Today’s coronavirus news: Ford says rapid test kits being sent across province; Ontario reporting 1,009 cases, 14 deaths but say numbers are an underestimate
The latest coronavirus news from Canada and around the world Tuesday. This file will be updated throughout the day. Web links to longer stories if available.5:48 p.m.: As patrons packed Adamson Barbecue in Etobicoke on Tuesday, proudly defying rules to not eat indoors during the lockdown, city enforcement and Toronto police officers did nothing to stop the long line of customers from making its way inside.Owner Adam Skelly vowed on social media to open on Tuesday as normal, creating the first major public test of new COVID-19 measures that came into effect Monday.Restaurants are allowed to offer takeout and delivery, but are not allowed to have indoor or outdoor diners in Toronto under lockdown measures imposed by the province for at least the next 28 days.Skelly’s restaurant stayed open for its regular hours, until 4 p.m., when the city announced that Dr. Eileen de Villa, the city’s medical officer of health, had ordered it closed under the provincial Health Protection and Promotion Act.Read the full story by Star reporter Jennifer Pagliaro here: Toronto public health shuts down Etobicoke restaurant for allowing indoor dining in defiance of COVID-19 measures5:46 p.m.: Canada will not receive any of the millions of prepurchased vaccine doses the federal government has ordered unless and until Health Canada approves the vaccine’s safety, says the minister in charge of vaccine purchase contracts.Contracts signed with the most promising COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers to date do not provide for delivery to Canada or long-term storage here while regulatory approval is still pending, Public Services and Procurement Minister Anita Anand said Tuesday.And even if the federal independent regulators swiftly approve any of the three vaccine candidates it is currently reviewing, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau acknowledged that Canada will likely be behind countries like the U.S., Germany and Britain “and others” where those vaccine manufacturers are based.Read the full story by Star reporter Tonda MacCharles here: COVID-19 vaccines won’t ship to Canada until they are approved for use here5:44 p.m.: Ontario is rolling out almost 1.3 million rapid-testing kits to help diagnose and contain COVID-19 outbreaks more quickly in hospitals, community hot spots, nursing homes and remote areas.The long-awaited move follows delivery of the tests from the federal government, with about 1.5 million more expected by the end of December.Producing results in as little as 20 minutes, the tests are “an extra layer of defence” in screening for the virus, Premier Doug Ford said Tuesday as the province reported an unusually low 1,009 new cases of COVID-19 and 14 deaths.That’s down from a record 1,589 new infections, but the Ministry of Health said the numbers were skewed by differences in the times they were counted. The seven-day average is 1,395, near its all-time high set last week.“With the numbers where they are, testing is crucial,” Ford said at Humber River Hospital, which is one of 22 getting the rapid test kits in the coming weeks.There are 1.2 million test kits from Panbio and 98,000 Abbott ID Now tests.Read the full story here by Star reporter Rob Ferguson here: Ontario rolls out rapid tests for COVID-19. Here’s where they’re going first5:36 p.m.: A hospital in London, Ont., is discontinuing admissions to all medical units for the next seven days as it fights several COVID-19 outbreaks that have so far infected 41 patients and staff.The London Health Sciences Centre – which runs several hospitals – first declared an outbreak on the fourth floor of its University Hospital on Nov. 10. That has now expanded to include all of the facility's medical floors, the local public health unit said.Dr. Chris Mackie, the medical officer of health of Middlesex-London Health Unit, said additional measures were being implemented to ensure more people don't become sick.“The situation at University Hospital is alarming," Mackie said.“This is a reminder that COVID can and will strike anywhere if we let our guard down.”As of Tuesday, visitors and designated care partners will not be permitted inside the affected units, the health unit said.The health unit also said it was recommending testing for all patients and staff on all medical floors.There have been 34 cases associated with the outbreak that began on the fourth floor of the University Hospital, including 16 cases among hospital staff, 18 cases among patients and one death, the health unit said.It also said there are six cases associated with a smaller, second outbreak on a different floor at the same hospital.5:18 p.m.: The Saskatchewan Opposition wants Premier Scott Moe to convene a multi-sector working group to deal with the province's increasing spread of COVID-19.NDP Leader Ryan Meili wrote in a letter to the premier Tuesday that more people are falling ill and ending up in hospital because the Saskatchewan Party government's approach isn't working.Health officials on Tuesday reported 175 ne
The latest coronavirus news from Canada and around the world Tuesday. This file will be updated throughout the day. Web links to longer stories if available.
5:48 p.m.: As patrons packed Adamson Barbecue in Etobicoke on Tuesday, proudly defying rules to not eat indoors during the lockdown, city enforcement and Toronto police officers did nothing to stop the long line of customers from making its way inside.
Owner Adam Skelly vowed on social media to open on Tuesday as normal, creating the first major public test of new COVID-19 measures that came into effect Monday.
Restaurants are allowed to offer takeout and delivery, but are not allowed to have indoor or outdoor diners in Toronto under lockdown measures imposed by the province for at least the next 28 days.
Skelly’s restaurant stayed open for its regular hours, until 4 p.m., when the city announced that Dr. Eileen de Villa, the city’s medical officer of health, had ordered it closed under the provincial Health Protection and Promotion Act.
Read the full story by Star reporter Jennifer Pagliaro here: Toronto public health shuts down Etobicoke restaurant for allowing indoor dining in defiance of COVID-19 measures
5:46 p.m.: Canada will not receive any of the millions of prepurchased vaccine doses the federal government has ordered unless and until Health Canada approves the vaccine’s safety, says the minister in charge of vaccine purchase contracts.
Contracts signed with the most promising COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers to date do not provide for delivery to Canada or long-term storage here while regulatory approval is still pending, Public Services and Procurement Minister Anita Anand said Tuesday.
And even if the federal independent regulators swiftly approve any of the three vaccine candidates it is currently reviewing, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau acknowledged that Canada will likely be behind countries like the U.S., Germany and Britain “and others” where those vaccine manufacturers are based.
Read the full story by Star reporter Tonda MacCharles here: COVID-19 vaccines won’t ship to Canada until they are approved for use here
5:44 p.m.: Ontario is rolling out almost 1.3 million rapid-testing kits to help diagnose and contain COVID-19 outbreaks more quickly in hospitals, community hot spots, nursing homes and remote areas.
The long-awaited move follows delivery of the tests from the federal government, with about 1.5 million more expected by the end of December.
Producing results in as little as 20 minutes, the tests are “an extra layer of defence” in screening for the virus, Premier Doug Ford said Tuesday as the province reported an unusually low 1,009 new cases of COVID-19 and 14 deaths.
That’s down from a record 1,589 new infections, but the Ministry of Health said the numbers were skewed by differences in the times they were counted. The seven-day average is 1,395, near its all-time high set last week.
“With the numbers where they are, testing is crucial,” Ford said at Humber River Hospital, which is one of 22 getting the rapid test kits in the coming weeks.
There are 1.2 million test kits from Panbio and 98,000 Abbott ID Now tests.
Read the full story here by Star reporter Rob Ferguson here: Ontario rolls out rapid tests for COVID-19. Here’s where they’re going first
5:36 p.m.: A hospital in London, Ont., is discontinuing admissions to all medical units for the next seven days as it fights several COVID-19 outbreaks that have so far infected 41 patients and staff.
The London Health Sciences Centre – which runs several hospitals – first declared an outbreak on the fourth floor of its University Hospital on Nov. 10. That has now expanded to include all of the facility's medical floors, the local public health unit said.
Dr. Chris Mackie, the medical officer of health of Middlesex-London Health Unit, said additional measures were being implemented to ensure more people don't become sick.
“The situation at University Hospital is alarming," Mackie said.
“This is a reminder that COVID can and will strike anywhere if we let our guard down.”
As of Tuesday, visitors and designated care partners will not be permitted inside the affected units, the health unit said.
The health unit also said it was recommending testing for all patients and staff on all medical floors.
There have been 34 cases associated with the outbreak that began on the fourth floor of the University Hospital, including 16 cases among hospital staff, 18 cases among patients and one death, the health unit said.
It also said there are six cases associated with a smaller, second outbreak on a different floor at the same hospital.
5:18 p.m.: The Saskatchewan Opposition wants Premier Scott Moe to convene a multi-sector working group to deal with the province's increasing spread of COVID-19.
NDP Leader Ryan Meili wrote in a letter to the premier Tuesday that more people are falling ill and ending up in hospital because the Saskatchewan Party government's approach isn't working.
Health officials on Tuesday reported 175 new daily cases of COVID-19. Some 105 people were in hospital, 20 of them in intensive care. The seven-day average of daily cases in the province stood at 209.
Meili said he wants Moe to assemble a group with the NDP, health and education officials, and representatives from business, labour and Indigenous communities. The group would come up with a co-ordinated approach to get the virus's spread under control and to share important information and advice.
"The COVID-19 situation is moving quickly in Saskatchewan," Meili wrote.
"Every day presents an opportunity to take additional action to slow the spread and provide the support families, communities and businesses need to make it through this challenging time."
In a statement, Moe said public-health officials are already listening to the groups Meili listed in his letter for input on virus-prevention guidelines.
"We will continue to do so," Moe said.
The premier was to provide an update on the province's fight against COVID-19 on Tuesday from his home in Shellbrook, Sask., where he was self-isolating after getting tested for COVID-19. But the briefing was postponed until Wednesday.
"Further measures are under active consideration and development," communications director Jim Billington wrote in a statement.
"The decision was made to postpone the press conference to allow for additional actions to be developed and communicated to the public tomorrow afternoon."
Billington said Moe was asymptomatic and waiting for his test results.
Public-health officials have spent the last two weeks issuing stark warnings about needing to limit people's number of contacts to slow the virus's spread and relieve pressure on contact tracers.
The Saskatchewan Health Authority said the province's daily test positive rate from Nov. 12 to Nov. 18 sat at 6.7 per cent. In an update posted online Monday, the authority said the test positivity rate was highest in adults between 20 to 39 and lowest in children under 10.
It also said COVID-19 was primarily spreading through households and close contacts, while 25 per cent of transmission was coming from recreational facilities such as ice rinks, bingo halls and casinos.
Weddings, funerals and house parties were the next most likely source of infection.
Moe has rejected calls from hundreds of doctors, a nurses union and the Opposition to close non-essential businesses, including gyms, casinos and bars, for two to three weeks to keep the health-care system from being overwhelmed by hospitalizations.
On the weekend, he told a radio talk show that a shutdown would mean disaster for small businesses and his government would look at all other options to avoid sweeping closures.
3 p.m.: The Ontario government says it has started distributing COVID-19 rapid tests, with the new tools already being used in some hospitals and long-term care homes.
Premier Doug Ford says rapid tests, which can produce results in minutes rather than days, have been sent to 36 long-term care homes and 27 retirement homes, as well as some hospitals.
He says the province will continue to deploy the 98,000 ID Now tests and 1.2 million Panbio tests it has received from the federal government in the coming weeks.
Health Minister Christine Elliott says another 1.5 million Panbio tests are expected to arrive in Ontario next month.
The premier has repeatedly called the rapid tests “game changers” in the fight against COVID-19.
2:20 p.m.: Nova Scotia is reporting 37 new cases of COVID-19 today, for a total of 87 active access across the province.
Premier Stephen McNeil said during an update the majority of cases were identified in the Greater Halifax Area.
The province is also announcing new restrictions in the Halifax Regional Municipality starting this Thursday at midnight.
The new restrictions include the closure of in-person dining for restaurants in the HRM as well as the closure of public libraries, museums and First Nation gaming establishments.
2 p.m.: The mayor of Windsor, Ont., has apologized for breaking COVID-19 rules when dining out with seven other people last week.
Mayor Drew Dilkens made a statement to Windsor city council on Monday, saying he made an “unfortunate error” that should not have occurred.
Windsor was in the yellow tier of Ontario’s COVID-19 restrictions system last week. That tier permits only six people to dine together while inside a restaurant.
“As mayor, there is responsibility for me to lead by example and showcase to all in our region that we need to follow all restrictions and guidelines to the letter,” Dilkens said.
1:46 p.m. Premier Brian Pallister says his government’s push to stop the spread of COVID-19 has included a ticket to the Corona Hotel in western Manitoba.
Pallister says the rural hotel had its beverage room open recently and people were playing pool.
The hotel’s owner, Bob Fuglsang, says it was only himself and five relatives in the beverage room, the bar was locked, and his young grandson was playing with balls on the pool table.
Fuglsang says he was given a ticket for $1,296 — which is the penalty amount for individuals, not businesses.
Manitoba public health orders have shut down bars and have also banned gatherings of more than five people.
Pallister also says tickets are being issued to people who gathered for a church service on Sunday outside of Steinbach, southeast of Winnipeg.
1:42 p.m.: Manitoba health officials have announced 471 new COVID-19 cases and 12 additional deaths.
Chief public health officer Dr. Brent Roussin says the health-care system is near its capacity and the numbers must come down.
He is urging people to stay home as much as possible.
1:40 p.m.: New Brunswick is reporting six new cases of COVID-19, most involving people under 30.
Four of the new cases are in the Saint John region, including two people under 19, one person in their 20s and one person in their 30s.
The other two cases are in the Moncton region and both are people in their 20s.
New Brunswick now has 94 active infections, with 451 cases confirmed since the onset of the pandemic.
1:14 p.m. Newfoundland and Labrador is reporting two new cases of COVID-19.
One is a woman in her 60s in the eastern region who is a close contact of a previously known case.
The other is a woman over 70, also in the eastern region, who is connected to a cluster of cases in the town of Grand Bank on the Burin Peninsula.
Health officials are also warning rotational workers of an outbreak at the LNG Canada project site in Kitimat, B.C.
Newfoundland and Labrador has 24 active cases of COVID-19, with 323 cases confirmed since the onset of the pandemic.
1:12 p.m. Quebec Health Minister Christian Dube announced a plan Tuesday to track the movement of staff working at multiple long-term-care homes as the province reported 45 new COVID-19 deaths.
In a statement, Dube said he was creating a registry that would record instances when staff need to work at more than one care home “due to a risk of service disruption that could compromise user safety.”
He said employees who have to move between hot and cold zones — those with infected patients and those without — will have to seek permission from management or infection control specialists first.
Dube said the long-term plan is eventually to have a stable workforce and limit movement as much as possible.
The government’s plan for the pandemic’s second wave included a ban on allowing personal care attendants to work at multiple locations, after this was identified as a key factor in COVID-19 transmission.
1:10 p.m.: Federal Procurement Minister Anita Anand says Canada is working on an “end-to-end” chain for handling new COVID-19 vaccines as soon as they’re delivered to Canada.
That includes buying 126 freezers, including 26 ultra-cold ones, to hold millions of doses of vaccines that need to be kept at extraordinarily low temperatures.
The government is also seeking private bidders to run the logistics, and determining whether the military has a role to play.
Anand says storing and transporting vaccines safely is a top priority, especially when they have short shelf lives.
Government officials say manufacturers of promising vaccine candidates are emphatic that their products not go to waste, which also means deliveries won’t start until Health Canada has approved them for use.
1 p.m.: Yukon is imposing a mandatory mask order, effective Dec. 1, as it tries to control the spread of COVID-19.
Premier Sandy Silver says the order will cover everyone using public indoor spaces, although children younger than two and people with certain medical conditions will be exempt.
The territory has had no new cases of the virus since announcing Monday that it had reached 38 total cases, with 14 considered active.
The territory’s chief medical health officer has told residents to prepare to see more cases in the coming weeks, although he says there is no plan for any sort of lockdown restricting movement within Yukon.
12:35 p.m. An Etobicoke restaurant opened its doors for indoor dining Tuesday, in defiance of government-mandated COVID-19 measures that prohibit them from doing so.
On Monday night, Adam Skelly, owner of Adamson Barbecue, posted a video on Instagram where he expressed frustration with the government’s lockdown orders and told the public that his restaurant would be opening up the next day.
The restaurant drew crowds of protesters and other members of the public — some doing takeout and others choosing to dine inside. Public health bylaw officers arrived, and there was a large police presence on-scene.
Carleton Grant, who heads the city’s bylaw enforcement unit, told the Star’s Jennifer Pagliaro earlier on Tuesday morning that the restaurant’s plan to open was brought to his attention “from a number of internal sources.”
Read the full story
11:23 a.m.: The association representing Nova Scotia’s independent restaurants and bars is recommending its Halifax-area members close their dining areas for two weeks following a rise in COVID-19 cases.
Gordon Stewart, the executive director of the Restaurant Association of Nova Scotia, said today the board of directors voted Monday to recommend the closures.
The group says the measures should be applied to Halifax, where the government has been regularly warning people of possible exposures to COVID-19. Nova Scotia reported 51 active infections on Monday.
Stewart says the recommendation applies to full-service, sit-down restaurants and bars, but says takeout services should stay open as should restaurants located in hotels.
He says younger people are visiting restaurants and spreading the virus and that the only way to control transmission is to shut them down.
Nova Scotia is announcing a special testing strategy aimed at patrons and employees of late-night bars and restaurants — even if they don’t have symptoms of the illness.
Health officials said today anyone who works in a licenced establishment or who went to a bar or restaurant in Halifax after 10 p.m. in the last two weeks should book a COVID-19 test. “Most of our recent cases of COVID-19 have been among young people who have been to late-night bars and restaurants,” Dr. Robert Strang, chief medical officer of health, said in the release.
“This broad testing initiative will help us detect new cases early, get people who test positive to self-isolate and stop the spread of the virus.” The province says the special testing will be available until Nov. 30.
Stewart says the closures his group is recommending will likely contribute to more permanent shutdowns and job losses in the industry, which was shut down for 78 days during the first wave of the pandemic.
“It’s going to be tough for everybody,” he said in an interview. “What we’re going to see in the long run here is this is an industry that is going to have fewer employees.”
The association estimates 100 restaurants have closed in Nova Scotia since the start of the pandemic, and expects about 200 independent restaurants and bars will permanently close because of the health crisis.
11 a.m.: Ontario’s health-care workers say the government has abandoned them in their desperate, anxiety-ridden struggle to cope with COVID-19.
A small-scale study by two researchers released today suggests the workers are burned out and frightened.
Those interviewed — nurses, personal support workers and others — say they still lack personal protective equipment despite the very real risks they face.
To date, COVID-19 has sickened close to 9,000 front-line health-care workers and killed 16.
Still, some say they face reprisals for speaking out over working conditions in hospitals or long-term care homes.
The researchers point out that many of the staff are women with no job security.
10:55 a.m.: Ontario is reporting an additional 270 cases in public schools across the province, bringing the total in the last two weeks to 1,281 and 4,170 overall since school began.
In its latest data released Tuesday morning, the province reported 223 more students were infected for a total of 868 in the last two weeks; since school began there have been an overall total of 2,516.
The data shows there are 47 more staff members infected for a total of 202 the last two weeks — and an overall total of 568.
The latest report also shows that no more infected individuals who weren’t identified for a total of 211 in that category in the last two weeks — and an overall total of 1,086.
There are 703 schools with a reported case, which the province notes is 14.56 per cent of the 4,828 public schools in Ontario.
Four schools were closed because of an outbreak, which is one more than the day before. The data doesn’t indicate where they are.
Frank W. Begley Elementary school in Windsor is one of them, which has 29 confirmed positive COVID-19 cases among students, believed to be the highest number in the province yet. Eight staff are also positive.
There is a lag between the daily provincial data at 10:30 a.m. and news reports about infections in schools. The provincial data on Thursday is current as of 2 p.m. Wednesday. It doesn’t indicate where the place of transmission occurred.
The Toronto District School Board updates its information on current COVID-19 cases throughout the day on its website. As of Monday at 4:30 p.m., there were 306 students infected, 62 staff and 286 resolved cases.
The Toronto Catholic District School Board also updates its information on its website. As of Tuesday at 8:30 a.m., there were 80 schools with at least one active case. There are 124 active student cases and 36 staff.
Epidemiologists have told the Star that the rising numbers in the schools aren’t a surprise, and that the cases will be proportionate to the amount of COVID that is in the community.
10:45 a.m. The Canadian Airports Council is calling for urgent government aid as travel restrictions continue to take a toll on airports’ revenues.
The organization, which represents more than 100 airports nationwide, is asking the government to implement a COVID-19 testing program at airports to reduce or eliminate quarantine restrictions and provide interest-free loans or direct operational support for airports, among other measures, it said in a statement.
The federal government has indicated its willingness to provide a sector-specific aid package for the airline industry, but so far has not shared any details about its plans.
The majority of Canada’s airports are not subsidized by the government, relying instead on revenue generated from passenger air travel, the CAC said.
Since April, traffic in airports has been down 90 per cent compared to the same period in 2019, while October passenger volumes were 85.5 per cent lower than the previous October, according to the CAC.
Canada’s airports supported nearly 200,000 jobs prior to the pandemic, the CAC said.
10:34 a.m. (updated): Ontario is reporting 1,009 new cases of COVID-19 today but the government says a technical issue means the figure is an underestimate.
Health Minister Christine Elliott says the issue also means yesterday’s case numbers were an overestimate.
Elliott says today’s figures include 497 new cases in Toronto, 175 in Peel Region and 118 in York Region.
The province also reported 14 new deaths related to the virus.
There are 1,082 more resolved cases and nearly 27,100 tests completed since the last daily report.
Overall, Ontario has reported a total of 106,510 cases, 90,074 of which have been resolved. A total of 3,519 Ontarians have died from COVID-19.
9:55 a.m. The foreign ministers of Japan and China agreed Tuesday to co-operate in fighting the coronavirus and reviving their pandemic-hit economies, while trying to avoid actions that provoke tensions over disputed islands in the East China Sea.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, who arrived in Tokyo on Tuesday, and his Japanese counterpart, Toshimitsu Motegi, also agreed to resume business travel between the world’s No. 2 and No. 3 economies through a “business track” program that will allow visitors to engage in limited activities during their 14-day quarantine periods. Japan recently launched such arrangements with Singapore, South Korea and Vietnam.
The two countries are to restart business travel by the end of this month, even though Japan is currently grappling with a resurgence of coronavirus infections as the government struggles to balance disease prevention and economic health.
“I expect the agreement will contribute to energizing the economy between Japan and China and serve to promote mutual understanding,” Motegi said. He said stable Japan-China relations are crucial not only for the two countries but also for the region.
Chinese nationals topped the number of foreign visitors in Japan before the pandemic.
Relations between the two countries have been strained over territorial disputes and wartime history. But ties have improved in recent years while China’s trade dispute with the U.S. has escalated. Japan, a key U.S. ally, sees China as a crucial trading partner and faces the challenge of balancing its relations with both nations.
9:44 a.m. U.S. home prices jumped in September as strong demand, low interest rates and the smallest number of available homes on record combined to push up housing costs.
The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller 20-city home price index, released Tuesday, showed that home prices rose 6.6 per cent in September from a year earlier, much higher than its 5.3 per cent increase in August. That is the biggest increase since April 2018.
The viral pandemic disrupted the spring home buying season, pushing many sales into the late summer and fall. Home sales jumped to the highest level in 14 years in September, a sign that the increased ability of some Americans to work from home and the desire for more space is spurring greater demand.
Prices skyrocketed 11.4 per cent in Phoenix compared with a year earlier, the biggest gain nationwide. Seattle reported the second highest increase, at 10.1 per cent, followed by San Diego at 9.5 per cent.
The number of homes for sale sank in September to the lowest level since records began in 1982, according to the National Association of Realtors. And last week mortgage rates fell to a record low of 2.72 per cent, according to mortgage buyer Freddie Mac.
9:08 a.m. The Hudson’s Bay Company isn’t so essential after all.
The department store giant’s Queen Street location won’t be open for the remainder of the provincially-ordered lockdown after coming under criticism for apparently flouting the rules and staying open Monday.
A company spokesperson said in an email late Monday evening that HBC had backed off its decision to remain open, after earlier saying the store is “essential” because it sells groceries.
“We understood this to be in line with the province’s direction, however we have now made the decision to close our Queen Street store tomorrow. All Hudson’s Bay stores in Toronto and Peel will offer shoppers curbside pickup,” HBC spokesperson Tiffany Bourre said in an email to the Star.
Read the full story from the Star’s Josh Rubin
8:30 a.m. It looks as if this is going to be the winter where we must embrace our true inner Canadian.
Not just lip service to that fact. Like bragging to our American friends how cold it gets up here without telling them we don’t actually go outside without the car seats pre-warmed.
I’m talking about going for walks in the frigidness of winter. It’s probably all we’ll be allowed to do through Lockdown 2.0, and maybe beyond. Skating? Shinny? Hopefully the outdoor rinks will be open — and hey, what’s really in that thermos?
Skiing, downhill or cross-country? Let’s do it. Maybe take up snowboarding. Looks like fun. And maybe the hot chocolate might come with an additive.
Read the Breakaway blog from Kevin McGran
8:10 a.m. China on Tuesday reported two new coronavirus cases in the cities of Shanghai and Tianjin as it seeks to prevent small outbreaks from becoming larger ones.
The National Health Commission said there were two new locally spread cases in the previous 24-hour period, one in each city. It also reported 20 cases among people who had arrived from overseas.
In Shanghai, the mass testing of 17,719 workers at the city’s Pudong aiport found one infection, a Fedex employee. Everyone else tested negative.
Three UPS workers at the airport have also tested positive in recent days, along with the wife of one of them. In all, Shanghai has reported eight non-imported cases since Friday.
In Tianjin, where 2.3 million people had been tested as of Monday, the city reported one case in a person who developed symptoms after testing positive earlier. China does not include people without symptoms in its confirmed case count.
7:35 a.m. A little over a year ago, Shiva Montazeri proudly donned her graduation gown after finishing a master’s degree at Brock University, ready for the next step in her pursuit of permanent residence in Canada.
Today, the international student from Iran is facing the grim prospect of having to leave this country after her post-graduate work permit expired last month, without the coveted Canadian work experince she needed to qualify for immigration.
“My work permit was for a duration of one year, but in reality I only got four months out of it. Because of the pandemic, no one is hiring,” says Montazeri, who lost her job as a bookkeeper in St. Catharines, Ont., in March.
“I feel helpless and frustrated. It’s not my fault that I lost my job.”
Read the full story from Nicholas Keung
7:30 a.m. Alberta’s chief medical officer of health says COVID-19 has become like a snowball rolling down a hill, picking up size and speed, and threatening to overwhelm the health system.
Dr. Deena Hinshaw says immediate action is needed to contain the spread of the coronavirus.
Premier Jason Kenney and select cabinet ministers were to meet with Hinshaw, and new measures are expected to be announced Tuesday.
Alberta, once a leader in how to prepare for and contain the virus, has in recent weeks become a national cautionary tale.
There have been well over 1,000 new cases a day for five straight days, and there are more than 300 patients in hospital and more than 60 in intensive care.
Kenney has said he wants targeted measures to control the virus while keeping businesses as open as possible.
6:34 a.m. Business confidence in Germany, Europe’s biggest economy, fell for a second consecutive month in November as a resurgence of coronavirus infections led to partial shutdowns across the continent, a closely watched survey showed Tuesday.
Still, the decline was smaller than economists had predicted. And official data released separately on Tuesday showed that the economy performed a bit better in the third quarter than previously reported.
The Ifo institute said that its business confidence index declined to 90.7 points from 92.5 a month earlier. Economists had forecast a drop to 90.2.
The drop was driven largely by a considerable worsening of companies’ expectations for the next six months. Their assessment of their current situation was only slightly worse. Ifo’s survey is based on monthly responses from about 9,000 companies in various sectors.
Germany entered a partial shutdown on Nov. 2, with restaurants, bars, leisure and sports facilities closing but nonessential shops and schools remaining open.
6 a.m. University professors and students feel isolated and stressed by online learning during the pandemic and are worried the quality of post-secondary education has deteriorated, a new survey says.
The survey, conducted by Navigator, found that while everyone on campus understands the need to hold online classes during the COVID-19 pandemic, they are concerned students are being put at a disadvantage because of it.
It was commissioned by the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations and will be released Tuesday.
“As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the scramble to move courses online, we have lost that human connection, and educational quality has suffered,” said Rahul Sapra, president of the association and a professor at Ryerson University.
The poll of 2,700 students, professors and post-secondary librarians found that 62 per cent of students and 76 per cent of faculty believe online learning has had a “negative impact on education quality.”
Read the full story from the Star’s Kristin Rushowy here.
5:21 a.m. The British government says people arriving in England from a destination not on its coronavirus safe list will from next month be able to reduce the time they have to quarantine themselves if they test negative for the virus.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said the 14-day quarantine period can be reduced if people have a negative test from five days after their arrival.
The change, which takes effect on Dec. 15, has been long-awaited by the travel industry, one of the worst-hit sectors during the pandemic.
Under the new rules, passengers can reduce the 14-day period by paying for a test from a private firm on or after day five at a cost of potentially 100 pounds ($133). Results are normally issued in 24 to 48 hours.
5:18 a.m. Germany’s 16 states want people to self-quarantine for several days before visiting family at Christmas, to reduce the risk of spreading the coronavirus to elderly and vulnerable relatives.
The dpa news agency reported Tuesday that states have agreed among themselves on a proposal for tightening Germany’s partial lockdown measures in the coming weeks, so they can be relaxed over the festive period.
The plan, which also suggests bringing forward school breaks and that employers should let staff work from home, will be discussed Wednesday at a virtual meeting with Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Germany’s disease control agency recorded 14,361 newly confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the past day, and 249 further deaths.
5:12 a.m. Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike remains firm about being able to safely hold the Olympics next year despite growing concerns about Japan’s recent resurgence of COVID-19 infections.
Japan has experienced an uptick of the infections this month with a nationwide daily total exceeding 2,000 as the government tries to balance preventive measures and business activity without further hurting the pandemic-hit economy.
“As the host city, I’m determined to achieve the games whatever it takes,” Koike told a news conference in Tokyo on Tuesday.
Her comment comes a week after International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach’s visit to Tokyo, where he held a series of talks with Japanese Olympic officials, including Koike, to showcase their determination to pull off the games.
Koike said widespread use of masks among the Japanese is one of most effective safety measures that have spared Japan from the high rate of infections that have taken place in the United States and Europe.
Tuesday 5:10 a.m. A new poll suggests many Canadians are gaining weight because they’re eating more and exercising less during COVID-19 pandemic.
Nearly one-third of respondents in the survey conducted by Leger and the Association for Canadian Studies said they have put on weight since March, compared to 15 per cent who said they lost weight over that time.
As well, about one-third of respondents said they’re exercising less, while 16 per cent said they’re working out more since the first wave of the pandemic landed in Canada in the spring.
Jack Jedwab, president of the Association for Canadian Studies, suggested that one reason may be a rush for comfort food to deal with pandemic-related anxieties.
Respondents in the survey who said they were “very afraid” of COVID-19 were more likely to report gaining weight, eating more and exercising less.
Monday 10:18 p.m. Health officials in the Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean region are deploying hundreds of contact tracers to try to stop the rampant spread of the virus there.
Dr. Donald Aubin, the regional public health director, told the Montreal Gazette on Monday that the number of COVID-19 cases is “far too high” for a region with such a small population.
“The number of active cases needs to go down,” he said.
Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean, an administrative region nearly 100,000 square kilometres in size, is home to just over 275,000 people. Yet regional officials have tallied more than 100 new cases each day for the past two weeks. Aubin said there are currently 1,084 active cases there, giving it the grim distinction of having the most per-capita cases of all Quebec regions.
On Nov. 18, 241 positive cases were added to the region’s tally, more than the 200 reported the same day in Montreal. On Monday, there were 161 new cases there.
“It’s still very high for a region like ours,” Aubin said.
Unlike Quebec City, where a handful of superspreader events were blamed for a flare-up in the number of cases in September, no such events took place in Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean, Aubin said.
Click here to read more COVID-19 coverage from Monday.