More than a million Canadians have applied for employment insurance due to the coronavirus outbreak, according to Jean-Yves Duclos, chair of the federal cabinet committee on COVID-19.
There have been concerns about the EI system being overwhelmed by claims.
The federal government launched a $52-billion aid package last week that will provide $2,000 per month for four months to Canadians whose livelihoods are affected by COVID-19.
Also Sunday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced new federal funding for those experiencing higher levels of stress because of self-isolation policies — including children, seniors, the homeless and those facing violence at home.
He said the government is contributing $7.5 million to Kids Help Phone to hire more counsellors, adding that children feeling anxious should go online, call 1-800-668-6868, or text 686868 to reach the service.
WATCH | Trudeau offers message to young Canadians:
Trudeau also said he’s offering $9 million to the United Way through the government’s New Horizons for Seniors Program to help provide things such as health checks and grocery or meal delivery service.
The government is allocating $50 million to women’s shelters and sexual assault centres, including facilities in Indigenous communities — and $157 million to help those experiencing homelessness.
In the United States, Dr. Anthony Fauci — the government’s foremost infectious disease expert — said the country could see “millions of cases” of COVID-19 and between 100,000 and 200,000 deaths related to the coronavirus.
WATCH | U.S. could see over 1M COVID-19 cases, says top doctor:
Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, was speaking to CNN’s State of the Union program on Sunday as the U.S. was leading the world in the number of reported infections, estimated at more than 122,000. The U.S. death count crossed 2,100 on Saturday, more than double the level from two days ago.
“But I don’t want to be held to that,” Fauci said, regarding what he considers a worst-case scenario. “We don’t need to make a projection when it’s such a moving target that you could so easily be wrong and mislead people.”
The virus has hit hard in big American cities like New York, Detroit, New Orleans and Chicago, and has also made its way into rural America with outbreaks in small Midwestern towns and Rocky Mountain ski havens.
New York remains the worst-hit U.S. city and is home to more than a third of the country’s cases. Statewide, there are 59,513 known cases, an increase of more than 7,000 in a single day, the governor reported Sunday. The United Nations has donated 250,000 protective face masks to New York City.
“Right now, things are really dire. We’re seeing a lot more sick patients. Our hospitals are full, the emergency department is full,” Ugo Ezenkwele, chief of emergency medicine at Mount Sinai Queens hospital, told CBC News on Sunday.
“Three weeks ago, we saw a patient come in with mild symptoms, and now we’re seeing patients who are fairly sick, severely sick, requiring more oxygen,” he said, adding the hospital in the New York City borough of Queens is no longer doing elective surgeries.
Coronavirus-hit cruise ship
At sea, a Holland America cruise ship hit with a COVID-19 outbreak will be allowed through the Panama Canal, as it heads for its final destination in Florida.
Since a stop in Chile on March 14, the ship has been turned away from several ports after reporting that some of those on board were suffering from flu-like symptoms. Panama on Saturday reversed its decision to block the ship from the canal.
Foreign Affairs says there are 248 Canadians stranded aboard MS Zaandam, where some passengers have tested positive for the virus and four people have died. No Canadians on the vessel are reported ill.
The operator said Saturday that it would be transferring asymptomatic people on board to Holland America’s sister ship the Rotterdam, which was also given permission to transit the Panama Canal.
Foreign Affairs Minister François-Philippe Champagne says he has been co-ordinating with his Panamanian counterpart and will continue efforts to bring any non-infected Canadians home once the ship docks in Fort Lauderdale.
The number of cases of the respiratory illness stands at more than 663,800 across the globe, with more than 30,000 deaths.
Canada now has more than 6,200 confirmed and presumptive coronavirus cases, of which more than 500 have recovered.
There are also at least 63 deaths, not including those abroad. Foreign Affairs confirmed to CBC News on Sunday that a Canadian had died in Brazil due to COVID-19 complications “after falling ill on a cruise.” Another Canadian — who was also on a cruise — had earlier died in Japan.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford on Saturday announced stiff new measures to prevent price gouging for important products during the COVID-19 crisis. He said individuals found guilty of price gouging could face fines of $100,000, while company directors could face fines of $500,000 as well as a year in jail. Corporations may be fined as much as $10 million.
Canada’s most populous province is also prohibiting gatherings of more than five people, replacing an order that barred public events of over 50 people. The new order does not apply to households with more than five people. Child-care centres supporting health-care workers and first responders are exempt. Funerals will be permitted with up to 10 people at one time.
The situation means upcoming religious celebrations, including Easter and Ramadan, “will need to be adapted,” Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer, said Sunday.
WATCH | COVID-19 patient asks Canadians to obey doctors, government:
Transport Canada on Saturday has laid out new rules, in effect on Monday, for domestic travel, meaning anyone showing symptoms of COVID-19 won’t be allowed to board a domestic flight or inter-city passenger train.
For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. But for others, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, the virus can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and lead to death.
More than 146,000 people around the world have recovered, according to a Johns Hopkins University tally.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s wife, Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, says she has recovered from COVID-19 after contracting the illness while on a trip to the United Kingdom earlier this month.
Dr. Howard Njoo, Canada’s deputy chief public health officer, has said the fight against the pandemic is far from over and that it could include a second wave.
Tam said Canada has done tests on 205,000 people. About three per cent of them resulted in positive diagnoses for coronavirus.
Here’s what’s happening in Canada’s provinces and territories
In British Columbia, the provincial government reported 92 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday, boosting the provincial total to 884. On a more positive note, provincial health officer Doctor Bonnie Henry said 396 people have recovered from the illness in B.C. Read more in this analysis about how the curve could be flattening in B.C., but any definitive declaration of “turning the corner” cannot yet be made.
Mandatory curfews have been implemented in an Indigenous community in northeastern Alberta, and residents are being warned that member benefits could be lost — and even stricter provisions brought in — if they don’t comply. Determined to keep COVID-19 out of the community of about 750 people, Fort McKay First Nation and McKay Métis had put up a barrier near the entrance of the community. Members need to log in and out, and visitors are not allowed in. Read more about what’s happening in Alberta, including a story from Edmonton about a laptop drive aiming to connect marginalized people during the coronavirus pandemic.
WATCH | A laid-off Sunwing pilot talks about recovering from COVID-19:
Saskatchewan said there’s been a large increase in cases connected with a snowmobile rally held earlier this month. Health officials now say 18 cases in total have been linked to the event, and all of them are self-isolating at home. Read more about what’s happening in Saskatchewan.
Manitoba has eight new confirmed cases of COVID-19, bringing the province’s total to 72, health officials said Sunday. Read more about what’s happening in Manitoba.
Ontario reported 211 more cases on Sunday and two new deaths. This brings the provincial total to 1,355 cases and 21 deaths. The province is cracking down on price gouging for essential hygiene and medical supplies. On Saturday, Premier Ford announced an emergency order bringing in immediate new fines and potential jail time. The province has also banned gatherings of more than five people, effective immediately, with some small exceptions. Read more about what’s happening in Ontario.
Quebec Premier François Legault says the number of new cases appears to be stabilizing and hospitalizations remain limited. The biggest concentrations of cases are in the Montreal and Estrie regions, and Legault says local officials will provide updates in those regions later today. Read more about what’s happening in Quebec.
New Brunswick health officials are alerting passengers after it was discovered a person aboard a flight that landed in Moncton tested positive for COVID-19. A statement by the Greater Moncton International Airport Authority says if anyone was on this flight, or was in close contact to someone on this flight, they should self-isolate for 14 days. Read more about what’s happening in New Brunswick.
Nova Scotia is confirming three workers at separate long-term care homes have tested positive for COVID-19 in two days. The latest positive case involves a worker at the Magnolia residential care home in Enfield. It is one of 12 new confirmed cases announced today by the province, bringing the total to 122.
Premier Stephen McNeil told reporters he’s frustrated by reports of people going to parks and beaches even though they’re closed, calling citizens who do this “the reckless few.” Read more about what’s happening in Nova Scotia.
Prince Edward Island has reported a total of 11 cases of COVID-19, with two new cases, one woman in her 20s and another in her 50s who both travelled internationally. Read more about what’s happening in P.E.I.
WATCH | How COVID-19 is affecting grocery stores:
Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Dwight Ball said Sunday that officials have been bracing for the COVID-19 situation to become more serious. “We do not want to be alarmist, but we have to be truthful with you. This is how serious COVID-19 is,” he said. “Stay inside so the virus stands outside.”
Health Minister John Haggie said none of the province’s ventilators are being used on a COVID-19 patient, as of Sunday, but announced 15 more cases in the province. The province attributes the rapid growth of its cases to the clustering of a large number of cases that occurred at two funerals held at Caul’s Funeral Home in St. John’s earlier this month. Read more about what’s happening in N.L.
Here’s what’s happening in the U.S.
From Reuters, updated at 2:00 p.m. ET
In the U.S., a 49-year-old prisoner in Oakdale, La., who was serving a 27-year prison term for a drug charge, became the first federal inmate to die from COVID-19, the federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) announced late on Saturday. A total of 14 inmates and 13 staff in federal prisons across the United States have fallen ill with the virus, according to the BOP’s website.
Cities including Detroit, Chicago and New Orleans are growing as hotspots of infection, while New York City continues to be pummelled. Nurses there are calling for more masks and other gear to safeguard themselves against the virus that has so far sickened more than 52,000 people and killed over 700 in New York state, mostly in the city.
The U.S. national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Saturday warned residents of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut against non-essential domestic travel for 14 days.
The Rhode Island National Guard started going door to door on Saturday in coastal areas to inform any New Yorkers who may have come to the state that they must self-quarantine for 14 days. Gov. Gina Raimondo expanded the mandatory self-quarantine to anyone visiting the state. She also ordered residents to stay at home, with exceptions for getting food, medicines or going to the doctor, and ordered nonessential retail businesses to close Monday until April 13.
In Detroit, construction is set to begin on a new 900-bed medical site within a convention centre.
The first infant death related to COVID-19 in the U.S. has been reported in the Chicago area. The Illinois Department of Public Health said in a statement Saturday that the child was younger than one year in age and tested positive for the virus.
On Friday, Trump signed a sweeping $2.2-trillion US relief bill into law, only hours after it had been approved by the House of Representatives, after having been passed by the Senate earlier this week.
He also invoked emergency powers to require General Motors Co. to build much-needed ventilators after he accused the largest U.S. automaker of “wasting time” during negotiations.
Britain has placed an order for 10,000 ventilators to be made by a consortium of companies including Ford, Airbus and Rolls-Royce as part of efforts to fight coronavirus, an industry source told Reuters.
Here’s what’s happening in Europe
From Reuters and The Associated Press, updated at 2:00 p.m. ET
A French politician who for decades was in the limelight as a mainstay of the conservative right is the first politician in France to have died after being tested positive for COVID-19. Patrick Devedjian died early Sunday at the age of 75 after being hospitalized earlier in the week, the regional council of the Hauts-de-Seine region, which he presided over, announced. As of Sunday, 2,606 people had died of COVID-19 in France.
In the U.K., 17,089 people have tested positive and 1,019 have died of COVID-19 as of Saturday morning, the Department of Health and Social Care said on Twitter. Britons should be prepared for a “significant period” in lockdown, senior cabinet minister Michael Gove said on Sunday.
In Germany, the number of confirmed cases has risen to 52,547 and 389 people have died of the disease, statistics from the Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases showed on Sunday.
Spain says it has hit a new daily record for coronavirus deaths with 838 fatalities in the last 24 hours for a total of 6,528, the world’s second-highest death count behind Italy. Spain’s new total for infections is 78,797.
Spain has been in lockdown for two weeks under a national state of emergency. Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez’s cabinet was to approve on Sunday a new decree to tighten those controls and impede workers from commuting to work for the next two weeks in all industries unrelated to health care and food production and distribution.
The death toll in Italy surpassed 10,000 on Saturday and on Sunday surged to 10,779, according to the Civil Protection Agency. Italy has the second highest number of cases, behind the US. It surpassed China’s tally on Friday.
Ireland on Sunday reported an additional 200 confirmed cases to bring the total to 2,615. The government is rolling out a voluntary phone-tracking app to alert users if someone they have been in contact with develops COVID-19, its health service said Sunday.
The phone app, which will keep track of people the user has come into close physical contact with and alert them if they subsequently test positive, is expected to be launched within 10 days, Ireland’s Health Service Executive said.
Here’s a look at what’s happening in some other parts of the world
The government of Honduras said on Sunday that it is extending a curfew through April 12 as the fast-spreading disease has killed three in the Central American nation, where there are 110 confirmed cases.
Australia has announced that public gatherings will be limited to two people, down from 10, and has enacted a six-month moratorium on evictions for those who cannot pay their rent as part of its latest measures in the face of the coronavirus crisis. Australia had 3,966 confirmed cases of the virus as of Sunday afternoon, including 16 deaths.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi apologized to the public on Sunday for imposing a three-week national lockdown, calling it harsh but “needed to win” the battle against the pandemic. The unprecedented lockdown order, which came into effect on Wednesday to keep India’s 1.3 billion people at home for all but essential trips to places like markets or pharmacies, is meant to prevent the spread of the virus from surging and overwhelming India’s already strained health care system. Indian health officials have confirmed 867 cases of the coronavirus, including 25 deaths.
Iran has confirmed another 144 deaths from the coronavirus and says thousands more are in critical condition as the military completed work on a 2,000-bed field hospital in an exhibition centre in the capital. Iran has reported nearly 2,400 deaths among more than 32,000 cases.
Iranian officials have repeatedly insisted they have the outbreak under control, despite concerns it could overwhelm the country’s health facilities. Authorities have urged people to stay home but have not imposed the sweeping lockdowns seen elsewhere in the region.
As others tightened controls, China continued to ease its restrictions, following the ruling Communist Party’s declaration of victory over the coronavirus.
Airline flights from Hubei province at the epicentre of the country’s outbreak resumed Sunday.
Malaysia reported 150 new coronavirus cases on Sunday, taking the total to 2,470, the highest in Southeast Asia. The number of deaths from the virus outbreak rose by seven to 34, the health ministry said.
Syria reported its first death. It now has nine confirmed cases, but medics and witnesses say there are many more.
Turkey’s deaths from the coronavirus increased by 23 to 131 on Sunday, as the number of confirmed cases rose by 1,815 to 9,217, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said. Turkey halted all intercity trains and limited domestic flights on Saturday as the country recorded more than 100 deaths from COVID-19.
South Africa has the most cases in Africa and as of midnight entered a three-week lockdown. In Johannesburg, police fired tear gas and beat people on the streets and in camps as the country’s first day of a coronavirus curfew slid into chaos.
In Kenya, ferry commuters racing to board a boat in Mombasa to beat the local curfew were met with tear gas.
Indonesia authorities in Jakarta have extended a state of emergency for the next two weeks. The country has reported 102 deaths and 1,155 infections.
The United Arab Emirates extended on Saturday to April 5 a nightly curfew to sterilize public places to combat the coronavirus as neighbouring Qatar reported its first death from the disease.
Saudi Arabia recorded 99 new cases on Saturday, taking its total to more than 1,200 coronavirus infections — the most in the Gulf Arab region, with four fatalities. On Sunday local time, the Kingdom said it was extending indefinitely the suspension of international passenger flights and workplace attendance in both public and private sectors among efforts to contain the spread of the coronavirus.