Coronavirus: What's happening in Canada and around the world April 28
Quebec unveils 1st stage of reopening for businesses, Ottawa releases new modelling
- LIVE BLOG | Get the latest Tuesday as Trudeau provides COVID-19 update, takes questions.
- Number of COVID-19 cases in Canada tops 50,000.
- Quebec outlines how some businesses will reopen in May.
- Testing, contact tracing are key to easing social restrictions. But is Canada ready?
- The United States now has more than one million COVID-19 cases.
- How COVID-19 symptoms develop and how long they last.
- WATCH | Canada's chief public health officer takes questions about the early pandemic response.
- INTERACTIVE | See the latest data on coronavirus cases in Canada.
- Have a coronavirus question or news tip for CBC News? Email: Covid@cbc.ca
A day after outlining a plan to allow children to return to daycares and primary schools in May, Quebec Premier François Legault laid out his plans Tuesday to begin reopening some businesses in the province.
Over the course of the month of May, three sectors will be allowed some degree of reopening. They are:
- Retail stores not in shopping malls.
- Retail stores that are in malls but have a direct door to the outside.
- Construction and civil engineering.
Stores outside of the Montreal region will be permitted to reopen May 4, while those in the Montreal area will reopen May 11.
Construction projects, including road work, will fully resume May 11, with about 85,000 workers expected to be back to work.
Manufacturing companies will be allowed to reopen May 4 with some restrictions: those that have 50 or fewer workers will be allowed to reopen with full staff; those with more than 50 employees will only be allowed to have 50 workers plus 50 per cent of the total number of employees above that for any shift throughout the day.
Legault said the idea is to reopen gradually and follow up to ensure there is no negative impact on infection rates or on hospitals.
And he said people will have to continue to follow physical distancing measures.
"Continue to act as if everybody you meet has the virus."
WATCH | Legault says the plan is to restart the economy without restarting the pandemic:
Legault on Monday announced a plan that would allow children in daycare and primary school in most parts of Quebec to head back to class on May 11 — though attendance won't be mandatory. Daycares and primary schools in the Montreal area would open on May 19.
High schools, CEGEPs and universities will reopen in the fall, Legault said, noting that officials felt primary-aged schoolchildren would benefit the most from additional weeks of class time.
"We will analyze the situation every day and adjust if necessary," he said. "The watchword here is prudence."
- With school plan unveiled, Quebec to announce economy relaunch
- Quebec's move to reopen schools sows confusion, fear among parents
The province's top doctor was quick to note that the easing of some restrictions did not mean that people should stop following public health measures and move around widely.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Tuesday said that the federal government would soon be releasing shared guidelines on how to handle reopening.
"We need common guidelines to make sure that the decisions being taken across the country are grounded in a shared understanding and appreciation of what science and experts are telling us."
The shared principles, which Trudeau said have been agreed to by the federal, provincial and territorial governments, won't provide specific dates or measures. Instead, they will serve as a framework around what needs to happen before the economy is gradually restarted.
Federal health officials update projections
Trudeau spoke ahead of a Tuesday afternoon briefing from federal health officials, who delivered revised modelling and forecasts for COVID-19 in Canada.
Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada's chief public health officer, said that ongoing public health measures, including physical distancing, are critical to staying at the lower end of projections.
"We are making clear progress to slow the spread and bring the epidemic under control thanks to the commitment of Canadians who are following public health advice to protect themselves and others," she said.
- PM says COVID-19 measures are working but Canada is 'not out of the woods yet'
- Get the details of the federal COVID-19 modelling update
The new modelling shows that while the number of new cases was doubling every three days previously, it is now doubling every 16 days.
Short-term projections predict between 53,191 and 66,835 cases by May 5, and between 3,277 and 3,883 deaths by that date.
Tam said the way the epidemic is unfolding varies across the country, "so when and how control measures are readjusted and are relaxed will need to be decided based on the local epidemiological situation."
WATCH | Dr. Tam explains what goes into decisions about reopening schools and businesses:
She said the new projections reflect the "heavy toll" COVID-19 is taking on vulnerable populations, including the elderly in long-term care homes and the homeless, and that relaxing controls too quickly will "squander" the efforts to date and put the population at risk of another wave of infection.
"We are actually going to be living with COVID-19 for the near future — and monitoring very carefully, so if there's any upswing … any cases and contacts have to be identified and managed so you don't get that upswing again."
The problem areas continue to be long term care centres which make up 79% of deaths countrywide. Congregate living situations are also problematic. <a href="https://t.co/1EHv0ARbw0">pic.twitter.com/1EHv0ARbw0</a>—@RosieBarton
When asked whether he would send his own kids back to school if he were in Quebec, Trudeau said he would evaluate the situation at the time when schools actually open their doors.
"We know every single week we see changes in how we're doing, on where there are outbreaks, on equipment and supports available," he said, noting that he'd want to know what the school itself was planning to do to maintain physical distancing and create safe working conditions.
WATCH | Trudeau talks about Quebec's plan to reopen some schools:
Neighbouring New Brunswick, which has had far fewer cases than Quebec, has already loosened some restrictions, including opening some outdoor spaces and allowing people to form "bubbles" of two families.
Prince Edward Island released its plan Tuesday to ease restrictions. Priority non-urgent health-care services are to begin May 1, including elective surgeries, physiotherapy, optometry and chiropractic treatment. Outdoor gatherings of limited size and activities such as fishing and golf will also be allowed.
Saskatchewan has also previously released a five-phase reopening plan, with expected dates attached to the first two phases.
Ontario plan focuses on how not when
Ontario, which unveiled its plan on Monday, didn't attach any dates to its framework.
Premier Doug Ford said the framework is about how the province will reopen — not when.
"We're all missing birthdays, religious celebrations and once-in-a-lifetime milestones. These are all too real, a painful loss of memories, and moments taken away by this deadly virus," Ford said. "But that is why we must continue."
A slow, methodical and gradual reopening will help the province avoid another period of shutdown, Ford said.
WATCH | Ontario reveals reopening plan, no timeline:
Ford said he wants to see the economy "get going" but can't risk an escalation in cases if the province opens prematurely.
As of 8 p.m. ET on Tuesday, Canada had 50,026 confirmed and presumptive cases of the novel coronavirus. Provinces and territories listed 19,244 cases as recovered or resolved. A CBC tally of COVID-19-related deaths, which is based on provincial health data, local public health information and CBC reporting, listed 2,958 deaths in Canada and two abroad.
A case tracking site maintained by U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University reported more than three million cases around the world, with over 212,000 reported coronavirus-related deaths.
- Should masks be mandatory in public to stop the spread of COVID-19?
- How hospitals will tackle the backlog of nearly 100,000 delayed surgeries
There is no proven treatment or vaccine for the novel virus, which first emerged in China in late 2019. While most cases are moderate or mild, some people — especially the elderly and people with underlying health issues — are at greater risk of severe disease or death. Public health officials in Canada and around the world have cautioned that reported numbers don't show the full picture, as they don't reflect people that haven't been tested or cases that are still under investigation.
Read on for a look at what's happening in Canada, the U.S. and around the world.
What's happening in the provinces and territories
In British Columbia, a COVID-19 outbreak in a poultry processing plant in Coquitlam is responsible for the majority of new cases reported by the province. Health Minister Adrian Dix says 39 of the 55 positive tests reported Tuesday are connected to the spread of the virus at Superior Poultry Processors Ltd. Read more about what's happening in B.C., including a story about how Haida Gwaii communities are ramping up enforcement of a ban on visitors.
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney says a plan to reopen the province's economy is coming later this week. The province released new modelling data on Tuesday, estimating that 298 Albertans will be in hospital and 95 of them will be in ICU when the virus peaks, down from an earlier estimate that more than 800 would be hospitalized. Read more about what's happening in Alberta.
- 472 health-care workers in Alberta have tested positive for COVID-19
- Albertans diagnosed with COVID-19 are younger, in hospital less often. This is likely why
Saskatchewan released new modelling numbers Tuesday that show lower projections in the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths for the province. As a result, the Saskatchewan Health Authority will reduce the number of hospital beds, intensive care beds and ventilators it plans to make available. Read more about what's happening in Saskatchewan.
Manitoba says it will now test anyone with COVID-19 symptoms to see if they have the virus that causes the disease. Premier Brian Pallister says even people with mild symptoms, such as a runny nose or cough, can be tested. "What we're looking to do by broadening the intake here, at least in its early days, is focused on giving … Manitobans that confidence that they need to have that they're not carrying the disease — that when they move around, when they shop, they're able to do so safely," he said at a Tuesday morning news conference. Read more about what's happening in Manitoba.
Ontario reported 525 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday, and 59 more deaths, ending three consecutive days of declining numbers of new cases. Hospitalizations went up, but the numbers of people in intensive care and on ventilators declined slightly. Read more about Ontario's plan to reopen released earlier in the week.
- New daily COVID-19 cases in Ontario jump back over 500 after days of declining numbers
- 40 workers at Ontario greenhouse test positive for COVID-19
- 'It's a slap in the face': Toronto doctor says he was told he can't enter local TD branch
In Quebec, Legault says while the number of deaths have risen in long-term care homes, other deaths remain largely stable in the province. He says that's why the government is moving ahead with a plan to restart the economy and reopen primary schools and daycares. Read more about what's happening in Quebec, including a story on the province's push to do more testing.
WATCH | Parents wonder how to keep kids healthy when school resumes:
New Brunswick's chief medical officer says it's possible masks become mandatory in some situations as the province moves forward with its reopening plan. "It's very important that you get used to wearing masks," Dr. Jennifer Russell said. Read more about what's happening in N.B.
Nova Scotia is "on the downward slope" of the COVID-19 epidemiologic curve, the province's top doctor said. Dr. Robert Strang told CBC's Information Morning on Tuesday, but health officials are still concerned about community clusters. Schools will stay closed until at least the May long weekend. Read more about what's happening in N.S.
Newfoundland and Labrador reported no new coronavirus cases again on Tuesday. The province is still working on a reopening plan. "It's really important that we do it right, and when we are ready we will make that announcement, and it will be soon," Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Janice Fitzgerald told reporters. Read more about what's happening in N.L..
WATCH | Why Canada's top doctor changed her stance on masks:
In Nunavut, the government is banning gatherings of more than five people who don't live together, while the Northwest Territories is tightening its border. Read more about what's happening across the North.
What's happening in the U.S.
From The Associated Press and Reuters, updated as of 2:45 p.m. ET
U.S. President Donald Trump defended his administration's handling of the coronavirus pandemic Tuesday as he met with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and promised to help states safely begin reopening their economies.
Trump, seated next to DeSantis in the Oval Office, insisted that the United States was doing enough testing to protect Americans reentering the workforce and said he would sign an executive order to address "liability problems" in the nation's food supply chain. He said the administration was talking to airlines about requiring temperature and virus checks for some travellers as they board flights.
Trump has claimed for weeks now that airlines have been screening passengers, even though they're not.
And he said the idea of having passengers wear masks sounded "like a good idea."
The administration had been sharply criticized for not overseeing widespread testing, but Trump said no amount would ever be good enough for critics in the media.
Florida, with a high population of older Americans vulnerable to the disease, has long been a source of concern, and DeSantis was slower to impose social distancing guidelines than other governors were. But DeSantis, a fellow Republican and close Trump ally, promoted his state's ability to test its citizens.
According to the Johns Hopkins database, the U.S. surpassed one million cases Tuesday, with more than 57,000 deaths.
What's happening around the world
From The Associated Press and Reuters, updated at 4 p.m. ET
Italy's Premier Giuseppe Conte says the risk of a second wave of COVID-19 "is concrete," as the country moves into a new phase of living "alongside" the coronavirus with the loosening of some lockdown measures starting next Monday. Conte has been visiting some of the hardest-hit communities in the northern region of Lombardy in a sign of institutional support for the sacrifices of medical personnel and solidarity with citizens in their eighth week of total lockdown. The virus continues to spread in Italy, in particular in the north.
Spain's Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez says he hopes his country can scrap restrictions on movement by the end of June but warned the path to loosening limits will lead to a "new normal," with safeguards such as wearing masks and strict hygiene rules staying in place until a vaccine is found. Spain recorded 301 new deaths, official data released on Tuesday show, bringing the total deaths from COVID-19 to 23,822. The country has 210,773 infections of COVID-19 that have been confirmed by the most reliable lab tests.
Turkey's health minister announced 92 new deaths from the coronavirus in the past 24 hours, raising the total death toll in the country to 2,992. Fahrettin Koca also reported 2,392 new confirmed infections, bringing the total to 114,653. At least 38,809 COVID-19 patients have recovered, according to data the minister posted on Twitter, including 5,018 who recovered in the past 24 hours. Turkish officials say that the number of daily infections is stabilizing and that the country could transition to normal life after a religious holiday at the end of May.
Britain is ramping up its coronavirus testing efforts. Health Secretary Matt Hancock says anyone over 65 and their households, and all workers who must leave their homes to work, are now added to the list of those eligible for tests as long as they show symptoms. All hospital patients and staff, as well as nursing home residents and workers, also qualify even if they have no symptoms. Britain is on track to record one of the worst coronavirus death tolls in Europe, after data published on Tuesday showed that fatalities topped 24,000 nine days ago.
In France, lawmakers on Tuesday adopted a government-proposed plan to ease the country's lockdown, which has been in place since mid-March to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus. The plan entails the progressive reopening of schools, public transport and other businesses previously deemed non-essential by the government from May 11. However, restaurants, cafes, cinemas and concert halls will remain closed. Public gatherings will be limited to 10 people at a time.
- France sets out approach to easing some coronavirus restrictions on May 11
- U.K. appears to be on track for 1 of Europe's worst COVID-19 death tolls
Russia President Vladimir Putin has extended the nation's partial economic shutdown through May 11, saying the coronavirus outbreak is yet to reach a peak. Lockdowns imposed by Russian regions have kept most people, except those working in vital industries, at home. Russia has recorded 93,558 coronavirus cases and 867 deaths. Putin has instructed the government to prepare a plan for gradually lifting the lockdown after May 11.
In New Zealand, surfers greeted a spectacular sunrise in Christchurch, construction workers purchased their favourite espresso coffees, and some lawmakers returned to Parliament in Wellington on Tuesday, as some aspects of life began returning to normal. The country had been in a strict lockdown for over a month to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, but those conditions were eased a little on Tuesday to allow some parts of the economy to restart as new infections wane. New Zealand recorded three new cases of the coronavirus on Tuesday, bringing its confirmed total to 1,472, including 19 deaths.
Hong Kong reported no new coronavirus cases for a third straight day Tuesday and announced a resumption of public services next week and a relaxation of quarantine restrictions on travellers from mainland China. The eased quarantine will apply to students crossing the border daily to attend school in Hong Kong, and travellers deemed economically important to the city. However, an entry ban on non-residents flying into the city has been extended to June 7.
South Africa — the world's largest producer of platinum, manganese and chrome ore — is letting its mines run at half-capacity after a national lockdown. The country's miners are restricting bus loads to mine sites to 20 workers at a time, even though the cages used to transport workers underground hold up to 1,000.
South Africa has more than 4,700 cases and 90 deaths, according to a Johns Hopkins tally.
In Peru, prisoners staged a riot to protest their precarious living conditions following the deaths of several fellow inmates from the new coronavirus, but the revolt in itself proved fatal. Nine prisoners were killed. The inmates were shot to death during a clash with authorities at the Miguel Castro Castro prison in Lima a day earlier. Who fired the deadly shots was under investigation. Peru's overcrowded jails have been hard hit by the coronavirus: At least 13 prisoners have died and more than 500 have been infected. More than 100 workers have also fallen ill.
With files from CBC's Jennifer Walter, The Associated Press, Reuters and The Canadian Press