11 a.m.: Ontario reports 135 new cases
10:52 a.m.: Toronto, Peel won’t get green light to move to Stage 3
5 a.m: Liberals seek to pass bill to extend wage-subsidy program
The latest coronavirus news from Canada and around the world Monday. This file will be updated throughout the day. Web links to longer stories if available.
11:45 a.m.: The Toronto Wolfpack will sit out the rest of the 2020 Super League season, citing financial challenges due to the global pandemic.
The club says it plans to field a team in the 2021 season.
Toronto, which started in the third tier of English rugby league in 2017, currently sits in the top-tier Super League basement at 0-6-0. It has not played since March 11 because of the pandemic.
The Super League is slated to resume Aug. 2 behind closed doors in England.
Toronto played all of its previous games this year in England. And it had planned to continue playing games there this season because of travel and other restrictions.
But that changed Monday.
11:20 a.m.: The Haida Nation has advised residents of Haida Gwaii about the first case of COVID-19 on the islands off British Columbia’s north coast.
The bulletin, which was posted on social media, says a self-reported case of the novel coronavirus was declared Friday.
Self-reported means that the patient has informed health officials about a positive test for the respiratory virus.
The Haida Nation says it has also heard from community members who say they are self-isolating after being notified of possible exposure.
It says the Skidegate Band and Old Massett Village councils have implemented curfews and set up checkpoints between communities to slow any spread of the virus and notes that a state of emergency issued earlier this year was updated Saturday.
Non-resident travel to Haida Gwaii remains prohibited, although at least two fishing lodges say they have reopened because visitors can be flown directly to the lodges from the mainland in order to eliminate any contact with Island residents.
11 a.m.: Ontario is reporting 135 new cases of COVID-19 and one new death from the virus today. The total number of cases now stands at 37,739, which includes a death toll of 2,752.
There are 33,513 cases marked as resolved, with 106 such cases reported today. There have now been multiple days in a row where new cases have outpaced newly resolved cases.
The number of people in hospital, in intensive care and on a ventilator all rose in today’s report. The Ministry of Health says it was able to complete more than 20,000 tests for COVID-19 in the previous day.
10:52 a.m.: Amid concerns over the number of cases of COVID-19, Toronto and Peel Region will remain in Stage 2 of reopening the economy while the rest of the Greater Toronto and Hamilton areas will open Friday.
That means indoor restaurants, bars, and gyms and outdoor playgrounds can reopen in Durham, Halton, York, Hamilton, Niagara, and Haldimand-Norfolk later this week.
But public health officials do not yet feel the numbers are where they need to be for Toronto, Peel, and Windsor-Essex to move to the next stage, senior government officials said Monday.
The Star’s Robert Benzie has the full story.
10:45 a.m.: Detached home values in the Greater Toronto Area have not only held their own but have seen significant gains through the first half of the year as the region’s housing shortage persists, according to a report from Re/MAX.
The average price of a house rose in 95 per cent of the 65 neighbourhoods on the Toronto Region Real Estate Board’s (TRREB) Multiple Listings Service map.
In the City of Toronto, 60 per cent of those neighbourhoods saw double-digit increases as did half of those in the 905 communities between January and June.
The Star’s Tess Kalinowski has the full story.
10:30 a.m.: A case of COVID-19 has been reported at First Markham Place indoor mall.
York Region Media Group obtained a memo from mall managers to owners and tenants, dated July 17, indicating a retailer had contacted them and York Region Public Health to alert them that one of their staff had a confirmed case of the novel coronavirus.
The affected retailer acted quickly, the memo said, and arranged a deep-clean of the premises overnight July 16.
At the same time, management completed a thorough sanitizing and electrostatic spraying of all common areas, doors, washrooms, surfaces and all other high-touch points in the mall.
A notice shared with customers from ITalkBB — a Chinese TV, mobile and home phone business — said the company was advised on July 16 that a staff member on vacation leave had been exposed to the virus at a private event.
The employee’s most recent day at work was July 12 at the First Markham Place location, and the store underwent a deep clean and sanitizing procedure July 16, the notice said
10:20 a.m. (updated): Premier Doug Ford is expected to say at 1 p.m. that some regions are ready to move to Stage 3 — which includes dine-in restaurants and bars, with virus-containment restrictions — starting Friday.
They are Durham, Halton, Hamilton, Niagara, Haldiman-Norfolk, Lambton and York region.
Sources say Toronto supported the delay for the country’s biggest city. Mayor John Tory has said he is particularly concerned about people mingling in bars spreading COVID-19. That has sparked a resurgence of the pandemic in other cities including Montreal.
On the weekend Tory wrote to Ford urging him to let Toronto impose six additional conditions, including bar visitors wearing masks when not eating or drinking.
10 a.m. Scientists at Oxford University say their experimental coronavirus vaccine has been shown in an early trial to prompt a protective immune response in hundreds of people who got the shot.
British researchers first began testing the vaccine in April in about 1,000 people, half of whom got the experimental vaccine. Such early trials are usually designed only to evaluate safety, but in this case experts were also looking to see what kind of immune response was provoked.
In research published Monday in the journal Lancet, scientists said that they found their experimental COVID-19 vaccine produced a dual immune response in people aged 18 to 55 that lasted at least two months after they were immunized.
“We are seeing good immune response in almost everybody,” said Dr. Adrian Hill, director of the Jenner Institute at Oxford University. “What this vaccine does particularly well is trigger both arms of the immune system,” he said.
Hill said that neutralizing antibodies are produced — molecules which are key to blocking infection. In addition, the vaccine also causes a reaction in the body’s T-cells which help to fight off the coronavirus.
The experimental COVID-19 vaccine caused minor side effects like fever, chills and muscle pain more often than in those who got a control meningitis vaccine.
9:55 a.m. A coronavirus vaccine the University of Oxford is developing with AstraZeneca Plc showed promising results in early human testing, a sign of progress in the high-stakes pursuit of a shot to defeat the pathogen.
The vaccine increased levels of both protective neutralizing antibodies and immune T-cells that target the virus, according to the study organizers. The results were published Monday in The Lancet medical journal.
AstraZeneca shares rose as much as 10 per cent in London but gave up much of gain to trade 0.6 per cent higher as researchers cautioned that the results were preliminary. A positive outcome had been widely expected after reports last week lifted the stock, with the vaccine already in more advanced trials.
“We are seeing very good immune responses, not just on neutralizing antibodies but of T-cells as well,” said Adrian Hill, head of Oxford’s Jenner Institute, in an interview. “We’re stimulating both arms of the immune system.”
The results will be closely scrutinized as governments around the world seek to end a pandemic that’s killed more than 600,000 people and triggered economic turmoil since erupting earlier this year. Moderna Inc., another front-runner, released results last week from an early-stage test that showed its vaccine raised levels of antibodies that fight the virus.
9:08 a.m. More young people are being infected with COVID-19, creating the potential for a severe outbreak, scientists warn.
They say the change in demographics could be attributed to lockdown fatigue, increased testing or feelings of invincibility.
Brett Snider, a water resources PhD student at the University of Guelph, first noticed a higher number of infections in the under 20 and 20-29 age groups in the Toronto and Peel regions in May.
Snider’s supervisor, Ed McBean, said he was puzzled by rising infections in the under 20 age group because daycares and schools were closed.
“And we thought ‘whoa’. The little ones don’t tend to get violently ill, but they will bring it home. And if you have multiple generations or even visitors, you get that uptick as a result,” said McBean, an engineering professor at the University of Guelph.
While the numbers have stabilized in Peel and Toronto, McBean said there’s been an increase in infections in younger people in other parts of the country.
“That’s critical because once you start to get an uptick, it can explode very quickly,” he said.
8:08 a.m. The prestigious Ballon d’Or will not be awarded this year because the pandemic has disrupted the soccer season.
Awarded by France Football magazine, the Ballon d’Or has been given out every year since Stanley Matthews won the first one in 1956. Lionel Messi has won it a record six times — one more than longtime rival Cristiano Ronaldo.
The magazine started giving out a women’s award in 2018, but that has also been put on hold.
“It’s such a strange year that we couldn’t treat it as an ordinary one. Let’s say that we started talking about (making the decision) at least two months ago,” France Football editor Pascal Ferré told The Associated Press in a telephone interview.
“It isn’t a decision we took lightly but we had to accept it couldn’t be a normal or typical Ballon d’Or winner, and what really worried us it that it wouldn’t be fairly awarded.”
Because the game’s rules have been modified during the pandemic, the award itself was impacted.
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With the European Championship and the Copa America postponed this year, the Champions League would have massively weighed on the award’s outcome but with a format inadvertently providing a shortcut for an eventual victor.
8:05 a.m. China says it has ended a coronavirus outbreak in Beijing that it has been battling since mid-June, even as it deployed its so-called “wartime mode” measures to a new cluster in the country’s remote northwest.
The Chinese capital marked 14 days with no new locally transmitted cases on Monday, signaling the end of an outbreak the city had been battling since mid-June. Beijing officials lowered the city’s emergency response level to three, the second-lowest level, on Sunday.
“The general situation of tackling the pandemic is under control,” Chen Bei, deputy secretary-general of the Beijing municipal government, said at a press briefing announcing the relaxation of the city’s alert level.
Meanwhile, a new cluster of cases continued to expand in Urumqi, capital of China’s northwestern Xinjiang region. Of 22 new coronavirus cases identified on Sunday, according to China’s National Health Commission, 17 were discovered in Urumqi. A total of 47 new cases have been recorded there since July 15.
Chinese health experts warned sporadic outbreaks were likely to become the new norm in the country for the foreseeable future.
7:10 a.m. Global shares were mixed in directionless trading Monday as the number of coronavirus cases soared in the U.S. and investors cautiously eyed the summit of European leaders discussing the pandemic crisis.
France’s CAC 40 shed 0.5 per cent in early trading to 5,043.73. Germany’s DAX was little changed at 12,906.87, down less than 0.1 per cent . Britain’s FTSE 100 slipped nearly 0.4 per cent to 6,268.07. U.S. shares were set to drift lower with Dow futures down 0.1 per cent at 26,486.5. S&P 500 futures fell 0.2 per cent to 3,208.38.
Hayaki Narita, at the Asia and Oceania Treasury Department of Mizuho Bank, said rising numbers of confirmed infections in the U.S., trade tensions between the U.S. and China and the EU policy impasse were all adding to market risks.
“But with increasing dangers of political missteps and policy fumbles, the question is whether things could start to come undone in a more alarming manner,” said Narita.
Japan reported trade data showing exports fell 26.2 per cent in June from a year earlier. Its trade-reliant economy has plunged into recession and its outbreaks of COVID-19 cases, while still fewer than the hardest hit nations, have been growing recently, especially in Tokyo.
“Asia markets are looking to a muted start to the week, caught between growing COVID-19 cases around the globe while looking to the series of earnings releases this week,” said Jingyi Pan, market strategist at IG in Singapore.
6:35 a.m. More American states reported record high tallies of coronavirus infections on Sunday, further straining health care resources, as the country struggled to contain the fast-spreading pandemic that has infected nearly 3.8 million people in the U.S.
North Carolina, Louisiana and Kentucky reported record case counts of 2,400, 3,119 and 979 respectively on Sunday. Arizona experienced a record high of 147 deaths linked to the virus.
During an interview with Fox News on Sunday, President Donald Trump played down the severity of the pandemic. He disputed the idea that the U.S. has the seventh-highest fatality rate world-wide.
Trump said many recent cases involve young people. “They have the sniffles and we put it down as a test,” he said. Trump said some flare-ups of new cases were like “burning embers” and flames that need to be put out.
He said Florida “became more flame-like.”
In Florida, younger people are driving a new wave of confirmed cases, Gov. Ron DeSantis said. On Sunday, more than 12,000 people tested positive, the fifth day in a row that the state added more than 10,000 cases in a single day. The state’s total number of cases stood at more than 337,000.
Despite earlier suggestions by scientists to introduce universal use of surgical masks, Trump said he would let each governor make their own decision.
Many states are reporting medical-facility shortages. Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration said on Sunday that nearly 50 of the state’s hospitals with intensive care units beds were no longer available.
Confirmed global deaths from the coronavirus pandemic climbed to more than 606,000, with the U.S. toppling the chart with more than 140,000, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
6:30 a.m.: A new record surge of 40,425 reported cases of coronavirus in the past 24 hours took India’s total to 1,118,043. The Health Ministry on Monday also reported another 681 deaths, taking total fatalities up to 27,497.
India has the third most cases and eighth most deaths in the world. A country of 1.4 billion people, India has been conducting nearly 10,000 tests per million population. More than 300,000 samples are being tested daily, according to the Indian Council of Medical Research, India’s top medical research body. With India’s national lockdown largely lifted, local governments have been ordering focused lockdowns on high-risk areas where new outbreaks are surging.
5 a.m: The House of Commons meets today as the Liberals seek to pass a bill to extend their wage-subsidy program, send a special payment to people with disabilities and extend some legal deadlines for court cases.
Finance Minister Bill Morneau says the wage-subsidy program needs to be extended to December and have its criteria loosened a little, so business can re-open and employ workers even if trade is slow at first as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.
The payments of up to $600 for people with disabilities and the court extensions were elements of a bill the Liberals couldn’t get through the House of Commons in June.
5 a.m. The federal government is taking a second look at how quickly it will dole out hundreds of millions in help to social services looking to tap into new sources of capital, particularly as COVID-19 dries up traditional donations.
Social Development Minister Ahmed Hussen’s office says the government is reviewing the launch of what’s known as the “social finance fund” given the pandemic.
The pandemic has had a deep financial effect on households, with much discretionary spending like charity being paused while economic uncertainty prevails.
The Liberals had already embarked on a path to provide new sources of revenue to charitable and non-profit social services by connecting them with private investors to test new — potentially cheaper and more effective — ways of delivering their services.
The idea is that investors will front the money for projects to address social problems, and the government will reward those investments if the projects work.
Hussen heard a pitch earlier this month to speed up delivery of hundreds of millions in federal dollars to build out this socially conscious investment system, and up the amount offered to social-service groups unaccustomed to pitching investors, to help them land the cash.
A spokeswoman for Hussen says the Liberals are re-examining the timelines and approach for the launch of the social finance fund to help cash-strapped groups whose services are in high demand.
Sunday 10 p.m. Less than three weeks after reopening its borders to international visitors, the Bahamas on Sunday announced that it is closing all of its airports and seaports to tourists from the United States, effective Wednesday.
Bahamasair, the country’s national carrier, will cease all outgoing flights to the United States immediately, Prime Minister Hubert Minnis said in a national address Sunday.
Outgoing commercial flights will still be permitted to accommodate visitors scheduled to leave the Bahamas after Wednesday, he said. Visitors from Canada, the United Kingdom and the European Union will still be permitted to visit as long as they can show proof of a negative COVID-19 RT PCR test from an accredited laboratory taken within 10 days of their arrival. Also allowed under the new order: private international flights and charters and pleasure crafts.
“Regrettably, the situation here at home has already deteriorated since we began the reopening of our domestic economy,” said Minnis, who has been serving as the island nation’s acting health minister since May. “It has deteriorated at an exponential rate since we reopened our international borders.”
On Sunday, the Bahamas Ministry of Health registered 15 new cases of COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus, for a total tally of 153 cases, Minnis said. Of the total, 49 new infections have been recorded since the country’s borders fully reopened on July 1. And of that number, 31 have been registered on the island of Grand Bahama, which had been COVID-19 free for a little over two months and is still recovering from last year’s devastating hurricane.
Sunday: Quebec’s mandatory face-covering measure for indoor public places has sparked some opposition from those who don’t want to wear one; The number of people around the world who have died as a result of the coronavirus has passed the 600,000 mark as countries from the U.S. to South Africa to India struggle to contain infections;