Coronavirus: What's happening in Canada and around the world on Tuesday

Ontario is reporting 1,550 new COVID-19 cases over the last two days, and B.C. and Alberta will provide updates later today after pausing for the holiday. Here's a look at COVID-19 news from Canada and around the world.

Quebec moves new regions into red zones, while Ontario sees 7-day average climb

A woman wears a face masks as she walks along a street in Montreal on Monday as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. (Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press)

The latest:

On Monday, 240,000 Canadians applied for the Canada recovery benefit on the first day that it was made available, the government said Tuesday. 

The new benefit, which replaced the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), provides $500 a week for up to 26 weeks and is open to those who don't qualify for employment insurance. It's part of a host of new supports available including an EI program with expanded eligibility.

The launch of the new assistance comes as concerns rise about increased job loss amid the reintroduction of health restrictions that have seen bars and indoor dining rooms close in Ontario and Quebec.

More than 100,000 people also applied for the new Canada recovery caregiving benefit (CRCB) and 58,659 applied for the Canada recovery sickness benefit (CRSB) since applications opened for both on Oct. 5, Janick Cormier, communications director for the national revenue minister, told CBC News. 

Meanwhile, a new report says COVID-19 has widened the gap between the haves and have-nots in Canada, amplifying the economic disparities that existed pre-pandemic.

The affordability index by BDO Canada Ltd. found that while one in five Canadians say they are better off, nearly two in five say their personal finances deteriorated during the first wave.

The index, based on polling data by the Angus Reid Group, found that those who are worse off are nearly four times more likely to say their debt load is overwhelming.

The report underscores a yawning chasm between Canadians who are losing ground and those whose financial situation has improved during the pandemic or hasn't changed.

As well, new research from a Toronto-based policy group found that close to 13 per cent of Canadian households in 2017 and 2018 experienced food insecurity, meaning they face a lack of access to safe and nutritious food. This includes 1.2 million children. 

With no national food program, many children rely on school- or community-based meal services that have been paused due to the pandemic. Several community organizations are still trying to provide meals to children despite those barriers, they told CBC News. 

WATCH | Pandemic shows importance of school meals for millions:

The COVID-19 pandemic has shown the importance of school meal programs across Canada with more than two million students going to class on an empty stomach, the Breakfast Club of Canada says. Programs have been adapted to help kids in school and even when they aren’t in class. 2:05

Also, Canada's top doctor said Tuesday that there's no need to cancel Halloween if Canadians are committed to following public health rules while trick-or-treating.

Tam told reporters at a press conference that parents and kids need to respect physical distancing guidelines while going door-to-door, stick to pre-packaged candy and bring hand sanitizer. 

"I think finding that balance of trying to provide some degree of normality, even though it is actually different from any other year, most public health leaders think that that is actually important," she said. 

WATCH | Tam addresses current science on whether COVID-19 is airborne:

Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam admits that guidance regarding the transmission of COVID-19 may have to change. 1:00

Ontario is reporting 1,550 new COVID-19 cases over the last two days.

The province reported 746 additional cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, as well as 807 more cases yesterday. Both numbers were reported simultaneously because of a pause for the holiday Monday. The province's positivity rate is around 2.3 per cent in the same period.

The new cases were concentrated in Toronto, Peel region and Ottawa.

The average daily number of new cases in the province continued its steep climb and is now at 761.4. The figure has increased on each of the last eight days, and has been trending steadily upward since a low in mid-August.

At a press conference on Tuesday Premier Doug Ford said there are currently no plans to expand stricter public health measures in regions outside of provincial coronavirus hot spots. 

"Everyone just keep following the protocols and let's get these numbers down," said Ford, adding that he's "praying" he doesn't have to impose the restrictions on other regions.

Ford also took aim at those who refuse to wear a mask and believe COVID-19 is not a serious health risk. "This is real, as real as I'm standing here," he said.

WATCH | The potential fallout from Thanksgiving weekend:

Infectious disease specialists discuss what could happen with the COVID-19 pandemic from the Thanksgiving weekend depending on how Canadians celebrated. They also talk about some new information about COVID-19 transmission on surfaces. 3:57

What's happening across Canada

As of 6:30 p.m. ET on Tuesday, Canada had 186,881 confirmed or presumptive coronavirus cases. Provinces and territories listed 157,468 of those as recovered or resolved. A CBC News tally of deaths based on provincial reports, regional health information and CBC's reporting stood at 9,654.

In the so-called Atlantic bubble, New Brunswick remains the only COVID-19 hot spot.

The province is dealing with two outbreaks, one in the Moncton area and the other in Campbellton. 

New Brunswick has six new cases, for a total of 82 active cases, higher than at any other time during the pandemic. 

There are currently four schools with confirmed COVID-19 cases, and Campbellton Mayor Stephanie Anglehart Paulin says she wonders if schools may have to close in the region to get the current outbreak under control. 

WATCH | Masks made mandatory outdoors in N.B. COVID-19 hot spots:

New Brunswick has mandated the wearing of masks in some outdoor public spaces in the two zones experiencing COVID-19 outbreaks. Medical Officer of Health Dr. Jennifer Russell talks to The National’s Andrew Chang about taking the extraordinary move after COVID-19 cases shot up in only eight days. 3:46

Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia all reported no new cases on Tuesday.

Many Nova Scotians are heading to court to challenge COVID-19-related tickets that were mostly issued in April. 

More than 700 tickets have been given out in the province under the Emergency Management Act and the Health Protection Act, according to data from police agencies.

Infractions ranged from not properly self-isolating to walking in parks closed by emergency order

Quebec reported 815 new COVID-19 infections Tuesday, the smallest daily number of new cases since the end of September. Hospitalizations rose by 11 compared with the prior day, to 468. That includes 85 patients in intensive care, an increase of 10.

More regions in the province were moved into the red zone Tuesday, including the rest of the Quebec City area (including Charlevoix), all of the Montérégie and the entire Centre-du-Québec region.

The Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean region was also placed under an orange zone designation after a jump in cases.

WATCH | Quebec's premier announces more regions will be moved into red zones:

Premier François Legault announced that the rest of the Quebec City area and the regions of Montérégie and Centre-du-Québec are moving into red zones and emphasized the importance of reducing indoor gatherings. 1:16

New measures will go into effect into the updated zones starting on Friday, said Premier François Legault.

He urged Quebecers to avoid indoor gatherings over the coming months to keep new case counts declining.

In Ontario, a new study from the University of Waterloo found that 61,000 long-term care clients in the province did not receive a flu shot in 2019.

John Hirdes, professor at the School of Public Health and Health Systems, said the number for Ontario is 18,000 more than the 2007 figure, when around 43,000 long-stay home-care clients did not get a flu shot.

Vaccinating residents can also keep more elderly people out of hospitals and avoid a rise in hospitalizations for flu patients at the same time as COVID-19 patients, he said.

Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ont., is reporting an outbreak at one of its residences. This comes after Western University reported a residence outbreak over the Thanksgiving weekend. 

In a statement, the university said the outbreak is on two floors of the Clara Conrad Hall residence at the Waterloo campus.

In Hamilton, the number of COVID-19 cases connected to a SPINCO studio has increased to 61 Public health said there were initially 39 primary cases that were made up of 37 customers and two staff members. 

Hamilton public health officials say they have determined COVID-19 exposure happened at SPINCO on Sept. 28 to Oct. 4. (Dan Taekema/CBC)

Another 11 secondary cases due to household spread have now been identified as a result of the outbreak. The spin studio outbreak is currently the worst one in the city. 

Public health previously said that about 100 people have been identified as primary contacts who were possibly exposed. 

SPINCO told CBC News in an emailed statement on Monday it is ""devastated by the impact this virus is having on our community and wish all those affected a quick and full recovery." According to the company's website, bikes in classes are six feet apart, customers are screened, and enhanced cleaning protocols have been implemented. 

In a news release Tuesday, municipal leaders from Toronto and Hamilton regions asked the province for guidance to prepare for Halloween.

"Looking ahead to Halloween, now less than three weeks away, the mayors and chairs will strongly advocate for one clear public health message, preferably coming from the province, by the end of this week," they said in the release.

Dr. David Williams, Ontario's chief medical officer of health, said at Tuesday's news conference that the province will release guidelines this week.

Manitoba reported a new daily high of 124 new cases of COVID-19 Tuesday. Of the new infections, 95 are in Winnipeg where the positivity rate is now at 4.4 per cent, said Dr. Brent Roussin, Manitoba's chief public health officer, at a press conference.

The province is also reporting a positivity rate of 3.5 per cent, a new high. 

Saskatchewan reported another 34 new cases on Tuesday, following 48 infections announced on Monday which was its largest single-day increase since late July. 

As a result, gathering sizes in private homes are now limited to 15 people indoors.

Many of the new cases are linked to public and private social gatherings, the province's Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Saqib Shahab said at a news conference Tuesday. . 

A second widespread lockdown is unlikely in the province, experts say, but more needs to be done to combat COVID-19 and fatigue around public health measures to curb the virus.

Alberta reported 961 new cases of COVID-19 over the Thanksgiving weekend, along with four more deaths. 

The province counted 236 cases on Friday, 259 cases Saturday, 240 Sunday and 220 Monday. Alberta now has 2,615 active cases.

WATCH | Voluntary retrictions in place in Edmonton:

Edmonton has asked the province for further restrictions to fight COVID-19 as it shoulders about half of Alberta's cases, but the province has announced only voluntary measures. Even so, many in the capital seem willing to take the extra steps. 2:02

Beginning Wednesday, the province will shift to an appointment-only model at COVID-19 testing centres, said chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw. This will allow testing to be quicker and more efficient, she said at a news conference Tuesday.

As well, there are active outbreaks in 209 schools across the province, which represents nine per cent of schools, said Hinshaw.

Health Minister Tyler Shandro also announced Tuesday that between 9,700 and 11,000 at Alberta Health Services (AHS) will be laid off and outsourced to private companies. The majority of the layoffs are affecting those who work in labs, laundry, housekeeping and food services.

British Columbia reported 549 new cases of COVID-19 and four new deaths over the long weekend. Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said the high case numbers are partly the result of a testing backlog.

"The numbers are higher than what we would like to see," Henry acknowledged. However, backlog adds about an "extra days worth of tests" to the total, she told reporters at a press conference Tuesday.

The test positivity rate remains low at 1.39 per cent and the backlog has now been cleared, she said. 

WATCH | Pandemic piques interest in mail-in ballots for B.C. election:

Less than two weeks away from an election, British Columbia has seen an unprecedented increase in mail-in ballot requests. More than 600,000 voters have asked for one, something that could change elections across the country. 1:55

In the territories, Yukon announced a new probable case of COVID-19 on Saturday.

What's happening around the world

According to Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, the global total of confirmed coronavirus cases stands at more than 37.8 million. More than one million people have died, while more than 26.2 million have recovered.

A second large-scale trial for a COVID-19 vaccine has been paused after a reported "unexplained illness" in one of the trial volunteers. 

Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, announced the halting of their late-stage trial on Monday, a little more than a month after the University of Oxford and pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca announced the pause of their Phase 3 trial on Sept. 8.

That trial also stopped due to the "unexplained illness" of a participant, AstraZeneca said at the time, noting that it was not an unusual reason to pause the trial. 

WATCH | Dr. Theresa Tam dicusses the pause of a second Phase 3 COVID-19 vaccine trial:

Dr. Theresa Tam was asked about pharmaceutical giant Johnson and Johnson halting its vaccine trial during Tuesday's COVID-19 briefing. 1:22

Both pauses included Phase 3 clinical trials for the same class of non-replicating viral vector vaccines.

Johnson & Johnson declined to provide more information about the participant's illness, citing privacy concerns. In each trial, an independent reviewer will investigate the cause of the illness. 

The case of a man in the United States infected twice with COVID-19 shows there is much yet to learn about immune responses and also raises questions over vaccination, scientists said on Tuesday.

The 25-year old from Reno, Nev., tested positive in April after showing mild symptoms, then got sick again in late May with a more serious bout, according to a case report in the Lancet Infectious Diseases medical journal.

"It is becoming increasingly clear that reinfections are possible, but we can't yet know how common this will be," said Simon Clarke, a microbiology expert at Britain's Reading University.

WATCH | How knowledge about COVID-19 reinfection can help with understanding immunity:

It's not clear how common COVID-19 reinfection is currently, but a new Lancet study of it helps in understanding immunity and developing a vaccine, says infectious disease specialist Dr. Isaac Bogoch. 2:30

Brendan Wren, a professor of vaccinology at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, said the Nevada case was the fifth confirmed example of reinfection worldwide.

Governments across Europe are ratcheting up restrictions in an effort to contain the spread of the coronavirus as the continent recorded its highest weekly number of new infections since the start of the pandemic.

The World Health Organization said Tuesday there were more than 700,000 new COVID-19 cases reported in Europe last week, a jump of 34 per cent compared to the previous week, with Britain, France, Russia and Spain accounting for more than half of new infections recorded in the region.

A health-care worker dressed as the Grim Reaper takes part in a protest in Barcelona to demand better working conditions amid the coronavirus pandemic on Tuesday. (Lluis Gene/AFP/Getty Images)

The increasing case numbers are partly the result of more testing, but the UN health agency noted that deaths were also up 16 per cent in the region last week compared to the previous week. Doctors are also warning that while many new cases are currently in younger people, who tend to have milder symptoms, the virus could again start spreading widely in older populations, likely resulting in more serious illnesses.

Cristiano Ronaldo has tested positive for the coronavirus, the Portuguese soccer federation said Tuesday.

The federation said Ronaldo was doing well and had no symptoms. It did not say when he tested positive.

Ronaldo played in the 0-0 draw in France in the Nations League tournament on Sunday, and also in the 0-0 draw against Spain in a friendly last week.

Ronaldo is in isolation and has been dropped from the country's Nations League match against Sweden on Wednesday in Lisbon.

Portugal forward Cristiano Ronaldo embraces France forward Kylian Mbappe on Oct. 11 at the end of a Nations League football match in Saint-Denis, outside Paris. (Franck Fife/AFP via Getty Images)

On Monday, the Juventus forward posted a photo on Twitter showing him and the rest of the Portugal squad having a meal together. The players were all close to each other at a table, with Ronaldo apparently taking the photo himself at the front end.

The federation said Ronaldo's result prompted another round of tests for the rest of the Portugal squad. It said everyone else on the team tested negative.

Italy's Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has ordered strict new anti-coronavirus measures, including limits on private gatherings and a ban on casual pickup sports.

Conte negotiated with the country's regions to win limits on private gatherings, over the objections of some governors. Parties in closed spaces are banned, but the measures, imposed Tuesday, are limited to "strong recommendations" against private gatherings in homes with more than six people who don't live under the same roof.

WATCH | Trump boasts about COVID-19 immunity at first campaign rally after diagnosis:

Less than two weeks after disclosing his COVID-19 diagnosis, U.S. President Donald Trump returned to campaigning with a large campaign rally in Florida where he boasted about being immune to the virus, mocked Democratic challenger Joe Biden and took aim at his usual targets — the media and China. 3:29

Bars and restaurants must close by midnight, and drinks can only be consumed at tables — not while standing at the bar or outside — after 9 p.m. Also banned are any contact sports that are not organized by an association that can maintain distancing rules. That means no casual games of Italy's beloved soccer in local parks.

After mandating the wearing of masks outdoors last week, the government sought the additional measures with the number of new cases rising to around 5,000 a day in the past week.

Israel has now recorded more than 2,000 deaths from the coronavirus as the country remains under lockdown for a fourth week to quell the outbreak.

The country — which has confirmed more than 295,000 cases — had garnered praise earlier this year for its swift imposition of travel restrictions to limit the pandemic's spread, but after lifting the first nationwide lockdown in May, new cases quickly increased.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government imposed a second blanket lockdown on Sept. 18 as the infection rate per capita grew to one of the highest in the world.

Israel's infection rate is gradually decreasing, and the cabinet is deliberating how and when the government will start to lift restrictions.

WATCH | U.K. introduces 3 tiers of COVID-19 restrictions to harmonize rules as cases rise

Regional COVID-19 outbreaks have prompted the British government to introduce three tiers of restrictions for England, but as much as this is about bringing down case numbers, it's also an attempt to harmonize what many there call a frustrating and confusing patchwork of contradictory rules. 2:01

India has registered 55,342 new coronavirus cases, its lowest single-day tally since mid-August.

The Health Ministry raised India's confirmed total to more than 7.17 million cases on Tuesday but said the country was showing a trend of declining daily cases over the last five weeks.

The ministry also reported 706 deaths in the past 24 hours, raising the toll to 109,856.

According to data shared by the Health Ministry, the average number of daily cases from Sept. 9-15 was 92,830. The average has steadily declined since then, falling to under 73,000 per day over the last week.

Meanwhile, India's testing rate has remained constant, with almost 1.1. million tests being carried out every day.

India, a country of nearly 1.4 billion people, is second in the world in total cases, behind only the U.S., which has confirmed over 7.8 million infections.

The government in Norway says it will ensure the COVID-19 vaccine is free for all citizens and will cover costs for hospitals and municipalities that relate to the vaccination process.

Health Minister Bent Hoeie told the country's parliament that the government hopes to be offering vaccines in early 2021, but the timeline is dependant on when pharmaceutical authorities give their approval. 

A high level of hospitalizations, virus spread and deaths continued Tuesday in Iowa the day before U.S. President Donald Trump was set to hold a rally in the state. 

Officials at the Des Moines International Airport, where the rally will be held, have been told to prepare for 10,000 people, despite Iowa restrictions that mandate those in crowds practise physical distancing. 

Trump campaign spokesperson Tim Murtaugh said that attendees will be provided with masks and told to wear them, temperature checks will be taken, and the event will be held in an open-door airplane hangar. 

A Trump rally in Florida on Monday saw the president not wearing a mask, despite being hospitalized with COVID-19 last week. Most at the rally were not wearing masks or distancing. 

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

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