The decision-making body of the World Health Organization has begun holding two days of video conference talks, the first since the coronavirus pandemic began in China late last year, and Canada is among several countries urging that Taiwan be given observer status.
A letter to the World Health Assembly signed by diplomats from Canada, Australia, France, Germany, New Zealand, Britain, Japan and the United States says its exclusion of Taiwan has created a serious public health concern during the COVID-19 crisis.
The letter to WHO director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus points to Taiwan’s early success at controlling the pandemic, echoing a report released last week by the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, an agency of the U.S. Congress. That report also said Taiwan’s continued exclusion from the WHO is “jeopardizing global health” and that Beijing ignored Taiwan’s early requests for information about the pandemic.
China sees Taiwan as a breakaway province and wants the world to heed its “one-China policy.” Beijing has blocked Taiwan from attending the meeting since the 2016 election of independence-leaning Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen.
WATCH | Push for inquiry ‘significant’ amid U.S.-China friction:
Lynette Ong of the Munk School of Global Affairs says the world needs China and the U.S. to work together to fight the coronavirus pandemic. 6:37
Tedros on Monday said he will begin an independent evaluation of the UN health agency’s response to the pandemic “at the earliest appropriate moment,” making the pledge after an independent oversight advisory body of the WHO published its first interim report about the response from January to April.
The 11-page report raises questions such as whether WHO’s warning system for alerting the world to outbreaks is adequate, and suggested member states might need to “reassess” WHO’s role in providing travel advice to countries.
More than 100 countries at the World Health Assembly, including Canada, have backed a resolution drafted by the European Union that calls for an “independent and comprehensive” investigation into the origins of COVID-19 and the WHO’s responses to the virus that first emerged in China late last year.
Chinese President Xi Jinping told the conference his country would support such a review, saying it should be conducted in an “objective and impartial manner.”
Tragedy marks Operation Inspiration
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau issued a statement Sunday night expressing condolences following the crash of a Snowbirds jet that was part of Operation Inspiration, a series of flyovers across the country to salute Canadians and front-line workers during the pandemic.
“For the past two weeks, the Snowbirds have been flying across the country to lift up Canadians during these difficult times,” Trudeau said.
“Every day, they represent the very best of Canada and demonstrate excellence through incredible skill and dedication. Their flyovers across the country put a smile on the faces of Canadians everywhere and make us proud.”
The pilot, Capt. Richard MacDougall, survived Sunday’s crash. But public affairs officer Capt. Jennifer Casey was killed when the plane went down shortly after takeoff in Kamloops, B.C.
The Defence Department said the flyovers have been suspended until further notice.
Please read my full statement on today’s tragic aircraft crash: <a href=”https://t.co/mYQDc9fxFw”>https://t.co/mYQDc9fxFw</a>
Trudeau is on a two-day break from his daily briefings on the pandemic, but will resume the updates on Tuesday.
He will speak with the Queen on Monday, as well as participate in a roundtable over the phone with small business operators from his Papineau riding in Montreal to discuss the impacts of COVID-19, the Prime Minister’s Office said.
Statistical milestone with recoveries
The number of COVID-19 cases in Canada has increased over this holiday weekend, but there appear to be some positive signs. The number of new daily cases has averaged less than 1,200 for the past week, a rate not seen since early April.
In addition, more than half of all known cases of COVID-19 in the country had either been recovered or resolved as of Sunday, according to a tally by CBC News.
As of 1 p.m. ET Monday, Canada has had a total of 78,016 cases since the start of the pandemic, with 39,095 of those considered recovered, according to a CBC News tally. That’s based on provincial health data, regional information and CBC’s reporting.
WATCH | New rules, precautions as retailers reopen:
As retail stores in many provinces begin to reopen, retailers are asking customers to take precautions and abide by new rules. 2:02
The death toll from the novel coronavirus in Canada is 5,932. There are two known fatalities of Canadians abroad.
As Canada reached the statistical milestone on Sunday regarding recoveries, provinces were preparing to ease more restrictions in the coming week.
Ontario will enter its first stage of reopening on May 19 by lifting restrictions on certain retailers and the construction industry. Some surgeries will also resume.
As part of the province’s reopening plans, retail stores outside of shopping malls with street entrances can begin reopening with physical distancing measures in place.
Pet care services, such as grooming and training, and regular veterinary appointments can also begin again in Stage 1. The Ontario government is expected to announce on Tuesday when schools and child-care centres might be able to reopen.
British Columbia’s government will also allow a partial reopening of the province’s economy starting Tuesday. However, the reopenings are contingent on organizations and businesses having plans that follow provincial guidelines to control the spread of COVID-19. While many provincial parks in B.C. are now open for day use, officials are still discouraging unnecessary travel.
A health-care worker takes a person’s details at a mobile COVID-19 test clinic in Montreal on Monday. (Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press)
In New Brunswick, licensed daycares can begin reopening Tuesday. And while children will not have to wear masks, they will be separated into small groups as a safety precaution.
Meanwhile, Alberta welcomed the arrival of the Victoria Day weekend by increasing the limit for outdoor gatherings to 50 people — up from 15 — as long as members of different households stay two metres apart.
While most cases of coronavirus are mild or moderate, some people — particularly the elderly or those with underlying health issues — are at higher risk of severe illness or death. There are no proven vaccines or treatments for the novel coronavirus, which causes an illness called COVID-19.
Here’s what’s happening in the provinces and territories:
Newfoundland and Labrador marked its 11th straight day without new cases on Monday. There are still eight active cases remaining in the province, as 249 people have recovered from the virus. Active cases are the total cases minus recovered cases and deaths. Read more about what’s happeneing in N.L.
Nova Scotia on Monday reported three new cases of COVID-19 and eight more recoveries. There are now 1,043 confirmed cases, 946 recoveries and 42 active cases.
The province is entering the second phase of reopening, Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Robert Strang announced late last week. The province is introducing an immediate-family bubble, which would let two households come together without physical distancing. Read more about what’s happening in N.S.
There are 2 licensed long-term care homes and unlicensed seniors’ facilities in NS with active cases. Northwood in Halifax has 25 residents and nine staff active cases. One other facility has one resident with an active case.
New Brunswick had no new cases to report on Sunday for a 10th day. With a total of 120 recoveries, all cases in the province have been resolved. But Dr. Jennifer Russell is reminding the public to protect themselves this holiday weekend by keeping to their respective two-household bubbles and following physical distancing guidelines. Read more about what’s happening in New Brunswick.
In Prince Edward Island, P.E.I. National Park will remain closed to visitors through the remainder of the Victoria Day weekend, but many businesses and services are preparing to reopen on May 22. The province has had no new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the past 19 days. Read more about what’s happening to get life in P.E.I. back to normal.
Physical distancing is still very important.<br>Up to 5 visitors inside, 10 outside – <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/StayApart?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#StayApart</a> <br>No buffets or pot-luck group meals. No sharing food, plates, cutlery.<br>Reconsider visits with anyone at higher risk of severe illness<a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/RenewPEITogether?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#RenewPEITogether</a><a href=”https://t.co/sQ2DZhbwPK”>https://t.co/sQ2DZhbwPK</a> <a href=”https://t.co/CbFHkSeoV5″>pic.twitter.com/CbFHkSeoV5</a>
In Quebec, police checkpoints set up at the beginning of April to prevent non-essential travel from Ontario into Gatineau in the hopes it would stop the spread of COVID-19 were coming down on Monday.
Gatineau Mayor Maxime Pedneaud-Jobin said the lifting of restrictions doesn’t mean people are free to travel as they please and they should resist the urge to come to the Outaouais region in western Quebec just to shop. Read more about what’s happening in Quebec.
WATCH | Why Quebec has the worst COVID-19 outbreak in Canada:
The Quebec government’s handling of the pandemic may explain why the province has the worst outbreak in Canada. 5:55
Ontario reported 304 more cases on Monday. That’s down from 340 new cases added to the tally on Sunday. In total, the province has had a total of 22,957 cases and 17,638 recoveries. There have been 1,970 deaths related to the virus.
In Hamilton, Ont., a retirement home has been emptied of its staff and residents after 49 residents and 13 staff members tested positive, and one resident died.
Fifty-two people at the 64-bed Rosslyn Retirement Residence have been transported to hospital, according to a statement issued Saturday by St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton. Dr. Ninh Tran, associate medical officer of health for the city, said two other residents found places to stay with family or friends. Read more about what’s happening in Ontario.
A sign with a message thanking front-line workers is seen at Ottawa’s Commissioners Park on Sunday. (Justin Tang/The Canadian Press)
Manitoba marked its sixth straight day with no new cases on Sunday. The total number of cases in the province remains at 289. Read more about what’s happening in Manitoba.
Saskatchewan reported one new case in the far north on Sunday, bringing the total number of cases in the province to 592, with 142 considered active.
The province also said 11 more people have recovered from the virus, but five remain in hospital, including three in intensive care. As of Sunday, Saskatchewan has performed 40,806 tests. Read more about what’s happening in Saskatchewan.
Alberta is relaxing restrictions around outdoor gatherings, Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw announced Friday. Outdoor gatherings can now consist of as many as 50 people, as long as members of different households stay two metres apart.
Earlier, Hinshaw said the province should know within a week if the reopening of bars, restaurants and some other businesses in most areas will lead to a surge in new cases. Read more about what’s happening in Alberta.
In British Columbia, an investigation is underway into what caused a Canadian Forces Snowbirds plane to crash in Kamloops on Sunday. Witnesses say the Tutor aircraft was following another jet when it appeared to veer upward and circle the tarmac before going into a nosedive.
Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix went into the long weekend urging residents to stay close to home to mitigate transmission of COVID-19 before some businesses reopen on Tuesday. Read more about what’s happening in B.C. and how increased demand for Plexiglas barriers has led to shortages and price increases in Vancouver.
WATCH | B.C. tourist attractions look for local support:
Many B.C. tourist attractions are pivoting their focus from international tourism to visitors from within the province, with the hope they can recover some of the business lost due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 2:04
The Northwest Territories is entering the first phase of its COVID-19 recovery plan, affecting both indoor and outdoor gatherings, as well as the reopening of some businesses. Read more about what’s happening across the North, including Yukon’s announcement that it will also begin to ease restrictions.
Here’s a look at what’s happening around the world
As of 10:30 a.m. ET on Monday, there were more than 4.7 million confirmed cases of coronavirus around the world, according to a database tracking system maintained by the coronavirus resource centre at Johns Hopkins University. More than 1.49 million cases are in the United States.
According to the tracking system, COVID-19 has killed roughly 315,000 people globally.