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Coronavirus: What's happening in Canada and around the world Nov. 4

Police in Winnipeg are vowing to crack down on house parties and large gatherings in the region as the province reports 374 new cases of COVID-19.

Winnipeg police vow to tackle house parties, Ontario sees an increase in deaths

A woman wears a mask in Calgary as the city has seen a 331 per cent increase in COVID-19 cases since Oct. 1. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press)

The latest:

Police in Winnipeg say they are taking aim at pandemic partygoers in the region as Manitoba reported another 374 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday. 

Premier Brian Pallister said this week that private gatherings throughout the provincial capital were fuelling transmission and that he'd need help from police and RCMP to enforce a curfew if it's decided that the Winnipeg region needs one. 

At a news conference Wednesday morning, Winnipeg Police Service Const. Rob Carver said that those who decide to defy provincial rules by holding house parties or other large gatherings will face fines. 

"We've been doing education [about the public health orders] for a long time and the numbers have continued to go up," Carver said. "So now, we will be focusing less on education and more on enforcement.

"I think the time for education has passed here. The numbers are terrible."

WATCH | Manitoba seeking volunteers to help at health-care facilities:

Manitoba calls for volunteers to help at health-care facilities

CBC News Manitoba

3 months agoVideo
1:52
As the disease continues to claim lives, Manitoba's premier put out another call for help. Premier Brian Pallister is calling on Manitobans to sign up to volunteer at COVID testing sites and health care facilities. 1:52

On Wednesday, Manitoba also reported 140 people hospitalized due to COVID-19, which is 10 more than the day before. Two more deaths were also announced. 

In the province, the Red Cross has been asked to provide staff to help care for residents at some long-term care homes dealing with COVID-19 outbreaks.

A B.C. health authority facing an uptick in COVID-19 cases — including a recent dance studio outbreak now linked to 36 cases — will soon have more testing capacity.

Fraser Health announced on Tuesday that another COVID-19 test collection centre is slated to open in North Surrey next week. The health authority, which covers a broad swath east of Vancouver including communities like Burnaby and Surrey, accounts for more than 9,000 of B.C.'s 16,135 COVID-19 cases reported in B.C. since the beginning of the pandemic. 

B.C. recorded 335 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday and one new death. There are 92 people in hospital with COVID-19 and 25 of them are in intensive care, said Dr. Bonnie Henry, the provincial health officer, and Minister of Health Adrian Dix in a joint statement. 

They announced three new outbreaks at long-term care homes and one new community outbreak at a resort in West Kelowna.

Faced with rising case numbers, B.C.'s health minister and a top public health official on Tuesday reminded people in the province to keep gatherings small, saying "much of the recent transmission" in the province has been connected to get-togethers.

"This is particularly important in the Fraser Health region where public health teams are asking everyone to avoid all social gatherings in your home right now — even those that are within the restrictions of the provincial health officer order," a statement from Health Minister Adrian Dix and Deputy Provincial Health Officer Dr. Reka Gustafson said.

Alberta is also seeing an uptick of cases, with the top doctor cautioning that the province is "at a critical juncture in this pandemic."

Dr. Deena Hinshaw urged people not to give up on the fight against COVID-19, saying Tuesday that "we need to reduce the rate of transmission if we want to avoid more difficult choices in the future."

The province on Tuesday reported more than 6,100 active COVID-19 cases, with more than 2,500 cases each in Edmonton and Calgary. 

COVID-19 cases in Calgary have increased quickly in the last month, rising 331 per cent since Oct 1. Cases in Edmonton have similarly climbed by 208 per cent during the same time period. 

An Alberta infectious disease specialist told CBC News that if cases continue to rise, there will be problems for residents accessing the health-care system whether they have the virus or not. 

As well, the rise of untraced COVID-19 cases in the province makes it difficult to provide a full picture of how and where the virus is spreading — and makes it difficult to create restrictions that could control the spread, experts told CBC News Wednesday. 

Also in Alberta on Wednesday, Canada's first case of a swine flu variant was found in a patient in the central part of the province. 

The case is only the 27th in the world since 2005, Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said in a joint statement Wednesday with Dr. Keith Lehman, chief provincial veterinarian.

"This currently appears to be one isolated case and there is no increased risk to Albertans at this time," Lehman said. "This is the only influenza case reported in Alberta so far this flu season." 


What's happening across Canada

As of 7:30 p.m. ET on Wednesday, provinces and territories in Canada had reported a cumulative total of 247,703 confirmed or presumptive coronavirus cases. Provinces and territories listed 205,647 as recovered or resolved. A CBC News tally of deaths based on provincial reports, regional health information and CBC's reporting stood at 10,331.

The federal government quietly updated its COVID-19 guidelines on the risk of airborne spread of the coronavirus, weeks after other countries and health organizations officially acknowledged the virus can spread through the air.

The Public Health Agency of Canada updated its guidance without notice this week, making mention of the risk of aerosol transmission for the first time. 

"SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, spreads from an infected person to others through respiratory droplets and aerosols created when an infected person coughs, sneezes, sings, shouts, or talks," the updated guidance said. 

"The droplets vary in size from large droplets that fall to the ground rapidly (within seconds or minutes) near the infected person, to smaller droplets, sometimes called aerosols, which linger in the air under some circumstances."

Saskatchewan reported 37 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, but the final number is expected to be higher as the Roy Romanow Provincial Laboratory experienced technical difficulties Tuesday with the validation of COVID-19 tests.

This resulted in fewer cases being reported and those missing cases will be reported Thursday, the province said. 

Saskatchewan health officials are introducing a new measure requiring masks in public indoor spaces in Saskatoon, Regina and Prince Albert. The measure, which will be in place for 28 days before being reviewed, takes effect Friday.

The province is also decreasing the number of people allowed at indoor gatherings.

Ontario reported 987 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday. The province, which also reported 16 additional deaths, has now seen 79,692 cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began, with 68,189 of those listed as recovered. The provincial death toll stood at 3,182.

The number of new deaths is the most seen on a single day since a resurgence of infections began late in the summer. 

In an update posted Wednesday, the province said there were 367 people in hospital with 75 in intensive care.

On Tuesday, Ontario unveiled a colour-coded system to communicate what regions are under what restrictions, saying the new system will be an "early warning system" and allow the province to scale public health measures based on what's happening in a given region.

But some public health and infectious disease experts had reservations about the plan, which will move a region from "orange" to "red" only if the local test positivity rate surpasses 9.9 per cent. You can get the full details of the newly released framework here, including details around test positivity rate, outbreaks and health-system capacity.

Ford defended that plan at a news conference Wednesday, stating that "it's unprecedented when it comes to transparency." 

Toronto's medical officer of health, Dr. Eileen de Villa, said at a news conference that the seven-day average for the region is on the rise as are hospitalizations.

She echoed Mayor John Tory in agreeing that businesses need to be supported during this period and called on the province to enact sick day provisions so worker supports and protections are in place.

Data from Quebec released on Wednesday reported 1,029 new COVID-19 cases and 33 deaths, eight of which occurred in the last 24 hours. The latest report put the number of people in hospital at 539, with 81 in intensive care.

Dr. Horacio Arruda, Quebec's public health director, said Tuesday that the province will soon present its own revised recommendations regarding masks after Canada's chief public health officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, said three-layer non-medical masks with a filter layer were ideal to limit the spread of COVID-19.

"I think Dr. Tam's recommendation can't hurt," Arruda said Tuesday. "We'll get back to you with recommendations for home and at work."

In Atlantic Canada, Nova Scotia on Wednesday reported four new COVID-19 cases, bringing the cumulative number of cases in the province to 1,118 with 65 deaths since the pandemic began. Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Robert Strang said Tuesday that several cases are being investigated by public health but noted there's "nothing at this time that points to general community spread here in Nova Scotia."

New Brunswick reported three new cases on Wednesday, and there was one new case reported in Newfoundland and Labrador after eight days straight with no new cases in the province.

There were no new cases reported on Tuesday in Prince Edward Island, which has no active cases.

Across the North, there were no new cases reported in Yukon, the Northwest Territories or Nunavut.

On Wednesday, officials in the Yukon stressed the importance of residents following self-isolation rules nearly a week after the territory announced its first COVID-19 related death

Premier Sandy Silver said at a news conference that officials have laid two new charges under the Civil Emergency Measures Act last week — both for the failure to self-isolate.  

While the risk in the territory remains low   —as of Monday, there are 23 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with 20 that are recovered — that could change if protocols aren't followed, he said. 

In B.C., Vancouver's mayor said he was "gobsmacked" after the city received only $16 million from the provincial government's COVID-19 relief fund, significantly less money than the city had lobbied for.

Mayor Kennedy Stewart said the city believed it would receive $60 million, based on the size of Vancouver relative to other cities. 


What's happening around the world

The marquee of Kino International Cinema in Berlin reads 'Take care of each other' on the first day of a four-week semi-lockdown during the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic earlier this week. (Getty Images)

As of early Wednesday morning, more than 47.4 million COVID-19 cases had been reported worldwide, with more than 31.6 million of those considered recovered, according to a tracking tool maintained by Johns Hopkins University. The U.S.-based institution put the cumulative worldwide death toll at more than 1.2 million.

In the Americas, eyes were on the United States, where a contentious election fight between President Donald Trump and former vice-president Joe Biden had not yet resulted in a clear victor. The country, which has seen more reported COVID-19 cases than any nation in the world, is seeing a surge in cases in several states.

The U.S. president's response to the global pandemic was a major issue in the campaign, with measures like lockdowns, mandated business closures and mask requirements proving to be deeply divisive in many parts of the U.S. 

The World Health Organization says there has been a "further acceleration" in the speed of COVID-19's spread in Europe, which was responsible for about half of the globe's new cases reported last week.

The Swiss government on Wednesday authorized deploying up to 2,500 military personnel to help the country's hard-pressed health-care system handle a second wave of coronavirus infections.

This marked the second time this year the army has rolled out to support hospitals as they treat and transport patients. New infections surpassed 10,000 in a day on Wednesday, threatening to overwhelm the health-care system.

Algerian secondary level students wearing masks due to the COVID-19 pandemic attend the first day of school in the Algerian capital Algiers on Wednesday. (AFP/Getty Images)

Poland on Wednesday registered record numbers of new COVID-19 infections and related deaths, despite being covered by "red zone" restrictions limiting people's movements and activities during the pandemic.

The country's health ministry said almost 24,700 new cases were registered, up from the previous record of almost 22,000 last week, figures that the ministry had earlier said would mean "worse than the worst scenario." Over 370 people died in the past 24 hours.

The ministry noted a spike in cases in big cities, including in Warsaw, the capital, where massive anti-government protests have been held daily for almost two weeks against the tightening of the abortion law, already one of Europe's strictest. The government is expected to announce new restrictions later Wednesday.

Russian officials on Wednesday reported 19,768 new coronavirus infections and 389 new deaths, both the highest since the beginning of the pandemic.

The Baltic nations of Estonia and Latvia say they have both registered a record daily number of COVID-19 infections since the start of the outbreak.

England is getting ready for a new lockdown that will begin Thursday and go at least until Dec 2. All non-essential venues, including pubs, restaurants, gyms and retailers that sell items likes clothes or books must close for now. 

Prime Minister Boris Johnson told Parliament Wednesday that his government is not imposing these measures lightly. The U.K. recorded 492 deaths on Wednesday due to COVID-19, the highest daily number since May. 

Several European nations, including Belgium, Russia, France, Italy, Poland, Slovenia and the U.K., have recently reported their highest daily virus death tolls in months and sometimes ever. 

Denmark is looking to cull 15 million minks on Danish farms to minimize the risk of the animals infecting humans with a mutated version of the coronavirus, said the country's Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen. 

Mink breeder Thorbjoern Jepsen holds up a mink, as police forcibly gained access to his mink farm in Gjoel, Denmark, on Oct. 9. The Danish government said Wednesday it wants to cull 15 million minks after a report showed a mutation in the coronavirus in some people who became infected by the animals. (The Associated Press)

Frederiksen said a report from a government agency that maps the coronavirus has shown a mutation in the virus found in 12 people in the northern part of Denmark who became infected by minks.

Health Minister Magnus Heunicke said half the 783 human COVID-19 cases in northern Denmark "are related" to mink.

"It is very, very serious," Frederiksen said. "Thus, the mutated virus in minks can have devastating consequences worldwide."

The country is one of the world's top exporters of mink fur and culling the country's minks would cost up to 5 billion kroner (More than $1 billion Cdn), according to the government. 

Four regions in Italy are being placed under a strict lockdown, in which people are forbidden to leave their homes except for essential reasons, Premier Giuseppe Conte said Wednesday night. 

No one living in areas that have been placed in the so-called red zone can leave those regions or travel between their towns, and non-essential businesses will be closed, he said. 

Lombardy, Piedmont, Valle d'Aosta in the north and Calabria, the region forming the toe in the south of the Italian peninsula, are considered red zones. 

The lockdown will begin Friday and then be reviewed every two weeks. 

South Africa remained the hardest-hit nation in Africa on Wednesday, with more than 728,000 reported cases of COVID-19 and more than 19,500 deaths.

Algeria's secretive presidency has confirmed that the mysterious illness that caused President Abdelmadjid Tebboune to be hospitalized in Germany last month was the coronavirus.

A Kashmiri health worker takes a nasal swab sample to test for COVID-19 in Srinagar, in India-controlled Kashmir on Wednesday. (Mukhtar Khan/The Associated Press)

On Wednesday, the presidency said the state of 74-year-old Tebboune's health is "gradually improving" and he "continues to receive treatment in a specialized German hospital after contracting COVID-19." It the first time that officials have explicitly mentioned COVID-19 in connection to the Oct. 28 hospitalization.

However, previous to his hospitalization, several senior officials in the president's entourage had developed COVID-19 symptoms and Tebboune had been placed in what the government called "voluntary preventive confinement."

In the Asia-Pacific region, Australia's coronavirus hot spot of Victoria state reported zero COVID-19 cases for the fifth straight day as states began easing regional border restrictions, raising prospects of a faster return to normal.

As the pandemic has pushed many companies to allow telecommuting, it has also caused a population outflow from Tokyo — the first time that has happened in years, the latest government data showed.

Health officials in South Korea approved a new test that's designed to detected both the seasonal flu and and COVID-19 from the same samples. The goal of using the test is to prevent disruptions at hospitals as the pandemic stretches into the flu season. 

The illnesses are hard to tell apart by their symptoms, so having a diagnosis for both in three to six hours "would be convenient for patients and also reduce the burden of medical workers," senior Health Ministry official Yoon Taeho said during a virus briefing.

The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency on Wednesday reported 118 new cases of COVID-19, most of them in the densely populated Seoul metropolitan area. The national caseload is now at 26,925, including 474 deaths.

A health official in Seoul, South Korea, wears protective gear and disinfects as a precaution against the coronavirus. (Lee Jin-man/The Associated Press)

India's capital reported a record 6,725 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, hit by its worst wave of infections since March.

New Delhi had previously reported a high of 5,891 cases on Oct. 30, averaging more than 5,200 cases a day this past week. It now has 403,096 confirmed cases and 6,604 deaths reported. India's overall positive caseload rose by 46,253 in the past 24 hours after dipping to 38,310 on Tuesday. 

In the Middle East, Bahrain has granted emergency approval for the use of a Chinese vaccine candidate currently in phase three trials on frontline workers, state news agency BNA said.

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

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