10:40 a.m.: Cineplex to start reopening select Ontario movie theatres
10:18 a.m.: Ontario reporting 89 new cases
The latest coronavirus news from Canada and around the world Thursday. This file will be updated throughout the day. Web links to longer stories if available.
12:40 p.m.: Another player with the Miami Marlins has tested positive for the coronavirus, bringing the team’s outbreak total to 17 players, according to a person familiar with the situation.
The Marlins remain quarantined in Philadelphia, where the outbreak was discovered during a weekend series against the Phillies. Two staff members have also tested positive.
Miami’s season has been suspended through at least Sunday, and it appears the schedule will be altered next week, too.
The Marlins are supposed to host Philadelphia on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, but Phillies general manager Matt Klentak and Yankees manager Aaron Boone said yesterday that MLB is working to have Philadelphia play New York instead, creating uncertainty about when and where Miami will resume.
12:30 p.m.: Four major Canadian airports will begin taking passengers’ temperatures starting today as part of the effort to curb the spread of COVID-19.
The federal government says temperature screening stations are set up at airports in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto and Montreal.
Transport Canada says temperature screening will be expanded to another 11 airports by September.
The agency says employees who enter restricted areas of the airport will also be screened.
Passengers who have temperatures above 38 degrees will not be allowed to travel and will be asked to re-book after two weeks.
The new screening measures are meant to supplement previous travel safety precautions, including a requirement for all travellers to wear face masks.
11:55 a.m.: Quebec is reporting 122 new cases of COVID-19 and one additional death in the past 24 hours.
The province has now recorded 59,131 total cases of the novel coronavirus and 5,673 deaths.
The number of hospitalizations increased by 18 for a total of 208, and 18 of those patients are in intensive care, an increase of nine from the previous day.
Public health authorities say a change in their data systems led to misreported case numbers on Wednesday.
The number of new cases Wednesday was 112 rather than the 176 reported, and there were two additional deaths as opposed to the zero deaths reported.
The province says a total of 50,886 COVID-19 cases are considered recovered.
11:49 a.m. (updated) Cineplex says it’s ready to start reopening select Ontario movie theatres on Friday.
The Canadian cinema operator will begin with 25 locations across the province as part of a wider phased return to business during COVID-19.
The announcement comes after Ontario Heritage Minister Lisa MacLeod tweeted about a “productive” call with Cineplex CEO Ellis Jacob where they confirmed the chain was prepared to operate under Stage 3 measures.
Cineplex spokeswoman Sarah Van Lange says the company will be permitted to admit up to 50 moviegoers per auditorium.
The company says it plans to require guests to wear masks inside the theatre “in communities where it is mandated.”
Cineplex has already reopened 45 locations in provinces where distancing restrictions were loosened earlier this summer.
11:38 a.m. Cineplex has announced it is opening 25 of its Ontario theatres Friday including eight in Toronto. The company says it is taking a phased-in approach to reopening.
11:19 a.m. Herman Cain, the U.S. businessman and former presidential candidate, died Thursday morning from COVID-19. He was 74.
“He’s entering the presence of the Savior he’s served as an associate minister at Antioch Baptist Church in Atlanta for, and preparing for his reward,” reads a statement on his website.
Cain, a Georgia native, worked his way up through a series of companies, including Coca-Cola and Pillsbury, before landing at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City in 1995.
He served as a senior adviser to Bob Dole’s presidential campaign in 1996 and ran for his own Senate seat in Georgia in 2004, but lost his primary to Johnny Isakson.
10:18 a.m. (updated) Ontario is reporting 89 new cases of COVID-19, according to Health Minister Christine Elliott. It’s the second day in a row cases have been below 100. Locally, 28 of the province’s 34 public health units are reporting five or fewer cases, with 17 of them reporting no new cases. Yesterday, Ontario processed over 27,600 tests.
She says the number of people in hospital, in intensive care and on a ventilator all went down.
The numbers come as the province is set to announce plans for reopening schools in September later today.
9:48 a.m. President Donald Trump is for the first time floating a “delay” to the Nov. 3 presidential election, as he makes unsubstantiated allegations that increased mail-in voting will result in fraud.
The dates of presidential elections — the Tuesday after the first Monday in November in every fourth year — are enshrined in federal law and would require an act of Congress to change. The Constitution makes no provisions for a delay to the Jan. 20, 2021 presidential inauguration.
Trump tweeted Thursday: “With Universal Mail-In Voting (not Absentee Voting, which is good), 2020 will be the most INACCURATE & FRAUDULENT Election in history. It will be a great embarrassment to the USA. Delay the Election until people can properly, securely and safely vote???”
Trump’s tweet came on a day of bad economic news and amid a dark political patch for his reelection effort.
The government reported Thursday that U.S. economy shrank at a dizzying 32.9 per cent annual rate in the April-June quarter, by far the worst quarterly plunge ever, as the coronavirus outbreak shut down businesses, threw tens of millions out of work and sent unemployment surging to 14.7 per cent.
9:30 a.m. Two residents of the Florida Keys have been jailed for failing to quarantine after testing positive for the new coronavirus.
Jose Interian, 24, and Yohana Gonzalez, 26, are facing charges of violating isolation rules for a quarantine and violating emergency management disaster preparedness rules, according to jail records. They were arrested Wednesday in Key West, officials said.
The Miami Herald reports Interian and Gonzalez had been ordered by the health department to quarantine after testing positive for COVID-19, but neighbours said they were ignoring the order.
Someone videotaped the couple and gave it to Key West police, according to Greg Veliz, Key West’s city manager.
9:20 a.m. Iceland is limiting large gatherings and introducing mandatory face masks on public transport following a rise in infections.
As of Friday, the number of people allowed to gather is reduced to 100, from 500, the Health Ministry said. Masks will have to be worn in public whenever the two-meter social distancing rule cannot be enforced.
The tightening, which will apply for two weeks, follows a recent increase in the number of people who have tested positive for the coronavirus on the island.
9:15 a.m. England suffered a more widespread coronavirus outbreak than its European neighbours and had the highest level of excess deaths during the pandemic, according to an analysis of more than 20 countries released Thursday by the U.K.’s Office for National Statistics.
Spain had Europe’s highest national mortality peak, with deaths at the start of April soaring 138.5 per cent above the five-year average, almost two-and-a-half times the usual number, according to analysis of figures from British authorities and the European Union statistics agency, Eurostat.
England had the second-highest peak, with excess mortality spiking to more than double the average, 107.6 per cent, in mid-April. England also had the biggest overall increase and the longest continuous period of excess mortality of the countries compared.
By the end of May, the cumulative mortality rate in England was 7.55 per cent higher than the five-year average. Spain was second, with 6.65 per cent more deaths than usual.
9:05 a.m. The U.S. economy shrank at a dizzying 32.9 per cent annual rate in the April-June quarter — by far the worst quarterly plunge ever — when the viral outbreak shut down businesses, throwing tens of millions out of work and sending unemployment surging to 14.7 per cent, the government said Thursday.
The Commerce Department’s estimate of the second-quarter decline in the gross domestic product, the total output of goods and services, marked the sharpest such drop on records dating to 1947. The previous worst quarterly contraction, a 10 per cent drop, occurred in 1958 during the Eisenhower administration.
Last quarter’s drop followed a 5 per cent fall in the January-March quarter, during which the economy officially entered a recession triggered by the virus, ending an 11-year economic expansion, the longest on record in the United States.
The contraction last quarter was driven by a deep pullback in consumer spending, which accounts for about 70 per cent of economic activity. Spending by consumers collapsed at a 34.6 per cent annual rate as travel all but froze and shutdown orders forced many restaurants, bars, entertainment venues and other retail establishments to close.
9:01 a.m. Mexico’s economic activity plummeted 17.3 per cent in the second quarter compared to the previous as the economic shutdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic drove the country deeper into a recession, according to preliminary government data released Thursday.
Mexico’s statistical agency said that the second quarter running from April through June was 18.9 per cent lower than the same period a year earlier in its seasonally adjusted estimates for gross domestic product.
In June, the National Institute of Statistics and Geography announced that industrial activity fell 25 per cent in April compared to March, the worst monthly decline since it began tracking the monthly data in 1993.
President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said recently that the economy hit bottom in late April.
The country has lost more than 1 million jobs in its formal sector. More than half of Mexicans work in the informal economy, which is believed to have shed many more jobs.
9 a.m. Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis raised concerns Thursday about his club travelling to face Barcelona in the Champions League amid a recent spike in coronavirus cases in Spain.
“I hear a lot of perplexity and fear coming from Spain and they’re acting like nothing is wrong,” De Laurentiis said. “What does it take to say, ‘Don’t go to Barcelona but rather go to Portugal, Germany or Geneva?’”
The Barcelona-Napoli game is scheduled for Aug. 8. The first leg of the round-of-16 encounter finished 1-1 in Naples in February. The winner will advance to the quarterfinals in Lisbon, Portugal.
The Barcelona-Napoli game was originally scheduled for March 18 before being postponed amid the coronavirus lockdown.
“If they’ve decided to play the Champions League in Portugal and the Europa League in Germany, I think we can go to Portugal or Germany for the round of 16,” De Laurentiis said. “I don’t understand why it should stay in a city that has a really critical situation.”
Players at Spanish clubs Sevilla, Real Madrid and Zaragoza recently tested positive for COVID-19.
Madrid plays at Manchester City on Aug. 7 in the Champions League, while Sevilla is scheduled to face Roma in the Europa League next Thursday in Duisburg, Germany.
8:03 a.m. Hong Kong officials reversed an all-day ban on dining in restaurants after widespread criticism, exposing the minefield of imposing measures to contain coronavirus while maintaining daily life.
Before Thursday’s U-turn, photos had circulated widely online and in local media showing workers across the city eating in squalid conditions. They took shelter from scorching heat and a sudden heavy rainstorm on their lunch breaks in bus stations and local parks, and on sidewalks and stairwells.
The densely populated city of 7.5 million people, where many live in crowded spaces and where a ubiquitous dining-out culture means many don’t eat at home, is battling a third outbreak of the coronavirus. The city reported a record 149 new cases Thursday, the ninth straight day where infections were counted in triple figures.
Thursday’s development shows the difficulty authorities face in limiting essential human activities without implementing a full lockdown. Many people in the city continue to work at building sites, as transport workers and in shops and offices.
7:02 a.m. The coronavirus pandemic took a toll on Comcast in the U.S. in the second quarter as movie theatres closed, theme parks shut down and advertisers cut back.
The company reported Thursday that its NBC Universal TV, film and theme park divisions, as well as its Sky unit in Europe, all suffered steep drops in revenue in the April-June quarter.
But period was not all grim news. The Philadelphia-based company added U.S. internet customers and 10 million people have signed up for its new Peacock streaming service since April. Peacock is free for Comcast customers and has been available to them since April, but opened to the general public, with a much-promoted free tier, on July 15. Comcast has said it hopes to have 30 to 35 million users by 2024.
7:01 a.m. Rugby Canada reported a deficit of $41,336 for the year ending Dec 31, 2019, down from $178,610 the previous year.
And thanks to the magic of accounting, factoring in amortization costs on the Al Charron National Training Centre in Langford, B.C., it was a second consecutive “cash-positive” year for the sport’s governing body.
Call it the lull before the COVID-19 storm.
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Canada’s national teams have been grounded by the global pandemic. The senior men’s side has not played since last fall’s World Cup and Major League Rugby, home to some 50 Canadians, cancelled the remainder of the 2020 season in March.
The Canadian women, who are slated to play in the World Cup next year, have been idle since November.
Both sevens teams are awaiting word on what lies ahead. The 2019-20 season was cut short and World Rugby has already cancelled the combined men’s and women’s stops in Dubai and Cape Town, provisionally scheduled for Nov. 26-28 and Dec. 4-6, respectively.
6:30 a.m. Johnson & Johnson’s experimental coronavirus vaccine protected a handful of primates with a single shot in an early study, prompting the U.S. drugmaker to start trials in humans this month.
The vaccine prevented infection and protected the animals’ lungs from the virus, J&J said in a statement Thursday. The health-care behemoth kick-started human trials on July 22 in Belgium, and in the U.S. earlier this week.
The data “show our SARS-CoV-2 vaccine candidate generated a strong antibody response and provided protection with a single dose,” Paul Stoffels, the drugmaker’s chief scientific officer, said in the statement. “The findings give us confidence as we progress our vaccine development and upscale manufacturing in parallel.”
J&J aims to embark on the last phase of tests in September, compressing the traditional timeline as it races against others such as GlaxoSmithKline Plc and AstraZeneca Plc for a shot to end the pandemic. The stock rose 1.3 per cent in trading before U.S. exchanges opened.
5:11 a.m.: Masked pilgrims arrived Thursday at Mount Arafat, a desert hill near Islam’s holiest site, to pray and repent on the most important day of the hajj, the annual pilgrimage in Mecca in Saudi Arabia.
The global coronavirus pandemic has cast a shadow over every aspect of this year’s pilgrimage, which last year drew 2.5 million Muslims from across the world to Mount Arafat, where the Prophet Muhammad delivered his final sermon nearly 1,400 years ago.
Only a very limited number of pilgrims were allowed to take part in the hajj amid numerous restrictions to limit the potential spread of the coronavirus. The Saudi government has not released a final figure on the number of hajj pilgrims this year, but has said anywhere from 1,000 to 10,000 would be taking part. All of this year’s pilgrims are either residents or citizens of Saudi Arabia.
4:53 a.m.: Australia’s coronavirus hot spot, Victoria state, will make wearing masks compulsory after reporting a record 723 new cases on Thursday, mostly among the vulnerable residents of aged care homes.
Masks have been compulsory for the past week in the state capital, Melbourne, Australia’s second-largest city with 5 million people, and a neighbouring semi-rural district.
Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews said masks or similar face coverings will become compulsory across the state starting late Sunday.
4:18 a.m.: Germany’s economy, Europe’s largest, took a massive hit during the pandemic shutdowns, shrinking by 10.1 per cent during the April-June period from the previous quarter, the official statistics agency said Thursday.
It was the biggest drop since quarterly growth statistics began being compiled in 1970. The plunge far exceeded the previous worst-ever recorded performance, a fall of 4.7% in the first quarter of 2009 during the global financial crisis.
Tough pandemic restrictions shut down everything from taverns to auto dealerships. The country has cautiously reopened and the economy has started bouncing back but economists say it is far from the pre-pandemic level and won’t reach break even until 2022 at the earliest.
4:10 a.m.: Justin Trudeau will be in the hot seat today for a rare prime ministerial appearance at a House of Commons committee, facing questions about his role in the simmering controversy involving the WE organization.
MPs on the finance committee will grill Trudeau about the events that led to his Liberal cabinet asking the WE Charity to oversee a $912-million program that provides grants to students and graduates for volunteering.
Trudeau’s chief of staff Katie Telford was also scheduled to testify today.
4 a.m.: The Ontario government is due to announce plans for reopening schools in September later Thursday.
The announcement comes just six weeks before back-to-school season and a week before the province’s 72 school boards were initially asked to outline their plans for the academic year.
The province had previously asked school boards to prepare for three scenarios come September: regular in-class instruction with physical-distancing measures in place, full-time remote learning, and a hybrid model blending both approaches.
Thursday 4 a.m.: The latest numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Canada as of 4 a.m. on July 30, 2020:
There are 115,470 confirmed cases in Canada.
_ Quebec: 59,073 confirmed (including 5,670 deaths, 50,886 resolved)
_ Ontario: 38,986 confirmed (including 2,769 deaths, 34,741 resolved)
_ Alberta: 10,603 confirmed (including 190 deaths, 8,983 resolved)
_ British Columbia: 3,562 confirmed (including 194 deaths, 3,109 resolved)
_ Saskatchewan: 1,268 confirmed (including 17 deaths, 929 resolved)
_ Nova Scotia: 1,067 confirmed (including 64 deaths, 1,003 resolved)
_ Manitoba: 393 confirmed (including 8 deaths, 325 resolved), 14 presumptive
_ Newfoundland and Labrador: 266 confirmed (including 3 deaths, 259 resolved)
_ New Brunswick: 170 confirmed (including 2 deaths, 165 resolved)
_ Prince Edward Island: 36 confirmed (including 36 resolved)
_ Yukon: 14 confirmed (including 11 resolved)
_ Repatriated Canadians: 13 confirmed (including 13 resolved)
_ Northwest Territories: 5 confirmed (including 5 resolved)
_ Nunavut: No confirmed cases
_ Total: 115,470 (14 presumptive, 115,456 confirmed including 8,917 deaths, 100,465 resolved)
Wednesday 5:30 p.m.: As of 5 p.m. Wednesday, Ontario’s regional health units are reporting a total of 41,087 confirmed or probable cases of COVID-19, including 2,806 deaths, up another 112 cases in 24 hours.
As has been the case in recent days, the new infections reported Wednesday predominantly came outside the GTA.
Inside the region, all five health units reported another day of relatively low case counts. Peel Region reported just nine new cases, its first day in single digits since March; York Region reported eight; Durham Region three; and Halton Region once again reported zero.
In Toronto, the city followed up Tuesday’s single reported new infection with 19 case reports Wednesday. (Toronto Public Health also reported it had removed 23 cases from its records after performing routine data work, meaning the city’s running total actually fell by four; accounting for those cases, the province’s total rose by just 89 cases overall).
Elsewhere, Windsor-Essex once again reported the worst rate of new infection in the province, with 30 new cases.
On Wednesday, Premier Doug Ford announced that Windsor would remain in Stage 2 of reopening. Toronto and Peel are meanwhile set to join the rest of the province in Stage 3 on Friday.
The Star’s count includes some patients reported as “probable” COVID-19 cases, meaning they have symptoms and contacts or travel history that indicate they very likely have the disease, but have not yet received a positive lab test.
The province cautions its separate data, published daily at 10:30 a.m., may be incomplete or out of date due to delays in the reporting system, saying that in the event of a discrepancy, “data reported by (the health units) should be considered the most up to date.”
Read more of Wednesday’s rolling file