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Coronavirus: What's happening around the world on Wednesday

The coronavirus pandemic will widen the poverty gap between women and men, pushing 47 million more women and girls into impoverished lives by next year, the United Nations says. Here's a look at what's happening with the coronavirus around the world.

United Nations warns of widening gender poverty gap due to pandemic

A woman affected economically by the coronavirus carries a baby as she lines up to receive a hot meal from municipal workers in the Ciudad Peronia neighbourhood of Villa Nueva municipality, Guatemala, in July. (Johan Ordonez/AFP/Getty Images)

The latest:

  • Pandemic will widen poverty gap between women and men, with informal workers worst hit in sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America, UN says.
  • A new study reveals that COVID-19 is disproportionately impacting the health and finances of Black Canadians.
  • India's total coronavirus cases pass 3.7 million as government eases pandemic restrictions.
  • Italy's former prime minister tests positive for coronavirus.
  • German prosecutors say anti-lockdown protesters can be called "Covidiots" after complaints against politician.
  • Uzbekistan stages outdoor exams for 1.4 million university applicants.
  • Thailand hits 100 days with no local virus transmissions.
  • Ukraine reports record daily rise in coronavirus cases.
  • Peru to resume international passenger air travel next month.
  • Steroids cut death rates among critically ill COVID-19 patients, studies suggest.

The coronavirus pandemic will widen the poverty gap between women and men, pushing 47 million more women and girls into impoverished lives by next year and undoing progress made in recent decades, the United Nations said on Wednesday.

More women than men worldwide will be made poor by the economic fallout and massive job losses caused by COVID-19, with informal workers worst hit in sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America, according to new UN estimates.

"The increases in women's extreme poverty ... are a stark indictment of deep flaws in the ways we have constructed our societies and economies," Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, the head of UN Women, said in a statement.

Samantha Murozoki, right, hands a free meal to a woman from her home in Chitungwiza, Zimbabwe, in May. With the help of volunteers, Murozoki served over 100 hot meals per day to families whose household income had been cut off during the government-imposed COVID-19 lockdown. (Jekesai Njikizana/AFP/Getty Images)

During the pandemic, women have lost their jobs at a faster rate than men have, as they are more likely to be employed in the sectors hardest hit by long lockdowns such as retail, restaurants and hotels, the statement said.

Women are also more likely to work in the informal economy, typically in jobs as domestic workers and cleaners that often come with little or no health care, unemployment benefits or other protections.

"We know that women take most of the responsibility for caring for the family; they earn less, save less and hold much less secure jobs," Mlambo-Ngcuka said.

According to the UN's International Labour Organization (ILO), about 70 per cent of domestic workers globally had lost their jobs as a result of COVID-19 by June this year.

Overall, the pandemic will push an additional 96 million people into extreme poverty by next year, nearly half of whom are women and girls, according to estimates by UN Women and the UN's Development Programme (UNDP).

This will bring the total number of women and girls worldwide living in extreme poverty to 435 million — defined as a person living on $1.90 US a day or less — and it is expected that this figure will not revert to pre-pandemic levels until 2030.

WATCH | Working mothers struggle for balance in pandemic:

There are fears the pandemic will undo decades of progress for working mothers as some say they had no choice but to stay home and tackle child care while juggling their own careers. 8:04

By 2021, for every 100 men aged 25 to 34 living in extreme poverty, there will be 118 women — a gap expected to increase to 121 women per 100 men by 2030, according to UN estimates.

Governments could adopt measures to help women in low-paid and informal jobs, said Achim Steiner, a UNDP administrator.

"More than 100 million women and girls could be lifted out of poverty if governments implement a comprehensive strategy aimed at improving access to education and family planning, fair and equal wages, and expanding social transfers," Steiner said.


What's happening with coronavirus in Canada

As of 7 p.m. ET on Wednesday, Canada had 129,923 confirmed and presumptive coronavirus cases. Provinces and territories listed 115,050 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 9,173.

A new study reveals that COVID-19 is disproportionately impacting the health and finances of Black Canadians.

Black Canadians are more likely than other Canadians to seek treatment and experience layoffs due to the coronavirus. They're also more likely to report feeling at risk on their commute to work, a new study reveals.

The study, carried out by the Edmonton-based African Canadian Civic Engagement Council and Innovative Research Group, looks at the health and economic impacts of COVID-19 from the perspectives of Black Canadians and those in the broader Canadian population. Its authors say it appears to be the first of its kind.

Dunia Nur, president of the African Canadian Civic Engagement Council, said the research tells a largely untold story about the lived experiences of Black Canadians around COVID-19.

The study's findings show Black Canadians are more likely than other Canadians to be infected or hospitalized by the disease and nearly three times more likely to know someone who has died after contracting COVID-19.

Black communities are experiencing layoffs, reduced work hours and a reduction in household incomes at higher rates, with men over 45 being hardest hit, the research found.

Fifty-six per cent of Black respondents said their job, or the job of someone they knew, had been affected, compared with the national average of 46 per cent.

Among commuters, Black Canadians are twice as likely than the national average to feel their commute to work is unsafe, with Black commuters more likely to experience symptoms or seek medical treatment.

"The more we know about the impacts of COVID-19 in various communities, and perhaps the reasons why there's a disproportionate impact on these communities, [it] will help governments and help organizations like ACCEC develop policies and programs that are going to help alleviate the disproportionate impact," said Jason Lockhart, Innovative's vice-president and a principal researcher on the project.

The survey was conducted online among a representative sample of 2,322 Canadians, including a representative sample of 400 Black Canadians, from June 17 through June 30.

Meanwhile, Canada's chief public health officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, is urging Canadians to consider wearing a mask when having sex with a new partner to protect themselves from catching the coronavirus.

Tam added that going solo remains the lowest-risk sexual option in a pandemic.

Although there is little chance of catching COVID-19 from semen or vaginal fluid, sexual activity with someone new does increase the risk of contracting the virus, particularly if there is close contact like kissing.

Sexual health is an important part of overall health, Tam said, and by taking precautions, "Canadians can find ways to enjoy physical intimacy while safeguarding the progress we have all made containing COVID-19." 

Wear a mask that covers your mouth and nose, and monitor yourself and your partner for symptoms ahead of any sexual activity with someone outside of your household or close-contacts bubble, Dr. Theresa Tam said Wednesday. (Nils Jorgensen/Shutterstock)

In Quebec, a karaoke night at a Quebec City bar has been linked to a growing number of cases of COVID-19, including several at local schools.

Further reports indicate that the bar's customers flouted isolation orders while waiting for their test results.

Public health officials in Quebec City said Wednesday they have traced 10 secondary cases of COVID-19 back to Bar Kirouac on top of the original 40 linked to a karaoke night there on Aug. 23.

"We're pretty sure that three positive cases, namely children, got the virus from somebody who was celebrating something at this bar," said Dr. Jacques Girard, who heads the Quebec City public health authority.

WATCH | Health officials warn Quebec City bar patrons to be careful:

Officials in Quebec City urge bar-goers to be cautious, after 40 cases of COVID-19 are linked to a karaoke night. 1:27

There are six schools in the Quebec City region that have reported cases of COVID-19, three of which are connected to Bar Kirouac, he said.

Girard said his office has shifted focus to deal with "people who tested positive [and] may have gone to other places, in particular other bars."

The owners of La Gamelle, another Quebec City bar that offers karaoke nights, said they have temporarily closed their establishment after learning they served two customers from Bar Kirouac who should have been in self-isolation on Saturday and Sunday.


Here's what's happening around the world

According to the tally kept by Johns Hopkins University, the global total of confirmed coronavirus cases is now more than 25.9 million. More than 860,000 people have died while 17.2 million have recovered.

In Germany, prosecutors said Wednesday that anti-lockdown protesters and face-mask refusers can be called "Covidiots," dismissing legal complaints against Social Democrat co-leader Saskia Esken who used the term on Twitter.

Prosecutors in Berlin, who had received hundreds of complaints accusing Esken of slander, said she was exercising her constitutional right to express her opinion. Esken's party is the junior partner in Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative-led ruling coalition.

Police officers walk between unmasked protesters sitting on the ground at the end of a protest in Berlin on Aug. 1. Germany has seen mass protests in the past few weeks against measures imposed by authorities to contain the spread of COVID-19. (Markus Schreiber/The Associated Press)

In an Aug. 1 tweet, Esken said protesters at a Berlin march threatened the health of others by violating physical distancing rules and ignoring requirements to wear face masks.

In the United States, a large motorcycle rally organized last month that drew warnings from health officials has reported the first death of an attendee from COVID-19.

A Minnesota man who attended the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in South Dakota has died from the illness, Minnesota health officials reported on Wednesday.

The death is the first reported from the biker rally that drew hundreds of thousands of people. Infections linked to the event have been reported among people in states spanning coast to coast. The rally went ahead despite fears it could become a super-spread event.

Department of Health officials did not give an exact number of rally-goers who tested positive, but they said it was under 25. 

WATCH | Fauci makes coronavirus appeal to Americans to behave responsibly: 

Ahead of the Labour Day long weekend, infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci appealed to Americans to behave responsibly in order to prevent a surge in coronavirus cases. 1:10

Rally-goers crowded into bars and rock shows, mostly ignoring physical-distancing recommendations. Few wore masks.

The man who died in Minnesota was in his 60s, had underlying health conditions and was in an intensive care unit at a hospital before he died, said Doug Schultz, a spokesperson for the Minnesota Department of Health.

Motorcyclists take part in the 80th Annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally on Aug. 8 in Sturgis, S.D. Officials estimated that more than 250,000 people would be showing up for this year's festival despite the coronavirus pandemic. Masks were encouraged but not required at the event. (Bryan R. Smith/AFP via Getty Images)

Italy's former prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, has tested positive for COVID-19, his press office said on Wednesday.

Berlusconi, who is 83, is isolated in his Arcore residence near Milan, his office said, adding that he will continue to work from there as he completes the necessary quarantine period.

The three-time premier and media tycoon recently returned home from a holiday in Sardinia, which saw a sharp increase in COVID-19 cases in August as tourists from all over the country descended on the Mediterranean island.

Ukraine registered a record 2,495 new coronavirus cases and 51 related deaths in the past 24 hours, the national security council said on Wednesday.

Ukraine has imposed a temporary ban on most foreigners entering the country until Sept. 28 and extended lockdown measures until the end of October to contain a recent spike in cases.

Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said this week the government predicted the number of new coronavirus cases would continue to rise there in September and could reach 3,000 a day by the end of this month.

The country has so far reported a total of 125,798 infections and 2,656 deaths.

WATCH | How COVID-19 is complicating back-to-school in Russia: 

The CBC's Chris Brown explains how COVID-19 is complicating the traditional back-to-school day in Russia known as 'Knowledge Day.' 4:01

Turkey is seeing the second peak of the coronavirus outbreak as a result of "carelessness" at weddings and other social gatherings, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said on Wednesday, amid a rapid rise in the number of daily cases and deaths.

Koca said the capital Ankara had seen the most rapid rise in the number of cases lately. He added that 29,865 health-care workers had contracted the virus so far, with 52 of them dying.

"The outbreak is increasingly continuing. The virus is spreading to more people each day. Our test numbers are rising every day, our new patient numbers are not falling," Koca said.

The number of new COVID-19 cases rose by 1,596 to 273,301 in the last 24 hours, according to Health Ministry data.

A man wearing a face mask to protect against the spread of coronavirus shines a client's shoes, in Ankara, Turkey, in August. (Burhan Ozbilici/The Associated Press)

Daily new COVID-19 cases in France neared an all-time high on Wednesday, and the number of people hospitalized in intensive care units for the disease grew at its fastest pace in almost two months.

"The virus keeps spreading in the country," French health authorities said in a statement, adding roughly one-fifth of France's departments — or administrative districts — were affected by an "active circulation of the disease."

There were 7,017 new confirmed coronavirus cases on Wednesday, just below the March 31 peak of 7,578 and only the third time since the beginning of the outbreak that the daily tally has stood above 7,000.

Peru will restart passenger air transport internationally on Oct. 1 after it was suspended in March, Transport and Communications Minister Carlos Estremadoyro said on Wednesday.

Estremadoyro said his team had made proposals to airlines around biosecurity protocol and would look to resume flights to countries with open borders such as the U.S., Mexico and Spain.

The government also on Wednesday approved the transfer of $184 million into a guarantee fund for small companies working in the tourism sector.

Peru has the second-highest number of infections in South America after Brazil.

Passengers using protective gear due to the COVID-19 pandemic wait for a flight to take off from Lima to Pucallpa, Peru, on Aug. 29. (Rodrigo Abd/The Associated Press)

Tens of thousands of youngsters headed to sports arenas across Uzbekistan on Wednesday to sit university entrance exams in the open air due to the pandemic.

The massive exercise, which will span two weeks, will see more than 1.4 million applicants take a three-hour test while seated at desks on the running tracks or walkways of the stadiums. They are competing for some 150,000 university places under a centralized admissions system.

Uzbek students take open-air university entrance exams in Tashkent on Wednesday. Uzbekistan said this week that courses at local universities would commence online rather than in person and schools would reopen on Sept. 14, two weeks later than usual. (Yuri Korsuntsev/AFP/Getty Images)

The Central Asian nation of 34 million has just ended its second national lockdown after a mid-summer surge in cases stretched its health-care system to the limit. The former Soviet republic has confirmed 42,370 COVID-19 cases with 324 deaths.

India registered 78,357 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, raising its total over 3.7 million as the government eases pandemic restrictions nationwide to help the battered economy.

India, a nation of 1.4 billion people, is fast becoming the world's coronavirus epicentre. It has been reporting the highest daily increases in new cases for more than three weeks, and at its current rate is likely to soon pass Brazil and ultimately the United States in total reported cases.

The Health Ministry on Wednesday also reported 1,045 deaths in the past 24 hours, taking total fatalities up to 66,333. It now has the third-most deaths after recently passing Mexico's toll, according to a Johns Hopkins University tally.

A health official collects nasal and throat swab samples from a nun to test for the coronavirus at a primary health centre in Siliguri, India, on Wednesday. (Diptendu Dutta/AFP/Getty Images)

The country's testing capacity of nearly 100,000 tests per day has been increasing, but experts say it is not enough. On Wednesday, the Indian Council of Medical Research, India's top medical research body, said the country had conducted nearly 44 million tests for the virus since the pandemic began.

Thailand's Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha on Wednesday congratulated his citizens on the country having achieved 100 days without a confirmed locally transmitted case of the coronavirus, even as security along the border with Myanmar is being stepped up as a measure against the disease.

Thailand has sustained relatively light health damage from the pandemic even though in January it was the first country outside China to confirm a case. But its economy has been devastated by the absence of foreign tourists, who are banned from entry, and a drop in exports.

People visit the 18-metre-tall Buddha statue at the Wat Phra Yai Temple in Pattaya, Thailand, on Wednesday. Thailand's economy has been devastated by the absence of foreign tourists, who are banned from entry during the pandemic. (Mladen Antonov/AFP/Getty Images)

Thai health authorities reported eight new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, all from abroad, bringing the country's total to 3,425, including 58 deaths.

China's aviation regulator said on Wednesday it will resume direct flights to Beijing from eight countries including Canada, Thailand, Cambodia, Greece, Denmark and Sweden from Sept. 3.

In March, Chinese authorities ordered all international flights to Beijing to be diverted to other airports as their first port of entry, as the capital stepped up measures to battle imported infections.

Elementary school students attend a class on the first day of the new semester in Wuhan, China's central Hubei province, on Tuesday. (STR/AFP/Getty Images)

The Civil Aviation Administration of China said load factors on such flights would be strictly controlled and it would reimpose measures to curb the virus if more than three passengers test positive for the coronavirus upon arrival.

Australia's most-populous state reported the biggest daily jump in coronavirus infections in two weeks on Wednesday but said there were no plans to cancel New Year's Eve fireworks show over Sydney Harbour, as new cases also ticked up nationally.

New South Wales (NSW) state reported 17 new cases, the biggest one-day jump since Aug. 12, while nationally the count rose to 109 cases from 85 a day earlier.

Victoria state remained the hardest-hit region with 90 cases, although this was well down from its daily peak of more than 700 in early August at the height of a second wave of infections. Victoria on Wednesday extended its state of emergency for another six months.

People sit apart from one another at Central Station in Sydney, Australia, on Wednesday. Seventeen new cases of COVID-19 were diagnosed in New South Wales, where Sydney is located, in the past 24 hours. (Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the state was pushing ahead with plans to host large events such as the New Year's Eve fireworks over Sydney Harbour.

"We should be hosting events we've hosted before, but it will be different," Berejiklian told reporters. "I think for a lot of people the fireworks represent hope."

With files from Thomson Reuters Foundation, The Associated Press and CBC News

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