Today’s coronavirus news: Road tests cancelled in Toronto and Peel; Ontario reports 1,478 new cases and 21 deaths; Province will give updated COVID-19 projections at 3 p.m.

The latest coronavirus news from Canada and around the world Thursday. This file will be updated throughout the day. Web links to longer stories if available. 2:10 p.m.: As COVID-19 cases surge, the Ontario government is cancelling all in-vehicle road tests in areas that are in the grey “lockdown” stage. This includes Toronto and Peel Region, and will impact DriveTest centres in Brampton, Downsview, Etobicoke, Metro East, Mississauga and Port Union. Road test cancellations will not incur a penalty. Toronto or Peel Region residents are not allowed to book a road test at a DriveTest centre in another region. DriveTest centres in the Grey (Lockdown) level will be open for indoor services, such as knowledge tests, with capacity limits and COVID-19 preventative measures in place. More to come. 1:30 p.m. The provincial government will start asymptomatic testing for COVID-19 in schools in Toronto, Peel, York and Ottawa, Education Minister Stephen Lecce announced Thursday.Lecce also said that boards — some struggling because of a drop in enrolment due to the pandemic — will not see a corresponding drop in funding that is based on the number of students.Despite increasing rates of community transmission of COVID, “our schools remain safe,” Lecce said alongside Premier Doug Ford at a press conference at St. Marcellinus secondary school in Mississauga.“The risk within our schools reflects the risk within our communities,” he said.Ford announced the province will provide an extra $13.6 million to schools in hot spots, meaning up to 175 teachers can be hired if boards choose.“We will spare no expense to keep our students safely in school,” said Ford.Read the full story from the Star’s Kristin Rushowy and May Warren 12:52 p.m. Ontario is reporting an additional 88 cases in public schools across the province Thursday, bringing the total in the last two weeks to 1,176 and 4,349 overall since school began.In its latest data released this morning, the province reported 70 more students were infected for a total of 873 in the last two weeks; since school began there have been an overall total of 2,673.The data shows there are 18 more staff members infected for a total of 191 the last two weeks — and an overall total of 589.The latest report also shows that there weren’t any infected individuals who weren’t identified for a total of 112 in that category in the last two weeks — and an overall total of 1,087.There are 679 schools with a reported case, which the province notes is 14.06 per cent of the 4,828 public schools in Ontario.Four schools are closed because of an outbreak. The data doesn’t indicate where they are.Frank W. Begley Elementary school in Windsor is one of them, which has 35 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 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, there were 284 students infected, 56 staff and 358 resolved cases.The Toronto Catholic District School Board also updates its information on its website. As of 9:25 a.m. Thursday, there were 83 schools with at least one active case. There are 133 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.12:13 p.m. Ontario is set to cap the fees third-party delivery apps impose on restaurants in regions where indoor dining is prohibited, in a bid to protect what profits restaurants can still make during the COVID-19 pandemic.The Progressive Conservative government will table legislation that would give the province the authority to temporarily limit how much apps such as UberEats and DoorDash can charge restaurants in the grey or lockdown COVID-19 restriction zone for their services, the associate minister of small business told a news conference.“Ontario’s restaurants have been bearing an incredible brunt of the financial burden of this pandemic. Some restaurants have seen traffic plummet by as much as 90 per cent,” Prabmeet Sarkaria said.“At the same time, food delivery services companies have collected up to 30 per cent in commissions from these restaurants. And they’re enjoying record sales and uptake.”He said restaurants can expect to see a cap of 15 per cent on delivery fees, with a cap of 20 per cent inclusive of all fees.It’s similar to what was done in New York City, which recently capped delivery app commission fees at 20 per cent.11:56 a.m. Quebec is reporting 1,464 new cases of COVID-19 and 32 additional deaths.It is the highest number of new cases reported in a singl

Today’s coronavirus news: Road tests cancelled in Toronto and Peel; Ontario reports 1,478 new cases and 21 deaths; Province will give updated COVID-19 projections at 3 p.m.

The latest coronavirus news from Canada and around the world Thursday. This file will be updated throughout the day. Web links to longer stories if available.

2:10 p.m.: As COVID-19 cases surge, the Ontario government is cancelling all in-vehicle road tests in areas that are in the grey “lockdown” stage. This includes Toronto and Peel Region, and will impact DriveTest centres in Brampton, Downsview, Etobicoke, Metro East, Mississauga and Port Union.

Road test cancellations will not incur a penalty. Toronto or Peel Region residents are not allowed to book a road test at a DriveTest centre in another region.

DriveTest centres in the Grey (Lockdown) level will be open for indoor services, such as knowledge tests, with capacity limits and COVID-19 preventative measures in place.

More to come.

1:30 p.m. The provincial government will start asymptomatic testing for COVID-19 in schools in Toronto, Peel, York and Ottawa, Education Minister Stephen Lecce announced Thursday.

Lecce also said that boards — some struggling because of a drop in enrolment due to the pandemic — will not see a corresponding drop in funding that is based on the number of students.

Despite increasing rates of community transmission of COVID, “our schools remain safe,” Lecce said alongside Premier Doug Ford at a press conference at St. Marcellinus secondary school in Mississauga.

“The risk within our schools reflects the risk within our communities,” he said.

Ford announced the province will provide an extra $13.6 million to schools in hot spots, meaning up to 175 teachers can be hired if boards choose.

“We will spare no expense to keep our students safely in school,” said Ford.

Read the full story from the Star’s Kristin Rushowy and May Warren

12:52 p.m. Ontario is reporting an additional 88 cases in public schools across the province Thursday, bringing the total in the last two weeks to 1,176 and 4,349 overall since school began.

In its latest data released this morning, the province reported 70 more students were infected for a total of 873 in the last two weeks; since school began there have been an overall total of 2,673.

The data shows there are 18 more staff members infected for a total of 191 the last two weeks — and an overall total of 589.

The latest report also shows that there weren’t any infected individuals who weren’t identified for a total of 112 in that category in the last two weeks — and an overall total of 1,087.

There are 679 schools with a reported case, which the province notes is 14.06 per cent of the 4,828 public schools in Ontario.

Four schools are closed because of an outbreak. The data doesn’t indicate where they are.

Frank W. Begley Elementary school in Windsor is one of them, which has 35 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 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, there were 284 students infected, 56 staff and 358 resolved cases.

The Toronto Catholic District School Board also updates its information on its website. As of 9:25 a.m. Thursday, there were 83 schools with at least one active case. There are 133 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.

12:13 p.m. Ontario is set to cap the fees third-party delivery apps impose on restaurants in regions where indoor dining is prohibited, in a bid to protect what profits restaurants can still make during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Progressive Conservative government will table legislation that would give the province the authority to temporarily limit how much apps such as UberEats and DoorDash can charge restaurants in the grey or lockdown COVID-19 restriction zone for their services, the associate minister of small business told a news conference.

“Ontario’s restaurants have been bearing an incredible brunt of the financial burden of this pandemic. Some restaurants have seen traffic plummet by as much as 90 per cent,” Prabmeet Sarkaria said.

“At the same time, food delivery services companies have collected up to 30 per cent in commissions from these restaurants. And they’re enjoying record sales and uptake.”

He said restaurants can expect to see a cap of 15 per cent on delivery fees, with a cap of 20 per cent inclusive of all fees.

It’s similar to what was done in New York City, which recently capped delivery app commission fees at 20 per cent.

11:56 a.m. Quebec is reporting 1,464 new cases of COVID-19 and 32 additional deaths.

It is the highest number of new cases reported in a single day in the province since the pandemic began.

Health Minister Christian Dube said on Twitter that the jump in case numbers shows that the battle against the virus is “far from won,” and he urged Quebecers to respect public health measures and limit their contacts to slow the spread of the virus.

Public health authorities say eight of the latest deaths took place within the previous 24 hours.

They say the number of people in hospital has risen by 20 from a day earlier, to 675, and 90 of those people are in intensive care — a decrease of three from the previous day.

Quebec has reported 136,894 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 6,947 deaths associated with the virus.

11 a.m. Ottawa has pledged $19 million to Nunavut as the territory continues to grapple with a COVID-19 outbreak.

Most of the money, $11.36 million, will flow to the government of Nunavut to help with its emergency response.

The money will fund things like food support for households in isolation, water and sewage services and internet bandwidth for students learning from home.

There are 153 active cases of COVID-19 in Nunavut.

10:48 a.m. The Cleveland Browns are reporting another positive coronavirus test for an unidentified player, continuing what has become an almost daily pattern over the past two weeks.

The team closed its facility in Berea, Ohio, on Thursday for the third consecutive day to conduct tracing in order to find out if any others are considered high-risk close contacts.

The Browns (7-3) already are missing four players, including star defensive end Myles Garrett, for Sunday’s game at Jacksonville (1-9). Garrett missed last week’s win over Philadelphia after testing positive for the virus.

On Wednesday, the Browns placed starting linebacker Sione Takitaki on the COVID-19 list and kept eight players out of practice as a precaution. Browns coach Kevin Stefanski also had his team practice in shifts to try to control possible spread of the virus.

Takitaki, who returned an interception for a touchdown against the Eagles, will miss this week’s game, along with fullback Andy Janovich, defensive end Joe Jackson and the unknown new positive player. Stefanski said offensive lineman Chris Hubbard may be returning after testing positive.

10:20 a.m.: A North York elementary school isn’t holding classes at the school on Thursday for a third straight day due to a recent COVID-19 outbreak.

One more student positive case was reported Wednesday for a total of ten positive student cases at St. Fidelis Catholic School, near Keele Street and Highway 401. There are also five staff members with a positive case.

While Toronto Public Health has declared an outbreak at the school, the school is still listed as open while the agency continues its investigation.

10:07 a.m. (will be updated) Ontario is reporting 1,478 new cases Thursday and 21 new deaths. Locally, there are 572 new cases in Peel, 356 in Toronto and 111 in York Region. 47,576 tests were completed with labs reporting 3.9 per cent positivity.

9:39 a.m. Millions of Americans took to the skies and the highways ahead of Thanksgiving at the risk of pouring gasoline on the coronavirus fire, disregarding increasingly dire warnings that they stay home and limit their holiday gatherings to members of their own household.

Those who are flying witnessed a distinctly 2020 landscape at the nation’s airports: plexiglass barriers in front of the ID stations, rapid virus testing sites inside terminals, masks in check-in areas and on board planes, and paperwork asking passengers to quarantine on arrival at their destination.

While the number of Americans travelling by air over the past several days was down dramatically from the same time last year, many pressed ahead with their holiday plans amid skyrocketing deaths, hospitalizations and confirmed infections across the U.S.

Some were tired of more than eight months of social distancing and determined to spend time with loved ones.

“I think with the holidays and everything, it’s so important right now, especially because people are so bummed out because of the whole pandemic,” said 25-year-old Cassidy Zerkle of Phoenix, who flew to Kansas City, Missouri, to visit family during what is traditionally one of the busiest travel periods of the year.

She brought snacks and her own hand sanitizer and said the flight was half full. She had a row of seats to herself.

“As long as you’re maintaining your distance, you’re not touching stuff and you’re sanitizing your hands, people should see their families right now,” she said.

9 a.m. If a COVID-19 vaccine is safe and gets approved, but there’s no one around to make it, does it still count?

It’s the question that sent sparks flying among federal politicians this week after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau admitted that Canadians are likely to be second in line after Americans when the companies with promising vaccines start handing out doses.

Noting that countries such as the United States, Germany and the U.K. have vaccine-production facilities within their borders, Trudeau noted that companies in those countries are “obviously going to prioritize helping their citizens first.”

Furthermore, lacking the capacity to make vaccines, Canada has not even negotiated to right to manufacture doses of them here at home, meaning we’re now waiting on shipments from the companies, once they’re approved by Canadian regulators.

Read the full story from Alex Boyd

8:51 a.m. No days will be snow days — at least not this school year.

A growing number of Ontario boards — worried about any more missed class time during the COVID-19 pandemic — have decided to end unexpected days off because of inclement weather, saying kids can learn online those days instead.

“Emergency school closures, when schools are closed to staff and students, have the potential to significantly impact student learning,” said the Guelph-based Upper Grand District School Board, which typically has a couple of snow days each year, in a message to parents. “During the 2020-21 school year as a result of pandemic planning in the board, schools are much better equipped to pivot to remote learning as needed than in the past.”

Boards around Toronto — Peel and York, and York Catholic — have also settled on similar plans, while both the Toronto public and Toronto Catholic boards have yet to make any changes, though cancelled buses and snow days in the city are rare.

Read the full story from Kristin Rushowy

8:27 a.m. New-construction home prices and sales of new single-family homes in the GTA continued to climb year over year in the double digits in October, as consumers search for more space to physically distance and work from home during COVID-19.

But the number of condo sales plunged 32 per cent year over year in October, said the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD) on Thursday.

The benchmark asking price for a condo rose 18.8 per cent annually this October to $990,880, but sales were 32 per cent below last October and 20 per cent under the 10-year average.

The benchmark asking price for new single-family homes — including detached, semi-detached and town homes — was $1.21 million, up 12.7 per cent over last year. The 1,914 single-family homes that sold last month, a 44 per cent annual rise, landed 42 per cent above the 10-year average.

Read the full story from Tess Kalinowski

7:15 a.m. India’s capital New Delhi is considering a nighttime curfew amid the latest coronavirus surge that has battered the city’s healthcare system and overwhelmed its hospitals.

The New Delhi government on Thursday told this to a court that had questioned the administration on the measures being taken to control the spike in daily cases.

The court was hearing a plea seeking to ramp up COVID-19 testing facilities in the capital, which is recording the most number of cases from any state in India for the last three weeks and more than 100 fatalities on an average every day for two consecutive weeks.

India’s new overall infections have declined steadily after peaking in mid-September, but the situation in the capital remains worrying.

The surge in the national capital had started at the end of October and reached record highs this month. On Nov. 11, the city saw 8,593 new cases, an all-time high.

According to the official data, New Delhi has recorded almost 2,300 deaths due to coronavirus in the last month.

India has recorded 9.26 million cases of coronavirus, second behind the U.S. More than 135,00 Indians have died because of the virus so far.

6:15 a.m. Ontario is moving to cap the fees third-party delivery apps impose on restaurants in regions where indoor dining is prohibited, a senior government source says.

The Progressive Conservative government is poised to introduce legislation today that would give the province the authority to temporarily limit how much apps such as UberEats and DoorDash can charge restaurants in the grey or lockdown COVID-19 restriction zone for their services, according to the source.

Documents obtained by The Canadian Press say companies who contravene the proposed law could face fines of up to $10 million.

The source says the limit has not yet been set but the province is looking at something similar to what was done in New York City, which recently capped delivery app commission fees at 20 per cent to help restaurants weather the pandemic.

5:12 a.m. As coronavirus cases surge again nationwide the Supreme Court late Wednesday barred New York from enforcing certain limits on attendance at churches and synagogues in areas designated as hard hit by the virus.

The justices split 5-4 with new Justice Amy Coney Barrett in the majority. It was the conservative’s first publicly discernible vote as a justice. The court’s three liberal justices and Chief Justice John Roberts dissented.

The move was a shift for the court. Earlier this year, when Barrett’s liberal predecessor, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, was still on the court, the justices divided 5-4 to leave in place pandemic-related capacity restrictions affecting churches in California and Nevada.

The court’s action Wednesday could push New York to re-evaluate its restrictions on houses of worship in areas designated virus hot spots. But the impact of the court’s action is also muted because the Catholic and Orthodox Jewish groups that sued to challenge the restrictions are no longer subject to them.

5:08 a.m. Russian authorities have reported a record number of coronavirus deaths for a third straight day.

The government coronavirus task force registered 524 new deaths on Thursday, the highest daily toll in the pandemic. Previous records of 507 and 491 deaths were reported on Wednesday and Tuesday. A total of 38,062 people have died of coronavirus in Russia, according to the task force.

Russia has been swept by a rapid resurgence of the outbreak this fall, with numbers of confirmed COVID-19 infections and deaths hitting new highs almost daily and significantly exceeding those reported in the spring. On Thursday, officials reported 25,487 new infections, another record number.

5:04 a.m. Germany has passed the grim milestone of more than 15,000 deaths from the coronavirus.

The Robert Koch Institute, the country’s disease control centre, said Thursday that another 389 deaths were recorded overnight, bringing the total since the start of the pandemic to 15,160.

Germany has seen 983,588 total cases of the coronavirus after adding 22,368 overnight, the agency said.

Germany embarked on a so-called “wave-breaker” shutdown on Nov. 2, closing restaurants, bars, sports and leisure facilities but leaving schools, shops and hair salons open.

5 a.m. China on Thursday reported nine new coronavirus cases in the vast Inner Mongolia region, where authorities have closed schools, suspended flights, shuttered public venues and banned banquets and other gatherings.

The cluster has been centred on Manzhouli, a city of more than 200,000 along the border with Russia.

Authorities ordered nucleic acid testing of all residents to detect new cases after the country’s latest local outbreak first emerged late last week. Ground transport to and from the city has been largely cut off and movement around the city restricted.

Thursday 4 a.m. Ontario health officials are expected to release new COVID-19 projections today.

It will be the first time they have released such data since sending the province’s two biggest virus hot spots — Toronto and Peel Region — into lockdown earlier this week.

Two weeks ago, the province unveiled modelling that showed Ontario could see as many as 6,500 new daily cases of COVID-19 by mid-December unless steps are taken to limit the spread of the virus.

It said the province would reach 2,500 new daily cases by that time if the growth rate was at three per cent, or 6,500 if the growth rate was at five per cent.

At the time, Dr. Adalsteinn Brown, one of the experts behind the projections, said a five per cent growth rate was “slightly optimistic.’’

Premier Doug Ford announced he would lower thresholds for imposing stricter COVID-19 measures under the province’s colour-coded restrictions system the following day.

Wednesday 10:03 p.m.: South Korea has recorded more than 500 new coronavirus cases in 24 hours for the first time in about eight months as health authorities struggle to contain a third surge of infections.

The Asian nation has been experiencing a spike in cases since it relaxed stringent social distancing rules last month. To deal with the latest surge, the country on Tuesday reimposed tough distancing guidelines in Seoul and some other areas.

South Korea’s cases initially peaked last February and March, with officials reporting hundreds of fresh cases daily, mostly tied to a religious sect. Its second major outbreak came during the summer, and was mostly tied to the greater Seoul area.

Officials say the latest outbreak is worrisome because there are many cluster infections tied to a variety of sources.

Click here to read more of Wednesday’s COVID-19 coverage.

Source : Toronto Star More