Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Sunday said the number of coronavirus cases in Canada “is trending in the right direction,” but urged people to stick to physical distancing requirements.
He promised more support for isolated communities in northern Quebec amid the COVID-19 outbreak, following a request from the provincial government.
Members of the Canadian Rangers, a military reserve force in northern Canada, will be providing the extra assistance; Trudeau did not specify what specifically the Rangers will be doing or how many members of the force will be deployed.
The prime minister also criticized the opposition Conservatives as “irresponsible” for demanding more live sittings in Parliament.
WATCH | Conservative criticism of coronavirus response heats up:
The hiatus in Parliament was scheduled to end tomorrow, unless the Liberal government and opposition parties can agree on an alternative arrangement.
The Liberals reached a tentative agreement with the NDP and the Bloc Québécois, involving one in-person and two virtual sittings each week.
But Andrew Scheer and his Conservatives are pushing for three in-person sittings per week to hold government accountable for its pandemic response.
Trudeau’s daily briefing, lighter on specific announcements than others this week, came as health ministers from the Group of 20 major economies held a virtual meeting on Sunday to work on a joint response to the pandemic.
Member countries will be joined by leaders from Spain, Singapore, Jordan and Switzerland as well as international and regional organizations, including the World Health Organization and the World Bank, a G20 statement said, as they look to calibrate responses to the pandemic.
Some countries hit hard by the coronavirus outbreak, including South Korea, Spain, Italy and Iran, are planning to relax some restrictions on movement and commerce as new infection numbers drop.
On Sunday, Trudeau said the government is not currently calling for an investigation into China’s handling of the virus, as other Western nations, such as Australia, have done.
He also said that businesses important for economic recovery may be exposed to predatory foreign investors and that the government will closely watch foreign takeover bids of Canadian firms at this vulnerable time.
On Sunday, Trudeau said decisions on restarting economy and on health-care options are better made at a provincial level.
“We have a tremendous amount of confidence that provinces are going to be able to continue to manage their health-care systems appropriately,” Trudeau said.
Trudeau’s messages of collaboration among provinces contrasted with the situation in the United States. As protests against mandatory closures were held this week, U.S. President Donald Trump, on Twitter, urged supporters to “liberate” three states led by Democratic governors.
WATCH | ‘Being a new mom is already scary’: Having a baby during the pandemic:
Trudeau’s government has so far held off on defining guidelines for provinces looking to lift restrictions, as Trump did for U.S. governors earlier this week.
The U.S. has the most COVID-19 cases in the world, with more than 700,000 positive tests. Globally, there are more than 2.3 million confirmed cases and more than 161,000 people have died from COVID-19, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
Separately, Lady Gaga, Paul McCartney, The Rolling Stones, Beyoncé and other celebrities took part in a global special of music, comedy and personal stories in what Gaga called a “love letter” to front-line workers battling the coronavirus pandemic on Saturday evening.
Here’s a look at what’s happening in the provinces and territories
According to a CBC tally updated Sunday evening, Canada has more than 35,000 presumptive and confirmed cases; 1,647 deaths, not including two Canadians who died overseas; and more than 11,800 recoveries.
British Columbia is enabling police to issue $2,000 dollar fines to people engaged in price gouging, the reselling of medical supplies, and for those who fail to self-quarantine after returning from travel. B.C.’s Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth made the announcement Sunday morning, saying enforcement will come from municipalities, including bylaw officers, cannabis inspectors and others. Read more about what’s happening in B.C.
In Alberta, three workers at a Calgary Co-op location have COVID-19, though the store says there is no evidence the employees contracted the illness at work. Chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw attributed the recent rise in cases partially to a spike in testing. Read more about what’s happening in Alberta.
WATCH | Alta. health workers concerned masks shipped from China are substandard:
In Saskatchewan, La Loche implemented a curfew after the province reported its first COVID-19 at a long-term care home in the village about 600 kilometres north of Saskatoon. Mayor Robert St. Pierre says the curfew was put in place to ensure people are practising proper physical distancing and are respecting public health orders, such as those prohibiting gatherings of more than 10 people. Read more about what’s happening in Saskatchewan.
Manitoba reported no new cases on Sunday. However, one more person is in intensive care, bringing the provincial total of people in ICUs to five. Read more about what’s happening in Manitoba.
In Ontario, the number of long-term care homes experiencing outbreaks has climbed to 112. Additionally, the province reported 568 new cases and 334 recoveries on Sunday, meaning Ontario now has 10,578 cases and 5,209 recoveries, along with at least 573 deaths. Read more about what’s happening in Ontario.
In Quebec, food banks are under strain as businesses continue to close in the province and unemployment escalates. Armand Kayolo, executive director of food bank Moisson Outaouais, says demand has doubled in rural areas of Quebec, increased by 50 per cent provincewide, and the pandemic has created a shortage of volunteers. Read more about what’s happening in Quebec.
New Brunswick reported no new cases on Sunday, as the number of recovered patients continues to rise.The total number of infections is steady at 118, according to the provincial tally. Five more people recovered from the disease in the last 24 hours, bringing the total number of recoveries to 92. The total number of active cases is 26. Read more about what’s happening in N.B.
Nova Scotia reported two new deaths, bringing the provincial total to nine. Both patients were residents of the A Northwood long-term care home in Halifax, where another three deaths had been reported the previous day. According to Unifor, the union that represents workers at Northwood, the site is moving about 20 residents to a hotel. Read more about what’s happening in N.S.
Nova Scotia has 21,120 negative test results, 675 positives and nine deaths. Eleven individuals are currently in hospital, four of those in ICU. Two hundred individuals have now recovered. Stay up-to-date at <a href=”https://t.co/77ByiLbvci”>https://t.co/77ByiLbvci</a>. <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/COVID19NS?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#COVID19NS</a> <a href=”https://t.co/HCiThKEFi9″>pic.twitter.com/HCiThKEFi9</a>
In Prince Edward Island, fishermen are voting on whether to delay the opening of lobster season. The vote to delay is a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and its associated health risks. The fishermen’s association also said it is talking to the federal government about a possible compensation package to fishers for possible lost income. Read more about what’s happening on P.E.I.
Newfoundland and Labrador did not report any new cases Sunday, but did add two recoveries to the provincial total, bringing it to 191. Read more about what’s happening in N.L., including the story of a hotel offering free isolation rooms.
A Northwest Territories task force — launched to enforce legally-binding public health rules such social distancing outdooors and a ban on indoor gatherings — have responded to several complaints, but has not fined anyone or brought cases to the courts so far. Read more about what’s happening across Canada’s North.
Here’s a look at what’s happening in the U.S.
From The Associated Press and Reuters, updated at 2:30 p.m. ET
The Trump administration and Congress are nearing an agreement on an aid package of up to $450 billion US to boost a small-business loan program that has run out of money and add funds for hospitals and COVID-19 testing.
With small-business owners reeling during a coronavirus outbreak that has shuttered much economic activity, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said he was hopeful a deal that could pass Congress quickly and get the Small Business Administration program back up by midweek.
“I think we’re very close to a deal today. I’m hopeful that we can get that done,” he said Sunday.
Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer, a Democrat from New York, said he believed a deal could be reached late Sunday or early Monday. “We still have a few more details to deal with,” he said.
Under the proposed deal, the government’s Paycheck Protection Program for small businesses would get roughly $300 billion US, according to Mnuchin. The program has been swamped by businesses applying for loans and reached its appropriations limit last Thursday after approving nearly 1.7 million loans. That left thousands of small businesses in limbo as they sought help. An additional $50 billion US in the evolving deal would go for disaster loans.
About $75 billion would go to U.S. hospitals, those straining under a ballooning coronavirus caseload as well as those struggling to stay financially afloat after suspending elective surgeries during the pandemic. About $25 billion would be added for COVID-19 testing, something states have said was urgently needed. The money for hospitals and testing were priorities sought by congressional Democrats.
Meanwhile, hard-hit New York continued to see hospitalizations decline to 16,000 from a high of 18,000, and the number of patients being kept alive by ventilators also fell. There were 507 new deaths, down from a high of more than 700 a day.
“If the data holds and if this trend holds, we are past the high point and all indications at this point are that we are on a descent,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said at a daily briefing, while urging residents to continue physical distancing. “We showed you can control the beast. But it’s only half time. We still have to make sure we keep the beast down.”
The region of Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C., is still seeing increasing cases. New Jersey reported on Sunday that its new cases rose by nearly 3,900, the most in more than two weeks. Boston and Chicago are also emerging hot spots with recent surges in cases and deaths.
WATCH | Lockdown protests pop up in U.S.:
The governors of Michigan and Ohio on Sunday said they could double or triple their testing capacity if the federal government helped them acquire more swabs and reagents, chemicals needed as part of the testing process.
Several states, including Ohio, Texas and Florida, have said they aim to reopen parts of their economies, perhaps by May 1 or even sooner. Demonstrations to demand an end to stay-at-home measures that have pummelled the U.S. economy have erupted in a few spots in Texas, Wisconsin and the capitols of Ohio, Minnesota, Michigan and Virginia. More than 22 million Americans have filed for unemployment benefits in the past month.
The United States has by far the world’s largest number of confirmed coronavirus cases, with more than 740,000 infections and over 40,000 deaths.
Here’s a look at what’s happening around the world
From The Associated Press, updated at 7:15 p.m. ET
Italy on Sunday registered the lowest number of deaths of people with coronavirus in a month, with the death toll of 433 in the past 24 hours. That brings the national total to 23,660, still the second-highest in the world after the United States. The number of positives rose by just over 3,000 to 178,972 — the lowest increase in more than a month.
Because of the lack of comprehensive testing, health authorities estimate that the number of cases and deaths have been significantly underestimated.
Pressure on Italian hospitals continues to ease, but by just 26 beds on Sunday, with 25,033 people hospitalized and 2,635 in intensive care.
Spain’s death toll rose by 410 on Sunday, the lowest daily increase in about a month as officials say “data confirms the breaking of the curve.”
“It is still a difficult stage, but we are going in the right direction,” Health Minister Salvador Illa said on Sunday, noting Spain is conducting around 40,000 tests daily.
Spain has more than 20,000 deaths — the third-highest toll worldwide after the United States and Italy — and more than 195,000 cases.
Britain reported 596 more coronavirus-related hospital deaths on Sunday to raise the total to 16,060. The health department’s latest daily number is down by 292 from the previous day’s 888 deaths. Britain posted a record daily death toll of 980 just over a week ago. Sunday’s count is the lowest since April 6 when 439 deaths were reported.
However, an industry group estimates thousands of deaths related to COVID-19 in British nursing homes have not been reflected in official figures. The National Care Forum represents non-profit nursing home providers and says its research suggests 4,040 people have died after contracting the illness in British nursing homes.
The figures are based on data from nursing and residential care homes looking after 30,000 people, which is 7.4 per cent of Britain’s nursing home population. They reported 299 confirmed or suspected deaths from the new coronavirus during the week ending April 13, which is triple the number in the preceding month.
France will make an exception to its strict virus confinement measures to allow families to visit relatives in nursing homes starting Monday. More than 7,000 people believed to have the virus have died in French nursing homes, without family at their sides because of virus protection measures.
France banned all nursing home visits early in the pandemic, and many residents have been confined to their rooms for weeks, because the virus has been especially dangerous for the elderly. Several other European countries hard-hit by the virus have imposed similar bans.
No more than two family members will be allowed, and they will not be able to touch their elderly loved ones.
Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro on Sunday again attended a public rally and attacked lockdown measures meant to fight the virus, as supporters of the right-wing leader joined political motorcades around the country.
Bolsonaro, who was not wearing a face mask, addressed a crowd of a few hundred in Brasilia, many of them wearing Brazil’s yellow-and-green soccer jersey. In his brief address, which was punctuated by the president coughing, Bolsonaro called those in attendance “patriots” and said they were helping defend individual freedoms that he said are under threat by lockdowns imposed by authorities at the state level.
Protesters in Brasilia chanted slogans against the country’s Supreme Court, which has upheld state-organized lockdowns, and against Congress, whose opposition lawmakers have also defended quarantines. Some of the protesters also called for a return to authoritarian measures used during Brazil’s last military regime, known as AI-5.
Brazil has more cases of COVID-19 than any other Latin American country. On Sunday, confirmed cases rose to 38,654 with 2,462 deaths.
China reported just 16 news cases and no deaths on Sunday, but authorities remained on guard against a major resurgence and monitored the spread of cases in the border province of Heilongjiang.
The northeastern province has seen a rise in infected travellers arriving from Russia in recent weeks, and is now battling to contain a flare-up in local cases. Heilongjiang has reported 39 new local cases in the past 10 days. To help contain the outbreak, the Heilongjiang government is cautioning against family gatherings, cross infections at hospitals and slow reporting in epidemic investigations, according to the provincial government’s website.
Elsewhere in mainland China, all areas in central Hubei province including Wuhan, the epicentre of the outbreak in China, are now considered low risk.
Authorities say the total confirmed cases across mainland China stands at 82,735 with 4,632 deaths.
Lebanon’s Interior Ministry has announced that the nighttime curfew will be shortened by one hour to start at 8 p.m. Sunday’s announcement comes days before the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan when observant Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset. Nearly two thirds of the Mediterranean country’s five million people are Muslims, while a third are Christians.
Lebanon imposed a nighttime curfew last month in an attempt to limit the spread of the new coronavirus. Most businesses, schools and universities have been closed for weeks. The ministry’s decision that will go into effect Monday and restaurants will be allowed to deliver food until the start of the curfew.
Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa extended the country’s lockdown until May 3, warning of an upsurge in coronavirus infections. Mnangagwa said mines and the manufacturing sector will be allowed to reopen to help the country’s stalled economy. The south-central African country has been on lockdown for three weeks and it was to end at midnight.
Zimbabwe has so far recorded 25 cases of COVID-19 and three deaths. But like most African countries, it is bracing for a dramatic increase in cases as WHO and other researchers predict a steep rise in cases in a continent plagued by weak health systems and shortages of water necessary to prevent spread of the virus.
As of Sunday, 52 of Africa’s 54 countries had recorded cases of COVID-19, with 21,000 cases and 1,055 deaths.
Turkey’s health minister has said a total of 2,017 people have died of the novel coronavirus, with 127 new deaths in the past 24 hours.
Fahrettin Koca, in figures tweeted Sunday, said 3,977 new infections were confirmed in the past day, bringing the total number to 86,306.
The minister also said 11,976 people have recovered so far in Turkey, including 1,523 in the past 24 hours.
Slovakia will test all employees in the country’s nursing homes for the new coronavirus because of the growing number of infected people in those facilities.
Prime Minister Igor Matovic says 40,000 people will be given rapid tests to determine which of the homes have been hit by the virus. Full tests that give more precise results will follow.
Of the 12 people who have died of COVID-19 in Slovakia, seven were clients in a nursing home in the town of Pezinok located just northeast of the capital of Bratislava. Government figures released Sunday show Slovakia has 1,161 people infected with the new coronavirus.