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Coronavirus: What's happening in Canada and around the world on Oct. 26

As the number of new COVID-19 cases continue to rise across the country, provincial health officials are implementing new restrictions on social gatherings, including a limit on how many people are allowed to mingle indoors in the western provinces and an extension of previous restrictions in Quebec.

British Columbia announced new health orders that restrict private gatherings

A restaurant patio on Ottawa's downtown Sparks Street is cleaned in late October 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic. (David Richard/Radio-Canada)

The latest:

  • MPs to vote on investigation into federal COVID-19 response.
  • British Columbia announces restrictions on private gatherings.
  • Federal health minister spotted without mask at Pearson airport.
  • Alberta introduces new limit on social gatherings as cases continue to rise.
  • Manitoba sees rising number of hospitalizations.
  • New drop-in testing clinic opens in Prince Edward Island.
  • France hits highest one-day increase since April.
  • New restrictions introduced in Britain.

As the number of new COVID-19 cases continue to rise across the country, provincial health officials are implementing new restrictions on social gatherings, including a limit on how many people are allowed to mingle indoors in the western provinces and an extension of previous restrictions in Quebec.

In British Columbia, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced new restrictions on private gatherings after confirming a record high 817 new cases of COVID-19 over the weekend and three more deaths.

The new health order restricts gatherings in private homes to no more than immediate household members plus six additional people.

The province is seeing the result of increased social gatherings over the Thanksgiving weekend and the mounting cases are "concerning," Henry said.

Ontario, which trails only Quebec in the number of recorded coronavirus cases and deaths in Canada, reported 851 new COVID-19 cases on Monday, down from Sunday's tally of more than 1,000 new cases. 

Most of the new cases were reported in Toronto, York and Peel regions and Ottawa. 

The province reported 1,042 confirmed new cases on Sunday, a record number for a single day.

WATCH | Ontario sees over 1,000 cases during second wave of COVID-19:

Ontario confronts 2nd wave with 1,000 new COVID-19 cases

The National

1 month agoVideo
2:02
Ontario tops 1,000 new COVID-19 cases for the first time with outbreaks multiplying in long-term care homes and growing stress on hospitals. 2:02

Dr. Isaac Bogoch, an infectious disease specialist and researcher at Toronto General Hospital, said over the weekend that while the cause of the recent spike in Ontario is not entirely clear, the week ahead will offer a critical window for assessing the province's progress in combating the pandemic.

As of Monday morning there were 295 people in Ontario hospitalized due to the virus, including 78 in intensive care units. 

Quebec, which has now recorded more than 100,000 COVID-19 cases since the global coronavirus outbreak began, announced 808 new cases on Monday.

Writing in French on Twitter, provincial Health Minister Christian Dubé on Monday urged people to limit their contacts in a bid to drive down new cases. Over the weekend, Dubé said that in comparing the last two weeks, the number of cases is stable but remains high. 

On Monday, Quebec Premier François Legault announced restrictions in the province's red zones will be prolonged into November. He also decided to expand online learning to include Grade 9 students based on the fact that there are more cases in that age group.

WATCH | Quebec extends restrictions for four more weeks:

Quebec extends red zone restrictions for four more weeks

CBC News Montreal

1 month agoVideo
1:08
Quebec Premier François Legault says closures in the province's red zones will now last until Nov. 23. They had originally been set to be lifted as of Thursday. 1:08

Out of 19 regions outlined by the province, 10 are either fully or partially in red, the maximum alert level. 

The most recent figures available on Quebec's COVID-19 hospitalizations stood at 543, with 93 in intensive care.

"As hospitalizations and deaths tend to lag behind increased disease activity by one to several weeks, the concern is that we have yet to see the extent of severe impacts associated with the ongoing increase in COVID-19 disease activity," Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada's chief public health officer, said in a statement on Sunday. 

WATCH | Dr. Christopher Labos talks about COVID-19 in Ontario and Quebec:

Important to look at average and trend of new cases, says expert

Canada

1 month agoVideo
2:59
The COVID-19 situation is relatively stable in Ontario and better in Quebec compared to a month ago, and it's important to look at the trend of cases, says epidemiologist and cardiologist Dr. Christopher Labos. 2:59

In Manitoba, a woman in her 80s with COVID-19 has died, as the province announced 100 new cases and 80 people in hospital on Monday. The person who died was connected to the outbreak at Parkview Place, bringing the total number of deaths at the personal care home to 18.

Chief Provincial Public Health Officer Dr. Brent Roussin said during a news conference that the growing number of COVID-19 cases in Manitoba and the rising number of hospitalizations is putting strain on the province's health-care system.

As the number of cases continue to rise, the province has moved all schools in the region to a modified orange level. That change means there are new measures meant to prevent the spread of the novel virus in schools, including stepped-up efforts to achieve two metres of physical distancing and expanded availability to remote learning for students in kindergarten to Grade 8.


What's happening across Canada

As of 8 p.m. ET on Monday, Canada had 220,213 confirmed or presumptive coronavirus cases. Provinces and territories listed 184,303 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 9,973.

Yukon's top doctor reported two more cases in Watson Lake on Monday, bringing the number of cases linked to an outbreak in the town to five. Dr. Brendan Hanley, the territory's chief medical officer, told Yukon Morning, that the investigation is ongoing and there could be more cases identified in future. However, he said the situation is "looking like a containable scenario."

In Atlantic Canada, there was one new COVID-19 case reported Monday in both Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador.  Health officials in Newfoundland and Labrador said the new case is travel-related. The person involved has been self-isolating since returning to the province from Alberta, a statement said. 

Voters are going to the polls today in Saskatchewan, the third provincial election since the pandemic began. Elections Saskatchewan said on Twitter over the weekend that 153,749 ballots were cast in four days of advance voting. That number is almost the same as the 2016 and 2011 advanced voting combined, the election agency said.

The province reported two new outbreaks on Sunday —  at the Boys and Girls Club in Yorkton and at the Original Joe's restaurant in Lloydminster. Investigations by public health are underway to determine the source of transmission, the province said.

To date, there have been 2,783 reported cases in Saskatchewan.

A new 15-person limit on gatherings was introduced in Alberta on Monday after the province reported 1,440 new cases of COVID-19 over the weekend, including a record of 572 on Saturday.

The new limit applies to gatherings "where people are mixing and mingling," the province's chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw said, such as dinner parties, birthday parties, wedding and funeral receptions, retirement parties and baby showers.

WATCH | : Alberta has 'crossed a tipping point' in fight against COVID-19:

Alberta has 'crossed a tipping point' with fight against COVID-19 pandemic: Hinshaw

CBC News Edmonton

1 month agoVideo
1:26
Alberta's chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, says the province has 'now crossed a tipping point and are losing the balance we have been seeking' when it comes to the COVID-19 pandemic. 1:26

The "limit is temporary," Hinshaw said. "It will be reassessed after one month and can be lifted if we see our growth rate, or R-value, decline below one, and new case numbers consistently below 100 in each city."

The limit does not apply to dining in restaurants or to theatres, worship services or wedding and funeral services, she said. But it does apply to gatherings after and before such events.

A Frederiction-based company in New Brunswick has filed a patent for a technology it says can help provide rapid, early detection of COVID-19 in a community by testing its sewage.

LuminUltra and researchers at Dalhousie University say their system for rapid, on-site wastewater testing is portable and less costly than traditional laboratory testing.

Lab testing of wastewater has been conducted in several countries as a way to detect early signs of COVID-19 flare-ups in communities.

Health officials in the province reported three new confirmed cases on Monday, while eight more people have recovered.

Three new cases of COVID-19 were confirmed in New Brunswick on Monday, two in the Fredericton region (Zone 3) and one in the Campbellton region (Zone 5). (CBC)

The total number of active cases in the province now stands at 60.

"You can choose your friends, but you can't choose your family — except during a pandemic," Dr. Jennifer Russell, the chief medical officer of health, said in a statement.

"We want all New Brunswickers to keep their close contact numbers to a minimum. Help New Brunswick and the Atlantic bubble fight off the second wave. Let's work together but apart."

Meanwhile, no new cases were reported on Monday in Prince Edward Island, as a new indoor COVID-19 testing clinic at Montague Legion opened its doors for the first time.

The drop-in location offers coronavirus testing without referral on a first-come, first-serve basis.

The acting manager of Kings Primary Care Health Network, Trevor Waugh, says the new clinic swabbed about 40 people on Monday morning, but could accommodate more if needed.

"Our previous swabbing site was a drive-thru style. And just given that we're approaching winter and cooler weather, we wanted to get patients and staff out of the elements and inside," he said.


What's happening around the world

Johns Hopkins University, which has been tracking the global spread of the coronavirus, reported over 43.3 million cases worldwide, with over 29 million cases listed as recovered on Monday. The Baltimore, Md.-based university reported 1,157,465 deaths worldwide. 

WATCH | WHO says governments need to replace lockdowns with comprehensive plans:

Governments should give people proper support 'to do the right thing' during COVID-19: WHO

World

1 month agoVideo
4:15
Lockdown measures are a replacement for a comprehensive approach to mitigating the virus and governments should be giving their residents the proper support so they can follow the right protocols for COVID-19, says Dr. Michael Ryan of World Health Organization's Health Emergencies Programme 4:15

The World Health Organization (WHO) says national lockdowns could be avoided to fight the latest surge of coronavirus cases if people are willing to make sacrifices and "if everyone plays their part."

On Monday, Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO's technical lead on COVID-19, said she hoped countries would use other tools to stop transmission, including strengthening their surveillance, testing and contact tracing systems.

She said people should take personal responsibility for everyday decisions, like whether or not they should go out to crowded places, avoiding closed settings and postponing social gatherings.

WHO's emergencies chief Dr. Michael Ryan noted that 46 per cent of all global COVID-19 cases last week were reported in Europe.

"Right now we are well behind this virus in Europe, so getting ahead of it is going to take some serious acceleration in what we do," he said.

In Europe, protests flared across Italy on Monday against a new round of government restrictions aimed at curbing a resurgent coronavirus, with violence reported in at least two major northern cities, Milan and Turin.

In Turin, a number of luxury stores were ransacked as crowds of youth took to the streets after nightfall, letting off huge firecrackers and lighting coloured flares, while clashes were also reported in Milan.

"Freedom, freedom, freedom," crowds chanted as they confronted police in the city centre of Milan.

On Sunday, the Italian government ordered bars and restaurants to close by 6 p.m. and shut public gyms, cinemas and 
swimming pools to try to slow a second wave of coronavirus infections that is battering much of the country.

For at least the next month, people outdoors, except for small children, must now wear masks in all of Italy. On Sunday, Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte announced new rules to curb the spread of COVID-19, in Rome, including a night time curfew. (Roberto Monaldo/LaPresse/ The Associated Press) (Roberto Monaldo/LaPresse/ The Associated Press)

France was reporting that virus patients now occupy more than half of the country's intensive care units, and some doctors are urging tougher restrictions after another record jump in confirmed infections. Dr. Jean-François Delfraissy, head of the government's virus advisory body, expressed surprise Monday at the "brutality" of the rise, after more than 52,000 new cases were reported Sunday.

France has been among the countries hardest-hit by the pandemic. On Monday, French hospitals registered 1,307 new coronavirus patients, the highest one-day increase since April 2, which saw 1,607 new patients.

People walk past a restaurant on the first night of a countrywide curfew on Sunday in Madrid. Spain has declared a national state of emergency and imposed a night-time curfew from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. in an effort to help control a new spike in COVID-19 infections. (Pablo Blazquez Dominguez/Getty Images)

In Spain, which has had more than one million cases of the disease, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez warned the country was facing an "extreme" situation as he announced a new state of emergency on Sunday, imposing local nighttime curfews and banning travel between regions in some cases.

Authorities in Spain's northeastern region of Catalonia are considering a mandatory stay-at-home order for weekends only, one of the strictest measures being imposed across the country to combat a sharp resurgence of the coronavirus.

Wider coronavirus restrictions will be in place in Britain, starting Tuesday, as the country battles a sharp rise in cases over the past week.

Northwest England will be classified as the highest Tier 3 alert level, according to Britain's health ministry. The number of new COVID cases has risen by almost a quarter over the past week to 153,483, and new COVID deaths were 50 per cent higher than the week before at 1,272.

Under these new restrictions, people from different households are no longer allowed to socialize outdoors, adding to an existing ban on indoor socializing in much of England, while pubs and bars that do not serve food must temporarily shut down.

Schools, shops and restaurants in England are allowed to stay open, unlike the first lockdown in March and April.

In the Asia-Pacific region, Australia's former coronavirus hot spot Melbourne will largely emerge from lockdown after the city on Monday recorded its first day without a new COVID-19 case in more than four months. Victoria state Premier Daniel Andrews said from 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday, all shops, restaurants, cafes and bars will be allowed to open and outdoor contact sports can resume.

India on Monday reported fewer than 46,000 new coronavirus cases, continuing a downward trend, though rising air pollution and the Hindu festival season continue to raise fears of a fresh surge in infections. The country's health ministry said that 45,148 new cases raised the country's overall cases to more than 7.9 million. The ministry also reported 480 new fatalities, raising the death toll to 119,014.

In the Americas, the race for the U.S. presidency continues amid the global pandemic, with U.S. Vice-President Mike Pence campaigning on Sunday despite a COVID-19 outbreak among his aides. The pandemic, which has caused about 225,000 U.S. deaths and left millions of Americans jobless, remains front and centre in the presidential race.

Residents in the Texas border city of El Paso have been urged to stay home for two weeks as a spike in coronavirus cases overwhelms hospitals.

Nurses gather information from patients lining up in their cars for COVID-19 tests last week at the University of Texas El Paso. County health officials on Sunday reported 772 new cases, a day after a record 1,216 new infections were reported. (Paul Ratje/AFP/Getty Images)

The uptick in virus cases has also prompted the state to dedicate part of the city's civic centre as a makeshift heath-care centre for the ill. On Sunday night, El Paso County's top elected official issued a stay-at-home order that imposes a daily curfew from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. Violators could be fined $500 US under the order.

Mexican health authorities acknowledge the country's true death toll from the coronavirus pandemic is far higher than previously thought, saying there were 193,170 "excess" deaths in the year up to Sept. 26. Of those, 139,153 are now judged to be attributable to COVID-19. Mexico's official, test-confirmed death toll is only about 89,000, but officials previously acknowledged many people didn't get tested or their tests were mishandled.

WATCH | Trump down in polls as COVID-19 surges during U.S. election: 

Trump continues to downplay COVID-19 as election nears

The National

1 month agoVideo
3:30
Trump continues to insist the U.S. is turning the corner as new coronavirus new cases surge across most of the country, with nine days to go before the election. 3:30

In the Middle East, Qatar has signed an agreement with drugmaker Moderna Inc to buy its potential COVID-19 vaccine as soon as it is approved and released for global use, state news agency QNA quoted a health official as saying on Sunday. 

Israel will begin human trials for a potential COVID-19 vaccine developed by a research institute overseen by the country's defence ministry on Nov. 1 after receiving regulatory approval, the ministry said on Sunday.

In Africa, South Africa's health ministry reported 24 additional COVID-19 deaths, bringing the country's total to 18,968. South Africa has the most recorded coronavirus cases in Africa, with Johns Hopkins putting its cumulative case number at 715,868.

A member of the cleaning team sanitizes Kraken Stadium before a soccer match Saturday as part of COVID-19 protocols in Mazatlan, Mexico. (Sergio Mejia/Getty Images)

Have a coronavirus question or news tip for CBC News? Email us at COVID@cbc.ca

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

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