Coronavirus: what’s going on in Canada and around the world Thursday

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The federal government is expected to announce new measures today to mobilize Canadian scientists and researchers in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

Scientists around the world are scrambling to find tests, treatments to reduce the severity of the disease and, ultimately, a vaccine to protect against the coronavirus that has killed more than 2,000 Canadians and nearly 200,000 people worldwide.

Today’s measures should support the Trudeau government’s previous efforts to mobilize the Canadian scientific community in the battle against COVID-19.

In mid-March it committed $ 275 million for research as part of the first emergency aid package.

A LifeLabs laboratory technologist demonstrates one of the steps taken when a sample is tested for COVID-19 at the company’s laboratory in Surrey, British Columbia, on March 26. (Darryl Dyck / The Canadian Press)

This was completed later this month with the creation of a new strategic innovation fund, which provided an additional $ 192 million to specific companies and research institutes working on drug and vaccine development.

In addition, the government has provided $ 52 million through national granting councils to nearly 100 research teams across the country.

As several provinces begin to speak cautiously about the reopening of the economy, which has been practically closed since mid-March, pressure is being exerted to find reliable and rapid tests to determine who is infected with the virus and who has developed immunity against it.

A runner and walker keep their distance from each other on the Charlottetown boardwalk in late March. P.E.I. is one of the provinces considering loosening certain restrictions related to COVID-19. (Brian McInnis / CBC)

Prince Edward Island, where the number of cases is low, aims to ease the measures put in place to slow the spread in late April and reopen businesses in mid-May.

The Saskatchewan government is expected to release a plan on Thursday for how certain businesses and services could resume next month if the number of cases remains low.

Provinces are not exactly islands, says researcher

Dr. Craig Jenne, an infectious disease researcher at the University of Calgary, said that easing restrictions in one province may present challenges for others.

“Many provinces in Canada do not have strict borders,” he said in an interview with The Canadian Press. “Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba – we are not exactly islands where we can cut trips between provinces.

“We’re going to have to make sure we’re on the same page with this. “

As of Wednesday, Saskatchewan had registered more than 300 cases, including four deaths, but less than 20% of the cases were considered active.

The province’s chief medical officer of health has said that any relaxation of the restrictions should be done with care.

Next door, in Alberta, there are more than 3,000 cases, including dozens of deaths.

Over 2,000 deaths in Canada

As of 8 p.m. ET on Wednesday, there have been 2,074 COVID-19-related deaths in Canada, plus two deaths of Canadians abroad related to COVID-19, according to a CBC News count based on provincial health data. and local, as well as CBC reports.

There are 40,190 confirmed and presumptive cases and 13,994 resolved cases among the provinces and territories that make this data public.

Here is an overview of what is happening in Canada, the United States and the world.

Here is an overview of what is happening in the provinces and territories

British Columbia has seen an increase in confirmed cases due to three new outbreaks in long-term care homes. Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said Wednesday that the number of 71 new cases was increasing, the largest in British Columbia seen in weeks, is a reminder that residents must continue their efforts to break the chains of transmission by staying at home and maintaining safe distances from others. Find out more about what’s going on in British Columbia

Alberta On Wednesday, the number of new COVID-19 cases was highest with 306. Premier Jason Kenney made a positive remark, saying that the province is doing “so much better” than many other jurisdictions, with relatively few people hospitalized. “I know it is becoming more and more difficult for Albertans, but I believe that with the progress we have made, we can see the light at the end of the tunnel here.” Learn more about what’s going on in Alberta.

WATCH | The COVID-19 epidemic forces the Alberta meat processing plant to close:

An outbreak of COVID-19 at the Cargill meat processing plant in High River, Alberta, forced the facility to temporarily close, raising concerns about prices and supply of beef. 3:03

Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe says the province’s reopening plan has five phases, starting next month. In a television address Wednesday evening, he said, “If we move too quickly, we risk increasing the spread of COVID-19. If we move too slowly, we risk permanently damaging the livelihoods of thousands of Saskatchewan people. ” The government will say on Thursday which companies will be allowed to reopen at each phase. Learn more about what’s going on in Saskatchewan.

Manitoba has a relatively small number of cases, including only two new cases reported on Wednesday, but health workers have been among the hardest hit in recent times. There have been four new cases of COVID-19 in the past week involving people in this field, bringing the total to 25 health workers in the province who have tested positive. Learn more about what’s going on in Manitoba.

In Ontario, environmental groups are raising concerns after the government changed its rules to allow it to approve certain projects without public consultation. The provincial environment minister says the exemption only targets pandemic-related projects that need to be built quickly, but the bulletin on the province’s website does not say. Learn more about this here and find out what’s going on in Ontario here.

WATCH | Ontario Calls For Military Aid In Long-Term Care And Increases Coronavirus Testing:

Ontario has asked the military to help deal with the COVID-19 crisis in long-term care homes because it is also implementing increased testing in institutions. 2:03

In Quebec, Montreal nurses who volunteered to work in a private long-term care home where more than half of residents tested positive for COVID-19 say there is “surprisingly little” protective equipment available to employees. CHSLD Vigi Mont-Royal has more than 150 residents who tested positive for the virus. Learn more about the care home here and learn more about what’s going on in Quebec here.

WATCH | Dr. Nathan Small says there has not been enough attention given to long-term care homes during pre-pandemic planning:

Dr. Nathan Small, a geriatrician with the Sinai Health System, says there was not enough attention given to long-term care homes during pre-pandemic planning. 1:16

New Brunswick Officials have warned that the province is unclear, although only 14 cases remain active. Chief Physician Dr. Jennifer Russell said the province’s success “has given us a chance to prepare for the future,” but that physical distance will be in place for “weeks and months to come.” come”. Prime Minister Blaine Higgs said businesses should prepare for the reopening, while respecting physical distancing measures. Learn more about what’s going on at N.B.

New ScotlandThe chief medical officer of health and the province’s largest public sector union argued on Wednesday over conditions at a long-term care home that is the epicenter of the province’s COVID-19 epidemic. The Nova Scotia government and the General Employees Union say the nurses it represents have “extremely serious concerns” about poor infection control and limited security protocols at the facility. Dr. Robert Strang, the province’s chief medical officer of health, dismissed the charge as a baseless alarmist. Learn more about what’s going on in Nova Scotia.

Prince Edward Island has only two active cases. The chief public health officer called for kindness and patience as the province plans to carefully relax certain public health measures. Find out more about what’s going on in Prince Edward Island

WATCH | What to do when you get back from the grocery store:

Andrew Chang explains what to do after you bring your supplies home from the store. 1:05

In Newfoundland and Labrador, Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Janice Fitzgerald says the province may ease some removal measures in the near future, but warns residents shouldn’t expect a full return to normal anytime soon. No new cases have been reported in the province for five days. Learn more about what’s going on at N.L.

In the north, territorial health authorities are performing fewer tests than before, despite expanded criteria. Dr. Sarah Cook, Territorial Medical Director for the Northwest Territories, said it was partly because other public health measures had worked. Learn more about what’s going on in the North.

Here is an overview of what is happening in the United States

Hundreds of members of the US House of Representatives will gather in Washington on Thursday to adopt a US $ 484 billion relief bill for coronaviruses, bringing the unprecedented total of funds approved for nearly three trillion dollars crisis.

The measure is expected to be approved with strong bipartisan support for the Democrat-led House, but opposition from some members of both parties forced lawmakers to return to Washington despite orders to stay at home to control the spread of the virus.

The Republican-led Senate passed the legislation on Tuesday, so approval by the House will send it to the White House, where President Donald Trump has promised to ratify it soon.

Some Democrats are unhappy that the latest bill omits financial aid to state and local governments as a result of lost income. Some Republicans are unhappy that so much public spending has been approved so quickly.

Trump has said he supports more funding for states, and has promised to support it in future legislation after other Republicans have refused to include it in the current relief package.

President Donald Trump gives the podium to the director of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Robert Redfield, to address the Coronavirus Outbreak Task Force on Wednesday. (Jonathan Ernst / Reuters)

The head of the Republican Senate, Mitch McConnell, suggested in a radio interview on Wednesday that the states could go bankrupt, but later said he did not want the states to use federal funds for anything. either unrelated to the coronavirus.

Many Republicans Want Quick Reopening

Echoing Trump, many Republicans want the country, including Congress, to reopen faster than the recommended weeks in many states.

“The Congress is essential. The American public must see that we are working. The American public needs to understand that we can do it safely so that states and others can start opening up too, “Republican House Leader Kevin McCarthy said on Wednesday. at a press conference outside the Capitol.

House members from both parties said they were prepared to risk traveling to ensure legislation was passed, with some posting selfies on social media from planes on which passengers appeared to outnumber crew.

The House will also vote on a select committee to study the response to the coronavirus epidemic.

Here’s what’s going on in the world

Spain recorded 440 new deaths overnight from the new coronavirus, bringing the total number of confirmed deaths to 22,157, official data showed on Thursday. With more than 4,600 new positive infections, reported cases now exceed 200,000, although the actual number is considered to be much higher as many people have not been tested and studies suggest that people can be infected without feeling sick.

On Thursday, a new genetic study published by the Carlos III Institute, Spain’s main epidemiological research center, suggested that the new coronavirus had been spreading in the country since mid-February, weeks before the identification of the first clusters of local contagion.

On April 22, caregivers treat a coronavirus patient at the intensive care unit of Principe de Asturias Hospital in Alcala de Henares, near Madrid. (Pierre-Philippe Marcou / AFP / Getty Images)

China says Australia’s calls for an independent investigation into the cause of the coronavirus epidemic are politically motivated and unnecessary to deal with the global pandemic. Australia is one of a number of countries and localities which are asking China for more information on the origin of the virus and whether every effort has been made to prevent its spread across China and then worldwide.

the UKThe economy is collapsing under the pressure of blocking coronaviruses and government borrowing is reaching the highest levels in peacetime history, increasing pressure on the government to establish an exit strategy.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson, recuperating in his country home after being gravely ill with COVID-19, faces criticism from opposition politicians and some epidemiologists for reacting too slowly to the coronavirus epidemic.

On April 22, a business owner used a thermal fogger to disinfect trucks at a transportation company in Barnsley, South Yorkshire, UK. (Oli Scarff / AFP / Getty Images)

Ministers are already struggling to explain the high death rates, limited testing and protective kit shortages, and the grim reality of the damage to the world’s fifth largest economy, which hit Thursday.

“Based on the early indicators, and based on experience in other countries that were affected a little earlier than the UK, it looks like we are experiencing an economic contraction that is faster and deeper than anything we’ve seen in the last century, or maybe several centuries, “said Jan Vlieghe, interest rate writer at the Bank of England.

North Korea told the World Health Organization that it had tested 740 people for the new coronavirus as of April 17, but that it had all turned out to be negative.

The North also said it had released 25,139 quarantine workers so far since December 31, according to WHO representative North Korea Edwin Salvador in an email to The Associated Press on Thursday.

The northern claim that there were no cases on its territory is questioned by many outside experts.

Describing anti-virus efforts as a “national issue”, the North has banned foreign tourists, closed almost all cross-border traffic with China, stepped up screening at ports of entry and mobilized health workers to monitor residents and isolate those who have them. symptoms.

In GermanyChancellor Angela Merkel says she understands the need to loosen restrictions on coronaviruses as soon as possible, but criticizes some states for acting too quickly, saying they risk rolling back what the country has accomplished.

In a speech to Parliament on Thursday, before legislators sitting next to each other in line with the country’s strict physical distance guidelines, Merkel said that even if the number of new infections in Germany began to slow, it there was still a lot of work to do.

A student walks between distant tables arriving for a test at a Berlin secondary school on April 22. (Tobias Schwarz / AFP / Getty Images)

She said: “We are not living in the final phase of the pandemic, but always at the beginning. We will live with this virus for a long time. Without naming names, she said some state governments had moved “partly very quickly, if not to say too quickly” with the process.

In an apparent reference to Trump’s announcement, he would suspend funds from the World Health Organization, Merkel praised the work of the international agency. “For the German government, I stress that WHO is an indispensable partner and we support them in their mandate. “

South KoreaHealth officials plan to start antibody testing soon to find out how widespread the coronavirus infection is in the population. They are also studying how long people retain their immunity after recovering from COVID-19.

Kwon Joon-wook, a senior official with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of South Korea, said Thursday that officials were considering a variety of options, such as testing groups of people in the city most affected by Daegu and neighboring regions, or obtaining blood samples from military conscripts.

He said such tests would be crucial to understanding how the virus is spreading and preparing for a new outbreak of infections, which could happen in autumn or winter when cold temperatures move more people inside.

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