By. Uchendu Precious Onuoha
Canada has more than 5,000 deaths from COVID-19 and more than 69,000 reported cases
Canada reached a new grim milestone Monday, as the number of deaths from COVID-19 exceeded 5,000. Most of those deaths are in Quebec, where the number today reached 3,013, with a total of 38,469 cases.
Despite the high numbers in the province, children were allowed to return to classrooms across much of Quebec today, as daycares and elementary schools outside the Montreal region welcomed students back, despite concern from some about the risk of reopening amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Classes were allowed to have a maximum of 15 students, desks were to be spaced apart and schools employed a range of measures to ensure physical distancing. But even with the public health measures, some parents are choosing not to send their children back to class, which is allowed as attendance is not mandatory.
Schools in hard-hit Montreal, which were initially slated to open May 18, have had their opening date pushed back to May 25 at the earliest. But Premier François Legault says it is possible that schools and daycares in the Montreal region won’t open until September, if the situation there is not brought under control.
Quebec’s move comes as provinces across the country are making decisions about what restrictions to lift and when, as many areas are seeing the daily number of new coronavirus cases drop.
As of 1:40 p.m. ET, Canada has a total of 69,905 confirmed and presumptive coronavirus cases, with 32,663 of those listed as resolved by the provinces and territories. A CBC News tally of coronavirus deaths based on provincial information, regional data and CBC’s reporting lists 5,080 deaths in Canada.
Restrictions put in place to try and slow the spread of the virus have had major financial consequences for families and for businesses of all sizes.
On Monday, the federal government said it will provide loans and financing to the country’s largest employers to help them weather the COVID-19 economic crisis. The Liberals said the government will offer bridge financing to companies whose financial needs aren’t being met by conventional credit so they can stay open and keep employees on their payrolls.
The government said in a media release that another goal of the financing program, aimed at companies with $300 million or more in revenues, is to avoid bankruptcies of otherwise viable firms wherever possible. Rules on access to the money will place limits on dividends, share buy-backs and executive pay. Any companies convicted of tax evasion won’t be eligible for the money, which will be open to all sectors of the economy.
Finance Minister Bill Morneau said the low-cost lending isn’t for those who don’t need it, nor is it to rescue companies that were facing insolvency before the crisis.
Morneau said the terms of the funding will be consistent across companies.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Monday that the financing amounts to “bridge loans, not bailouts.”
“Our purpose is to keep large Canadian companies on their feet and protect the millions of jobs they provide.”
Speaking outside Rideau Cottage, Trudeau again urged people to be cautious and continue to follow public health guidelines.
“Please let caution and medical advice be your guides,” the prime minister said. “We are all anxious to see life go back to something that looks more like normal. But we’re not out of the woods yet and we cannot squander the sacrifices we’ve made over the past two months.”
According to a case tracking tool maintained by Johns Hopkins University, there are more than 4.1 million reported coronavirus cases around the world, with more than 283,000 deaths.
Public health officials have cautioned that infection numbers are likely higher, as reported data doesn’t include people who haven’t been tested or cases that are still under investigation.
The virus, which first emerged in China in late 2019, causes an illness called COVID-19. While most cases are mild to moderate, some people, particularly the elderly and those with underlying health issues, are at risk of severe illness or death.
What’s happening in the provinces and territories
British Columbia’s top doctor said the province is working on a plan to safely allow people back in to long-term care homes to visit loved ones. “These new ways of doing things will be coming in the coming weeks and days,” Dr Bonnie Henry said over the weekend. Read more about what’s happening in B.C.
Alberta reported 96 new coronavirus cases on Sunday, bringing the provincial total to 6,253. The province, which lists 4,389 of those cases as resolved, has 117 coronavirus deaths, CBC’s tally reports. Read more about what’s happening in Alberta.
Saskatchewan reported 11 new cases on Sunday, with nine in the far north region and two in the north region. The province has a total of 564 cases, with 349 considered recovered. Read more about what’s happening in Saskatchewan.
Manitoba reported three new cases on Sunday, bringing the total number of confirmed and presumptive cases in the province to 287. Read more about what’s happening in Manitoba.
Ontario’s legislature will sit Tuesday and is expected to extend the province’s state of emergency to June 2, while also holding question period again — with physical distancing measures in place. The province reported 308 new coronavirus cases on Monday, for a total of 20,536 cases in the province. Read more about what’s happening in Ontario.
In Quebec, a Cargill meat-processing plant announced it is closing its doors after at least 64 workers tested positive for COVID-19. The outbreak in Chambly, Que., marks the second time the company has experienced a COVID-19 closure at one of its facilities in Canada. Read more about what’s happening in Quebec.
New Brunswick’s government moved the province’s recovery forward on Friday, which allowed more businesses in the province to open their doors over the weekend. Read more about what’s happening in N.B.
Nova Scotia reported one new death related to COVID-19 on Monday, bringing the province’s total to 48. Health officials said the death occurred at the Northwood long-term care home in Halifax, the site of the vast majority of the province’s coronavirus deaths. Read more about what’s happening in N.S.
Prince Edward Island reported no new coronavirus cases on Monday. All 27 of the province’s reported cases are considered resolved, health officials have said. Read more about what’s happening in P.E.I.
Newfoundland and Labrador reported no new coronavirus cases on Monday, the province’s fourth straight day with no new cases. The total number of confirmed cases in the province remains at 261. Read more about what’s happening in N.L.
There were no new cases reported in Yukon, the Northwest Territories or Nunavut on Sunday.
Credit. CBC News