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

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the federal government has reached an agreement with AstraZeneca to purchase up to 20 million doses of a potential vaccine the pharmaceutical company is developing with the University of Oxford, should clinical trials be successful.

Trudeau announces deal to buy doses of AstraZeneca's potential vaccine

Paramedics administer nasal swabs at a drive through, pop-up COVID-19 test centre outside the Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa. Multiple provinces including Ontario have imposed new public health restrictions Friday to combat a resurgence of the virus. (Justin Tang/The Canadian Press)

The latest:

  • Trudeau announces deal to buy AstraZeneca's potential vaccine.
  • Liberals and NDP reach a deal on expanded sick leave.
  • Canada surpasses 150,000 coronavirus cases reported since January.
  • Quebec urges public to stop socializing for a month, Ontario reduces bar hours, shutters strip clubs.
  • Ontario offering COVID-19 testing in pharmacies starting today. 
  • Manitoba tightens rules, including mandatory masks, limits on gatherings.
  • Partial lockdown expanded in Spain's capital.
  • Disneyland Hong Kong opens as city's cases fall.
  • Moscow mayor urges older people to stay at home after spike in infections.
  • U.S. sees first criminal indictment against nursing home officials for actions taken during the pandemic.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the federal government has reached an agreement with AstraZeneca to secure up to 20 million doses of a potential vaccine the U.K.-based pharmaceutical company is developing with the University of Oxford, should clinical trials be successful.

Trudeau made the announcement during a news briefing on Friday with health officials and Procurement Minister Anita Anand.

"We have to be ready to act as soon as approvals are in place," Anand said.

In addition to previously announced agreements with a number of other companies — including Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer, Moderna, Novovax, Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKine — Canada could have access to a total of 282 million vaccine doses.

Trudeau also said Ottawa will put $440 million into the COVID-19 Vaccine Global Access (COVAX) Facility, a global initiative aimed at working with vaccine manufacturers.

The money will "provide doses around the world for Canadians and for people in developing countries. Up to $220 million of this investment will go directly toward securing doses for Canadians," he said.

There are 190 countries participating in the COVAX program which Trudeau said is an indication that "the world is coming together." 

The United States is not participating. 

"Unfortunately, there are a few large countries that have decided not to participate, but I can assure you that the number of countries that have stepped up and participated like Canada is ensuing that we're going a long way towards having a vaccine accessible for the most vulnerable around the world, which is essential as we move forward to get past this pandemic," he said.

WATCH | Trudeau explains vaccine-sharing program:

Trudeau explains how COVAX works

Politics

2 months agoVideo
1:00
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the COVAX facility will succeed even if some large countries don't participate in the program to help fund vaccinations for less wealthy nations. 1:00

Also on Friday, the Liberals and the NDP reached a deal on sick leave allowing the latter party to support Wednesday's speech from the throne, thus preventing a fall election.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said prior to Wednesday's speech that his party would need to see the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) extended and for paid sick leave to be offered to all employees across the country to prevent workers from being ill on the job.

Sources told CBC News that Bill C-2 will be changed to allow greater eligibility for sick leave. That legislation will either transition the public from the CERB to an expanded employment insurance program or to one of three new recovery benefits. 

The coronavirus, which causes the COVID-19 illness, is worsening with caseloads spiking in the four largest provinces over the past few weeks.

In a televised address Wednesday, Trudeau warned Canada is "on the brink of a fall that could be much worse than the spring," when the country went into a nationwide lockdown to curb the spread of COVID-19.

Trudeau's government, meanwhile, is reverting to a practice used throughout the pandemic last spring to urgently fast-track emergency aid legislation through Parliament.

The government introduced on Thursday legislation aimed at producing a more generous, flexible employment insurance system, along with the creation of three new temporary benefits to help those who've lost their jobs or had their hours drastically reduced due to the pandemic.

WATCH | Push for increased mask wearing — even outside:

Push for increased mask wearing, even outside

News

2 months agoVideo
2:00
Desperate to avoid another series of COVID-19 lockdowns, health officials and experts are pushing for Canadians to wear masks in more situations, even in more outdoor situations and around loved ones. 2:00

The new benefits will also apply to those who are forced to take time off work because they are ill, forced to self-isolate or stay home to care for a dependent who is ill or in isolation.

The new regime ensures benefits of $500 a week — the same as the CERB which comes to an end on Saturday.


What's happening in the rest of Canada

As of 7:30 p.m. ET on Friday, Canada had 150,456 confirmed or presumptive coronavirus cases. Provinces and territories listed 129,573 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 9,295.

In Manitoba, masks are now mandatory for people in Winnipeg and 17 other communities, and gatherings will be restricted to 10 people starting Monday, Chief Provincial Public Health Officer Dr. Brent Roussin said Friday.

The new rules are the most restrictive the province has seen so far in the pandemic. Measures will stay in place for four weeks and more may be brought in at any point, he said. 

Masks will be mandatory for those who work with the public but the policy will not apply to workspaces. Rules for schools, child care, retail stores, museums, theatres and casinos in those areas will currently remain the same.

Manitoba reported 54 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, which include 44 in the Winnipeg region. There are now 487 active cases of the virus in Manitoba, more than 82 per cent of which are in Winnipeg. 

On Thursday, Roussin said half of the province's COVID-19 cases in recent weeks have been in people who have visited bars, pubs and restaurants.

Quebec recorded 637 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, the highest daily number since May 21.

Health Minister Christian Dubé on Friday told Quebecers to stop socializing for the next 28 days — an escalation from Thursday, when he called on them to minimize non-essential gatherings.

He says if the virus can be contained for two consecutive two-week periods its resurgance can be contained. 

WATCH | Quebec's health minister tells residents to stop socializing for 28 days:

Limit gatherings for a month, says Quebec health minister

Montreal

2 months agoVideo
0:52
Health Minister Christian Dubé says the second wave can be controlled if Quebecers make a "special effort" to cut back on social gatherings for the next 28 days. 0:52

"I insist on this," he said. "It is for a month."

The entire Montreal region is now in the "orange" level of Quebec's alert system, indicating there's increasing concern about the spread of the virus, said Dubé. 

He also said that when health-care workers call Quebec residents with their test results, or to let them know about an exposure, the caller ID will read "Santé Québec." 

That change comes after public health workers complained that many people weren't picking up the phone because they didn't recognize the number. Dubé estimated that around 30 per cent of people haven't taken the calls from public health for this reason.

WATCH | Limiting hours won't stop virus spread, some bar owners say:

Pharmacist reacts to changing guidance on asymptomatic testing

Canada

2 months agoVideo
1:22
As COVID-19 testing gets underway in some Ontario pharmacies, an Ottawa pharmacist says his team is working hard to keep up as guidelines evolve. 1:22

Ontario has tightened restrictions on bars and restaurants and closed strip clubs on Friday to tackle the continued rise of cases over the last five weeks.

Beginning at 12:01 a.m. Saturday, last call at bars, restaurants and nightclubs will be 11 p.m. All strip clubs will be closed until further notice and all businesses must screen anyone who wishes to enter the premises, the province said in a news release. 

The Ontario government also said it would work with municipalities to increase enforcement of public health measures. 

Quebec Health Minister Christian Dubé pulls off his mask as he arrives for a news conference about the pandemic on Thursday at the legislature in Quebec City. (Jacques Boissinot/The Canadian Press)

The province tweaked its approach to asymptomatic testing on Thursday as many centres in the province have struggled with long lineups. Back-to-school demand has contributed to a processing backlog of nearly 54,000 tests.

Back in May, Premier Doug Ford said anyone who wanted a test for COVID-19 should arrange to get one, with or without symptoms. He's now saying the province needs to focus on people who actually need a test and not those who go to an assessment centre "because they'll feel a little more comfortable."

Asymptomatic people can still make an appointment at up to 60 pharmacies across the province to get tested — starting today — but that also only applies to those in certain higher-risk categories, including anyone who has contact with a known case or have a loved one in long-term care.

Ontario on Friday reported 409 new cases of COVID-19 — a majority in three regions, with 204 cases in Toronto, 66 in Peel Region and 40 in Ottawa.

Four "hospitality businesses" in Toronto have been closed until they do more to limit the spread of COVID-19, officials said Friday. 

They will remain closed until "they satisfy conditions to limit COVID-19 transmission in these settings," Toronto Public Health (TPH) said in a statement. 

TPH provided few details, but said people infected with the coronavirus "were employed at more than one" of the businesses, and that one location served food buffet style, in violation of current provincial regulations. 

WATCH | Pharmacist reacts to changing guidance on asymptomatic testing:

Why some bar owners say Ontario’s new COVID-19 restrictions will backfire

Toronto

2 months agoVideo
2:04
Just in time for the weekend, Ontario is putting new restrictions on licensed establishments. As Philip Lee-Shanok explains, the province hopes to curb the spread of COVID 19 — but some fear it will have the opposite effect. 2:04

COVID-19 cases are trending downwards in Alberta for 10- to 19-year-olds, several weeks after students returned to school, according to data from Alberta Health examined by CBC News. For ages five to nine, cases have remained flat.

The province reported no new deaths on Friday and 153 new cases, for a total of 1,497 active cases.

In British Columbia, health officials announced another 98 new cases and one new death.

There are currently 1,349 active cases and public health is monitoring 3,533 people across the province, who are in self-isolation due to exposure to the virus, said Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Stephen Brown, the deputy minister of health, in a written statement.

Henry and Brown emphasized the importance of the public following health and safety measures including physical distancing and limiting social interactions.


What's happening around the world

According to Johns Hopkins University, the global total of confirmed coronavirus cases stands at more than 32.2 million. More than 983,000 people have died, while over 22.2 million have recovered.

Hong Kong Disneyland has reopened for the second time as the semi-autonomous Chinese city again appears to have brought new coronavirus cases down to near zero.

The resort shut down during the initial stage of China's outbreak when Hong Kong closed schools and offices. Disneyland reopened after cases dropped off but then was shut again once infections began to climb again over the summer.

The resort reopened Friday with physical distancing measures for lines, restaurant seating, rides and other facilities, along with more frequent cleaning and disinfecting in the areas with the most visitors.

The Zanzibar strip club on Yonge Street in Toronto, as seen on May 2, 2020. All strip clubs in Ontario are closed until further notice as of 12:01 a.m. Saturday. (Timothy Neesam/CBC)

Hong Kong's economy is heavily dependent on tourism, and the government has been moving steadily to bring back business without sparking new outbreaks.

Hong Kong reported seven new cases on Friday for a total of 5,056 and 104 deaths, according to China's National Health Commission.

Mainland China reported eight new cases, all brought from outside the country. No new cases of local transmission have been reported in 40 days, with the death toll remaining at 4,634 among 85,322 cases recorded since the virus was first detected in the central Chinese city of Wuhan late last year.

Moscow authorities have issued a recommendation for the elderly to stay at home and for employers to allow as many people as possible to work remotely, following a rapid growth of coronavirus cases in the Russian capital.

On Friday, health officials reported 7,212 new cases, the highest daily surge since June. In Moscow, the number of new daily infections started to grow last week and was up to over 1,500 on Friday from under 700 two weeks ago.

Visitors wearing face masks pose as they take a selfie with Disney characters during the reopening day of Disneyland in Hong Kong, after a second closure due to the COVID-19 outbreak. (Tyrone Siu/Reuters)

"None of us want to return to severe restrictions (that were in place) this spring. I hope we can avoid that," Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin wrote in his blog.

Sobyanin urged people over 65 years old and those suffering from chronic illnesses to stay at home starting from Monday, limit their contacts with others and leave their residence only when necessary. Employers are recommended to allow as many people as possible to work from home, disinfect the workplace regularly, observe physical distancing guidelines and use personal protective equipment in offices.

In Spain's capital, health authorities are expanding restrictions on movement to eight more areas of Madrid, despite a recommendation from the national government that the partial lockdown should apply to the entire city.

Women wearing face masks and gloves leave a subway station in Moscow on Friday. (Natalia Kolesnikova/AFP/Getty Images)

Over 850,000 residents have been confined to 37 neighbourhoods this week unless they have a valid reason to leave. The maximum number of customers allowed in shops and restaurants also was reduced to half of the capacity.

The regional government's move to increase the number of covered areas to 45 would affect 160,000 more people.

The regional government said Friday that the designated areas are where more than 1,000 people per 100,000 residents have tested positive for the coronavirus in the past two weeks, the highest rates in Europe.

In the U.K., new COVID-19 cases have surpassed more than 6,000 per day, the highest numbers seen since May.

As a result, last call at pubs and bars in England is now 10 p.m. while residents are being urged to work from home if possible and enforcement efforts have increased. 

There is concern that the new heath measures won't be enough to mitigate the spread of the virus and that mistakes similar to those made in when the virus first emerged, will be repeated, experts from the U.K. told CBC News.

WATCH | U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson imposes new public health measures:

COVID-19 surge forces new restrictions in U.K.

News

2 months agoVideo
2:02
As COVID-19 cases surge in the United Kingdom, Prime Minister Boris Johnson reimposed restrictions in England, warning the measures might remain in place for six months if the situation doesn’t improve. 2:02

Public health expert Devi Sridhar says the government's subsidizing of indoor dining over the summer and push to get residents to eat out has led to packed restaurants and may be fuelling the increased number of infections.

She calls England's new rules "window dressings" that won't prevent a full-scale lockdown. 

"Unless you have a robust testing and tracking system like South Korea, the virus is going to keep spreading as soon as people get in close contact," she said.

In the United States, the Massachusetts attorney general has charged two ex-leaders of a veterans' care home with criminal neglect in connection with the COVID-19-related deaths of close to 80 residents.

They were both indicted by a grand jury on charges stemming from a decision to merge two dementia units with known cases of COVID-19 together with those who weren't yet infected. 

State Attorney General Maura Healey told reporters Friday that this is the first case criminal case in the country brought against nursing home officials for their behaviour during the pandemic.

The U.S. is also seeing magnified outbreaks of the coronavirus in smaller cities in the country's heartland, where anti-mask sentiments are more popular. The country overall is averaging around 40,000 new cases a day.

In Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis, a known ally of U.S. President Donald Trump, told businesses on Friday they are free to open. The state was a COVID-19 hotspot over the summer and currently has a death toll of more than 14,000 people.

On average around 100 people are dying per day of COVID-19 in Florida and confirmed cases are reaching around 2,700 infections daily.

"The state of Florida is probably the most open big state in the country," DeSantis said at a press conference Friday.

The governor has questioned whether shutting down businesses is an effective tactic against the virus and also announced that cities and counties can no longer collect fines from those who refuse to wear masks, despite regulations.

WATCH | Top U.S. doctors counter Trump claims as cases remain high:

Fauci counters Trump’s claim COVID-19 vaccine is around the corner

News

2 months agoVideo
1:56
While top U.S. health officials, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, testify before a Senate committee about the coronavirus response, President Donald Trump continues to claim a vaccine is just around the corner and mocks his adversary Joe Biden for wearing a mask. 1:56

With files from The Associated Press and The Canadian Press

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