Coronavirus: What's happening in Canada and around the world May 4
Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec lifting some COVID-19 restrictions as cases top 60,000
- Number of COVID-19 cases in Canada exceeds 60,000.
- Italians allowed to visit relatives as country loosens more coronavirus restrictions.
- Air Canada reports $1.05B first-quarter loss; U.S.-based retailer J.Crew files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection amid pandemic.
- Trudeau urges world leaders to pull together as U.S. steers clear of COVID-19 vaccine pledging conference.
Health Canada pauses regulatory approval for COVID-19 rapid test.
- The lives behind the numbers: What we know about the first 1,000 COVID-19 deaths in Canada.
- INTERACTIVE | See the latest data on coronavirus cases in Canada.
Canada's health minister says even as several provinces and sectors engage in a "cautious reopening," people need to understand that the coronavirus outbreak is "not over." Her message came as the number of COVID-19 cases in Canada exceeded 60,000.
Patty Hajdu said Monday that "the new normal will have to include new ways of living, new ways of working, that will protect us in this unique and difficult time."
The number of known coronavirus cases around the world has topped 3.5 million, according to a tracking tool maintained by Johns Hopkins University, with nearly 250,000 recorded COVID-19-related deaths.
As of 7:30 p.m. ET, Canada accounted for 60,772 presumptive and confirmed coronavirus cases. Provinces and territories listed 26,030 cases as recovered or resolved. A tally maintained by CBC News based on provincial health data, regional health information and CBC's reporting lists 3,981 coronavirus-related deaths in Canada, with two known COVID-19-linked deaths of Canadians abroad.
WATCH | Hajdu says Canadians will have to continue to follow public health guidelines as provinces reopen:
Governments around the world have been scrambling to try and slow the spread of the virus, build up health systems and sort out how to conduct testing on a large scale. In some areas — including provinces across Canada — those same governments are also looking forward to how they will exit the lockdowns put in place to respond to the pandemic.
- If you open, will they come? Winnipeg business owners anxiously prepare for return of customers
- Excitement and trepidation: Some businesses set to reopen Monday in Saskatchewan
- As retail stores reopen Monday, Quebec business owners hope 'buy local' trend continues
Several provinces are taking some steps toward what many officials have called the "new" normal.
Ontario took its first steps Monday with the reopening of some businesses, including lawn care and landscaping, garden centres for curbside pickup, automatic and self-serve car washes, auto dealerships by appointment, and many construction projects.
In Quebec, the hardest hit province in terms of numbers of cases and deaths, Premier François Legault announced Monday the province will delay the planned reopening of retail stores and other non-essential businesses in the greater Montreal area by one week, to May 18. Construction and manufacturing sectors across Quebec will reopen, as scheduled, on May 11, as will non-essential businesses outside the Montreal region.
WATCH | Legault explains Quebec's decision to delay some reopenings:
In most of Saskatchewan, non-urgent medical offices are allowed to reopen and rules around some outdoor activities — including fishing and boating — are being loosened. But one owner of a physiotherapy clinic told CBC Saskatchewan she's got mixed emotions about opening up.
"It's very apparent that there is a huge need that's getting missed," said Alison Matsyk, who is a physiotherapist and owner of Stapleford Health and Rehab Centre. "The nervousness part comes with, 'What's it going to be like? What's our risk?'"
Newfoundland and Labrador recently followed New Brunswick's lead and allowed families to come together in "bubbles" made up of two households. But on Monday, Health Minister John Haggie told CBC Radio's St. John's Morning Show that some of what he was hearing on social media after the first weekend of "bubble" families was a "a little bit worrying."
Haggie said he is concerned people are moving too quickly, and urged them to slow down, just "nudge [the door] open gently."
Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada's chief public health officer, said Monday that even as things begin to reopen, people will have to keep practising physical distancing and cough etiquette, and stay home at the first sign of symptoms. Working while sick, for example, can no longer be allowed, Tam said, noting that this will be a challenge and require support from workplaces and governments.
WATCH | Some ideas on the 'new normal' when society reopens after COVID-19 lockdowns:
The novel virus, for which there is no proven treatment or vaccine, first emerged in China and has since spread around the world. Public health officials have cautioned that actual infection numbers could be much higher, as recorded numbers don't account for people who haven't been tested or cases still under investigation.
There is also increased discussion and debate around contact tracing. Ontario's premier is calling for a national strategy. Doug Ford says he spoke with Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland on Monday about the matter and planned to make the case to his provincial counterparts this week.
Contact tracing is a labour-intensive containment strategy in which each person diagnosed with COVID-19 is not only isolated but questioned about any behaviour that might have caused anyone in their social circle to also be infected. It is widely regarded as a key step to containing future waves or outbreaks as COVID-19 restrictions are eased.
A spokesperson for Freeland, Katherine Cuplinskas, said the deputy prime minister agrees that a "united approach" to contact tracing "will be key to a safe, prudent economic reopening."
Global push for a vaccine
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau took part Monday in an international pledging conference sponsored by the European Union to raise more than $11 billion for long-term COVID-19 vaccine research. Ottawa had already promised $859 million for the effort.
When asked why Canada didn't offer new money on Monday, Trudeau said the event was only the beginning of the effort to find, manufacture and distribute a vaccine to fight the pandemic.
The United States has refused to contribute to the global effort.
WATCH | Trudeau says it's time for all countries to come together:
Read on for a look at what's happening in Canada, the U.S. and around the world.
Here's what's happening in the provinces and territories
In British Columbia, Premier John Horgan is expected on Wednesday to outline the broad strokes of B.C.'s plan to reopen, but it won't go into effect until at least mid-May. The province shut down relatively few activities to begin with, including eating in restaurants, personal service providers such as hairdressers or nail salons, and activities where more than 50 people gather in the same area. The focus is expected to be on giving people broad rules for how they can safely practise a "new normal." Read more about what's happening in B.C.
WATCH | Canadian Olympian and new mom, Karina Leblanc, tells the emotional story of self-isolating for more than two weeks after her baby was born:
Health officials in Alberta say they are monitoring an outbreak of 30 COVID-19 cases among employees at a Purolator distribution centre in Calgary. Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw says there is little evidence that the illness can be spread on packaging over long periods of time. Still, she is advising anyone who gets a delivery to throw away the packing and wash their hands. Read more about what's happening in Alberta.
Saskatchewan, which lifted some of its COVID-19-related restrictions on Monday, reported 34 new cases the same day, the largest single-day increase since the first case was detected in the province. Read more about what's happening in Saskatchewan.
Manitoba reported no new cases Monday, as it lifted some COVID-19-related restrictions. Manitobans can now visit everything from hair salons to museums to restaurant patios (with fewer seats than normal) provided everyone is following public health rules. Read more about what's happening in Manitoba.
- Winnipeggers toast to restarting the economy as Manitoba loosens COVID-19 restrictions
- What's allowed to open, what's staying closed as Manitoba navigates first stage of reopening during pandemic
In Ontario, Premier Doug Ford said Monday the province has hit its target of 16,000 tests per day, and that things are going in the right direction. The number of new cases in the province dropped to below 400 for the first time in weeks. Read more about what's happening in Ontario.
WATCH | Ford says trends are heading in the right direction, which will lead to more reopenings:
- How businesses allowed to reopen today are implementing new safety measures
- Neighbourhood residents thank elderly Toronto grocery owners for staying open during COVID-19 pandemic
In Quebec, summer camps say they are still waiting for guidelines around their startups. The association in charge of the camps is working with the province to draw up measures, but registrations and hiring remain on hold. Read more about what's happening in Quebec, including a story about concerns from English school boards around a plan to reopen elementary schools.
New Brunswick has gone 15 days in a row with no new reported coronavirus cases. "We have come a long way, but we are still vulnerable," Premier Blaine Higgs said in a statement released Sunday. Read more about what's happening in N.B., including a story about how the province plans to improve distance learning.
Nova Scotia is reporting another death related to COVID-19, bringing the province's total to 38. The death occurred at the Northwood long-term care home in Halifax, which has accounted for 32 of the COVID-19 deaths in the province. Read more about what's happening in N.S.
Prince Edward Island Premier Dennis King says the first weekend of Phase 1 reopening went well. "I drove around a bit, I saw a lot of people fishing on the banks of the streams and ponds and they were all distanced more than what they would have needed to be," he said Monday. Read more about what's happening on P.E.I.
WATCH | Inside the fight against COVID-19 in long-term care homes:
Newfoundland and Labrador recorded a third straight day with no new COVID-19 cases Monday, making it seven days without new cases in the past eight. The province plans to move to alert Level 4 on May 11, meaning a relaxation of some public health measures to allow more social and business activities. The province has reported a total of 259 cases, with three deaths. Read more about what's happening in N.L.
Nunavut is back to having no cases of COVID-19, after the chief public health officer announced the one reported case from Pond Inlet was in fact a false positive. "As there were no other positive COVID-19 tests in Pond Inlet," Dr. Michael Patterson said in a statement, "we decided to ask for the original swab to be re-tested and a new test be conducted in the days following Thursday's announcement." Read more about what's happening across the North.
Here's a look at what's happening in the U.S.
From Reuters, updated at 2:30 p.m. ET
Several U.S. states on Monday planned to ease more restrictions on businesses even as President Donald Trump acknowledged that as many as 100,000 Americans could die in the pandemic, exceeding recent White House projections.
In Ohio, Gov. Mike DeWine was allowing construction and manufacturing to reopen, and letting office workers return. Retail shops and many consumer services are due to resume operations on May 12.
To reopen, businesses must meet state requirements that workers wear face coverings and stay at least two metres apart, and employers sanitize their workplaces. DeWine has urged as many workers as possible to work from home.
About half of all U.S. states have lifted shutdowns, at least partially, as the number of new cases of the COVID-19 illness has begun to decline or level off in many places, though infections are still rising in others.
Health experts have warned of a possible resurgence of the virus if states rush to restart their battered economies too early and without a widespread testing and tracing network in place.
COVID-19 has infected more than 1.1 million people in the U.S. and killed more than 68,000, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.
"We're going to lose anywhere from 75, 80 to 100,000 people. That's a horrible thing," Trump said on Fox News on Sunday night.
As recently as Friday, the president had said he hoped fewer than 100,000 Americans would die and earlier in the week had talked of 60,000 to 70,000 deaths.
- Trump says 100,000 Americans could die of COVID-19, revising his earlier predictions
- China hid severity of the coronavirus to hoard supplies, U.S. intelligence documents allege
As of last week, the University of Washington's IHME predictive model, often cited by White House officials and state public health authorities, projected a first wave of 72,400 COVID-19 deaths in the U.S.
Scott Gottlieb, a former Food and Drug Administration commissioner, said on Sunday the country was seeing a "mixed bag" of results from mitigation efforts.
He said about 20 states had experienced a rising number of new cases including Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, North Carolina Tennessee, Texas and Virginia. Virginia reported a record number of deaths on Sunday, up 44 for a total of 660.
"We expected that we would start seeing more significant declines in new cases and deaths around the nation at this point. And we're just not seeing that," he said on CBS's Face the Nation. "If we don't snuff this out more and you have this slow burn of infection, it can ignite at any time."
Here's a look at what's happening around the world
From The Associated Press and Reuters, updated at 3:30 p.m. ET
The World Health Organization (WHO) says it has received no evidence or data from the U.S. government to back up claims by President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that they have seen evidence that the coronavirus have originated at a laboratory in the Chinese city of Wuhan.
"From our perspective, this remains speculative," WHO emergencies chief Dr. Michael Ryan said. "But like any evidence-based organization, we would be very willing to receive any information that purports to the origin of the virus."
Ryan reiterated that the evidence and advice that the UN health agency has received suggest that the novel coronavirus is of natural origin.
"If that data and evidence is available, then it will be for the United States government to decide whether and when it can be shared," Ryan told reporters in Geneva. "But it's difficult for WHO to operate in an information vacuum in that specific regard."
WATCH | Ryan says as countries reopen, each will have to practice 'risk management':
In Italy, The number of people currently positive for coronavirus has dropped to below 100,000. As Europe's hardest-hit country began a gradual reopening from a two-month-long lockdown on Monday, Italy registered the lowest number of new positives since the day the lockdown took effect, at 1,221, bringing the total of coronavirus cases to 211,938 since the first case of domestic transmission of the virus was detected on Feb. 21.
WATCH | A tour of Rome by bike as the city begins to open up:
Russia reported a steady rise in the number of infections Monday, fuelling concerns the nation's hospitals could be overwhelmed. The country's coronavirus response centre reported 10,581 new cases for a total of 145,268, as well as 76 more deaths, bringing the death toll to 1,356. Authorities say that broader testing has contributed to a surge.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who has recovered from COVID-19, is widely expected to announce a further extension to its lockdown as the U.K.'s coronavirus-related death toll heads toward becoming Europe's highest. The U.K. has 28,446 deaths, second in the continent to Italy. Jonathan Van-Tam, the country's deputy chief medical officer, said at the government's daily briefing on Monday that the number of positive cases in the country remains too high.
WATCH | Britain's struggle with the COVID-19 pandemic:
Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced Monday that he will extend Japan's coronavirus state of emergency by about a month. Abe said the number of new cases has not declined enough and hospitals remain overburdened. Japan has more than 15,000 cases with 510 deaths.Abe asked people to voluntarily reduce social interactions by up to 80 per cent, but stopped short of asking businesses to close. Tokyo and several other prefectures have asked nightclubs, fitness centres, museums and other non-essential businesses to shut.
Bangladesh has extended its nationwide lockdown by nearly two weeks to May 16. The extension came as the South Asian nation crossed the 10,000 mark of infections. The lockdown affects almost all public and private offices and businesses. Essential services as well as garment factories and pharmaceutical and other export-oriented manufacturing units are also operating.
India has relaxed some lockdown restrictions as the pace of infections has slightly accelerated. On Monday, some economic activities resumed after a near-total five-week halt. Normal life, albeit with masks, social distancing and stringent hygiene standards, has started to return in low-risk areas, while constraints on movement and work continues elsewhere. India has about 42,500 confirmed cases, including 1,373 deaths, and has tested more than a million samples. Still, at 758 tests per million, it is among the countries with the lowest portion of their population tested.
Nigeria began easing restrictions on Monday in its capital Abuja and in largest city Lagos, heralding the reopening of Africa's biggest economy after more than four weeks of lockdowns. The country has confirmed 2,558 infections and 87 deaths since recording its first case at the end of February, a much lower toll than those seen in COVID-19 hotspots in Europe and the United States.
Rwanda, Namibia and Zimbabwe also began loosening their lockdowns on Monday.
Chile's health ministry said on Monday that the world's top copper producer has 20,643 confirmed cases, 980 more than the previous day, and 10 new deaths, taking the total number of fatalities to 270. Chile, one of South America's most developed countries, has won praise for its handling of the coronavirus outbreak, conducting more than 200,000 tests, shutting down schools and businesses soon after the first case was confirmed at the start of March and operating rolling quarantines.
With files from Jennifer Walter, Stephanie Hogan, The Canadian Press, American Press, Reuters