The latest coronavirus news from Canada and around the world Saturday. This file will be updated throughout the day. Web links to longer stories if available.
7:00 a.m.: Cases of COVID-19 in reopened schools are inevitable, say Toronto public health officials, who are cautioning parents not to expect a shutdown of the entire school whenever a student or staff member tests positive.
“We expect to get cases related to schools,” said Dr. Vinita Dubey, the city’s associate medical officer of health, adding Toronto Public Health will take a “conservative” approach in how it handles cases in schools to ensure the risk of transmission is limited.
While TPH and school officials will be tasked with preventing the spread of COVID-19 when hundreds of thousands of children return to school in September, how those efforts will be communicated to the wider school community and the broader public is not yet clear.
6:23 a.m.: Thousands of British tourists beat a hasty retreat from France, packing out planes, trains and ferries to return to the U.K. by the early hours of Saturday morning to avoid a mandatory 14-day quarantine at home.
On Friday, many British travellers in the country opted to cut short their vacations to meet the 4 a.m. Saturday deadline that had only been announced the night before. Anyone arriving back from France from Saturday must stay at home for two weeks to make sure they cannot spread the coronavirus beyond their households if they have become infected.
The exodus was prompted late Thursday when the British government took France off a list of nations exempt from traveller quarantine requirements because of a sharp rise in new coronavirus infections there.
6:16 a.m.: Only a small fraction of the 40,000 new ventilators Canada ordered for hospitals last spring have already been delivered but several companies involved say their production lines will start delivering the products faster in the next few weeks.
The promise of new arrivals comes as Canada’s chief public health officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, warned Friday that a fall surge of COVID-19 cases could overwhelm the health-care system, including its supply of critical care beds and ventilators.
“What we know based on what we learned from other countries and cities that had a devastating impact in that initial wave, if you exceeded that capacity the mortality goes up really, really high,” she said.
5:52 a.m.: South Korea on Saturday announced stronger social distancing restrictions for its greater capital area where a surge in COVID-19 cases has threatened to erase the hard-won gains against the virus.
The two-week measures starting Sunday will allow authorities in Seoul and towns in neighbouring Gyeonggi Province to shut down high-risk facilities such as nightclubs, karaoke rooms, movie theatres and buffet restaurants if they fail to properly enforce preventive measures, including distancing, temperatures checks, keeping customer lists and requiring masks.
5:52 a.m.: India’s confirmed coronavirus cases have crossed 2.5 million with another biggest single-day spike of 65,002 in the past 24 hours. India is behind the United States and Brazil in the number of cases.
The Health Ministry on Saturday also reported another 996 deaths for a total of 49,036. The average daily reported cases jumped from around 15,000 in the first week of July to more than 50,000 at the beginning of August. The Health Ministry said the rise shows the extent of testing with 800,000 carried out in a single day. But experts say India needs to pursue testing more vigorously.
India’s two-month lockdown imposed nationwide in late March kept infections low. But it has eased and is now largely being enforced in high-risk areas. The new cases spiked after India reopened shops and manufacturing and allowed hundreds of thousands of migrant workers to return to their homes from coronavirus-hit regions. Subways, schools and movie theatres remain closed.
5:52 a.m.: China’s government reported 22 new confirmed coronavirus cases on Saturday. Eight were acquired locally, including seven in the northwestern region of Xinjiang, the National Health Commission reported. The rest were found in travellers who arrived from abroad.
The raised the number of confirmed cases on China’s mainland, where the pandemic began in December, to 84,808, with 4,634 deaths.
4:01 a.m.: Plans are being made across the country for how to safely send students back to school in the fall as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.
Click here to read what the various provinces have said about getting kids back to classes.
10:33 p.m. Friday: The Canadian Armed Forces says minor problems remain in some Ontario long-term care homes they were deployed to earlier in the COVID-19 pandemic.
But critics say this does not mean the homes have a clean bill of health.
The military’s concerns outlined in a report dated Aug. 4 and released Friday include worker skills and standards of practice in the seven nursing homes.