Coronavirus: What's happening in Canada on May 25
Ontario focuses on 'hotspots' but won't identify them, Calgary shops reopen
- Debate over future of Parliament during COVID-19 resumes Monday.
- Commercial rent relief program opens but businesses say it will help few.
- Ottawa pushing provinces to bring in paid sick leave, prime minister says.
- Quebec surpasses 4,000 COVID-19 deaths.
- Nunavut details plan to reopen territory.
- ANALYSIS | Why reopening Montreal is a riskier bet than Legault is letting on.
- The lives behind the numbers: What we know about the first 1,000 COVID-19 deaths in Canada.
Quebec and Ontario reported the vast majority of Canada's new coronavirus cases on Monday, as the number of confirmed and presumptive infections across the country rose to more than 85,000.
Quebec reported 573 new cases, while Ontario reported 404, which together make up roughly 96 per cent of Canada's 1,011 new infections over the past 24 hours.
Monday's figures come a day after Ontario's premier announced an opening up of COVID-19 testing criteria. Doug Ford reiterated on Monday that people who feel they need a test should go to one of the province's assessment centres — even if they don't have symptoms.
Ford also pleaded for people who live in "hotspots" to get tested for the virus — saying the government is able to measure them by postal code and that some areas are "lighting up like a Christmas tree" — but that data has not been made public. CBC News has requested a breakdown of cases by postal code, but Hayley Chazan, spokesperson for the provincial minister of health, would only say that Ontario's hardest-hit regions are in Toronto, Peel Region and Windsor-Essex County.
WATCH | Ontario testing to focus on 'hotspots' in 3 regions, says premier:
Ford also scolded a gathering of people at a popular west-end Toronto park over the weekend.
"I'm disappointed, to say the least, with everyone who showed up at Trinity Bellwoods on Saturday," Ford said. "Why don't you do us all a favour and get tested now," he said.
However, both Dr. Barbara Yaffe, Ontario's associate chief medical officer of health, and Toronto Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa contradicted the premier's advice and said people who were at Trinity Bellwoods Park this weekend should instead self-monitor for 14 days and try to avoid contact with vulnerable people such as seniors and young children.
The provincial government has faced criticism for its public messaging during the COVID-19 outbreak, with Ontario's top doctor even acknowledging last week that it has been inconsistent at times.
Read my remarks from today's <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/COVID19?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#COVID19</a> media briefing & advice to those who were at Trinity Bellwoods on Sat. to carefully self-monitor for 14 days. You don't need to self-isolate & only need to get tested if you develop <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/COVID19?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#COVID19</a> symptoms. Learn more: <a href="https://t.co/zT2ZSOsFp3">https://t.co/zT2ZSOsFp3</a>—@epdevilla
Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott also cited the Trinity Bellwoods Park incident as one of the reasons the province is maintaining a five-person maximum for gatherings.
Elliott said the province had been considering allowing groups of more than five to gather in the near future, but those plans have temporarily been put aside. The province has prohibited gatherings of more than five people, unless they live together, since March 28.
"It is something that will be coming forward, but it has been pushed back a little bit," Elliott said.
WATCH | Ontario delays loosening group restrictions:
The new cases reported Monday brought the total number of cases in the Ontario to 25,904, with 19,698 considered recovered or resolved. A CBC News tally of coronavirus-related deaths based on provincial health information, regional data and CBC's reporting stood at 2,188 in the province.
Quebec is the only province in the country that has seen more COVID-19 cases than Ontario, with 47,984 reported cases and 4,069 reported deaths. Quebec lists 14,654 cases as recovered or resolved. While stores and schools have reopened across most of Quebec, the hard-hit island of Montreal — which has been the epicentre of the pandemic in Canada — had delayed its reopening.
For some retailers in Montreal that delay ends Monday, as they are allowed to open with increased public health precautions, including physical distancing rules and stepped-up hygiene requirements.
Like Ontario, Quebec has struggled to meet its testing goals and is still reporting hundreds of new cases a day. Last week, Quebec reported hundreds of new cases daily, with the lowest daily figure coming in at 570 on May 19 and rising to 720 on May 21.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau addressed the regional variability of the pandemic on Monday, saying "our approach will have to be tailored to each community."
"That means the rules and public health recommendations you're asked to follow may be different depending on where you live, and that can be confusing," Trudeau said Monday outside Rideau Cottage. "But right across the country, one thing will stay the same — everyone has a responsibility to themselves and the people around them."
He said moving forward has to happen gradually and carefully, adding that testing and contact tracing are critical to reopening.
1/2 To date, labs across 🇨🇦 have tested 1,479,762 people for <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/COVID19?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#COVID19</a>, w\ an average ~5% positive overall. Based on the last seven days, an average of 22,360 people have been tested daily (w\ ~4% +ve) as <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/publichealth?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#publichealth</a> continues to <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/TestandTrace?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#TestandTrace</a>.—@CPHO_Canada
Trudeau also said the federal government is talking to the provinces about bringing in 10 days of paid sick leave for workers — something the NDP demanded in exchange for supporting the Liberals' plan to extend the suspension of the House of Commons during the novel coronavirus pandemic.
"Nobody should have to choose between taking a day off work due to illness or being able to pay their bills. Just like nobody should have to choose between staying home with COVID-19 symptoms or being able to afford rent or groceries," Trudeau said.
"That's why the government will continue discussions with the provinces, without delay, on ensuring that as we enter the recovery phase of the pandemic, every worker in Canada who needs it has access to ten days of paid sick leave a year. And we'll also consider other mechanisms for the longer term to support workers with sick leave."
WATCH | Trudeau questioned about paid sick leave plan:
On Parliament Hill, a small number MPs gathered Monday to debate the Liberals' proposal to waive normal House of Commons sittings in favour of expanding the special COVID-19 committee that has acted as a sort of replacement for most in-person sessions for the past month.
Their motion proposes adding an additional day to the committee's current schedule of one in-person meeting per week (with fewer than three dozen MPs actually present) and two online meetings per week.
The Liberals are now proposing four meetings a week until June 17, with a hybrid of in-person and virtual attendance that would see a small number of MPs in the Commons chamber and others participating via two large video screens set up on either side of the Speaker's chair.
The Conservatives have indicated they want to do away with the special COVID-19 committee and bring back House of Commons sittings, including opposition days, private members' business and other activities that cannot occur within the committee format.
The novel virus that causes COVID-19 first emerged in China in 2019 but has since spread around the world, prompting travel restrictions, lockdowns and massive economic fallout. The virus causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or death.
As of 7 p.m. ET on Monday, Canada had 85,711 confirmed and presumptive coronavirus cases, with 44,651 of the cases considered recovered or resolved. CBC's tally of coronavirus deaths stood at 6,637.
Here's what's happening in the provinces and territories
British Columbia's provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said Monday there has been "significant progress" in B.C. as new case numbers continue to track low.
"We are moving forward," Henry said. "Our success so far, and our ability to ease restrictions relies on our shared commitment and effort and we need that to continue."
Henry reported 12 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, bringing B.C.'s total to 2,530. Read more about what's happening in B.C.
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said the government has ordered 40 million masks and will soon announce a distribution plan for them.
Meanwhile, businesses in Calgary and Brooks began reopening on Monday. Much of the province was allowed to reopen on May 14, but the two cities reopened at a slower pace due to higher numbers of COVID-19 cases in their regions. Read more about what's happening in Alberta.
Saskatchewan reported two more case on Monday, as well as eight more recoveries. One of the new cases is in the far north region, while the other is in the northern region. Read more about what's happening In Saskatchewan, including a story about door-to-door testing in La Loche, which has seen a large share of the province's cases.
Manitoba has now gone three straight days without reporting any new cases. The number of active cases remains at 17 on Monday, and no one is being treated for the illness in hospital. The province's death toll stands at seven, while 268 people have recovered. Read more about what's happening in Manitoba.
As Manitoba continues to ease restrictions and plan for the next phase of its reopening plan, here’s what some people dream of doing once life gets back to a “new” normal. <a href="https://t.co/eIzGx209Wn">pic.twitter.com/eIzGx209Wn</a>—@CBCManitoba
Ontario reported 404 additional cases of COVID-19 on Monday, a 1.6 per cent jump that continues an upward trend of new daily cases that began about two weeks ago.
The new cases bring the total number of confirmed infections of the novel coronavirus since the outbreak began in January to nearly 26,000. Of those, 76 per cent are resolved.
The number of active cases in the province has risen by about 20 per cent in the last week, and is now more than 4,100. Read more about what's happening in Ontario.
WATCH | Ottawa resident on why they're seeking COVID-19 tests:
In Quebec, public transit users in Laval and Montreal are being encouraged to wear masks as hundreds of thousands of people returned to work this morning.
Politicians and a brigade of Société de transport de Montréal (STM) workers are handing out free masks at Metro stations in Laval and Montreal. Exo staff members are also giving out masks.
Masks are not obligatory in Quebec, but Premier François Legault, who now wears one to his daily briefing, has strongly encouraged people to wear them. Read more about what's happening in Quebec.
WATCH | Montreal mayor hands out masks at metro station:
New Brunswick again reported no new coronavirus again on Monday. The province is planning to lift even more restrictions put in place to deal with COVID-19 later this week. Read more about what's happening in N.B.
Nova Scotia reported one new coronavirus case on Monday and one new recovery. The vast majority of COVID-19-related deaths in the province have been linked to Northwood, a Halifax long-term care home. Read more about what's happening in N.S.
WATCH | Some good news from around the world on Monday:
Newfoundland and Labrador reported no new cases again on Monday. Read more about what's happening in N.L., where the province has pledged $25 million to help the tourism sector, which the premier said employs about 20,000 people.
There were no new cases of COVID-19 in Yukon, Northwest Territories or Nunavut on Sunday. Nunavut, which remains the only jurisdiction in Canada with no confirmed cases, released a plan on Monday to reopen the territory. Called Nunavut's Path, it starts by allowing daycare centres to open as of June 1, along with municipal playgrounds and outdoor use of territorial parks. It allows 25 people to gather together outside, but keeps the limit for gathering indoors at five. Read more about what's happening across the North.
Here's what's happening around the world
WATCH | People enjoy new freedoms but also find unusual ways to live in a world with the coronavirus still present:
- No respite for U.K. PM Boris Johnson and aide accused of flouting lockdown rules
- Germany divided over plans to ease pandemic-related restrictions amid new outbreaks
- Japan ends Tokyo's state of emergency, eyes large new stimulus
- Spain to lift 2-week quarantine for tourists beginning July 1
- White House limits travel to U.S. from Brazil as COVID-19 crisis deepens
- Canadian-led NATO battlegroup in Latvia targeted by pandemic disinformation campaign
- Venice Film Festival will go ahead in September, says governor
- Quarantine put more fitness classes online, and many trainers say they're staying there
With files from The Canadian Press and The Associated Press