Coronavirus: What’s happening in Canada and around the world on Saturday

The latest:

  • Trudeau announces funding for food banks, businesses that can’t make rent.
  • ‘All trends are going in the wrong direction,’ Ontario Premier Doug Ford says.
  • India’s tally of COVID-19 cases approaches 7 million.
  • Trump to speak from White House balcony after completing COVID-19 treatment.
  • Spain invokes state of emergency for Madrid lockdown.

Canadians began the Thanksgiving long weekend amid a resurgence of COVID-19 cases that has prompted more restrictions in several hot spots.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau warned Friday the nation was “at a tipping point in this pandemic” as he released new projections that suggested the death toll in Canada could reach 9,800 by the end of next week, a situation he says requires  immediate efforts by Canadians to curtail outings and gatherings.

“Not only is the second wave underway, yesterday we hit the highest daily recorded cases — well above what we saw this spring,” Trudeau said as he also announced emergency funds for food banks, groups serving vulnerable communities, and businesses that can’t make rent.

WATCH | Canadians find different ways to celebrate Thanksgiving during the pandemic:

Canadians talk about how they will celebrate this Thanksgiving weekend during a pandemic. 1:52

“I know this is discouraging, especially going into Thanksgiving weekend,” he said. “But remember this: when things were at their bleakest during the first wave, Canadians pulled together and flattened the curve.”

As of 5:00 a.m. ET on Saturday, Canada had 178,117 confirmed or presumptive coronavirus cases. Provinces and territories listed 149,524 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 9,585.

New modelling suggested there could be as many as 197,830 cases by Oct. 17, with cases rising most rapidly in Quebec, Ontario and Alberta.

Earlier Friday, Trudeau discussed a range of measures to boost the social safety net while also touting 378,000 jobs added in September when many Canadians were able to return to work as children returned to school.

WATCH | Ottawa fails to use 50,000 volunteer contact tracers:

Ottawa put out the call for volunteer contact tracers months ago but hasn’t used any of the 50,000 people who signed up. 1:59

The unemployment rate fell to nine per cent Friday, but Statistics Canada noted it was still taking mothers longer to return to the workforce than fathers. Statistic Canada says the unemployment rate would have been 11.9 per cent in September had it included in its calculation people who wanted a job but didn’t look for work.

There were 1.8 million Canadians unemployed in September, with about 1.5 million of them looking for work.

In February, Canada’s unemployment rate was 5.6 per cent, before COVID-19 walloped the economy and pushed it up to a high of 13.7 per cent in May, the highest rate on record. It has fallen steadily in each of the four months since then.

What’s happening in Canada

Ontario notched yet another daily record with 939 new cases on Friday, 336 of them in Toronto, 150 in Peel Region and 126 in Ottawa. But five new deaths and a worrying increase in hospitalizations to 225 from 192 patients brought in tighter restrictions in the three hot spots.

Premier Doug Ford closed gyms, movie theatres and casinos and banned indoor dining, and asked people to stay home as much as possible for at least 28 days.

WATCH | Ontario imposes stricter measures in Toronto, Ottawa and Peel Region:

Out of options and out of time, Ontario is moving back to COVID-19 shutdowns. They’re targeted to the regions and sectors most impacted by the virus. But for more than five million Ontarians in Toronto, Peel region and Ottawa, that could be cold comfort. 2:45

“All trends are going in the wrong direction. Left unchecked, we risk worst-case scenarios first seen in Italy and New York City,” said Ford, noting the number of contacts for every confirmed case has exploded, “sometimes in the thousands.”

“Hospitalizations, and the number of people in intensive care have increased by 250 per cent. If current trends continue, Ontario ICU, intensive care unit, admissions are predicted to more than triple in less than 30 days. Our hospitals will be overwhelmed and we can’t let this happen.”

In Quebec, more than 1,000 infections were confirmed for the seventh time in eight days.

Premier François Legault asked Quebecers to make sacrifices and avoid socializing over the long weekend as 433 more people landed in hospital — up eight patients from the day before, with 67 people in intensive care, one less than the day before.

Harsh warnings were also issued in New Brunswick, where surges in Moncton and Campbellton pushed each region into an orange alert level and forced the closures of gyms, cinemas, casinos, spas and barbershops.

N.B. public health officials reported 13 new cases of COVID-19, including one involving a Campbellton high school that was temporarily closed for cleaning and contact tracing. Visits to the Campbellton Regional Hospital were also cancelled as 18 employees remained in isolation either because they had COVID-19 or were close contacts of someone who had.

COVID-19 also continued to spike in Manitoba, where officials reported 84 new cases — 64 of them in Winnipeg — and three more deaths, two at Winnipeg long-term care homes.

In the North, Northwest Territories announced that travellers and employees will be required to wear a mask while inside the territory’s airport terminal buildings, starting next Tuesday.  

What’s happening around the world

According to Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, the global total of confirmed coronavirus cases stands at more than 36.6 million. More than one million people have died, while more than 25.5 million have recovered.

According to a World Health Organization situation report by region, the Americas remain the most affected, accounting for nearly half of the global tally, with more than 17.51 million cases. Following the Americas are Southeast Asia and Europe, with more than 7.74 million and 6.67 million reported cases, respectively.

The United States remains the worst-hit country in the world, with the highest caseload and death toll. The nationwide caseload amounted to 7,656,064, with the death toll reaching 213,532, as of 6:30 p.m. ET Friday, according to Johns Hopkins University.

In the U.S., the number of new infections remains stubbornly high, with roughly 47,000 cases regularly recorded on a daily basis in the past week, the highest level since mid-August. There are 30 U.S. states reporting a rise in new cases while only two of the 50 states — Alabama and Hawaii — reported a decline.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday that the U.S. death toll could climb to 233,000 by the end of October. And experts said that it will be more difficult to control and prevent the virus as the country enters the fall and winter seasons.

The second U.S. presidential debate between Democrat Joe Biden and Republican President Donald Trump has been cancelled. The Oct. 15 debate was scheduled to happen virtually due to safety concerns, but Trump has declined to participate. However, the president is still planning to hold his first rally since his COVID-19 diagnosis, in Miami, Fla., on Monday.

WATCH | Epidemiologist on risks of Trump returning to campaign trail:

Mandatory masks in New Brunswick begin today. And with an outbreak in the Moncton area as well as cases in the Campbellton area, residents are asked to keep Thanksgiving gatherings as small as possible and celebrate outside if weather allows, says Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Jennifer Russell. 1:44

Trump is expected to speak from the White House balcony to a group supporters below on Saturday afternoon, according to a White House official. It would be his first public event since he tested positive for the coronavirus, a diagnosis made public by the president in a tweet posted early on Friday, Oct. 2.

In India, the confirmed coronavirus cases are nearing seven million, with another 73,272 reported in the past 24 hours.

The country’s Health Ministry on Saturday also reported 926 additional deaths, taking total fatalities to 107,416. The number of deaths on Saturday remained below 1,000 for the seventh straight day.

People eat at a mall food court in Mumbai, India, after it was reopened on Thursday. (Francis Mascarenhas/Reuters)

India is seeing a slower pace of coronavirus spread since mid-September, when the daily infections touched a record of 97,894 cases. It is averaging more than 70,000 cases daily so far this month, while the recovery rate has exceeded 85 per cent.

But health experts have warned that congregations during major festivals later this month and in November have the potential to increase the spread of the virus.

In Germany, Berlin’s legendary 24-hour bars and clubs are now facing a closing time of 11 p.m., starting Saturday. The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany has increased by 4,721 on Saturday to 319,381, data from the Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases showed.

Spain’s Socialist-led government invoked a state of emergency on Friday to impose a partial lockdown on Madrid, one of Europe’s worst COVID-19 hot spots, after a court had struck down the measures, state TV said.


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