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9:38 pm Canada decides not to send athletes to the Tokyo Olympics
The Canadian Olympic Committee and Canadian Paralympic Committee says they have made “the difficult decision” not to send athletes to the Tokyo Olympics scheduled this summer over COVID-19 risks.
The COC and CPC issued a statement tonight calling on the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) to postpone the Games for one year. The statement comes hours after the IOC issued its own statement saying that it will wait to make a decision on whether to cancel the Games.
“While we recognize the inherent complexities around a postponement, nothing is more important than the health and safety of our athletes and the world community,” the COC’s statement says.
“This is not solely about athlete health,” the statement continues, “it is about public health. With COVID-19 and the associated risks, it is not safe for our athletes, and the health and safety of their families and the broader Canadian community for athletes to continue training towards these Games. In fact, it runs counter to the public health advice which we urge all Canadians to follow.”
The COC issued a statement earlier this week pointing out that some 40 per cent of the world’s athletes have yet to qualify for events.
“We are in the midst of a global health crisis that is far more significant than sport,” the COC says. “We remain hopeful that the IOC will agree with the decision to postpone the Games as a part of our collective responsibility to protect our communities and work to contain the spread of the virus.”
8:30 pm Toronto confirms first COVID-19 death
A man in his 70s was the first to die in Toronto due to COVID-19, city officials confirmed Sunday.
The man had travelled to the United Kingdom and immediately began self-quarantine after arriving home, Toronto Public Health said in a release.
He was admitted to the Trillium Health Partners Hospital in Mississauga on March 14 and died there March 21.
“Today is a very sad day for us and especially the family and loved ones of the man who passed away. … I’m asking everyone again to make every effort and take every opportunity to practice social distancing. Please stay home, stay safe and take care of each other,” said the city’s medical officer of health, Dr. Eileen de Villa.
5:50 pm Metro increases worker pay during COVID-19
A day after Loblaws announced it would increase pay for store and distribution centre staff by $2, Metro has announced it will followed suit.
The raise is retroactive to March 8 and will last until May 2.
“Our colleagues in stores and in distribution centres have been working very hard for many days now, doing a great job to support our customers as we face an unprecedented crisis,” the company said in a release.
Metro added it will also provide access to its Employee and Family Assistance Program, providing confidential advice and support, to all store, distribution centre and office employees.
Metro stores are open on limited hours (8 am to 8 pm most days), with some stores reserving early hours for elderly and immunocompromised shoppers. For more COVID-19 retail updates, click here.
3:08 pm Temporary new powers for hospitals
The province has issued a temporary order to give hospitals new powers to stop the spread of COVID-19.
Hospitals will now have the ability to cancel and postpone services to free-up space and staff, redeploy staff to different areas such as COVID-19 assessment centres, changing work assignments, including allowing non-bargaining unit employees, volunteers and contractors to do bargaining unit work and cancelling or deferring vacations and leaves, among other measures.
“While normal protocols are important in routine times, these extraordinary steps will ensure our health sector workers are there, where and when they are needed, to care for Ontarians and support our extensive efforts to contain this virus,” solicitor general Sylvia Jones said in a statement.
12:05 pm Ontario to allow select child-care centres to open to support essential workers
The province will exempt select child-care centres from last week’s emergency order to close to support health care and frontline workers during the COVID-19 outbreak.
“We need to help our nurses, doctors and frontline care workers to be able to focus on protecting the health and well-being of all Ontarians,” said health minister Christine Elliott said in a statement on Sunday. “By allowing select child care centres to open their doors during these challenging times, our province’s courageous frontline workers can rest assured knowing that their families are also being looked after.”
The goal is to ensure doctors, nurses, paramedics, firefighters, police and correctional officers have access to emergency child care. The centres be required to follow health and safety regulations and have a plan in place should staff, children or parents be exposed to the virus.
Once open, the list of locations will be posted online at ontario.ca/coronavirus.
11:45 am Parliament to pass emergency legislation on Tuesday
In his daily press briefing, prime minister Justin Trudeau said the House of Commons will hold an emergency session on Tuesday at noon to pass legislation that will be the government’s $82-billion relief package into motion.
The measures include boosting the Canada Child Benefit, adding new benefits for people who don’t qualify for employment insurance and supplementing the GST credit, among other initiatives.
A limited number of MPs from each party expected to be present due to social distancing. Trudeau thanked opposition parties for their efforts in helping pass the legislation, which will be exclusive focus o Tuesday’s session. A minimum of 20 MPs must be present for the House of Commons to pass legislation.
Trudeau added that “it is likely to take months before we’re fully through this” and said the relief package was a first step in a multi-pronged fiscal stimulus plan that could eventually involve direct support to Canadians, businesses and sectors hit hard by COVID-19.
Asked whether the federal government would declare a state of emergency, Trudeau said, “We are not there yet but we are watching and monitoring the situation carefully to see if that ever becomes necessary.
“For the federal government to take that step, that would take circumstances where we’ve gone beyond anything that can be done by the municipality and the provinces,” he added. “Stay home, engage in social distancing, protect yourselves, protect our system and let’s get through this strongly as a country.”
11:25 am Ontario reports 47 new COVID-19 cases
Public health officials said on Sunday there are 47 new cases of COVID-19 in the province, bringing Ontario’s total to 424. That number includes eight cases that have been resolved and three deaths. There are 8,361 cases under investigation and 17,634 people have tested negative.
9:33 am Canada’s number of COVID-19 cases
As of Sunday evening, Canada’s total number of confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases is 1,331. There have been 19 deaths and 16 recovered cases. Ontario’s count is 377, including three deaths and six resolved cases.
9:15 am 444 Canadians arrive home from Morocco
The first of Air Canada’s special commercial flights bringing Canadians home touched down in Montreal on Saturday, the airline said in a tweet. The plane departed from Morocco with 444 passengers aboard and landed in Montreal after 11 pm local time.
Foreign affairs minister François-Philippe Champagne said he has spoken with his counterparts in Austria, Brazil, Germany, Peru, Turkey and the UK to coordinate helping Canadians stuck in those countries return home.
WestJet has also announced that between Monday, March 23 and Wednesday, March 25 the airline will operate 34 repatriation flights from international destinations.