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Coronavirus: Here's what's happening on March 22

Countries will have to go beyond locking down their societies to defeat coronavirus, the World Health Organization's top emergency expert said on Sunday, adding that there need to be public health measures to avoid a resurgence of the virus later on.

Nova Scotia requires anyone entering the province to self-isolate for 14 days

The latest:

  • Yukon reports first 2 confirmed cases.
  • Canada won't send athletes to Tokyo Games, seeks 1-year postponement.
  • PM hopes repatriation of Canadians abroad is 'a question of days.'
  • Trump orders mobile hospitals be sent to Washington, California and New York.
  • WHO emergency expert says lockdown not enough to defeat virus.
  • Canada has more than 1,400 cases, with 20 deaths and 18 recovered/resolved cases. 
  • Impact on health-care system 'could be total collapse,' warns ICU doctor.

Countries will have to go beyond locking down their societies to defeat coronavirus, the World Health Organization's top emergency expert said on Sunday, adding that there need to be public health measures to avoid a resurgence of the virus later on.

"What we really need to focus on is finding those who are sick, those who have the virus, and isolate them, find their contacts and isolate them," Mike Ryan said in an interview on the BBC's Andrew Marr Show.

"The danger right now with the lockdowns ... if we don't put in place the strong public health measures now, when those movement restrictions and lockdowns are lifted, the danger is the disease will jump back up."

Worldwide, more than 307,000 people have now contracted the novel coronavirus and at least 12,944 have died, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University. For most, the coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms. But it can cause more severe illness in others, especially older adults and people with existing health conditions. Some 92,000 people have recovered, mostly in China, where the virus first struck late last year.

At his daily media briefing on Sunday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Global Affairs is "working directly" with the governments in Peru and Spain "and right around the world" to ensure Canadians stranded in other countries "have access to airports so that flights can take off when the airspace is closed."

"We need permission in order to do that, and we are hopeful that we can make announcements on that very, very soon."

"It's a question of days," Trudeau said, when pressed to narrow the timeline of when Canadians abroad should be able to get flights home.

Provincial health department workers stop traffic that has crossed the Confederation Bridge in Borden-Carleton, P.E.I., on Sunday. Anyone arriving on Prince Edward Island from another province is told to self-isolate for 14 days, which goes even further than the federal government's request. (Andrew Vaughan/The Canadian Press)

Foreign Minister François-Philippe Champagne has said negotiations are also underway with governments in India, the Philippines and Ecuador to arrange special flights.

Health Minister Patty Hajdu says she's looking at criminal penalties for Canadian travellers who don't follow the government's advice to self-isolate when they return home.

"When we say that you must stay at home for 14 days, that means you stay at home for 14 days. You do not stop for groceries, that you do not go visit your neighbours or your friends, that you rest in your house for 14 days. No exceptions."

Some provinces also moved to clamp down on people and businesses that do not obey directives for stopping the spread of COVID-19.

Nova Scotia imposed strict new measures to stop the spread of the outbreak Sunday, declaring a state of emergency and limiting gatherings to no more than five people. Apart from those deemed essential workers, all those entering the province from other provinces — not just outside the country — must observe a 14-day self-isolation period.

Police are now authorized to enforce the Health Protection Act, including issuing fines of $1,000 per day for individuals, and $7,500 per day for businesses.

"Walk for exercise, not to socialize," said Nova Scotia's chief medical health officer Dr. Robert Strang.

Quebec also cracked down on social gatherings, limiting to groups of two. Premier François Legault announced Sunday the province has extended school and daycare closures to May 1, and said all stores in shopping malls must close, apart from grocery stores, pharmacies and SAQ liquor stores. 

WATCH | A Canadian doctor urges a mandatory lockdown from coast to coast:

Dr. Michael Warner is the medical director of critical care at Michael Garron Hospital and says Canada should have enforced a mandatory lockdown from coast to coast a while ago. 6:25

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Sunday urged people not to mark Mother's Day in Britain with home visits. The government says Britain will be facing a crisis on the scale of Italy's in two weeks if people do not heed instructions to stay home and avoid contact with others.

A worldwide group representing Olympic athletic hopefuls is calling on the International Olympic Committee to postpone the Tokyo Olympics until the coronavirus pandemic is under control.

The IOC has given itself a month to consider postponing the event after an emergency meeting on Sunday, though officials said cancellation was not on the table, CBC Sports has confirmed.

"The IPC and I am certain the whole Paralympic Movement fully support the IOC's decision to look into the potential scenarios regarding the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, including postponement," Andrew Parsons, president of the International Paralympic Committee, said in a statement.

"Human life is much more important than anything at all, and currently it is vital that everyone, including athletes, stay at home to help prevent the further spread of this horrible disease which is impacting the global community."

Late on Sunday, the Canadian Olympic Committee said it would not send athletes to Tokyo this summer unless the Games are postponed.

As countries around the globe scramble to stop the spread of the virus, slamming shut borders and cutting off international travel, Canadians woke up Saturday to a new reality: the world's longest undefended border is no longer open for routine, casual traffic between Canada and the United States.

Snowbirds urged to come home

The ban on non-essential cross-border travel went into effect at midnight ET and will stay in place for at least 30 days as both countries scramble to curb the rapid spread of COVID-19. Champagne says Canadian snowbirds living in the U.S. should come home now and the border will remain open for them.

WATCH | Will Canada's $82-billion COVID-19 aid package be enough?

The CBC News business panel takes a close look at the details of the Canadian government's $82-billion bailout package and how it compares to what's been unveiled in the U.S. and U.K. 13:23

In Ottawa, Parliament will reconvene on Tuesday at noon with just a few MPs from each party, just enough to form a quorum. The recall is to adopt the government's proposed multi-billion-dollar emergency economic measures announced last week. The legislation is to soften the blow of the pandemic on businesses and individuals. The Senate will be called back Wednesday to pass the bill. Royal Assent is expected the same day.

Canada has ramped up testing for COVID-19 dramatically in the last week, with more than 83,000 tests now completed, more than 80 per cent of them since March 14. That includes more than 20,000 tests conducted last Thursday and Friday.

Trudeau said health officials will be ramping up the amount of tests done "by tens of thousands, every single day." In the meantime, he said social distancing, keeping individuals two metres apart, is going to be "extremely important in the coming weeks."

WATCH | 'We want to go home,' says Canadian stranded in Peru

Greg Bestavros, one of hundreds of Canadians stranded in Peru, urges the Canadian government to take swift action before Peruvian borders close. 8:00

Schools are now closed in most of the country, restaurants and bars mostly open only for take-out service, and movie theatres, concert halls and other public gathering spaces locked up.

Dr. Howard Njoo, Canada's deputy chief public health officer, said Saturday Canadians who have so drastically changed their daily lives to try to do their part to stop COVID-19 deserve a big thanks, but he warned people not to let up any time soon.

In Canada, there are now more than 1,400 confirmed cases, and at least 20 deaths.

An Air Canada flight has landed in Montreal, bringing 444 Canadians home from Morocco as borders shut down around the world.

Read on for a look at what's happening in Canada, the U.S. and other areas of the world dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.

Here's what's happening in the provinces and territories

In B.C., there are now five long-term facilities with COVID-19 cases involving residents or staff. Of the province's deaths, nine are connected to a single care centre in North Vancouver. Read more about what's happening in B.C.

Ontario is giving hospitals temporary new powers to respond to the pandemic. Under the state of emergency declaration, hospitals are now allowed to redeploy staff between locations, to different areas within hospitals and to COVID-19 assessment centres without notice. Hospitals are also now able change work assignments and schedules, cancel vacations and let volunteers do "bargaining work."  Read more about what's happening in Ontario.

Quebec's premier announced Sunday that schools will be closed until May 1, along with all stores in shopping malls apart from grocery stores, pharmacies and SAQ liquor stores. Restaurants and cafés that were previously allowed to operate at 50 per cent capacity are now closed for all but take-out service. On Friday a person who tested positive for COVID-19 was arrested in Quebec City for defying quarantine orders. Read more about what's happening in Quebec.

People walk through a deserted shopping mall in downtown Montreal on Sunday. The Quebec government announced that all shopping malls will have to close down as of midnight. (Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press)

Nurses at three Edmonton clinics have refused to swab patients for COVID-19 because they say they aren't being provided with N95 face masks by Alberta Health Services. Roughly 30 nurses say "they need N95 to properly protect themselves," according to their union, but AHS says they're not required in order to perform the tests. Read more about what's happening in Alberta.

A Saskatchewan doctor who tested positive for COVID-19 says he saw about 15 patients. Dr. Jess Melle of Rosthern, Sask., shared Saturday that he and his wife contracted the virus while travelling to Alberta earlier this month. Every patient he saw will be contacted by public health. Read more about what's happening in Saskatchewan.

Winnipeg opened its first drive-thru community screening site, marking the third such drive-thru location in Manitoba. There are 11 testing locations in total in the province. Read more about what's happening in Manitoba.

Retired physicians in New Brunswick have offered their services should they be required. The offer comes as Premier Blaine Higgs says health officials believe the peak of viral infections could still be up to five weeks away. Read more about what's happening in N.B.

Nova Scotia declared a state of emergency Sunday, limiting gatherings to no more than five people and imposing stiff fines for individuals and businesses that don't comply with self-isolation or quarantine orders. It also joins P.E.I. and N.W.T. in imposing 14-day quarantine periods on people coming into the province from elsewhere in Canada. Read more about what's happening in Nova Scotia.

Newfoundland and Labrador opened test centres with Western and Eastern Health on Saturday. The province's health authority says the clinics will operate seven days a week, from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., with nurses collecting samples while individuals remain in their vehicles. Responding to anecdotal reports that house parties continue despite social distancing requirements, Dr. Janice Fitzgerald, N.L.'s chief medical officer of health, said "I implore everyone to take these rules seriously.". Read more about what's happening in N.L.

Due to the coronavirus, Rev. Michael Weldon conducts a modest and shortened service from the front pew at St. Mary's Roman Catholic Basilica on Sunday in Phoenix. (Ross D. Franklin/The Associated Press)

P.E.I. is asking people to self-isolate if they've travelled off-island within Canada. The province will also be implementing enhanced screening measures at the Confederation Bridge, the Charlottetown airport and the ferry in Souris. Read more about what's happening on P.E.I.

In Canada's North, Yukon reported its first two confirmed cases on Sunday. According to the territory's website, more than 400 people have been tested. There are now three cases in Canada's North after the Northwest Territories confirmed its first case Saturday.

Here's a look at the number of cases — including deaths and recoveries — by province:

  • British Columbia: 424 confirmed cases, including six recovered and 10 deaths.
  • Ontario: 425 confirmed cases, including six recovered and five deaths.
  • Alberta: 259 confirmed cases, including three recovered and one death.
  • Quebec: 219 confirmed cases, including one recovered and four deaths.
  • Saskatchewan: 52 confirmed and presumptive cases.
  • Manitoba: 20 confirmed and presumptive cases.
  • New Brunswick: 17 confirmed and presumptive cases.
  • Nova Scotia: 28 confirmed and presumptive cases.
  • Prince Edward Island: Three cases the province lists as positive.
  • Newfoundland and Labrador: Nine confirmed and presumptive cases.
  • Northwest Territories: one confirmed case.
  • Yukon: Two confirmed cases.
  • Repatriated Canadians: 13 confirmed cases.

Presumptive cases are individuals who have tested positive, but still await confirmation with the National Microbiology Lab in Winnipeg. Not all provinces are listing figures on those who have recovered. The recent COVID-19 related death in Japan is not currently included in the province-by-province tally of cases.

Here's what's happening in the U.S.

From Reuters and The Associated Press, updated at 6:30 p.m. ET

President Donald Trump says he's ordered the Federal Emergency Management Agency to ship mobile hospital centres to the hard-hit states of Washington, California and New York amid the coronavirus pandemic.

For New York it means another 1,000 hospital beds in four federal medical stations; California will get eight large medical stations with 2,000 beds; and Washington will receive three large medical stations and four small ones.

Honeywell is also ramping up production of coveted N95 medical masks in Rhode Island, Trump said at a dinner-hour press briefing.

Top-level negotiations between Congress and the White House stalled earlier Sunday over a ballooning nearly $1.4-trillion US economic rescue package, as the coronavirus crisis deepened and President Donald Trump called for a deal.

Treasury Secretary Mnuchin indicated an agreement was within reach, but congressional Republican and Democratic leaders said there was no deal yet after an hour-long meeting at the otherwise empty U.S. Capitol.

"We're continuing to talk," said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, while House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Democrats would be putting forward their own draft bill.

A traffic sign is seen at the Canada-U.S. border crossing in Windsor, Ont., on Saturday. (Rob Gurdebeke/The Canadian Press)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell vowed the Senate would press ahead Sunday with a planned procedural vote as negotiations continue. He wants passage of the package by Monday.

The virus has killed at least 325 and sickened more than 25,000 across the United States, leading governors and mayors to shut schools, businesses and many aspects of American life. Vice-President Mike Pence says 245,000 Americans have ben tested for the virus.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin predicted on Sunday the White House and Congress would reach an agreement. He said the package would include loans for small businesses, direct deposits that could give an average U.S. family of four $3,000 and up to $4 trillion in liquidity for the U.S. central bank to support the economy.

A man plays Beethoven's Ode of Joy on his trumpet on a balcony in Munich, Germany, on Sunday. Chancellor Angela Merkel is now in quarantine after a doctor who recently gave her a vaccination tested positive for COVID-19. (Matthias Schrader/The Associated Press)

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul says he has tested positive for COVID-19. The Republican is the first member of the U.S. Senate to report testing positive.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy and Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards have joined Illinois, New York and California in issuing orders to keep residents at home unless they are performing essential tasks like grocery shopping or getting medicine

The sweeping state-by-state public health restrictions, unprecedented in breadth and scope, added to the distance being experienced among ordinary Americans even as the pandemic seemed to close in on the highest levels of power in the nation's capital.

WATCH | New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is worried about the lack of hospital ventilators:

'The numbers are going up at such a rate, it's more than double the capacity of the hospital system,' Gov. Andrew Cuomo says.  1:58

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said that starting Sunday, all workers in non-essential businesses must stay home as much as possible and all gatherings of any size will be banned in the state of more than 19 million people, which has seen more than 11,000 cases and 56 deaths. He acted after California all but confined its 40 million residents to their homes.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the first rapid coronavirus diagnostic test, with a detection time of about 45 minutes. The test's developer, California-based molecular diagnostics company Cepheid, said on Saturday it had received an emergency use authorization from the FDA for the test, which will be used primarily in hospitals and emergency rooms. The company plans to begin shipping it to hospitals next week, it said.

Here's what's happening in Europe

From The Associated Press and Reuters, updated at 1:45 p.m. ET

Italy is the country worst affected by COVID-19, with more than 50,000 cases and a death toll currently at 4,825, more than China. On Sunday, Italy reported nearly 800 deaths due to the respiratory illness.

Spain's death toll from the coronavirus epidemic increased to 1,720 on Sunday from 1,326 the day before, according to multiple media outlets citing the latest health data. The number of registered cases in the country rose to 28,572 on Sunday from 24,926 in the previous tally announced on Saturday, the reports added. As the second worst-hit country in Europe, Spain will be extending its 15-day state of emergency and lockdown order announced last week for another 15 days.

In Cyprus, a police spokesperson says authorities have turned away a boat carrying around 100 migrants, citing government directives banning the entry of foreign nationals.

France now has 100,000 security personnel on the streets who are issuing fines amid a new national "Stay Home" mantra and warnings by officials that the country's two-week lockdown could be extended if the country's infection rate keeps rising. France on Sunday had nearly 15,000 infections and more than 560 deaths.

The health minister also said the country reached a grim milestone wtih the death of a doctor. Olivier Véran said Sunday the victim is unnamed 68-year-old emergency room doctor from Compiègne in Oise.

It is, he said, "to my knowledge... the first case that struck a hospital doctor."

In Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel, 65, is in quarantine after a doctor who gave her a vaccine tested positive for coronavirus. Her spokesperson, Steffen Seibert, said Merkel had received a precautionary vaccine Friday against pneumococcal infection. She will continue working from home.

Workers walk in protective suits as they spray disinfectant to prevent the spread of coronavirus disease in Jakarta, Indonesia, on Sunday. (Antara Foto/Aprillio Akbar/ via Reuters)

The number of confirmed cases there is now above 20,000, with 70 deaths, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University. Germany's official Robert Koch Institute listed 16,662 case and 47 deaths, but officials have acknowledged that their count lags behind figures provided by regional health authorities.

Some German states, such as Bavaria, have stepped up measures to contain the outbreak by further restricting the reasons people can leave their homes. That's prompted some criticism about stricter curfew measures.

Coffins are unloaded at a cemetery from a military convoy in Ferrara, Italy, on Saturday. (Massimo Paolone/LaPresse via AP)

Britain will impose tougher measures to restrict the spread of the coronavirus if people do not heed the government's advice on social distancing, Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned on Sunday.

Pubs, clubs and gyms have already closed, but social media on Sunday was awash pictures of people congregating in parks and food markets, apparently ignoring advice to stay two metres apart. Parks in London are now closing down.

The latest official statistics show the number of confirmed coronavirus cases rose to 5,683 on Sunday, up from 5,018 on Saturday — suggesting they are now rising more rapidly in Britain than they did in either China or Italy at the same stage, according to a Sky News analysis.

Britain is also expected to tell 1.5 million of its most vulnerable citizens they must stay at home for the next 12 weeks to protect themselves, a minister said on Sunday.

Czech Republic reported its first death Sunday. The country is sending to Italy about 100,000 face masks and respirators that were among hundreds of thousands seized in the country earlier this week. 

Here's what's happening in Asia

From Reuters and The Associated Press, updated at 7:00 a.m. ET

Vietnam will bar entry for all foreigners starting Sunday, except for those on "diplomatic and special purposes," the government said on Saturday, as the country's cases rose to 94 with no deaths. Those allowed to enter will be subject to quarantine and will need approval from the ministries of police, health and foreign affairs.

Thailand partially closed all shopping malls in the capital Bangkok and nearby provinces on Sunday as the country reported its largest daily increase in coronavirus infections. The city's malls, except for supermarkets and pharmacies, are closed for 22 days beginning March 22. The measures come as Thailand reported 188 new cases of the coronavirus on Sunday, bringing its tally to 599, with the majority of cases in Bangkok.

Japan has recorded 1,055 cases of domestically transmitted cases of coronavirus as of Sunday, up 40 from the previous day, according to public broadcaster NHK. The number passed the 1,000 milestone on Saturday as the nation battles to avoid a health crisis ahead of the Tokyo Olympics.

WATCH | China sees imported cases rise:

China is celebrating its defeat of the coronavirus outbreak while diligently monitoring for cases being brought into the country, which are on the rise. 1:50

In India, the typically boisterous streets of the capital New Delhi fell silent on Sunday as the country observed a 14-hour "people's curfew" that Prime Minister Narendra Modi called for in a national address to stem the rising coronavirus caseload. No commercial airplanes from abroad are allowed to land in India for a week starting Sunday, and four states sealed their borders to public and tourist buses. Most businesses were expected to be closed except for essential services like hospitals.

India currently has more than 300 confirmed cases and four deaths from COVID-19.

Indonesia on Sunday confirmed 64 new coronavirus cases, bringing the total number to 514.

The Chinese health authority said Sunday it received reports of 46 new confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) on the Chinese mainland, of which 45 were imported from abroad. The overall confirmed cases on the mainland, where the epidemic erupted in December, had reached 81,054 by the end of Saturday. That number includes 5,549 patients who were still being treated, 72,244 patients who had been discharged after recovery, and 3,261 people who died of the disease.

Though the epidemic erupted in China in December, and South Korea at one stage had the second-most infections, both subsequently succeeded in stifling domestic transmission of the virus.

South Korea reported 147 new coronavirus infections on Saturday, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The new cases bring the country's total to 8,799. The country's election commission says all voters will be required to wear masks and use disposable gloves at ballot booths during the April 15 parliamentary elections.

Here's a look at some other developments around COVID-19

  • Syria announced its first coronavirus case Sunday. 
  • Canadian consumers are still snapping up supplies, leaving some store shelves empty, despite efforts to restock. Some grocery stores have implemented limits on essential items while others have not. The Retail Council of Canada, an industry group that represents big chains like Loblaws, Sobeys and Walmart, says it doesn't plan to advocate for any rationing or limits per person.
  • In Colombia, a prison riot in Bogota late Saturday left 23 prisoners dead and 83 injured, the justice minister said on Sunday, as detainees protested sanitary conditions amid the global outbreak of coronavirus.
  • El Salvador declared a 30-day curfews in response to the virus.  
  • Iran's death toll from the coronavirus outbreak rose on Saturday by more than 100 to 1,556, and the total number of people infected now exceeds 20,000, a health ministry official said.
  • Africa's cases of the coronavirus rose above 1,000 on Saturday. Angola and Uganda announced their first cases; Congo and Ghana reported their first deaths; and Burkina Faso reported two new ones — that country now has the most COVID-19 deaths of any country in sub-Saharan Africa. Many African countries have already shut their borders, closed schools and universities and barred large public gatherings.
  • Brazil is the hardest-hit country in Latin America, with the health ministry saying on Saturday 18 people have now died and over 1,100 are infected. The state of Sao Paulo alone has recorded 15 deaths, six of them reported on Saturday. That led Sao Paulo state Gov. Joao Doria to announce a two-week, statewide partial shutdown — a first in Brazil. Bars, restaurants and non-essential shops may not open, but people will be allowed to go outside.
  • Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Sunday unveiled a $66.4-billion Australian ($55.2 billion Cdn) stimulus package that includes cash payments for eligible small businesses and welfare recipients. Starting Monday, bars, clubs, cinemas, casinos, and religious and sporting venues will have to shut down. Restaurants and cafes will be restricted to takeout service only, but schools remain open. Morrison said the restrictions would be in place for at least six months, but added the time frame could be reconsidered if the health situation changes. Australia has confirmed more than 1,000 coronavirus cases, including seven deaths.
  • Sweden's H&M, the world's second-biggest fashion retailer, said on Sunday it would use its vast supply network to source personal protective equipment for hospitals in the European Union, with masks being its main priority. H&M, which has temporarily shut its stores in many of its markets due to the pandemic, has suppliers around the globe, but mostly in China and other Asian countries such as India, Bangladesh and Vietnam.

With files from CBC News, The Canadian Press and Reuters

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