Coronavirus: What's happening in Canada and around the world May 11
Canada has more than 5,000 deaths from COVID-19 and nearly 70,000 reported cases
- Canada has now recorded more than 5,000 deaths from COVID-19.
- Federal government offers bridge financing for big businesses hit by COVID-19.
- Ontario premier defies public health guidelines, has daughters over to visit.
- White House directs West Wing staff to wear masks after two cases confirmed close to president.
- More flour, fewer flowers: Here's what Canadians have been buying during the pandemic.
- Rent relief key to restarting economy, not just covering costs of pandemic closures, say business advocates.
- Do I have the right to refuse work? Your COVID-19 questions answered.
- INTERACTIVE | See the latest data on coronavirus cases in Canada.
Canada reached a new grim milestone Monday, as the number of deaths from COVID-19 exceeded 5,000. Most of those deaths are in Quebec, where the number today reached 3,013, with a total of 38,469 cases.
Despite the high numbers in the province, children were allowed to return to classrooms across much of Quebec today, as daycares and elementary schools outside the Montreal region welcomed students back, despite concern from some about the risk of reopening amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Classes were allowed to have a maximum of 15 students, desks were to be spaced apart and schools employed a range of measures to ensure physical distancing. But even with the public health measures, some parents are choosing not to send their children back to class, which is allowed as attendance is not mandatory.
Schools in hard-hit Montreal, which were initially slated to open May 18, have had their opening date pushed back to May 25 at the earliest. Premier François Legault says the situation in Montreal remains "fragile," and it is possible that schools and daycares in the Montreal region won't open until September.
WATCH | The WHO talks about what to consider when deciding to reopen schools:
Quebec's move comes as provinces across the country are making decisions about what restrictions to lift and when, as many areas are seeing the daily number of new coronavirus cases drop.
Stores in Ontario with a street entrance were allowed to reopen Monday for curbside pickup only after a weekend that saw the spread of COVID-19 slow to a pace not seen since March. Premier Doug Ford said the move to reopen the stores will allow thousands of people to return to work.
As of 6:00 p.m. ET, Canada has a total of 69,981 confirmed and presumptive coronavirus cases, with 33,007 of those listed as resolved by the provinces and territories. A CBC News tally of coronavirus deaths based on provincial information, regional data and CBC's reporting lists 5,100 deaths in Canada.
- Read more about how schools in Quebec plan to bring kids back to class during a pandemic
- WATCH | Canada watches as Quebec begins to reopen some schools during pandemic
- What works to flatten the curve and what science says on easing restrictions
Restrictions put in place to try and slow the spread of the virus have had major financial consequences for families and for businesses of all sizes.
On Monday, the federal government said it will provide loans and financing to the country's largest employers to help them weather the COVID-19 economic crisis. The Liberals said the government will offer bridge financing to companies whose financial needs aren't being met by conventional credit so they can stay open and keep employees on their payrolls.
The government said in a media release that another goal of the financing program, aimed at companies with $300 million or more in revenues, is to avoid bankruptcies of otherwise viable firms wherever possible. Rules on access to the money will place limits on dividends, share buy-backs and executive pay. Any companies convicted of tax evasion won't be eligible for the money, which will be open to all sectors of the economy.
Companies applying for the loans will also be required to disclose their environmental plans.
WATCH | Trudeau talks about whether oil and gas companies are being frozen out by loan restrictions:
Finance Minister Bill Morneau said the low-cost lending isn't for those who don't need it, nor is it to rescue companies that were facing insolvency before the crisis.
Morneau said the terms of the funding will be consistent across companies.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Monday that the financing amounts to "bridge loans, not bailouts."
"Our purpose is to keep large Canadian companies on their feet and protect the millions of jobs they provide."
WATCH | Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer reacts to Finance Minister Bill Morneau's bridge financing announcement:
Speaking outside Rideau Cottage, Trudeau again urged people to be cautious and continue to follow public health guidelines.
"Please let caution and medical advice be your guides," the prime minister said. "We are all anxious to see life go back to something that looks more like normal. But we're not out of the woods yet and we cannot squander the sacrifices we've made over the past two months."
White House staff directed to wear masks
According to a case tracking tool maintained by Johns Hopkins University, there are more than 4.1 million reported coronavirus cases around the world, with nearly 286,000 deaths.
Public health officials have cautioned that infection numbers are likely higher, as reported data doesn't include people who haven't been tested or cases that are still under investigation.
On Monday, the White House confirmed it has directed staff working in the West Wing, where the daily operations of U.S. President Donald Trump's administration are carried out, to wear masks at all times in the building, except when they are at their own desks.
Trump's valet and Vice-President Mike Pence's press secretary both tested positive for COVID-19 in the past week.
The 73-year-old president told reporters on Monday he did not think the two positive cases suggested the White House system had broken down.
"I felt no vulnerability whatsoever," Trump said, adding he felt the situation was controlled "very well."
Still, the president said he would discuss maintaining some distance from Pence, perhaps by communicating with him by phone, for a period of time.
The virus, which first emerged in China in late 2019, causes an illness called COVID-19. While most cases are mild to moderate, some people, particularly the elderly and those with underlying health issues, are at risk of severe illness or death.
What's happening in the provinces and territories
British Columbia's top doctor says the province will begin Phase 2 of its reopening plan next week, provided the COVID-19 situation remains steady or improves over the next several days. Dr. Bonnie Henry told reporters Monday that her word of the day is "patience," as she urged people to be kind and understanding of each other and of businesses that choose not to reopen or to reopen more slowly. Read more about what's happening in B.C., including how the Vancouver Airport Authority is laying off 25 per cent of its staff.
Alberta will boost coronavirus testing in the Calgary region by up to 1,000 tests per day. Dr. Deena Hinshaw, the province's chief medical officer of health, said Monday that testing will be available to asymptomatic Calgary residents who work outside the home. The city is still seeing higher infection rates than other parts of the province. Read more about what's happening in Alberta.
Saskatchewan reported a decline in new COVID-19 cases Monday from the province's far north. The remote Dene village of La Loche, 600 kilometres northwest of Saskatoon, has been dealing with a spike in cases after the virus was brought in from an oil sands work camp in Alberta. After days of reporting double-digit increases in new cases, the province announced just four on Monday, all in La Loche. Read more about what's happening in Saskatchewan.
WATCH | The problems in long-term care that COVID-19 could change:
Manitoba reported two new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, bringing the provincial total to 289. Chief Provincial Public Health Officer Dr. Brent Roussin says two more cases have also been linked to a workplace cluster in the Prairie Mountain Health region, bringing the total to 10. Read more about what's happening in Manitoba.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford defended his decision on the weekend to have his two daughters over for a visit, a move that contradicts the advice of Ontario public health officials. "I'd keep with immediate family. That would be my recommendation," Ford told reporters. Dr. David Williams, Ontario's chief medical officer, told reporters later Monday that he continues to recommend people socialize only with those who live in their immediate household. Read more about what's happening in Ontario.
WATCH | Doug Ford talks about his decision to let family members come over for weekend visit:
In Quebec, a Cargill meat-processing plant announced it is closing its doors after at least 64 workers tested positive for COVID-19. The outbreak in Chambly, Que., marks the second time the company has experienced a COVID-19 closure at one of its facilities in Canada. Read more about what's happening in Quebec, including about how a pioneer of AIDS research has turned her focus now to COVID-19.
WATCH | Cargill closes Quebec meat-processing plant with COVID-19 outbreak:
New Brunswick reported no new cases Monday. Chief Medical Officer Dr. Jennifer Russell says the province must keep its borders closed in order to minimize the risk of travel-related cases, and people coming into the province will have to continue to self-isolated for 14 days upon arrival. Read more about what's happening in N.B.
Nova Scotia reported one new death related to COVID-19 on Monday, bringing the province's total to 48. Health officials said the death occurred at the Northwood long-term care home in Halifax, the site of the vast majority of the province's coronavirus deaths. Read more about what's happening in N.S.
- Halifax family experiences loss and hope amid COVID-19
- Atlantic universities remain optimistic about fall semester
Prince Edward Island reported no new coronavirus cases on Monday. All 27 of the province's reported cases are considered resolved, health officials have said. Read more about what's happening in P.E.I.
Newfoundland and Labrador reported no new cases on Monday, the province's fourth straight day with no new cases. The province is relaxing some restrictions with some businesses and outdoor spaces allowed to open. Funerals, weddings and burials can now take place with a limit of 10 people, but officials say the changes do not mean people can throw parties and hold other social gatherings. Read more about what's happening in N.L.
There were no new cases reported in Yukon, the Northwest Territories or Nunavut on Sunday. Read more about what's happening across the North.
Here's a look at what's happening in the U.S.
From The Associated Press and Reuters, updated at 2:30 p.m. ET
A top world health official Monday warned that countries, including the United States, are essentially driving blind in reopening their economies without setting up strong contact tracing to beat back flare-ups of the coronavirus.
The World Health Organization's emergencies chief, Dr. Michael Ryan, said robust contact tracing measures adopted by Germany and South Korea should help detect and stop virus clusters before they get out of control.
But he said the same is not true of other countries exiting their lockdowns, declining to name specific nations.
"Shutting your eyes and trying to drive through this blind is about as silly an equation as I've seen," Ryan said. "And I'm really concerned that certain countries are setting themselves up for some seriously blind driving over the next few months."
Ryan's comments came as New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said on Monday that he expected several regions in the state to be able to begin a phased reopening as soon as this weekend after a stay-at-home order expires on May 15.
"Some regions are ready to go today," Cuomo told a daily briefing at which he showed slides indicating that the Finger Lakes and Mohawk Valley regions met the criteria to reopen. "They just need to get some logistical pieces in order by the end of the week."
In Florida, hair and nail salons along with barbershops began reopening in much of the state on Monday.
Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis allowed such businesses to reopen with tight regulations, except in hard-hit Miami-Dade and Broward counties, the state's two most-populous. That comes almost six weeks after businesses were ordered closed statewide.
DeSantis himself has expressed eagerness to get a haircut, saying last week he hasn't had one since February.
The state has ordered that barbers, cosmetologists and manicurists wear masks when seeing customers, that they require appointments so that few people will be waiting inside, and that they spend 15 minutes between each customer sanitizing the work station.
Customers were already waiting when J. Henry opened his barbershop early Monday in downtown Orlando. Folding chairs lined the outside front window for waiting customers so they wouldn't be inside and there was a sign-in notebook on a stand next to the door to fulfil the appointment requirement.
In South Dakota, an ongoing dispute is taking place between the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe and the state's governor.
The community is refusing to take down checkpoints in defiance of an order from Kristi Noem to do so, concerned that relaxing the shutdown measure could strain its limited hospital capacity. Noem is one of a handful of governors in the U.S. who did not issue any kind of stay-at-home order, even as a Smithfield Foods Inc. meat-processing plant in Sioux Falls was idled for more than three weeks due to a significant coronavirus outbreak.
As of Monday, 5:00 p.m. ET, the United States surpassed 80,000 deaths from COVID-19 according to the Johns Hopkins tally, with more than 1.3 million cases.
Here's a look at what's happening around the world
From The Associated Press and Reuters, updated at noon ET
Visitors in face masks streamed into Shanghai Disneyland as the theme park reopened Monday in a high-profile step toward reviving tourism that was shut down by the coronavirus pandemic.
The House of Mouse's experience in Shanghai, the first of its parks to reopen, foreshadows hurdles global entertainment industries might face. Disney is limiting visitor numbers, requiring masks and checking for the virus's telltale fever.
"We hope that today's reopening serves as a beacon of light across the globe, providing hope and inspiration to everyone," the president of Shanghai Disney Resort, Joe Schott, told reporters.
China, where the pandemic began in December, was the first country to reopen factories and other businesses after declaring the disease under control in March even as infections rise and controls are tightened in some other countries.
However, on Monday China's National Health Commission reported 17 new cases: seven of them imported, five in the original epicentre of Wuhan and five spread across three northeastern provinces. It was the second consecutive day of double-digit increases after more than a week when daily new cases were in the single digits.
The National Health Commission said the rise is a growing concern. "In the past 14 days, there were seven provinces reporting new confirmed local cases," spokesperson Mi Feng said. "The number of cases from local mass infections continues to grow. We must find out the origins of the infections and the routes of transmission."
South Korea has pushed back its reopening of schools by a week as health authorities scramble to isolate virus carriers and trace their contacts after finding dozens of coronavirus infections linked to clubgoers. Before discovering the new transmissions, the country relaxed physical distancing guidelines amid what had been a slowing caseload and scheduled the reopening of schools, starting with high-school seniors on Wednesday.
WATCH | Singapore's coronavirus crackdown exposed treatment of migrant workers:
India reported its biggest daily increase in coronavirus cases Monday as it prepared to resume train service to ease a lockdown that has hit migrant workers especially hard by eliminating the daily wages they use to feed their families. The government reported 4,213 new cases.
New Zealand reported three new cases, ahead of a decision on whether to ease restrictions further and allow more business and recreational activities to resume.
In a change of advice, the British government says people should wear masks covering their mouth and nose in enclosed spaces, such as buses and subway trains. The about-face comes as part of a plan to gradually lift a nationwide lockdown that was imposed in the U.K. on March 23.
In a 50-page document outlining next steps, the government says "people should aim to wear a face-covering in enclosed spaces where social distancing is not always possible and they come into contact with others that they do not normally meet, for example on public transport or in some shops."
That is a recommendation rather than a rule, and people won't be penalized if they don't wear a mask.
The road map document outlines a three-stage approach to ending Britain's lockdown, beginning Wednesday with a relaxing of limits on outdoor exercise and leisure activity. If there is no new spike in infections, that will be followed in June by a return to class for some school pupils, the reopening of nonessential shops and the return of televised sports, played behind closed doors.
A third stage planned for July would see the gradual reopening of restaurants, cafés, pubs, hairdressers and other businesses.
The plan has put Prime Minister Boris Johnson's U.K. government at odds with semi-autonomous authorities in Scotland and Wales, who are urging more caution.
But the government's chief medical officer, Chris Whitty, says the first stage of relaxing the rules involves "a very small risk" and has "some very clear benefits" to people's health and well-being.
Cars began slowly filling Paris's wide Champs-Élysées in a sleepy start to post-confinement life in the French capital after two months of strict lockdown.
Shoppers and gawkers timidly walked down sidewalks that were typically packed with crowds in pre-coronavirus times. Only half the shops on the famed avenue were expected to open Monday.
- ANALYSIS | As France emerges from 2 gruelling months of isolation, Macron hopes to win back citizens' trust
The notorious traffic jams of the Paris region were distinctly absent on the first day of deconfinement. Authorities have encouraged businesses to continue allowing employees to work from home and are promoting bicycles and other "soft" transport.
Still, people wearing required masks filled the city's St. Lazare station, a hub for western suburbs. Stickers marked train seats and floors to ensure physical distancing, but in the station lobby crowds pressed together and scores of people were shoulder-to-shoulder reaching for masks being handed out.
Italy's transport minister said tourists from abroad won't have to go into quarantine once they are able to visit again. Presently during pandemic travel restrictions, foreigners can enter Italy for as long as five days but only for work reasons. Then they must leave.
Transport Minister Paola De Micheli told the foreign press association in Rome on Monday that the timing around when that restriction can be lifted depends on how coronavirus infection rates are running in specific countries.
Switzerland has begun a gradual return nearer to normal amid a recent decline in confirmed coronavirus cases. The government on Monday relaxed nearly two months of restrictions that had shuttered schools, offices, restaurants and nearly all stores except food vendors and pharmacies.
Roughly half of the 47 million Spaniards are stepping into a softer version of Spain's strict confinement, beginning to socialize, shop in small establishments and enjoy a meal or a coffee in restaurants and bars with outdoor seating.
Altogether, 11 of Spain's 17 regions, as well as the autonomous cities of Ceuta and Melilla in the northern African coast, are officially from Monday in the so-called Phase 1 of the rollback, as the country departs from the uncompromising lockdown imposed in mid-March.
The hard-hit region around the Spanish capital, Madrid, and the economic powerhouse of Barcelona, in the northeastern Catalonia region, are among those territories that remain under stricter measures while authorities watch contagion rates and other health indicators closely.
Saudi Arabia announced Monday it was tripling taxes on basic goods, raising them to 15 per cent, and cutting spending on major projects by around $26 billion US as it grapples with blows to its economy from the coronavirus pandemic and low oil prices.
Cape Town and the surrounding Western Cape province have become South Africa's coronavirus hot spot, accounting for more than half of the nation's confirmed cases.
South Africa has confirmed more than 10,600 cases of COVID-19 and the Western Cape province has 5,621 cases, according to figures released Monday. Of the country's 206 deaths caused by COVID-19, 116 have occurred in the province.
Cape Town, with its poor, densely populated townships, is the centre of the cases in the province. South Africa has the continent's highest number of confirmed cases and has eased its restrictions to allow an estimated 1.6 million people to return to work in selected mines, factories and businesses.
However, the concentration of cases in Cape Town may see the city return to a stricter lockdown.
WIth files from The Associated Press, Reuters and The Canadian Press