Coronavirus: What's happening in Canada and around the world on Friday
Officials impose stricter public health measures to curb the increasing COVID-19 cases
- Quebec records more than 1,000 new COVID-19 cases in 24 hours.
- Ontario urges residents to limit close contact.
- Masks may become mandatory in New Brunswick.
- Restrictions continue at U.S./Canada border.
- Ottawa spending another $600 million to help businesses survive lockdowns.
- U.S. President Donald Trump and Melania Trump test positive for coronavirus.
- Russia reports biggest jump in new coronavirus cases in four months.
- Authorities in Pakistan close more than 100 restaurants and six wedding halls over physical distancing violations.
As parts of Canada deal with spikes in coronavirus cases and long wait times at COVID-19 testing centres, some provincial government officials across the country are once again introducing stricter public health measures.
In Quebec, more than 1,000 new coronavirus cases were reported over a 24-hour period. This is the first time since May the province saw numbers this high, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 76,273.
Starting this afternoon, provincial police said they will begin an "awareness" operation that will focus on discouraging people from travelling for non-essential reasons from areas that are on high alert to neighbouring regions that are under a lower alert level.
On Thursday, the greater Montreal area, Quebec City and the Chaudière-Appalaches region south of the provincial capital were placed under a partial lockdown after they were moved to the province's highest alert level.
Both outdoor and indoor gatherings have been banned in the province's red zones, and bars, movie theatres and concert halls have also been ordered to close. Restaurants are permitted to stay open for takeaways and delivery.
WATCH | Quebec's red zones shut down to slow COVID-19 spread:
In addition to those restrictions, contact sports such as hockey, football or judo may no longer be allowed in the province's red zones.
According to a working public health document obtained by Radio-Canada, no team or contact sports will be allowed in the red zones starting next week.
"We will be coming back to you with a very clear announcement regarding sports. We need to analyze every situation. In principle, it isn't recommended," Quebec Public Health Director Dr. Horacio Arruda said at a news conference earlier this week.
In a news conference Friday, Premier François Legault said the government would make an announcement about sports and schools next Monday.
Seven new deaths were also reported on Friday. However, none of them took place during the preceding 24 hours. Six of those deaths occurred between Sept. 25 and Sept. 30, and one happened before Sept. 25.
According to Quebec's health officials, there are now over 300 people in hospital for COVID-19, and 49 people are in intensive care.
WATCH | Premier Ford introduces further restrictions across Ontario:
In Ontario, Premier Doug Ford urged residents to limit close contact only to people living in their own household and maintain physical distance of two metres or more from everyone else. People living alone can consider having close contact with another household.
"Just keep your circles tight," Ford said during a news conference Friday afternoon with his top health officials.
He also talked about some significant changes to the process of getting a COVID-19 test. In an effort to allow Ontario's network of labs to work through a backlog of tests that ballooned to more than 90,500 today, assessment centres will stop offering walk-in test sites effective Oct. 4.
Meanwhile, masks will now be required in all workplaces where physical distancing is not possible, as well as on all public transit and in shopping centres across the province.
On Friday, Ontario reported 732 additional coronavirus cases, including 141 cases in Ottawa and 111 in Peel.
According to Health Minister Christine Elliott, Toronto saw the highest number recorded as cases confirmed in the spring were included in Friday's numbers after a data review by Toronto Public Health.
The previous record of 700 new cases was on Sept. 28.
In Manitoba, a 70-year-old man who lived at Parkview Place in Winnipeg, where an outbreak was declared last month, has died. This is the second person at the personal care home to die from the coronavirus.
Manitoba has set a record for the highest number of patients in hospital with COVID-19 to date — 18, with seven in intensive care.
There were 43 new cases in the province Friday morning. There have been 2,072 confirmed cases in Manitoba, 652 of which are still active, up from 621 on Thursday.
Masks may soon be mandatory in New Brunswick as early as Oct. 8, according to the Premier Blaine Higgs.
"We're going to lead up to it, we're kind of building into it, working with the communities, working with the businesses, staging people to become more diligent and get into that program," he said.
He reminded residents that wearing a face mask in public when distancing is not possible is mandatory under the province's state of emergency order, and if New Brunswickers do not comply, a mandatory mask policy "could be implemented."
What's happening in the rest of Canada
As of 8:22 p.m. ET on Friday, Canada had 162,659 confirmed or presumptive coronavirus cases. Provinces and territories listed 137,614 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 9,409.
Canada will continue to maintain restrictions on non-essential travel with the United States until the coronavirus outbreak in both nations is much less serious, a senior government official said Friday.
The measures, first imposed in March, are due to expire on Oct. 21.
Public Safety Minister Bill Blair told reporters that Ottawa would keep the restrictions in place "until the conditions on both sides of the border ... change very substantively."
However, as of Oct. 8, Canada will allow entry of certain extended family members of Canadian citizens and permanent residents, including those in an exclusive dating relationship of at least one year.
"We recognize that travel restrictions should not keep loved ones apart. In these challenging times, we know those challenges are best met with the strength and support of those we love by our side," Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino said.
Meanwhile, travel within the Atlantic bubble will get easier on Oct. 8., when travellers will no longer be screened by New Brunswick officials at the Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia borders, according to New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs.
Instead, some of those officials will be redeployed to the borders with Quebec and the United States, while others will keep an eye on gatherings and mask use.
"Our biggest success has been related to border protection and … in our situation, 95 per cent of all cases are related to travellers," Higgs said on Friday. "And so the point is, that's where we're putting our efforts and it's travellers coming outside of the Atlantic.
WATCH | Prime Minister announces $600M to help businesses:
With workers facing the prospect of more economic hardship as infection rates rise in hot spots across the country, the federal government is giving $600 million to help small- and medium-sized businesses deal with possible lockdowns, Radio-Canada has learned.
The funding — aimed at sectors such as tourism, manufacturing and technology — will be added to the $962 million already invested in the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund. The announcement will be made Friday by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
About $456 million of the new money will be made available to help businesses struggling to bridge their finances through another lockdown. It will be distributed through regional development agencies.
Another $144 million will help provide capital and technical support to rural businesses and communities through the offices of Community Futures Canada, which provides small business services to rural communities.
In addition to the financial help, the federal government is preventing provinces from buying the new rapid COVID-19 tests directly from their manufacturer and is instead forcing the provinces to await a federal allotment, Manitoba's central services minister said on Friday.
Reg Helwer said the federal government should not control the supply of ID Now tests from Abbott Diagnostic.
"Provincial governments are the front-line providers of health care in this country," Helwer said. "We are the ones who are best able to determine our own needs."
The tests, which were approved by Health Canada earlier this week, can deliver test results within 13 minutes of a patient being swabbed, without having to first send the sample to a lab for processing.
Federal Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic LeBlanc said Ottawa's approach will ensure all provinces get the number of tests they need.
"Our objective is not to block provinces from accessing supplies," LeBlanc said Friday in Ottawa. "It would in fact be to work collaboratively with provinces and territories to ensure that all Canadians -- and all orders of government -- have the necessary supplies to keep Canadians safe." LeBlanc said the federal government will follow up on Manitoba' concerns, but did not commit to any specific action.
What's happening around the world
According to Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, the global total of confirmed coronavirus cases stands at more than 34.3 million. More than one million people have died while over 23.9 million have recovered.
Much of the world's attention was on the United States on Friday morning, after President Donald Trump announced that he and his wife Melania Trump have tested positive for the coronavirus.
The news comes just a month before the presidential election and after Trump spent much of the last year largely downplaying the threat of the virus.
Trump's positive test came just hours after he confirmed that senior aide Hope Hicks, who had travelled with him several times this week, had tested positive for the virus.
Trump was last seen by reporters returning to the White House on Thursday evening and looked to be in good health. Trump is 74 years old, putting him at higher risk of serious complications from a virus that has now killed more than 205,000 people nationwide.
Trump was on Friday taken to a military hospital after being injected with an experimental antibody cocktail at the White House.
The White House said the visit of "a few days" to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., was precautionary and that Trump would continue to work from the hospital's presidential suite, which is equipped to allow him to keep up his official duties.
In a video taped before leaving for Walter Reed, Trump said, "I think I'm doing very well, but we're going to make sure that things work out."
WATCH | Trump goes to the hospital:
In Mexico, the Health Ministry reported over 4,000 new cases and 414 deaths on Friday.
While the true figures will likely be significantly higher due to a lack of testing, the confirmed cases in Mexico has risen to 753,090 with a total death toll of 78,492.
The coronavirus outbreak in Russia continues its rapid growth, with the government reporting more than 9,000 new confirmed cases on Friday but the Kremlin saying a second lockdown is not being discussed.
The 9,412 new cases reported on Friday bring the country's total to over 1.19 million and mark the highest surge since late May. Russia currently has the fourth-largest caseload in the world after the U.S., India and Brazil and has so far reported more than 21,000 deaths.
Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said Friday another lockdown is currently not being discussed in the government.
At the same time in Moscow, which has been reporting more than 2,000 new cases a day since Monday, officials have recommended the elderly self-isolate at home and have extended upcoming school holidays by a week. On Thursday, Moscow's mayor also ordered employers to have 30 per cent of their staff work from home.
Pakistan authorities have closed more than 100 restaurants and six wedding halls in the financial capital of Karachi over violations of physical distancing rules amid a sudden increase in COVID-19 deaths.
The government has also imposed a lockdown in some of the city's high-risk areas to contain the spread of the coronavirus. A similar crackdown over social distancing rules has also been ordered in other parts of the country.
Pakistanis have been seen routinely violating social distancing since last month when wedding halls were allowed to open on the condition they adhere to such rules.
Authorities earlier reported 13 out of the country's 15 single-day COVID-19 fatalities in southern Sindh province, of which Karachi is the capital. Pakistan has reported 313,431 confirmed cases with 6,499 deaths.
With files from The Associated Press