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The latest developments on COVID-19 in Canada

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The latest news on the novel coronavirus and the illness dubbed COVID-19 (all times Eastern):

11:25 p.m.

Health officials in northern Ontario have confirmed the first case of the novel coronavirus in the Sudbury area.

In an online statement, Sudbury public health says a man in his 50s tested positive for COVID-19 after he went to the emergency department at Health Sciences North on Saturday.

It says the investigation is ongoing, but adds that the man attended a convention by Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada in Toronto on March 2 and 3.

The public health agency says the man was sent home after being diagnosed, where he remains in isolation.

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7:15 p.m.

Seven additional people in British Columbia have tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the provincial total to 39.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says two of the new cases are health-care workers at the same long-term care facility where a small outbreak has already been identified.

A total of eight cases are now linked to the Lynn Valley Care Centre, including two family members or close contacts of a health-care worker.

Henry says the initial health-care worker who tested positive at the seniors facility has been admitted to hospital for monitoring, adding that no additional residents of the facility tested positive today.

Three of today's cases are travel-related, including a woman who was on a tour in Egypt, a person who returned from Germany and a man in his 90s who was on the Grand Princess cruise.

Henry says a woman in her 80s who was recently admitted to an intensive care unit in critical condition has been released from hospital.

 

6:50 p.m.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau plans to announce federal funding to help provincial health care systems cope with the increasing numbers of Canadians infected with the new coronavirus and to help workers who are forced to self-isolate.

Government sources, not authorized to discuss the plans publicly, say Trudeau will hold a news conference Wednesday morning to announce the new measures.

More moves to respond to COVID-19 are expected in Finance Minister Bill Morneau's coming budget.

The immediate objective is to try to contain the spread of the illness as much as possible and help people hurt financially by being forced into quarantine or self-isolation.

The sources say the federal government is ready to do more if the situation worsens.

 

5:45 p.m.

The number of novel coronavirus cases in Alberta has doubled to 14.

The province's chief medical officer says the new cases involve four people from the Calgary region and three people from the Edmonton area.

Dr. Deena Hinshaw says the new patients are recovering in isolation at home.

Hinshaw says one of the previously diagnosed patients is receiving treatment in hospital.

She says all of the cases are travel-related.

 

5:39 p.m.

Natural Resources Minister Seamus O'Regan says he's isolating himself until he gets the results of a test for the virus that causes COVID-19.

On Twitter, the MP from Newfoundland and Labrador says he's had a bad cold and a doctor recommended a test for the novel coronavirus as a precaution.

He says he's not aware that he's been in contact with anyone who has the illness but will work from home.

 

3:00 p.m.

The Manitoba government is preparing to spend about $35 million on personal protective equipment as part of a federal procurement plan to deal with the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The procurement through the Public Health Agency of Canada will include items such as gloves, face masks and shields, thermometer covers and hand sanitizer for patients and health-care workers.

Health Minister Cameron Friesen says Manitoba is the first province to sign on.

 

2:58 p.m.

Canadian Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault says the government plans to offer guidance to event planners about when they should consider shutting down large gatherings in light of a possible novel coronavirus outbreak.

Though there's been only limited community transmission of the virus in Canada, concert promoters, major sports leagues and festivals say they are watching carefully to decide whether they should be bringing crowds of people together.

Guilbeault says the decision will ultimately be up to individual event planners, as well as provinces and territories.

He explained some jurisdictions may be better situated to handle mass gatherings than others, and it's not up to the federal government to dictate which events should go ahead and which should be cancelled.

 

2:50 p.m.

Air Canada is suspending flights to and from Italy, saying Italian regulations and "ongoing health and safety concerns" prompted the decision.

The airline's last flight to Rome is scheduled to take off from Toronto today, with the final return flight departing Rome for Montreal on Wednesday.

Air Canada hopes to restart service May 1. Meanwhile, it says affected customers will be notified and offered a full refund.

In January, Canada's largest airline halted all direct flights to China — the epicentre of the virus — as it braced for a hit to revenues. Its shares have fallen about 40 per cent in the past seven weeks.

 

1:58 p.m.

New Brunswick's education minister has ordered all preschoolers and students travelling abroad to refrain from returning to school for two weeks in a bid to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Dominic Cardy sent a letter to parents Monday saying the precautionary measure — among the most aggressive taken by any province — also applies to school and early learning centre staff, volunteers and family members of students.

Cardy says the new rule applies to those who have returned from international travel as of March 8.

The minister has also cancelled all international school-related travel for the remainder of the school year.

 

12:21 p.m.

U.S. President Donald Trump says the Canadians who were on board the Grand Princess cruise ship that docked Monday in California were returned home "in a very dignified fashion."

Trump made the comments during a meeting Tuesday at the White House with health officials, cruise industry executives and members of Vice-President Mike Pence's coronavirus task force.

He thanked both Canada and the United Kingdom for their help in repatriating foreign nationals, including 228 Canadians who arrived early Tuesday at Canadian Forces Base Trenton to begin a 14-day quarantine.

Trump said the Canadians were taken "in a very dignified fashion back into Canada."

It was not clear what Trump meant by "dignified," although it may have been a response to complaints from some frustrated passengers that after weeks of being isolated in their cabins, many were in close contact with one another as they queued up to be screened.

By midday Tuesday, there were 687 active COVID-19 cases recorded in the U.S., plus 27 deaths.

 

12:13 p.m.

A Montreal hospital is asking its staff to limit travel to limit the spread of COVID-19.

The Sainte-Justine hospital told staff in an internal memo that they should travel only if absolutely necessary.

The hospital also asked staff to stay home from work for two weeks if they've visited certain regions, including China, Hong Kong, South Korea, Iran, India, Egypt, Japan and parts of Italy and France as well as the Seattle area.

 

11:38 a.m.

Foreign Affairs Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne says he is in regular contact with his counterpart in Italy to try to learn from that country's experience with the novel coronavirus.

Italy has gone into total lockdown, as officials restrict travel to 60 million people to limit the spread of the virus.

The country has confirmed more than 9,000 cases of COVID-19, and has reported more than 460 deaths.

 

11:00 a.m.

Ontario health officials have announced one new case of the novel coronavirus.

The man in his 40s recently travelled to Switzerland and is now at home in self-isolation.

The new case brings Ontario's total number of COVID-19 cases to 36.

 

9:52 a.m.

Foreign Affairs Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne says there were 228 Canadians on board a plane that landed at Canadian Forces Base Trenton, Ont., carrying passengers from the Grand Princess cruise ship.

The ship is now docked in Oakland after idling for several days off the coast of California.

Champagne says a handful of Canadian crew members on the ship have tested positive for the novel coronavirus and will have to stay on board.

Some Canadian passengers also stayed behind for medical reasons unrelated to the virus, and are being cared for by the California health system.

There were 237 Canadians among the 3,500 passengers and crew on board the Grand Princess.

The Canadian Press

Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version said Ontario's most recent case was a man in his 30s.