- Ontario’s daily COVID-19 count nears 500; Quebec adds almost 900 new cases.
- Staff member of Quebec long-term care home hit hard by COVD-19 in spring tests positive.
- Australian state of Victoria is easing COVID-19 restrictions.
- India’s daily increase in COVID-19 cases continues downward trend.
The Canada emergency response benefit (CERB) expires on Sunday, ending the income support program the federal government rolled out during the COVID-19 pandemic to help people with payouts of up to $2,000 a month.
The government says about 8.8 million Canadians have received the benefit since April. Roughly half of the four million Canadians still getting the payments through Service Canada and who are eligible for employment insurance are expected to be transitioned to a modified EI program.
The changes will be in place for one year, with three additional programs proposed for those who do not qualify for EI.
On Monday, Parliament is set to debate a bill to implement those new recovery benefits.
The New Democrats and the governing Liberals reached a deal on Saturday that delivers two weeks of paid sick leave for people affected by the pandemic under the Canada recovery sickness benefit.
In return, the NDP is promising to vote in favour of the throne speech, giving the Liberals the backing they need to survive a confidence vote and avoid an election.
What’s happening in the rest of Canada
Coronavirus infections, meanwhile, continue to surge in Canada’s two largest provinces.
As of 2 p.m. ET on Sunday, Canada had 153,059 confirmed or presumptive coronavirus cases. Provinces and territories listed 131,059 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 9,307.
1/2 To date, labs across 🇨🇦 have tested 7,049,458 people for <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/COVID19?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#COVID19</a>, w an average ~2.1% positive overall, for a rate of 187,539 people tested per million population in Canada. <a href=”https://t.co/jrZH3tHRUo”>https://t.co/jrZH3tHRUo</a>
Quebec reported 896 new cases on Sunday — up from 698 the previous day — and its highest jump in intensive care-unit patients since late April with an increase of 12 patients. A total of 18 new hospitalizations were reported Saturday.
In Dorval, in Montreal’s West Island, a long-term care home that was hit hard by the first wave of the pandemic, with 38 dead in less than a month, has put residents in isolation after a staff member tested positive for COVID-19.
The regional health authority said staff at CHSLD Herron learned of the positive case Saturday morning and quickly isolated and tested all patients and employees who had been in contact with them.
Ontario added 491 more cases on Sunday, up from 435 on Saturday. The Ontario Health Ministry also reported that a total of 112 people are hospitalized, a number that is on the rise. On Saturday, the province reported that there were 100 people in hospital.
The majority of newly confirmed infections of the novel coronavirus are concentrated in three public health units: Toronto, Peel Region and Ottawa.
In Wasaga Beath, Ontario Provincial Police say enforcing physical distancing at a large car meet on Saturday was an impossible task after more than 1,000 car enthusiasts flocked to the beach town for an evening of street racing and stunts. Social media posts from the scene captured footage of the gathering:
Newfoundland and Labrador reported one new case on Sunday, the first in the province since Sept. 18. The province says the case is travel-related, as the man had returned home to the province from Manitoba, and he has been self-isolating since his arrival and following public health guidelines.
Manitoba reported 51 new cases on Sunday, including 36 in the Winnipeg health region. Starting Monday, people in Winnipeg and 17 surrounding communities will have to wear masks in all public indoor spaces and cap gatherings at 10 as the region moves to the orange — or “restricted” — level under the province’s pandemic response system.
What’s happening around the world
According to Johns Hopkins University, the global total of confirmed coronavirus cases stands at more than 32.9 million. More than 995,000 people have died, while over 22.7 million have recovered.
Australia‘s second-largest city, Melbourne, has further eased lockdown restrictions imposed after a surge in coronavirus cases, allowing most children to return to school next month and sending more than 125,000 people back to work.
Melbourne and surrounding parts of rural Victoria state were placed under strict “Level 4” lockdowns on Aug. 2, shuttering schools and non-essential businesses, imposing a nighttime curfew and prohibiting public gatherings.
The restrictions were scheduled to be eased Sunday if the rolling 14-day average of new infections was between 30 and 50 cases. With 12 new infections reported on Saturday and 16 on Sunday, the 14-day average has dropped to 22.1.
That allowed Victoria state Premier Daniel Andrews to confirm the 9 p.m. to 5.a.m curfew will be lifted from 5 a.m. Monday, though residents still cannot travel more than five kilometres from home. Public gatherings of up to five people from a maximum of two households will be allowed.
A further easing could take place on Oct. 19 if the average falls below five new cases per day. Masks remain mandatory.
India has registered 88,600 new confirmed coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours in a declining trend with recoveries exceeding daily infections.
The country’s Health Ministry on Sunday also reported an additional 1,124 deaths for a total of 94,503.
The average of new cases has fallen by about 7,000 daily in the past week after reaching a record number of 97,894 on Sept. 16.
Still, India is expected to become the pandemic’s worst-hit country within weeks, surpassing the United States, where more than seven million people have been infected. Sunday’s surge has raised the country’s virus tally to over 5.9 million.
India, however, also has the highest number of recovered patients in the world, according to Johns Hopkins. Its recovery rate stands at about 82 per cent.
In the Netherlands, the number of new coronavirus infections hit a daily record of 2,995 on Sunday, data released by health authorities showed.
Coronavirus infections in the country have reached record levels almost every day since mid-September. The previous high of 2,777 was reported on Friday, and the total number of reported cases passed 100,000 earlier last week.
Health authorities reported eight new deaths related to COVID-19, taking the death toll to 6,374.