A day after outlining a plan to allow children to return to daycares and primary schools in May, Quebec Premier François Legault is expected to announce the hard-hit province’s framework for a gradual reopening amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Legault on Monday announced a plan that would allow children in daycare and primary school in most parts of Quebec to head back to class on May 11 — though attendance won’t be mandatory. Daycares and primary schools in the Montreal area would open on May 19.
High schools, CEGEPs and universities will reopen in the fall, Legault said, adding that officials felt primary-aged schoolchildren would benefit the most from additional weeks of class time.
“We will analyze the situation every day and adjust if necessary,” he said. “The watchword here is prudence.”
“This reopening will be gradual. It won’t be obligatory so that children won’t all come back at the same time,” said Que. Premier <a href=”https://twitter.com/francoislegault?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@francoislegault</a> announcing plans to reopen elementary schools outside Montreal area on May 11. Read more: <a href=”https://t.co/pG5fW6cbJg”>https://t.co/pG5fW6cbJg</a> <a href=”https://t.co/HZT2ApD19y”>pic.twitter.com/HZT2ApD19y</a>
The province’s top doctor was quick to note that the easing of some restrictions did not mean that people should stop following public health measures and move around widely.
Tuesday’s announcement is expected to offer some detail around how the province would handle a broader reopening of the economy. Neighbouring New Brunswick, which has had far fewer cases than Quebec, has already loosened some restrictions, including opening some outdoor spaces and allowing people to form “bubbles” of two families. Saskatchewan has also released a five-phase reopening plan, with expected dates attached to the first two phases.
Ontario plan focuses on how — not when
Ontario, which unveiled its plan on Monday, didn’t attach any dates to its framework.
Premier Doug Ford said the framework is about how the province will reopen — not when.
“We’re all missing birthdays, religious celebrations and once-in-a-lifetime milestones. These are all too real, a painful loss of memories, and moments taken away by this deadly virus,” Ford said. “But that is why we must continue.”
A slow, methodical and gradual reopening will help the province avoid another period of shutdown, Ford said.
WATCH | Ontario reveals reopening plan, no timeline:
Ford said he wants to see the economy “get going” but can’t risk an escalation in cases if the province opens prematurely.
As of 6 a.m. ET on Tuesday, Canada had 48,500 confirmed and presumptive cases of the novel coronavirus. Provinces and territories listed 18,281 cases as recovered or resolved. A CBC tally of COVID-19-related deaths, which is based on provincial health data, local public health information and CBC reporting, listed 2,817 deaths in Canada and two abroad.
A case tracking site maintained by U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University reported more than three million cases around the world, with over 208,000 reported coronavirus-related deaths.
There is no proven treatment or vaccine for the novel virus, which first emerged in China in late 2019. Public health officials in Canada and around the world have cautioned that reported numbers don’t show the full picture, as they don’t reflect people that haven’t been tested or cases that are still under investigation.
Read on for a look at what’s happening in Canada, the U.S. and around the world.
Here’s a look at what’s happening in the provinces and territories
British Columbia’s top doctor said the province is getting closer to lifting some restrictions put in place to respond to COVID-19. Dr. Bonnie Henry said that plans to open up would be “made-in B.C.” and would include measures aimed at breaking the chain of transmission. “We cannot allow hot spots to flare up and to affect our communities.” Read more about what’s happening in B.C., including a story about how Haida Gwaii communities are ramping up enforcement of a ban on visitors.
In Alberta, coronavirus case numbers are below projected levels. The province’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, said that actions Albertans had taken to stay home and stay apart have been critical to flattening the curve. Read more about what’s happening in Alberta.
Saskatchewan reported 12 new cases and one new coronavirus-related death on Monday. It’s the fifth death reported to date in the province. Read more about what’s happening in Saskatchewan.
Manitoba is banning personal care-home workers from working at more than one home as of Friday in order to reduce the risk of spreading the coronavirus. Read more about what’s happening in Manitoba.
Ontario unveiled its three-stage reopening plan on Monday. The three stages will see businesses and workplaces reopen at different times, though likely with distancing measures in place. Restrictions on public gatherings will also be eased, but Premier Doug Ford says large concerts and sporting events are still a long way off. Read more about Ontario’s plan to reopen.
Quebec announced Monday 84 more COVID-19 deaths in the province, bringing the total to 1,599. There were 875 new cases, for a total of 24,982. Read more about what’s happening in Quebec, including a story on the province’s push to do more testing.
WATCH | Testing needs to increase as COVID-19 restrictions are reduced:
New Brunswick’s chief medical officer says it’s possible masks become mandatory in some situations as the province moves forward with its reopening plan. “It’s very important that you get used to wearing masks,” Dr. Jennifer Russell said. Read more about what’s happening in N.B.
WATCH | Why Canada’s top doctor changed her stance on masks:
In Nunavut, the government is banning gatherings of more than five people who don’t live together. Read more about what’s happening across the North.
Here’s a look at what’s happening in the U.S.
From The Associated Press, updated at 7 a.m. ET
In the United States, which has the world’s highest death toll at more than 56,000, President Donald Trump said states should “seriously consider” reopening their public schools before the end of the academic year, even though dozens already have said it would be unsafe for students to return until the summer or fall.
“Some of you might start thinking about school openings, because a lot of people are wanting to have the school openings. It’s not a big subject, young children have done very well in this disaster that we’ve all gone through,” Trump said.
Trump also admitted the number of virus deaths could reach 70,000 in the U.S., after citing 60,000 several times this month.
Here’s a look at what’s happening around the world
From The Associated Press and Reuters, updated at 7 a.m. ET
The UN humanitarian chief said Monday that $90 billion US could provide income support, food and a health response to the coronavirus pandemic for 700 million of the world’s most vulnerable people. Mark Lowcock told a video briefing most experts agree that the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t reached the poorest parts of the world, but may peak in the next three to six months.
He said about 700 million people — 10 per cent of the world’s population — are most vulnerable and concentrated in about 30 to 40 countries that already receive humanitarian assistance and will see a big drop in incomes as the virus spreads and governments impose restrictive measures and lockdowns.
Brazil, Latin America’s most populous country with 211 million people, has reported 4,600 deaths and 67,000 confirmed infections. But the true numbers are believed to be vastly higher given the lack of testing and the many people who haven’t sought hospital care.
Medical officials in Rio de Janeiro and at least four other major cities have warned that their hospital systems are on the verge of collapse or are too overwhelmed to take any more patients. There are also signs that a growing number of Brazilian victims are dying at home.
“We have all the conditions here for the pandemic to become much more serious,” said Paulo Brandao, a virologist at the University of Sao Paulo.
President Jair Bolsonaro has insisted that COVID-19 is just a “little flu” and there is no need for the type of restrictions that have slowed the infection’s spread in Europe and the U.S. but upended their economies. Bolsonaro has said Brazilians need to resume their lives to prevent an economic meltdown, but most state governors have adopted restrictions to keep people home and slow the spread of the virus.
Argentina, meanwhile, has banned ticket sales for commercial flights until September.
New Zealand reported just three new infections Tuesday. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said people had done an incredible job of breaking the chain of transmission but cautioned they need to remain vigilant.
“There may still be some smouldering ashes out there, and they have the potential to become a wildfire again, if we give them the chance,” she said, quoting a microbiologist.
WATCH | New Zealand loosens lockdown restrictions:
Her government loosened its lockdown, which had shuttered schools and most businesses. Surfers hit the waves at dawn, builders returned to construction sites and baristas fired up espresso machines. Most students will still keep studying at home, employees must work from home if possible and everyone is required to maintain physical distancing.
In Australia, authorities reopened Sydney’s iconic Bondi Beach to swimmers and surfers on Tuesday and hundreds of people returned to the water. People can only use the beach during daylight, cannot linger and are limited to ensure physical distancing. Australia has only 83 confirmed virus deaths, less than the death tolls in at least half of the U.S. states.
Singapore’s health ministry has said it is not able to test all migrant workers in dormitories and has been isolating some symptomatic patients first, a method that a government health adviser said was causing a lag in the reporting of cases.
The Southeast Asian island nation of 5.7 million people has nearly 15,000 confirmed coronavirus infections, one of the highest totals in Asia, largely because of outbreaks in cramped dormitories housing more than 300,000 mostly South Asian workers. The ministry on Tuesday confirmed 528 more coronavirus infections, the smallest daily rise in almost two weeks.
Health authorities in Thailand on Monday reported the country’s lowest number of new cases of the coronavirus in more than six weeks, as the government considers easing some restrictions imposed to control the spread of the virus. Nine new confirmed cases were reported, the smallest single-day increase since March 14.
Thailand has confirmed 2,931 cases, including 52 deaths. Officials said a proposal will be submitted to the cabinet on Tuesday for easing restrictions according to suggestions from the state planning agency.