government will continue to collect the necessary data to make broader COVID-19 predictions. 0:25

Abroad, Foreign Affairs Minister François-Philippe Champagne said flights repatriating Canadians have lifted off from Algeria, Trinidad and Tobago, Peru and India. Champagne said flights are expected Sunday from Argentina, Cuba, El Salvador, India, Lebanon and Serbia.

Meanwhile, a virus-hit cruise ship with 99 Canadians on board has arrived in Miami, and disembarkment of guests who are fit to fly home will begin Sunday.

The Coral Princess departed San Antonio on March 5 and was set to end its voyage March 19 in Buenos Aires, but it was discovered a dozen people onboard tested positive for COVID-19. The ship has been looking for a place to dock since March 13, but no country had allowed it before now.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. But for others, especially older adults and people with health problems, it can cause severe symptoms such as pneumonia. 

The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) says the situation is evolving daily and the risk to Canadians from COVID-19 is "considered high."

Row over masks

Trudeau on Saturday also addressed concerns about the urgent need for medical protective equipment to help curb the spread of COVID-19, saying a large shipment of masks will be headed to Canada soon. 

"In the next 48 hours, we will be receiving a shipment of millions of masks by a chartered cargo flight. We're also working with provinces to transport their medical supplies when possible," Trudeau said Saturday at his daily media briefing just outside his Rideau Cottage residence in Ottawa. 

"Our government has also leased a warehouse in China to help collect and distribute these items as quickly as possible."

A spokesperson for Procurement Minister Anita Anand confirmed to CBC News that the plane would be travelling from China bearing millions of surgical masks, as well as other supplies intended for Quebec-based companies. 

WATCH | Why N95 masks are so important:

The Trump administration is telling one of the world's leading manufacturers of N95 masks that it should stop exporting masks to Canada and Latin America. 2:43

U.S. President Donald Trump issued an order Friday, telling Minnesota-based 3M to stop supplying N95 respirator masks to Canada and Latin America. Trump said he wants the masks reserved strictly for U.S. health-care workers.

Trudeau said the federal government has been "very clearly" communicating to the Trump administration that it is critical not to disrupt the two-way flow of essential goods and services. On Saturday, Trudeau said he would be speaking with Trump again "in the coming days." Canadian officials, he said, have been talking to people at "all levels" of the Trump administration to ensure essential medical equipment can move freely. 

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

Canada has more than 14,000 cases confirmed and presumptive cases, with 274 deaths. The provinces and territories that list information about recovered cases have reported 2,785 cases as resolved or recovered. There have also been two reported COVID-19-related deaths of Canadians abroad — one in Japan and one in Brazil. 

Public health officials caution that reported case numbers don't provide a complete picture of the scale of the outbreak as that data doesn't capture people who haven't been tested and cases that are still under investigation. Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada's chief public health officer, has urged people nationwide to practise physical distancing and behave as though there is COVID-19 in their community, even if there is no known case. 

WATCH | Tam cautions models are 'not crystal balls':

Dr. Theresa Tam says it's important for Canadians to understand the limits of statistical modelling when it comes to predicting the impact of COVID-19.  0:49

In British Columbia, the Vancouver Park Board is deploying more than two dozen of its staff to patrol city parks and beaches, making people aware of physical distancing and public etiquette around sharing outdoor space. The board said in a release that the workers will help park rangers who have issued more than 1,400 warnings for people to adhere to the two-metre distance rule. Read more about what's happening in B.C.

Health-care workers are seen in a drive-thru tent at the Burnaby, B.C., COVID-19 primary care site. (Rafferty Baker/CBC)

In Alberta, the majority of the province's 18 recorded deaths are in continuing care homes and there are now outbreaks in nine facilities. Alberta's chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, said it's a worrisome trend and that part of the problem is staff can work at more than one facility. Read more about what's happening in Alberta.

In Saskatchewan, the head of the province's nurses union says health officials are looking at "new and creative ways" for medical workers to use face masks. Tracy Zambory says the Saskatchewan Health Authority will have to first conduct trials to make sure the practice is safe in hospitals where PPE (personal protective equipment) is already being rationed. Read more about what's happening in Saskatchewan, and the story of a Saskatchewan man living in New York who has helped get N95 masks into the hands of health-care professionals in that city.

Manitoba is opening what it calls "alternative isolation centres" this weekend for people who need to self-isolate and may need extra support. The first is in a hotel, which will have enhanced cleaning.

The province's chief nursing officer says housekeeping staff at its acute care centres will start collecting "gently used" N95 masks for sterilization and re-use if the masks are deemed safe. Manitoba also reported 12 new cases on Saturday. Read more about what's happening in Manitoba.

(CBC)

Ontario Premier Doug Ford says only essential workers should leave home unless it's for getting groceries or other absolutely necessary reasons. To drive home the message, the province sent out another emergency alert on Saturday.

In Toronto, people who violate a new physical distancing city bylaw could be fined up to $1,000 — although education is the "preferred method of enforcement," said Meaghan Gray, spokesperson for the Toronto Police Service. There will be 160 police officers on the lookout, she said. 

Meanwhile, Canada's largest prison for women is in partial lockdown as it deals with a COVID-19 outbreak, according to Union of Canadian Correctional Officers. Five inmates have tested positive at Grand Valley Institution for Women in Kitchener. The union says one prison guard has also tested positive for the virus. Read more about what's happening in Ontario.

In Quebec, 14 more people have died. The province has 6,997 cases and there are 478 people in hospital, including 130 in intensive care, Deputy Premier Geneviève Guilbault said. Read more about what's happening across Quebec, and get the details of planned pay hikes for health-care workers.

Police cadets keep an eye on social distancing in Lafontaine Park in Montreal. (Ryan Remiorz/Canadian Press)

New Brunswick is confirming three new cases. Officials say most of the cases are related to travel or close contacts with confirmed cases, but four cases are from community transmission and six cases remain under investigation.

Meanwhile, the province is worried about a potential shortage of COVID-19 test suppliesPremier Blaine Higgs told CBC's Power & Politics if the province "ramped up a bit we could be within like a week of running out of test supplies." Read more about what's happening in N.B.

Nova Scotia is reporting 29 new cases of COVID-19. Health officials say most cases in Nova Scotia have been linked to travel or a known case, but there is clear evidence that infections are now being spread within the community.

As a result, the province is ramping up its testing. Processing at the QEII Health Sciences Centre in Halifax will now move to a 24-7 operation as of Monday. Four individuals are currently in hospital and 50 others have now recovered. Read more about what's happening in Nova Scotia.

WATCH | What the COVID-19 pandemic looks like across Canada:

A look at how different provinces are handling the COVID-19 pandemic and how the numbers vary. 4:46

Prince Edward Island on Saturday said it has recorded no new cases compared with the previous day. The province's chief public health officer, Dr. Heather Morrison, said the island's confirmed number of cases remains at 22. Additionally, P.E.I. received 169 negative test results and a total of six people have recovered from the virus. Morrison is urging Islanders not to become complacent and to continue staying home in order to prevent community transmission. Read more about what's happening on P.E.I.

Newfoundland and Labrador announced eight new cases. The majority of the province's now-more-than 200 cases are connected to a single funeral home. Read more about what's happening in N.L.

Northwest Territories health officials and the premier are doubling down on a government policy to not identify small communities with cases of COVID-19. "Knowing what community COVID-19 is in will not make you safer," said Premier Caroline Cochrane. "What will make you safer is respecting the orders of the chief public health officer." Read more about what's happening across the North.

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

From Reuters and The Associated Press, updated at 7:05 p.m. ET

U.S. President Donald Trump warned Americans there will be "a lot of death" in the next two weeks.

In an afternoon news conference, Trump said that 3M is working to deliver 180 million N95 masks for the country's stockpile. He also said the U.S. has 10,000 ventilators in its pipeline and 29 million doses of an anti-malarial drug on hand.

The number of people infected in the U.S. has exceeded 300,000, with the death toll climbing past 8,100; more than 3,500 of those deaths are in New York state, including more than 1,900 in New York City alone. 

Trump hinted that some states have more ventilators than they will admit and others are requesting more than they need.

WATCH | Trump details national stockpile of supplies to fight COVID-19

In a Saturday press conference, U.S. President Donald Trump said 3M is making 180 million N95 masks for the United States. 2:26

"We want to be ready when the brunt of it comes, when it's coming quickly," he said.

The president also said 1,000 military personnel are being deployed to New York City, one of the hardest-hit places in the United States.

New York state is poised to get over 1,100 ventilators from China and Oregon as it scrambles to line up more breathing machines for the sickest coronavirus patients.

Emergency medical technicians transport a patient to Elmhurst Hospital Center emergency room New York City on Saturday. (Mary Altaffer/Associated Press)

Cuomo said Saturday that the Chinese government and billionaires Jack Ma and Joseph Tsai facilitated a gift of 1,000 ventilators that were due to arrive Saturday. Ma and Tsai are co-founders of the online marketplace Alibaba. Cuomo says the state of Oregon volunteered to send 140 more breathing machines

Governors across the U.S. have been desperately pleading for more supplies — particularly ventilators — and shopping global markets as they try to keep their states safe, as the Trump administration has limited access to a federal stockpile that's dwindling fast.

Cuomo had said that his state's stockpile of ventilators would be exhausted in six days if the number of critically ill coronavirus patients kept growing at the current rate.

People wearing masks line up at Bread Alone outdoor market while maintaining social distancing requirements in New York City on Saturday. (Bebeto Matthews/Associated Press)

Cuomo also said he will sign an executive order to allow medical students who were about to graduate to begin practising.

He also said that New York at one point made purchase orders for 17,000 of the breathing machines, but only 2,500 came through.

Some states and cities that have been shipped masks, gloves, ventilators and other essential equipment from the nation's medical stockpile to fight the coronavirus have gotten an unwelcome surprise: the material is unusable. Nearly 6,000 medical masks sent to Alabama had dry rot and a 2010 expiration date.

EMT workers sanitize their shoes before they go out on calls in Bethesda, a suburb of Washington D.C., on Saturday. (Andrew Harnik/Associated Press)

The number of crew on the USS Theodore Roosevelt aircraft carrier who have tested positive for the coronavirus has risen 13 per cent in the past 24 hours to 155, the Navy said on Saturday, in the wake of the firing of the carrier's captain.

The Navy said 44 per cent  of the carrier's nearly 5,000-strong crew had been tested and 1,548 sailors from the crew have moved ashore. None of the infected sailors have been hospitalized, it said in a statement.

Here's a look at what's happening in hard-hit Italy, Spain and parts of Europe

From The Associated Press and Reuters, updated at 8 p.m. ET

Spain's Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez says that his nation ravaged by the coronavirus pandemic is "starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel." Current numbers show Spain has 124,000 cases of coronavirus and over 11,000 deaths.

People wearing face masks line up to buy supplies from a shop in Barcelona on Saturday. (Emilio Morenatti/Associated Press)

Italy's virus-ravaged Lombardy region is now requiring residents to wear a protective mask when they go outside in a bid to further trim infections.

Nationwide, the country is seeing more relief in its jammed intensive care units, with 74 fewer beds in use over the past day. Overall, new infections continued to slow their once-exponential pace, with 4,805 new cases registered Saturday that brought Italy's official count to 124,632. The death toll continued to mount, with 681 new victims bringing the world's highest toll to 15,362.

In the U.K., the number of fatalities is expected to remain high for at least another week or two even if people comply with stringent isolation measures, health authorities said on Saturday as the country's death toll jumped to 4,313.

That number includes five London bus workers — three were drivers and two were controllers. Bus ridership has plummeted by more than 75 per cent but the drivers who died may have been infected before the lockdown.

A health-care worker is seen at a drive-thru COVID-19 testing centre in London on Saturday. (Matt Dunham/Associated Press)

In Portugal, confirmed coronavirus cases rose past the 10,000 mark on Saturday, with 266 deaths, as Health Minister Marta Temido urged citizens to step up their fight against the outbreak as there was still "no light at the end of the tunnel.

"This fight is not a 100-metre race, it is a long marathon," Temido told reporters.

Greece has quarantined a migrant camp after 20 asylum seekers tested positive, the country's first such facility hit since the outbreak. Police in Greece say they have issued 17,358 fines for people breaking the new restrictions on leaving home since a lockdown began on March 23.

France's health director said 7,560 people have now died of coronavirus-related issues since the start of the epidemic in the country, including at least 2,028 in nursing homes. France has experienced 441 more deaths in hospitals in the last 24 hours.

A jogger is seen on an empty street along the Seine river during a nationwide lockdown in Paris on Saturday. (Christophe Ena/Associated Press)

Bulgaria's Orthodox Christian majority has been urged to stay away from church services during the upcoming Easter holidays, but the church is resisting calls to close — making it the only denomination in the country not to do so.

Health officials have voiced fears that many worshippers might ignore the quarantine and attend the church services. Prime Minister Boyko Borissov said the government would not intervene.

Sweden's strategy for fighting COVID-19 differs from most European countries, appearing comparatively more relaxed. Stockholm was quiet but far from deserted on Saturday as Swedes sought to make the most of the sunshine. Swedish authorities have advised the public to practise social distancing, but schools, bars and restaurants are still open, and only gatherings of more than 50 people have been banned. So far, some 373 people have died from COVID-19 in Sweden and there are almost 6,500 cases.

WATCH | Sweden's approach to COVID-19 pandemic involves no lockdown:

As many countries around the world lock down to deal with COVID-19, Sweden has not taken lockdown measures. Businesses with fewer than 50 employees remain open, as do primary schools and daycares. 4:48

Here's a look at China, South Korea and some other areas of concern around the world

From The Associated Press and Reuters, updated at 8 p.m. ET

Throughout much of China, people observed a three-minute moment of reflection on Saturday to honour those who died of COVID-19. Air raid sirens wailed and flags were at half-mast.

The pandemic was first detected in Wuhan in December.

The city was placed under complete lockdown on Jan. 23 in an effort to stem the spread of the virus and has been lauded as a "heroic city" by the nation's communist leadership for the sacrifices made by its 11 million citizens.

People have gradually been allowed to travel in and out of Wuhan under strict conditions. The quarantine in the city is to be formally lifted on Wednesday.

A person holds a floral bouquet as people gather outside of a park where an official memorial was held for victims of coronavirus in Wuhan on Saturday. (Ng Han Guan/Associated Press)

Turkey's number of confirmed coronavirus cases reached 23,934 on Saturday, with the number of deaths rising to 501, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said on Twitter. In the last 24 hours, 19,664 tests were conducted, bringing the total performed in Turkey so far to 161,380, Koca said. 

South Korea has extended government guidelines urging people to practise physical distancing to slow the spread of the coronavirus for two weeks as infections continue to grow in the densely populated Seoul metropolitan area. Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun says rising infections are linked to recent arrivals amid broadening outbreaks in Europe and the U.S.

Applicants taking a written examination are seen seated far apart from each other at the Wa stadium in Ansan, South Korea, on Saturday. (Hong Ki-won/Yonhap via AP)

Iran, the hardest-hit country in the Middle East, reported another 158 deaths on Saturday. That brings the overall number of fatalities there to 3,452, amid 55,743 confirmed cases. Health Ministry spokesperson Kianoush Jahanpour said more than 4,000 patients are in serious condition.

A person wearing a face mask is seen in northern Tehran on Saturday. (Vahid Salemi/Associated Press)

In Egypt, the country's main cancer hospital has been quarantined after at least 17 medics tested positive for the virus on Saturday. The National Cancer Institute will be partly closed for three days to be sterilized, with only the emergency ward remaining open.

Egypt has reported 1,070 confirmed cases and 71 fatalities from the global pandemic. Authorities have closed schools and mosques, banned public gatherings and imposed a nighttime curfew to prevent the virus from spreading among the population of 100 million, a fifth of whom live in the densely populated capital, Cairo.

Kenya has ordered the quarantine period extended for two weeks in facilities where some people went on "partying sprees" and might have spread the new coronavirus.

Officials on Saturday reported a high number of cases among those in quarantine facilities and accused some people of not taking social distancing seriously. But some Kenyans have complained to local media about the quarantine conditions that include shared bathrooms and poor hygiene. Kenya has 126 confirmed cases.

Bus passengers wash their hands as they queue to have their temperature checked for signs of fever at a medical check point in Manyani, southern Kenya, on Saturday. (Associated Press)

Brazil health officials grappling with the coronavirus outbreak have issued a stark warning about a lack of hospital beds, masks, testing devices and trained staff across Latin America's largest nation. A report published Friday night said Brazil can currently carry out 6,700 tests a day, but that it will need to process as many as 30,000 to 50,000 tests daily during the peak of the outbreak, expected in June.

This latest assessment of the public health-care system raises questions about its capacity to face the outbreak in a country of nearly 210 million. It also calls for the maintenance of quarantine measures in states that are most badly hit, challenging President Jair Bolsonaro's more laid-back approach to the virus.

As of Saturday afternoon, the health ministry had reported 10,278 confirmed cases and 431 deaths. But the outbreak is still in its early phase, the report said, and the country's hospitals are not ready to handle a peak.

Ecuador's government has begun storing the bodies of victims of the coronavirus in giant refrigerated containers as hundreds of deaths in the city of Guayaquil, the centre of the country's outbreak, have already filled morgues and hospitals. Ecuador has confirmed 318 deaths from the virus, one of the highest tallies in Latin America.

Corrections

  • An earlier version of this story stated that N.W.T. had reported two new cases of COVID-19 Saturday. In fact, there are no new cases and the total remains at four.
    Apr 04, 2020 3:07 PM ET

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

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