Top COVID-19 stories and news Canada's.
6:38 pm Cineplex shutters movie theatres indefinitely
The country’s largest movie theatre chain Cineplex is closing its cinemas and entertainment complexes until further notice. The company confirmed in a statement today that the closures, which was originally planned until April 2, will now continue beyond that date. The company will consider reopening pending further guidance from government and public health officials.
5:02 pm Toronto has 818 cases of COVID-19
As of 12:30 pm on April 1, Toronto now has 818 cases of COVID-19. According to the city, 653 of those cases are confirmed and 165 are probable. There are 75 people in hospital and 35 are in intensive care. There have been 19 deaths and 47 people recovered.
1:28 pm Testing backlog to be cleared in coming days: Elliott
During the Ontario government’s daily press conference, Health Minister Christine Elliott said that testing backlog should be cleared in the “next day or so,” giving public health officials a clearer picture of whether or not they are succeeding flattening the curve of COVID-19 spread.
1:09 pm Doug Ford: cities ordered to quarantine COVID-19 patients
Ontario Premier Doug Ford said today that municipalities across the province have been ordered to quarantine people with COVID-19, anyone suspected of having the virus and “anyone who has come in contact with them.”
Ford added that the province undertook the move to curb an expected surge in COVID-19 cases over “the next few weeks,” which he characterized as a critical period. He also emphasized that physical distancing is essential to prevent an increase in cases and deaths.
“There’s very little separating what we will face in Ontario from the devastation we’ve seen in Italy and Spain. Thousands of lives are at stake,” he said. “We know a surge is coming.”
The premier also said the government is spending $50 million to help manufacturers and businesses retool to produce ventilators, masks, swabs and tests.
“We can’t count on traditional supply chains,” he said. “We can’t count on global supply chains for this critical equipment.”
11:34 am Canadians can apply for the CERB on April 6
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said today that unemployed Canadians who have not already applied for EI can apply for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) – which provides $2,000 per month for up to four months – online or over the phone staring on April 6.
He added the CERB is “available to everyone” except for people receiving the wage subsidy.
Applicants will have a choice of receiving the benefit by mail or direct deposit and must check in once a month to confirm they are still without a job. The government is taking measures to prevent system overload and more details on that will be explained later today, Trudeau said.
10:52 am Ontario reports 426 new cases of COVID-19
Public health officials said the number of COVID-19 cases in the province has gone up by 426 to 2,392. The increase – 21.7 per cent – marks the largest single-day spike since the outbreak began.
The data is accurate as of 4 pm on March 31. In all, 689 people in Ontario have recovered, 37 people have died and 3,135 cases are under investigation.
10:40 am Toronto enacting strict measures for up to 12 weeks to curb “rapid” COVID-19 spread
Toronto Public health officials say COVID-19 is rapidly spreading in Toronto and new measures are needed enforce physical distancing. At a morning press conference, Mayor John Tory said it’s time to lock down the city “as much as possible” because “the numbers are presently headed in the wrong direction in Toronto.”
Tory appeared alongside medical officer of health Eileen de Villa to announce new measures that will last up to 12 weeks.
De Villa will issue a class order under the Health Protection and Promotion Act directed at people who have COVID-19, those who are suspected of having COVID-19 and those who are close contacts of COVID-19 patients to self-isolate for 14 days.
The measures include mandatory isolation orders for people diagnosed with COVID-19 and enhanced tracing among people who have come in contact with them. The city also wants to reduce the number of open workplaces and businesses to essential retail and services. People over age 70 must stay home, de Villa said.
De Villa added that it’s not in her jurisdiction to close more businesses, but “we are working here at the city to actively engage our provincial partners to see what can be done to reduce the number of open workplaces and businesses so as to reduce virus spread while at the same time meeting essential needs.”
De Villa said people should only go out once a week to get groceries or to walk pets and get physical exercise.
March 31 People caught violating emergency orders must now ID themselves
People charged with violating Ontario’s Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act (EMCPA) must ID themselves or face a fine, the province said in a statement on Tuesday night.
Doug Ford’s government approved the temporary measure on March 31 through an emergency order under the act. People are now required to identify themselves to police officers, First Nations constables, special constables and municipal by-law enforcement officers.
Anyone who doesn’t comply can be fined $750.
Other fines for violating emergency orders, which include the closure of non-essential businesses, prohibition of gatherings of five people or more and stopping price gouging, could result in up to one-year imprisonment or a fine of up to $100,000 for an individual. Fines for a director of a corporation go up to $500,000 or up to $10 million for a corporation.