Good evening, here are the coronavirus updates you need to know tonight.
- Justin Trudeau said it would be a “few months, probably” before Canada can consider relaxing protective measures
- Air Canada to use federal wage-subsidy program to rehire laid off workers
- ‘The unsealing of Wuhan’ brings cheers and new surveillance as city reopens travel connections
Photo of the day
In photos: Wuhan, China, where the novel coronavirus originated, reopens in a watershed end to a 76-day lockdown.
Number of the day
In New York State alone, 779 people died from COVID-19 today, Governor Andrew Cuomo said. The daily death toll exceeded the previous one-day record set Tuesday. Total cases in the state approached 150,000, surpassing Spain for the most infections anywhere in the world.
Coronavirus in Canada
19,183 cases have been reported, more than double the number from 8 days ago. There have also been 4,533 recoveries and 427 deaths. Health officials have administered 370,732 tests.
- Quebec will systematically test all residents and staff in long-term care homes. Almost half of the province’s 175 deaths are related to the residences. The province’s confirmed case count passed 10,000 today.
- All provincial parks in British Columbia are closed to help maintain physical distancing practices. The province also announced a $225 a month benefit for caregivers of special needs children.
- Health officials in Alberta released modelling data that projects between 400 to 3,100 deaths in the province if physical distancing measures are successful.
- The MP for Nunavut praised the territory for its success in preventing the spread of COVID-19 to the region. Nunavut is the only region in Canada without a coronavirus case.
- Newfoundland and Labrador released modelling data that projects that between 25 and 200 people would require hospitalization by April 30.
- Saskatchewan released modelling data projecting between 3,000 and 8,300 deaths in the province.
In Ottawa, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced new measures to financially support entrepreneurs, small businesses and young people.
- For entrepreneurs and small businesses: He confirmed changes to CERB that provide greater flexibility for employers to access the program. And the government will soon release a plan to offer small businesses interest-free loans.
- For young people: The Canada Summer Jobs Program will subsidize up to 100 per cent of wages, he said, and the program will be extended until February, 2021. The program will cost $263-million and create 70,000 jobs for people between 15 and 30.
The Prime Minister is ending his self-isolation, and will occasionally attend in-person meetings with cabinet members. However, he cautioned Canadians that social-distancing and remain-at-home measures will be in place for “many more weeks.”
Also today: Federal prisons report 35 inmates have tested positive for COVID-19.
Coronavirus around the world
1,477,262 cases confirmed around the world; with 317,858 recoveries and 87,025 deaths reported.
- A 76-day lockdown in Wuhan, China, due to cornavirus has ended. Queues of people looking to leave began before midnight, with 276 passenger trains and 111 flights set to leave the city throughout the day.
- The Globe’s Eric Reguly has been reporting from one of the hardest-hit nations in Europe. Here’s how a historic lockdown has affected his life, and those of millions of Italians.
- India is considering plans to seal off coronavirus hot spots in Delhi, Mumbai and parts of the south while easing restrictions elsewhere as a way out of a three-week lockdown that has caused deep economic distress, officials said.
- The United Nations food agency said it needed $130 million to fund emergency operations in Zimbabwe until August and prevent a catastrophe in the southern African nation, as climate- and recession-induced food shortages deepened – and the coronavirus pandemic has added to the pressure.
- In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is considering changing its guidelines for self-isolation to make it easier for those who have been exposed to someone with the coronavirus to return to work if they are without symptoms.
- African leaders are rallying to the defence of the World Health Organization and its Ethiopian director a day after U.S. President Donald Trump launched a verbal attack on the international health body’s handling of the pandemic.
- Watch: Senior international correspondent Mark MacKinnon reports from the usually bustling Westminster Bridge over the River Thames as the U.K.’s coronavirus lockdown brings London almost to a halt.
Coronavirus and business
Air Canada, the largest passenger airline in the country, will use the government’s wage-subsidy program to “retain or return” 16,500 of its workers.
- The massive corporation cut its work force in half on March 30.
- “Air Canada intends to adopt the [subsidy] for the benefit of its 36,000 Canadian-based employee workforce” to June 6, the company said.
Yesterday, another corporate giant, the parent company of Tim Hortons said it would not apply for the benefit for its corporate staff, arguing the aid is intended for small businesses.
Question: How do you stay safe in close quarters?
Answer: For those living in large cities, especially those in apartment buildings or condo clusters, physical distancing is often not easy.
Isaac Bogoch, an infectious-disease expert based out of Toronto General Hospital, says to use common sense in high-traffic areas such as condo lobbies, elevators and shared laundry rooms.
Natasha Salt, the director of infection prevention and control at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto, recommends taking the stairs when possible.
With apartment buildings brimming with high-touch surfaces, such as doorknobs, elevator buttons, garbage chutes, the front desk and mailroom areas, Bogoch and Salt stress maintaining good hand hygiene. – The Canadian Press
More Globe reporting and opinion
- Are you equipped to care for older adults at home? How do you ensure residents can return to a nursing home once it is safe? Here is what to to consider if you’re thinking of pulling a loved one out of long-term care.
- Personal support workers are on the front lines of the fight against COVID-19 in nursing homes. It’s a job that is unregulated and poorly paid, with part-time schedules that often force the mostly female workers to take shifts at two or three facilities to eke out a living.
- Cindy Blackstock and Isadore Day: By allocating less than 1 per cent of its pandemic funding to First Nations, the federal government is creating second-class communities.
- Simon Usherwood: “If you were ever going to have your head of government out of action, almost certainly you would not pick a time like this. And yet, here we are.”
- Gary Mason: “Mr. Trump did do one positive thing: he helped unify Canadian political leaders in this country’s fight against COVID-19. In fact, the response to the pandemic here has, for the most part, ushered in a most welcome post-partisanship period.”
An act of kindness
Every night in neighborhoods across the country, Canadians step out onto porches and balconies to cheer the efforts of our health-care workers who are battling the coronavirus pandemic. Do you have a message you’d like to share with those on the frontline? Share it here.
Vancouver’s Burrard hotel gives hospital workers a place to rest
Usually the Burrard hotel in downtown Vancouver hosts design-focused couples looking for an independent hotel with a mid-century modern aesthetic. These days, their guests just want a place to nap.
A new partnership between Providence Health Care, the agency that manages hospital staffing for St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver, and the boutique hotel located directly across the street from the hospital, means that medical staff now have access to hotel rooms for shift breaks and more.
The Burrard is the first place the hospital called after businesses in the community asked how they could help, says Shaf Hussain, Providence Health Care’s vice-president of public affairs and communications.
“We had an extraordinary request,” Hussain says of the ask. “We realized staff needed a place to shower and change before going home. In most cases, they just needed a couple of hours to rest, recharge and recalibrate at the end of their shifts. The Burrard helped make that work for us. And for them to take this on has been wonderful.
The resulting “Relax Rooms” are regular hotel rooms stripped of the decorative accouterments you’re used to – decorative pillows, throws and knick knacks – to provide the basics in a well-sanitized environment.
🎭For the theatre geek:
What you can watch (or learn!) from Canadian comedy, dance and theatre stars online this week.
- Second City Toronto is offerings its improv classes online. Book now for a class in May now or take a drop-in.
- The National Ballet of Canada has some classes online for free through the company’s Instagram page.
- Or take your spot on the couch: Second City is also live-streaming a show, Improv House Party, a few nights a week. And catch Colin Mochrie (of Whose Line is it Anyway? fame) nightly on The Howland Company’s Instagram page.