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The latest developments on COVID-19 in Canada


The latest news on the COVID-19 global pandemic (all times Eastern):


10:50 p.m.

The federal government says it will release information Thursday outlining how COVID-19 could affect Canada in the coming weeks and months.

Government officials are to hold a technical briefing with the media on the data then hold a news conference to provide an update on the coronavirus disease.

A government release says the information will be based on public health models.

Recently, different provinces have released projections based on such models that forecast the possible number of COVID-19 cases and deaths in their jurisdictions.


10:15 p.m.

The popular Toronto Caribbean Carnival has been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Organizers say there was increasing concern about the severe public health risk that big crowds at events in July and August could pose to spread the virus.

They say the priority must be the health and safety of patrons.

The carnival, formerly known as Caribana, has taken place in the city for 52 years.

It was established in 1967 as part of Canada’s 100th Anniversary celebrations by Caribbean immigrants as a cultural gift to Canada.


6:40 p.m.

Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe says he wants to see a provincial laboratory process 1,000 COVID-19 tests each day.

He says he's asked health officials to try and meet that target and bump it up to 1,500 tests by the end of the month.

Moe says testing will be crucial when it comes time to lifting some of the restrictions on public interactions.


6:10 p.m.

Yukon's top doctor says there are now eight cases of COVID-19 in the territory, up from seven previously. 

The latest case is isolating at home in a rural community and chief medical officer of health Dr. Brendan Hanley says the infection is linked to international travel.

Hanley says four of the eight people have now recovered and no one has been hospitalized.

The Yukon government says when a case is diagnosed in a rural community, the community will not be publicly identified in order to protect the individual's privacy and to guard against stigmatization.


6:05 p.m.

Five more people have died from COVID-19 in British Columbia, bringing the province's death toll to 48.

There were 45 new positive tests for the virus for a total of 1,336 cases.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says 226 of those cases are at 21 long-term care homes where there have been outbreaks.

Of those cases, 138 residents and 88 staff members have been infected.


6 p.m.

Alberta is reporting 50 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total in the province to 1,423.

Premier Jason Kenney says there have been three additional deaths.

That means 29 people have died so far in Alberta.

Kenney says 519 residents have recovered from the illness.


4:40 p.m.

People returning to British Columbia from other countries will be required to present self-isolation plans or they will be placed in quarantine.

The government says it will have officials in place starting Friday at Vancouver International Airport and major land border crossings to make sure the plans are complete.

Premier John Horgan says forms will be available online to help travellers, and those arriving by air will be given the document.

The document can be submitted online or completed on arrival, and must indicate how returning travellers plan to keep themselves in self-isolation for 14 days.

If the plan is not approved, Horgan says those travellers will be taken to a "quarantine site" until they can get arrangements in place.


4:30 p.m.

Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart says local governments across Canada are facing significant financial pressures due to COVID-19.

He says Vancouver is bleeding money and the city expects to see a 50 per cent reduction in non-city property tax revenues between March and May, which equates to losses of $4 million to $5 million per week.

Stewart is calling on the B.C. government to expand it's provincial property tax deferment program to include all residents, businesses and non-profit agencies to help bridge the gap.

He's also asking the province for an emergency grant of up to $200 million so Vancouver can maintain essential services and pay for programs that support vulnerable residents throughout the pandemic.


3:40 p.m.

Saskatchewan health officials are reporting 11 new cases of COVID-19 in the province, bringing the total to 271.

Officials say it's still too early to say when case numbers may peak and how long physical distancing measures should be in place.


3:30 p.m.

Prince Edward Island is reporting another case of COVID-19 today, raising the provincial total to 25.

Chief public health officer Dr. Heather Morrison says it is the first case on P.E.I. as a result of interprovincial travel.

She says the latest case is a man in his 50s.


2:40 p.m.

The number of inmates who have tested positive for COVID-19 has jumped to 35, with outbreaks in four federal institutions.

There are 11 positive cases at the Mission Institution in British Columbia.

Quebec has outbreaks at the Joliette Institution, where 10 prisoners have COVID-19, and at the Port-Cartier prison, where seven are sick.

There are also seven positive cases at the Grand Valley Institution for Women in Ontario.


2:10 p.m.

The Manitoba government is reporting another four cases of COVID-19 in the province, bringing the total to 221.

Health officials say 12 people are in hospital, six of them in intensive care, and 69 people have recovered.

The province's chief public health officer says the coming weeks are crucial and urged people to not attend Easter or passover gatherings this weekend.


1:50 p.m.

There are three new cases of COVID-19 today in New Brunswick, bringing the provincial total to 108.

Dr. Jennifer Russell, the province's chief public health officer, says there are six people in hospital with four of them in intensive care.

She says 50 people have recovered from the virus. 


1:25 p.m.

Quebec has surpassed 10,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and has added 25 more deaths, bringing the provincial death tally to 175.

Premier Francois Legault says the silver lining is that hospitalizations are starting to stabilize, but cautions the province still has a way to go.

Of the 10,031 confirmed COVID-19 cases, 632 people are hospitalized and 181 are in intensive care.

Legault's message to Quebecers today is that keeping seniors safe is the top priority and extra staff and resources are being deployed to long-term care facilities and nursing homes.


1:10 p.m.

Newfoundland and Labrador has reported four more confirmed cases of COVID-19.

The new cases bring the provincial total to 232 cases, while 4,149 people have been tested.

A news release says six people are in the hospital with the virus and two are in intensive care, while 74 people have recovered.

Officials will present models anticipating how COVID-19 may impact the province on Wednesday evening.


1:10 p.m.

Health officials in Saskatchewan project between 3,000 and 8,300 people in the province could die from COVID-19.

The figures are from a series of 'what-if' scenarios based on factors like how fast the virus spreads and testing.

The Saskatchewan Health Authority estimates the province could see between 153,000 and 408,000 total cases of COVID-19.

Officials say current physical distancing rules are working and report 260 cases of the virus.


12:50 p.m.

There are two new cases of COVID-19 on Prince Edward Island, increasing the provincial total to 24.

It's the first increase in six days, but on Tuesday Premier Dennis King said the province was waiting for the results of hundreds of tests from the national laboratory in Winnipeg and expressed his concern in how long it was taking.

Chief public health officer Dr. Heather Morrison says the latest cases are a man in his 20s and a woman in her 70s. Both have returned from international travel and are self-isolating.

Seventeen cases are considered recovered.


12:47 p.m.

The Manitoba government is postponing public events marking the province's 150th birthday due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Premier Brian Pallister says the priority is to protect public health, and major celebrations will likely be revived only next year.

Pallister is also dropping more hints that fines will be coming for people who fail to follow social-distancing rules, saying details will be released in the coming days.

The premier also says the legislature will resume next Wednesday to free up billions of new dollars for health care and to enact measures to support people during the pandemic.


12:45 p.m.

Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland says party House leaders are negotiating when and how Parliament can return to debate legislation on wage subsidies to help workers.

Freeland says she is hopeful a meeting of the House of Commons can happen very soon


12:30 p.m.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he will continue to work at home but will begin leaving his residence to attend the occasional important meeting, including a cabinet session today.

Trudeau says he will take "all proper precautions" when he does so.

The prime minister has been working from home since his wife Sophie tested positive for COVID-19 in mid-March.


11:40 a.m.

Nova Scotia is reporting 32 new cases of COVID-19 for a total of 342 confirmed cases.

To date, there has been one death in the province and health officials say 11 people are currently in hospital.

Most cases in the province are connected to travel or a known case, although there is now community spread detected as well.

Public health says the QEII Health Sciences Centre's microbiology lab in Halifax completed more than 700 tests on Tuesday and is now operating on a 24-hour-a-day basis. Nova Scotia has had 11,346 negative test results.


11:40 a.m.

The British Columbia government is closing all provincial parks to ensure compliance with recommendations to stay at home during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A statement from the Environment and Climate Change Ministry says the closure applies to everyone, from B.C. and out-of-province, who may have been planning a trip to a provincial park.

Minister George Heyman says efforts were made to provide spaces for exercise and fresh air in the parks but it "has proven too challenging" to maintain safe physical distancing of two metres between visitors.

The timing of the decision is aimed at heading off Easter weekend campers, and BC Parks has extended the ban on camping in all its parks until May 31.


11:25 a.m.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the federal wage-subsidy program for employers hit by COVID-19 will have looser standards than previously announced.

Rather than having to show a 30-per-cent decline in revenues, he says they can show a 15-per-cent decline in March, and can compare their revenues to previous months rather than the previous year.

Charities can also choose whether to include revenues from governments in their calculations when they apply.

He says businesses need to survive and workers need to get paid if the economy is to "come roaring back after this crisis."


11 a.m.

Maple Leaf Foods Inc. is suspending operations in its poultry plant in Brampton, Ont., after three COVID-19 cases that occurred in people working at the facility.

The company says it's deep cleaning the plant as it completes an investigation into the cases.

Maple Leaf says an additional COVID-19 case has occurred in an employee at a plant in Hamilton, but the worker had not been present at the plant for two weeks before the diagnosis

It says it has completed thorough sanitation at that plant and it is fully operating.


10:45 a.m.

Conservative Finance critic Pierre Poilievre says promised relief from the federal government for small businesses suffering losses due to COVID-19 is not rolling out fast enough.

He says the United States has already delivered $66 billion in forgivable loans to businesses in America while Canadian companies are still waiting for emergency financial help to materialize.

Conservatives are calling for government to implement faster measures, including reimbursing GST payments remitted by small businesses for 12 months prior to the start of the COVID-19 crisis — a move that Poilievre says would give business owners $13 billion.

Poilievre is also calling on the government to widen eligibility criteria for the Liberals' wage subsidy program beyond lost revenues to allow employers who have seen lost profits or subscriptions to also apply.


10:40 a.m. 

Ontario is reporting 550 new COVID-19 cases today, the biggest single-day increase so far, including 21 new deaths.

The new provincial total of 5,276 includes 174 deaths and 2,074 resolved.

The number of people in hospital dropped since Tuesday, from 614 to 605, but more people are now in intensive care and on ventilators.

A backlog of pending tests that had nearly been cleared has now grown, and is up to more than 1,100.


10 a.m.

Vancity is temporarily cutting credit card interest rates to zero and deferring minimum payments for those facing financial difficulty as a result of COVID-19.

The Vancouver-based credit union says personal and business credit card holders who need to defer a payment due to the pandemic will be offered payment deferrals of up to six months at a zero per cent interest rate.

The move by Vancity comes after several of the large Canadian banks reduced their interest rates on their credit cards for those in financial hardship due to the pandemic.


9:25 a.m.

Air Canada, which has cut roughly half its Canadian workforce, says it will apply for Ottawa's emergency wage subsidy program and retain or return affected employees to its payroll for the program term.

The airline announced last month it would cut about 16,500 jobs as part of a cost reduction program due to the COVID-19 pandemic and imposition of global travel restrictions.

Air Canada says that depending on wage levels, many employees will receive more under the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy program than they would from employment insurance plus they will maintain their health insurance and other benefits.

The airline has reduced its seat capacity by 85 to 90 per cent due the pandemic crisis and says any near-term recovery will rely on the lifting of domestic and international travel restrictions and return of passenger traffic.

The Canadian Press

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