Coronavirus: What's happening in Canada and around the world March 30

Newfoundland and Saskatchewan have recorded its first deaths from the coronavirus, while an Ontario care facility for seniors is devastated by nine deaths. Hard-hit New York City is constructing a field hospital in Central Park. Get the latest on what's happening around the world and in Canada.

N.L., Sask. report 1st deaths; New York's Central Park becomes field hospital

‘We can and we will overcome this together,' WHO chief says

4 years ago
Duration 2:00
While stressing the importance of scientific and public health tools, WHO also called for humility and kindness in the fight against the coronavirus.

The latest:

Canadian businesses and non-profit organizations that see a drop of at least 30 per cent in revenue due to COVID-19 will qualify for the government's 75 per cent wage subsidy program, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Monday.

The number of employees will not be a factor in eligibility for the subsidy, Trudeau said at his daily media briefing outside his Rideau Cottage residence. 

That reassurance came after Canada's chief public health officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, urged Canadians over the weekend to "stay strong" and not let up on measures like physical distancing and proper hand hygiene, saying it will be a critical week in the fight against COVID-19's spread.

In eastern Ontario, meanwhile, nine residents of a long-term care facility have died of COVID-19 complications since early last week, and the facility's medical director said Monday they are all believed to be linked to the virus.

CBC Toronto previously reported that nearly three dozen staff members at Pinecrest Nursing Home in Bobcaygeon, Ont., have experienced COVID-19 symptoms.

The Pinecrest nursing home is seen in Bobcaygeon, Ont., on Monday. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

Across Canada, a domestic travel ban for those showing symptoms went into effect at noon ET Monday.

Abroad, the federal government says it has arranged for Canadians to fly home from several countries, including Honduras, El Salvador and Haiti. It has also arranged flights for Canadians in Sudan, Ghana and Cameroon, who will travel to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on Monday to catch an overnight flight to Toronto.

Global Affairs Canada says more Canadians will come home from Spain, Ecuador, Algeria, Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Madagascar, Hungary and Senegal in the coming days.

On Monday evening, Liberal MP Sukh Dhaliwal tweeted that Canada has also arranged flights for Canadians in India and Pakistan.

At sea, a cruise ship carrying nearly 250 Canadians is on the move after being stranded off the coast of Panama.

The MS Zaandam has passed through the Panama Canal after being anchored on its west side with four dead and nearly 200 passengers and crew showing flu-like symptoms. Holland America says several people onboard have tested positive for the coronavirus. It has been joined, and is being assisted, by its sister ship the Rotterdam.

Meanwhile, Air Canada will temporarily lay off more than 15,000 unionized workers beginning this week. The company says the two-month furloughs will affect about one-third of management and administrative and support staff, including head office employees, in addition to the front-line workers.

'In the eye of a storm'

COVID-19 is the illness caused by the novel coronavirus, which first emerged in China in late 2019. For most people, it causes mild or moderate symptoms. Health officials have said older people and those with underlying health issues are most at risk of severe disease and death, but they caution that younger people can also develop serious illness.

The pandemic has countries scrambling to contain the spread of the virus and quickly scale up health systems struggling with a shortage of protective gear. Governments are also trying to tackle the economic fallout that has accompanied the pandemic as many businesses cut jobs, scale back operations or close.

As countries adopt measures such as physical distancing, the World Health Organization (WHO) urged governments to ensure that the needs of vulnerable people were met — including food, sanitation and other essential services. 

"In implementing these measures, it's vital to respect the dignity and welfare of all people," said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO's director general, during Monday's daily coronavirus news briefing. 

WATCH l WHO chief says 'humility and kindness' vital in fight against COVID-19:

Health officials brace for impact as number of COVID-19 cases rises

4 years ago
Duration 5:56
Officials are watching to see if physical distancing has had any effect on the pace of infections, says Dr. Michael Gardam, chief of staff at Humber River Hospital in Toronto.

Tedros said he was encouraged by the efforts of G20 countries to work together "to improve the production and equitable supply of essential products." 

"In the eye of a storm like COVID, scientific and public health tools are essential, but so are humility and kindness.

"With solidarity, humility and assuming the best of each other, we can — and we will — overcome this together," Tedros said. 

Read on for a look at what's happening in Canada, the U.S. and some other hard-hit areas.

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

Canada's provinces and territories reported more than 7,400 confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases — of which more than 1,100 cases have been listed as recovered or resolved — though public health officials have cautioned that those numbers don't capture the full picture. That's because there are people who haven't been tested, people who are still being investigated as possible cases, and people who are awaiting test results. 

There have been 92 COVID-19 deaths reported in Canada, plus another two COVID-19-related deaths of Canadians abroad — one in Japan and one in Brazil.

WATCH l Numbers will rise, but extent of increase unclear:

'It's a very scary feeling,' says Canadian woman with COVID-19

4 years ago
Duration 10:02
Montreal's Melanie Fournier has COVID-19 and says anyone who thinks the virus is overblown should take it very seriously: 'This is not what you think it is.'

For a more detailed look at what's happening in Canada, including detail on the limitations of relying on recorded cases, visit CBC's interactive case tracker.

In Ontario, the government on Monday evening extended the state of emergency by two weeks, maintaining the closure of non-essential workplaces and restrictions on social gatherings. It also added an order to close all outdoor recreational amenities, such as sports fields and playgrounds, effective immediately. 

CBC Toronto obtained copies of COVID-19 reports issued daily by Critical Care Services Ontario, a branch of the province's Ministry of Health. The latest report, from Saturday, shows 92 patients in critical-care wards have tested positive for COVID-19, while another 342 ICU patients are considered "suspected" cases.  This means confirmed or suspected COVID-19 cases now account for roughly one out of every four patients currently in Ontario's intensive care units — the first crucial medical resource to be overwhelmed by the spread of the virus in Italy, Spain and New York City. Read more about what's happening in Ontario.

Health-care workers see a patient in their vehicle at a COVID-19 drive-thru assessment centre at a hospital in Mississauga, Ont., on Monday. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press)

Quebec is reporting another spike in cases — there were 590 new positive cases announced on Monday, bringing the provincial total to 3,430. The province said Monday three more people have died from the virus, bringing that total to 25.

Premier François Legault says the brightest stat of the day was that 78 people were in intensive care, an increase of just six cases. Legault says that, to give retail employees a break, stores will be closing on Sundays in April, with only pharmacies, gas stations, convenience stores and takeout restaurants remaining open. Read more about what's happening in Quebec, including stepped-up enforcement of public health orders in Montreal.

People practise physical distancing while waiting in line outside a store in Montreal on Monday. (Charles Contant/Radio-Canada)

Newfoundland and Labrador recorded its first death due to the novel coronavirus. The patient — a retired man in the Eastern Health region — died Sunday, about three days after being hospitalized. Read more about what's happening in the province.

Following two years of catastrophic flooding, COVID-19 border closures and physical distancing rules are the latest threats to New Brunswick farmers. Questions over how foreign workers will enter Canada and how long they will have to self-isolate are especially worrying, while the president of the Agricultural Alliance of New Brunswick is asking for the entire food-supply chain to be declared an essential service in order to protect the industry. Read more about what's happening in N.B. 

WATCH | Canadian woman describes what it's like to have COVID-19:

'It's a limited resource that needs to be treated with care'

4 years ago
Duration 2:52
Winnipeg ER doctor comes out of retirement to help in the fight against the coronavirus.

Prince Edward Island's businesses and health resources are being forced to adapt as COVID-19 changes islanders' needs and buying habits. Internet providers are reporting an uptick in demand, mental health and addictions support have moved online and rural grocery stores are experiencing significantly higher volumes as people attempt to shop local. Read more about what's happening in P.E.I.

British Columbia's health officer says the province is at a critical period in the pandemic. "We are not through the storm yet," Dr. Bonnie Henry said.

Henry says the next two weeks mark a second incubation period for the disease as is urging people to follow public health advice because the number of cases hasn't peaked yet. She says there are also 13 long-term care homes or assisted-living facilities with outbreaks, all in the Vancouver and Fraser Valley areas. Read more about what's happening in B.C.

A sign promoting physical distancing is seen outside the Royal Columbian Hospital in New Westminster, B.C., on Monday. (Maggie MacPherson/CBC)

In Alberta, some people applying for a provincial one-time funding program meant to tide them over until federal supports are in place are having problems with the process. "It's absolutely frustrating and I really do need it," said one self-employed worker who is trying to access the Emergency Isolation Support program. Read more about what's happening in Alberta, which recorded its third COVID-19-related death over the weekend.

Saskatchewan has also recorded its first deaths related to COVID-19. The Ministry of Health announced two patients in their 70s died from complications related to the virus. It says they died in hospital in different parts of the province, and one was travel-related. Read more about what's happening in Saskatchewan.

A sign urging people to practise physical distancing is seen at Wascana Park in Regina on Monday. (Kirk Fraser/CBC)

Nova Scotia confirmed its first case of community transmission on Monday. The province reported five new cases, bringing its total to 127 infections. It comes after Premier Stephen McNeil said over the weekend that the province will "escalate" their response to people breaking self-isolation rules. McNeil directed law enforcement to shift from education to enforcement, while Halifax Regional Police issued their first ticket under the Nova Scotia Emergency Management Act on the same day. Read more about what's happening in N.S.

In Canada's North, Yukon's chief medical officer of health says there is one new case of COVID-19 connected to a cluster investigation on Saturday; the N.W.T government says it will administer a $2.6-million grant to help families buy the proper gear and supplies needed to head out to fishing and hunting camps as an alternative to physical distancing; and Nunavut announced a $5,000 relief grant for small businesses. Read more about what's happening in the North.

Manitoba is shutting down all non-critical services as of April 1. The province's chief public health officer, Dr. Brent Roussin, made the announcement on Monday, closing any place that serves food for dine-in service, as well as bars, hair salons and massage therapy offices. Grocery stores will still remain open. Read more about what's happening in Manitoba.

WATCH | Winnipeg ER doctor comes out of retirement to fight COVID-19:

New York's Central Park becomes COVID-19 field hospital

4 years ago
Duration 1:03
Sixty-eight bed tent city built to accommodate hospital ICU overflows.

Here's what's happening in the United States

From Reuters and The Associated Press, updated at 3:30 p.m. ET

With more than 140,000 people infected, the United States has the most recorded cases of the coronavirus of any country in the world, followed by Italy and Spain. 

New York state has been especially hard hit and Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued an urgent appeal for medical volunteers Monday as the number of deaths in the state climbed past 1,200.

New York City hospitals have been overrun with patients. To ease the pressure, construction of a 68-bed field hospital began on Sunday in the city's iconic Central Park. The white tents evoked a wartime feel in an island of green typically used by New Yorkers to exercise, picnic and enjoy the first signs of spring.

WATCH | New York's Central Park becomes COVID-19 field hospital:

'Give them food, give them conditions to survive this pandemic'

4 years ago
Duration 1:44
Brazilian NGO beseeches the government to increase provisions to the poor during the COVID-19 outbreak.

The makeshift facility, provided by Mount Sinai Health System and non-profit organization Samaritan's Purse, is expected to be ready to accept patients on Tuesday but will not take walk-ins, and admissions and transfers will be managed by Mount Sinai, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said.

The mayor, who is among a growing chorus of officials voicing frustration at U.S. President Donald Trump and his administration's handling of the crisis, said the death toll in his city would rise soon if Washington did not provide more medical supplies and assistance.

Trump, who just last week said he hoped the country would be "opened up and just raring to go" by Easter, changed course on Sunday and announced that the physical distancing guidelines would be in place until at least April 30.

Beds set up in preparation for a potential COVID-19 surge are seen at Temple University's Liacouras Center in Philadelphia, Pa., on Monday. (Matt Rourke/Associated Press)

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the U.S. government's top infectious disease expert, said the decision to extend the federal guidelines — which advise against social gatherings and urge people at higher risk of developing severe illness to stay home — was a "wise and prudent" move, given the projections for case numbers if mitigation efforts aren't strong enough. 

Among those dying from coronavirus complications in the U.S. were musicians Joe Diffie, a country star in the 1990s, and Alan Merrill, who co-wrote the smash Joan Jett made famous, I Love Rock 'N Roll.

Acclaimed singer-songwriter John Prine was said to now be in stable condition on Monday, after his family had previously announced he was critically ill with symptoms.

Here's what's happening in Europe

From Reuters and The Associated Press, updated at 5 p.m. ET

Italy reported its total number of coronavirus cases has surpassed 100,000, reaching 101,739 on Monday. The country has also registered more COVID-19-related deaths than anywhere else in the world, with 11,591 people killed, accounting for about one-third of the global death toll.

Spain's total number of coronavirus cases rose to 85,195 on Monday, as the infections surpassed those reported in China, at 81,470, according to the latest data. Some 12,298 Spanish health workers have tested positive, deputy health emergency chief Maria Jose Sierra said. The death toll from the virus in Spain rose to 7,340 on Monday from 6,528 on Sunday, the health ministry said.

Spain and Italy account for more than half of the known 34,800 deaths worldwide from the disease.

Soldiers mount a tent to be used by hospital patients during the coronavirus outbreak in Madrid on Monday. (Bernat Armangue/The Associated Press)

On Monday, the WHO's emergencies director expressed "fervent hope" that coronavirus cases in those countries are "potentially stabilizing" due to restrictions and lockdowns over the past two weeks, but emphasized it's no time to let up on tough measures to limit and track the spread of the virus.

"We have to now push the virus down, and that will not happen by itself," Dr. Mike Ryan told reporters.

Ryan said case-counting in an epidemic reflects the reality of transmission for at least the previous two weeks.

"The cases you see today are almost like a historical, in the same way when we're told that we're looking at galaxies through a telescope, that we're seeing light from a billion years ago," he said.

People line outside of a shop in Barcelona on Monday. (Emilio Morenatti/The Associated Press)

Hungary's parliament on Monday approved a bill giving Prime Minister Viktor Orban's government extraordinary powers during the coronavirus pandemic. The bill was approved by Orban's Fidesz party and other government supporters, but is being criticized by opposition parties, international institutions and civic groups for failing to include an expiration date for the government's ability to rule by decree.

In Britain, Prime Minister Boris Johnson is warning in a letter to 30 million households that things will get worse before they get better, as he self-isolates in Downing Street to recover from the coronavirus. Johnson's chief adviser, Dominic Cummings, is the latest senior government figure to show symptoms of the coronavirus, which are described as mild. Britain has reported 17,089 confirmed cases of the disease and 1,019 deaths and the peak of the epidemic in the country is expected to come in a few weeks. 

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Prince Charles, 71, says the Prince of Wales is in good health and out of self-isolation after consulting with his doctor.

Graffiti calling for people to wash their hands to combat the spread of the coronavirus is seen in Belfast, Northern Ireland, on Monday. (Peter Morrison/The Associated Press)

In France, army helicopters transported COVID-19 patients fighting for their lives from the eastern part of the country to hospitals in Germany and Switzerland as French authorities battle to free up space in life-support units. The Grand Est region was the first in France to be overwhelmed by a wave of infections that has rapidly moved west to engulf the greater Paris region, where hospitals are desperately adding intensive care beds to cope with the influx.

The number of confirmed cases in Germany has risen to 57,298 and 455 people have died of the disease. Cases rose by 4,751, compared with the previous day, while the death toll climbed by 66.

Here's what's happening in the rest of the world

From The Associated Press and Reuters, updated at 7:45 p.m. ET

China is now easing the last of the controls that confined tens of millions of people to their homes while they sought to contain the spread of the virus. At the peak of China's restrictions, some 700 million people were in areas covered by orders or official requests to stay home and limit activity.

The focus of China's prevention measures has shifted to overseas arrivals, with virtually all foreigners barred from entering the country starting Saturday.

Shopkeepers in Wuhan — the city where the outbreak began — were reopening Monday, but customers were scarce.

In order to enter places like malls and subways, people need to show they are healthy by scanning a special health certificate obtained via a QR code.

Workers wearing protective suits check health QR codes at the entrance of a re-opened shopping mall in Wuhan on Monday. (Fei Maohua/Xinhua via The Associated Press)

In Brazil, Health Minister Luiz Henrique Mandetta is urging Brazilians to maintain maximum physical distancing to help ease the strain of COVID-19 on the health system, directly opposing President Jair Bolsonaro's downplaying of the pandemic. 

Bolsonaro has defied calls from health officials trying to prevent gatherings that might spread the coronavirus, downplayed the risks — calling it a "little flu" that largely threatens the elderly and most vulnerable — and insisted Brazil's economy must keep running. 

On Monday, he said that no more quarantine measures can be imposed than those already in place because jobs are being destroyed and the poor are suffering. Bolsonaro repeated his view that there is a large degree of "hysteria" around the pandemic, and said Economy Minister Paulo Guedes told him measures taken to combat the crisis could cost 800 billion reais ($218 billion Cdn) and that the economy could recover within a year.

In contrast, Mandetta said that as long as he is in his post, he will take a scientific and technical approach to his work.

WATCH | Brazil NGO delivering food in Rio's favelas:

IOC decides on new Olympic dates for next summer

4 years ago
Duration 2:49
The International Olympic Committee announced Tokyo 2020 will be held in the summer of 2021, from July 23 to August 8.

In India, a lockdown covering the country's 1.3 billion people has put untold numbers out of work and left many families struggling to feed themselves. Tens of thousands in New Delhi were forced to flee their homes, with no way to pay the rent, journeying back to their native villages. Women in saris held babies on their hips. Others toted their belongings in bags normally used for cement. Prime Minister Narendra Modi apologized for the hardships but said, "These tough measures were needed to win this battle."

Iranian state-run media say prisoners in southern Iran broke cameras and caused other damage during a riot. It's the latest in a series of violent prison disturbances in the country, which is battling the most severe coronavirus outbreak in the Middle East.

Iran had temporarily released around 100,000 prisoners as part of measures taken to contain the pandemic, leaving an estimated 50,000 people behind bars, including violent offenders and so-called "security cases," often dual nationals and others with Western ties. Iran has reported more than 38,000 infections and 2,640 deaths from COVID-19.

People wearing protective clothing carry the body of a victim who died from COVID-19 at a cemetery just outside Tehran on Monday. (Ebrahim Noroozi/The Associated Press)

Mark Lowcock, the UN's humanitarian chief, is warning that the 10 cases and one death confirmed in Syria are just "the tip of the iceberg."

He said "all efforts to prevent, detect and respond to COVID-19 are impeded by Syria's fragile health system," noting only around half of the country's hospitals and primary health-care facilities were fully functional at the end of 2019.

Those efforts are further impeded by high levels of population movement, challenges to obtaining critical supplies including protective equipment and ventilators, and difficulties of isolating in crowded camps for the displaced with "low levels of sanitation services," he said.

In Israel, the prime minister's office said Benjamin Netanyahu will go into quarantine after his adviser for parliamentary affairs, Rivka Paluch, tested positive. More than 4,300 Israelis have been infected with the virus and 15 have died.

A worker disinfects the doors of the closed Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem's Old City on Monday. (Mahmoud Illean/Associated Press)

Indonesian President Joko Widodo said on Monday he planned stricter rules on mobility and physical distancing as a study presented to the government warned of a risk of more than 140,000 coronavirus deaths by May without tougher action.

Medical experts have said the world's fourth-most populous country must impose tighter movement restrictions as known cases of the highly infectious respiratory illness have gone from zero in early March to 1,414, with 122 deaths, nearly half of the 250 deaths reported from across Southeast Asia.

Finally, Olympic organizers wasted no time in announcing a new date for the 2020 Tokyo Games, which were postponed last week after countries like Canada said they would not participate due to the coronavirus risk. The targeted date is now July 23 to Aug. 8, 2021.

WATCH | IOC decides on new Olympic dates for next summer:

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

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