Canada is reducing service hours at 27 lower-traffic land border crossings on a temporary basis, saying the COVID-19-related measures will begin at 11:59 p.m. ET on Wednesday.
The Canada Border Services Agency said in a statement that the measures, which affect crossings in B.C., Alberta, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Quebec, will remain in effect until further notice.
The government announced in mid-March that it was closing the border to most non-citizens — but that initial announcement had several exceptions, including for Americans. Days later, Canada and the U.S. announced a temporary closure to all non-essential traffic in a push to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19.
CBSA said in a statement released late Tuesday that economic supply chains are still open and the changes shouldn’t affect commercial traffic. The border agency also said it is committed to making sure Indigenous people “continue to be able to move within and between their communities, and are able to provide and access essential goods and services.”
The announcement from CBSA comes after the government announced stepped-up quarantine rules for incoming travellers. Under the new order, people must present a plan to self-isolate and demonstrate (whether or not they have symptoms) that they won’t be in contact with vulnerable people, including “adults aged 65 years or over and people with pre-existing medical conditions.”
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The stepped-up measures come as case numbers mount and several provinces struggle to deal with outbreaks in long-term care facilities. As of 6 a.m ET Wednesday, Canada had reported 27,063 presumptive and confirmed cases of COVID-19. The provinces and territories that post data about recovered cases list 8,248 cases as resolved or recovered. A tally of COVID-19 deaths maintained by CBC News has recorded 980 deaths in Canada, with another two coronavirus-related deaths abroad.
Health officials have cautioned that people should behave as though COVID-19 is in their community, even if there are no documented cases, particularly since recorded cases don’t capture information on people who have not been tested or are still under investigation.
Read on for a look at what’s happening in Canada and around the world.
Here’s what’s happening in the provinces and territories
A British Columbia care home has reported five COVID-19-related deaths. The provincial health ministry said the Berkley Care Centre in North Vancouver has at least 17 confirmed coronavirus cases, including those who died. Read more about what’s happening in B.C.
Alberta reported two more COVID-19 deaths and 138 new confirmed cases on Tuesday. Alberta’s chief medical health officer Dr. Deena Hinshaw said increases are to be expected with more testing. Read more about what’s happening in Alberta.
Saskatchewan’s top doctor said he’s “extremely happy” about low numbers of new COVID-19 cases in recent days. But Dr. Saqib Shahab said on Tuesday that people must be mindful of how quickly cases can surge back. Read more about what’s happening in Saskatchewan.
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Manitoba reported no new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday. “Certainly this may indicate that our efforts are starting to show effect, but now is not the time to loosen up our struggles,” chief provincial public health officer Dr. Brent Roussin said. Read more about what’s happening in Manitoba.
Ontario students will not be back in class on May 4, Premier Doug Ford said. The provincial government had previously ordered school buildings closed until that date, but the premier said Tuesday that closures will be extended, citing advice from the province’s chief medical officer of health. Read more about what’s happening in Ontario, including details on a plan to try and tackle the “wildfire” of COVID-19 in long-term care homes in the province.
Quebec has released a list of long-term care facilities with COVID-19. The list shows more than 140 homes have reported at least one case of the novel coronavirus. Read more about what’s happening in Quebec, including an in-depth look into why the province’s nursing homes are struggling with staffing.
New Brunswick, which reported no new cases Tuesday, says it has increased testing capacity — but the demand isn’t there. The province’s chief medical officer Dr. Jennifer Russell cautioned against a false sense of security, saying it’s important to look at the numbers as they evolve in coming weeks. Read more about what’s happening in N.B.
Nova Scotia health officials issued projections Tuesday for how the COVID-19 pandemic might unfold in the province. Read more about what’s happening in N.S., including details on the province’s projections.
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Newfoundland and Labrador reported no new COVID-19 cases Tuesday, but officials caution that risk remains. “We know that ebbs and flows are not unexpected and should not be mistaken as a sign that we are out of the woods,” chief medical officer of health Dr. Janice Fitzgerald said.
Nunavut, the Northwest Territories and Yukon will receive millions in funding from Ottawa to boost local health-care systems and social services. Read more about what’s happening across Canada’s North.
Here’s a look at what’s happening in the U.S.
From The Associated Press, updated at 6:30 a.m. ET
President Donald Trump said he was cutting off U.S. payments to the World Health Organization during the coronavirus pandemic, accusing the organization of failing to do enough to stop the virus from spreading when it first surfaced in China.
Trump, who said last week he was considering cutting funding, claimed the outbreak could have been contained at its source and that lives could have been saved had the UN health agency done a better job investigating the early reports coming out of China.
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“The WHO failed in its basic duty and must be held accountable,” Trump said at a Tuesday briefing. He said the U.S. would be reviewing the WHO’s actions to stop the virus before making any decision on resuming aid.
There was no immediate comment from the Geneva-based organization on Trump’s announcement. But when asked about possible U.S. funding cuts during a regular UN briefing earlier Tuesday, WHO spokesperson Margaret Harris responded, “Regardless of any issues, our work will go on.”
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres responded to Trump’s announcement by saying now is not the time to end support for the World Health Organization, calling the WHO “absolutely critical” to the global effort to combat COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.
More than 127,000 deaths worldwide, including more than 26,000 in the U.S., have been attributed to the coronavirus, according to Johns Hopkins University.
Here’s a look at what’s happening around the world
From The Associated Press and Reuters, updated at 8:30 a.m. ET
Spain has recorded 523 new deaths attributed to the coronavirus in the past 24 hours, while infections shot up again for the first time in five days. Wednesday’s new 5,092 infections, or a three per cent day-to-day increase, brought the total of confirmed cases to 177,633. The country’s overall death toll stood at 18,579, the world’s third-worst after the United States and Italy, Health Ministry data showed.
This week, Spain eased the conditions of Europe’s strictest lockdown, allowing manufacturing, construction and other non-essential activity in an attempt to cushion the economic impact of the pandemic.
The British government is promising to test thousands of nursing-home residents and staff for the coronavirus, as it faces criticism for failing to count care-home deaths in its tally of victims. The government said it will begin to routinely test care workers and will also test any residents who show symptoms. Currently, only the first five symptomatic residents of a home are tested to determine whether there is an outbreak.
British officials are also under fire for failing to conduct more tests for COVID-19. The government has promised to change that and has set a target of 100,000 tests a day by the end of April, a more than five-fold increase.
The government will make an announcement on Thursday about its review of physical distancing measures, a spokesperson for Prime Minister Boris Johnson said, repeating that advisers do not believe Britain has passed the peak of the coronavirus pandemic.
Germany will consider easing restrictions on shops from April 20 but extend limits on movement until May 3, sources said.
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The coronavirus has spread rapidly within Singapore’s large migrant worker community, highlighting what rights groups say is a weak link in the city state’s containment efforts.
The crisis likely knocked China’s economy into its first decline since at least 1992 in the first quarter, raising the heat on authorities as mounting job losses threaten social stability.
Japan’s prime minister is under pressure to take bolder steps, with calls from his political partners to hand out more cash to more people.
South Koreans began going to the polls on Wednesday, wearing masks and plastic gloves as part of strict safety measures in one of the first national elections held amid the coronavirus pandemic.
India has agreed to sell hydroxychloroquine tablets to Malaysia, with New Delhi partially lifting its ban on exports of the anti-malarial drug. Pakistan, meanwhile, said it would reopen construction activity that provides a lifeline for the largest number of its people after agriculture.
Mexico has announced an urgent campaign to recruit medical workers, but the effort sometimes lacks co-ordination. Experts have estimated Mexico is short thousands of workers, from nurses to specialized doctors.
The northern Nigeria economic powerhouse state of Kano will impose a seven-day lockdown, a spokesperson for the governor said on Tuesday.
Namibian borders will remain closed and a partial lockdown in force until May 4, its president said.
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