KEY FACTS

6:56 a.m. China and the World Health Organization are discussing plans to trace the origin of the coronavirus outbreak

5:19 a.m. The UN says 1 billion students have been affected by closures

Monday: 10:41 p.m. Bahamas Prime Minister Hubert Minnis announced Monday a complete lockdown of the country for the next two weeks

The latest coronavirus news from Canada and around the world Tuesday. This file will be updated throughout the day. Web links to longer stories if available.

7:52 a.m. Bayer Leverkusen says midfielder Nadiem Amiri will miss its Europa League last-16 game against Rangers on Thursday after he had contact with someone believed to have the coronavirus.

The club says Amiri reported the “short-term” contact in his private life himself and is isolating at home for a week as a precaution.

Leverkusen managing director sport Rudi Völler says in a statement that “Nadiem’s behaviour is exemplary and important. Precisely because infection numbers are rising again in Germany, it’s an example of a serious and responsible approach to the pandemic.”

Leverkusen takes a 3-1 lead from the first leg in March when it hosts Rangers on Thursday.

Amiri has played 41 games for Leverkusen this season across all competitions.

6:56 a.m. China and the World Health Organization are discussing plans to trace the origin of the coronavirus outbreak following a visit to the country by two experts from the U.N. agency, the foreign ministry said Tuesday.

Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin told reporters the experts conducted “preparatory consultations on scientific research co-operation on virus tracing” during their two-week stay, which ended Sunday.

Their talks touched on research in the areas of population, environment, molecules, animal traceability and transmission routes of the coronavirus, as well as plans for further scientific research, Wang said.

The two sides also further investigated the possible animal source, intermediate host and transmission route of the coronavirus to “more effectively prevent and control the epidemic,” Wang said.

Wang said the two sides worked on formulating a plan for China’s contribution to the global tracing effort under a resolution passed by the World Health Assembly under WHO. No word was given on when that effort will begin in earnest.

The virus was first detected in the central Chinese city of Wuhan late last year and has been linked to a wholesale food market where wild animals were sold. Scientists think it likely jumped from a wild animal such as a bat to humans via an intermediary species, possibly the anteater-like pangolin.

However, China says a full investigation may have to wait until the pandemic is under control and has rejected accusations that it delayed releasing information to WHO at the start of the outbreak.

6:08 a.m. Italian air traffic controller provider ENAV says that air traffic in July showed signs of recovery from the coronavirus shutdown.

Air traffic in July was three times higher than a month earlier in Italy, as the first Western nation to be hard hit by the coronavirus epidemic started to emerge from lockdown, ENAV reported Tuesday.

ENAV said 75,200 flights were recorded last month, down 60 per cent from a year earlier but significantly higher than June’s 26,000. Further recovery is expected in August. On the first August weekend, flights were down by just half from last year’s number.

Nearly half of flights in July were international, one quarter domestic and one-third were fly-overs with no take-off or landing in Italian airspace.

5:55 a.m. China aims to boost Hong Kong’s coronavirus testing capacity to 20 times its current ability, said the leader of a support team sent from Guangdong province to aid the city in its worst outbreak ever.

The Chinese testing team of about 60 people will work with the Hong Kong government and three mainland Chinese testing companies to process 100,000 to 200,000 samples every day, said Yu Dewen in a state media video interview released on Monday.

“Our main mission is to help the Hong Kong government conduct testing on a large scale for the population,” said Yu, who is an official with Guangdong’s health commission. Yu also led the Guangdong delegation earlier sent to help Wuhan, the central Chinese city where the virus first emerged last year.

5:48 a.m. Booking Holdings Inc. is the latest online travel giant to eliminate thousands of jobs after the coronavirus pandemic hammered the industry.

As much as 25 per cent of employees at Booking.com, the company’s biggest business, will be cut, the company said in a statement Tuesday. That’s about 4,000 workers. The reductions will be implemented globally.

Chief Executive Officer Glenn Fogel discussed the move during a video call with workers, saying the past five months represented “the largest social and economic crisis of our lifetime.”

The pandemic has hit Booking’s business hard and the wider travel industry remains under “significant pressure,” the CEO added. “In my heart, for a long time, I hoped that this would not happen. However, nothing can mitigate the impact this crisis has had, and will continue to have, on both the travel industry and our business.”

The continued spread of COVID-19 has drastically reduced tourism, while halting most business trips in favor of video conferencing and other remote work. Airlines have announced huge job cuts, hotels have closed down and the online part of the industry has not been spared.

5:19 a.m. The United Nations chief says the coronavirus pandemic has led to the largest disruption of education in history, with schools closed in more than 160 countries in mid-July affecting more than 1 billion students.

In addition, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Tuesday that at least 40 million children worldwide have missed out on education “in their critical pre-school year.”

As a result, he warned that the world faces “a generational catastrophe that could waste untold human potential, undermine decades of progress, and exacerbate entrenched inequalities.”

“We are at a defining moment for the world’s children and young people,” Guterres said in a video message and a 26-page policy briefing. “The decisions that governments and partners take now will have lasting impact on hundreds of millions of young people, and on the development prospects of countries for decades to come.”

Guterres called for the reopening of schools once the local transmission of the virus is under control.

4:28 a.m. The number of passengers on a Norwegian cruise ship who have tested positive for the coronavirus has reached 43, authorities said Tuesday.

The outbreak on the MS Roald Amundsen raised new questions about safety on cruise ships during the pandemic even as the industry is pressing to resume sailings after shutting down in March.

The ship’s owner on Monday halted all trips and Norway closed its ports to cruise ships for two weeks.

The city of Trondheim reported the two new cases — a man in his 70s with light symptoms and a child under age 10 with no symptoms — saying both had been passengers on the ship. They were not identified.

A third passenger will be tested Tuesday, the city said. Trondheim sits about halfway to Tromsoe, north of the Arctic Circle, where the empty ship is docked.

But since the cruise line often acts like a local ferry, travelling from port to port along Norway’s west coast, some passengers disembarked along the route and may have spread the virus to local communities.

A total of 69 municipalities in Norway could have been affected, Norwegian news agency NTB reported on Monday.

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Tuesday 4 a.m. A challenge of Newfoundland and Labrador’s COVID-19 travel ban is scheduled to be heard before the province’s supreme court beginning Tuesday.

Halifax resident Kim Taylor and the Canadian Civil Liberties Association filed a claim in Newfoundland and Labrador’s Supreme Court in May, claiming the restrictions violate the charter and fall outside provincial jurisdiction.

The provincial government passed legislation banning anyone but permanent residents and asymptomatic workers in key sectors from entering the province.

Taylor was denied the opportunity to travel to Newfoundland after her mother died suddenly.

The association says it is also challenging changes to the province’s Public Health Protection and Promotion Act which allows police officers to detain and remove individuals to “points of entry” to the province, and authorizes increased search powers.

The case is scheduled to be heard through Friday.

Taylor has said she was denied her request for an exemption to be allowed to visit her home province following her mother’s death, despite including a plan to self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival.

While her case was later reconsidered and she was granted an exemption by provincial officials, Taylor said the decision came too late.

She said the court challenge is about others avoiding the same experience.

Tuesday 12:17 a.m. The Trump administration’s plan to provide every nursing home with a fast COVID-19 testing machine comes with an asterisk: The government won’t supply enough test kits to check staff and residents beyond an initial couple of rounds.

A program that sounded like a game changer when it was announced last month at the White House is now prompting concerns that it could turn into another unfulfilled promise for nursing homes, whose residents and staff represent a tiny share of the U.S. population but account for as many as 4 in 10 coronavirus deaths, according to some estimates.

“I think the biggest fear is that the instruments may be delivered but it won’t do any good, if you don’t have the test kits,” said George Linial, president of LeadingAge of Texas, a branch of a national group representing non-profit nursing homes and other providers of elder care.

Monday: 10:41 p.m. Bahamas Prime Minister Hubert Minnis announced Monday a complete lockdown of the country for the next two weeks, saying the bed capacity and human resources were being “increasingly stretched” amid a sharp rise in COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations.

“Our ICU beds are at capacity and noncritical care beds are approaching capacity,” Minnis said during a national address about the economic shutdown of the archipelago, just days after being spared by Hurricane Isaias. “We can and we will rebuild our economy and our society. But what we cannot do is bring people’s life back. We can rebuild, but we cannot re-create new life.”

On Monday, the Bahamas, whose population is about 385,000, confirmed 31 new infections —9 in the island of New Providence and 22 in Grand Bahama, which was put on a lockdown two weeks ago after it began leading the country in newly confirmed cases.

The new infections, Minnis said, gave a tally of 679 confirmed cases, the country’s highest since it confirmed its first case in March and forced the closure of all airports and seaports to outside visitors.

Monday 8:54 p.m. A member of the press who covered President Donald Trump’s trip to the Tampa Bay area Friday has tested positive for the coronavirus, according to the White House Correspondents’ Association.

The association’s president, Zeke Miller, a reporter for The Associated Press, wrote in a message to the group’s members Sunday about the member’s positive test.

“We’ve already reached out to those who were in the pools with this individual, and the White House Medical Unit is conducting additional contact tracing and providing follow-on tests for those in the pools and potentially exposed,” Miller’s message read.

The positive test came Sunday, just over a day after the journalist stood in close proximity to dozens of other reporters and photographers —and inhabited the same room as the country’s top elected official at the Pelican Golf Club in Belleair.

Also in the room with the journalist were Gov. Ron DeSantis, Sen. Rick Scott, state Sen. Wilton Simpson, Pinellas County Commissioner Kathleen Peters, state Rep. Danny Perez and Safety Net Hospital Alliance of Florida CEO Justin Senior.

Miller declined to name the journalist Monday, citing privacy concerns.

The White House declined to comment.

Monday 7:20 p.m.: Ontario’s plan to reopen schools without reducing class sizes for elementary students in the age of COVID-19 is “disappointing” and “disturbing,” says one Toronto parent.

Kelly Iggers, who works as a teacher-librarian for the Toronto District School Board, said it is nearly impossible to practise physical distancing in already overcrowded classrooms.

On Saturday, she started a petition calling on the Ontario government to reduce class sizes. By Monday evening, more than 65,000 people had signed it.

Iggers fears the lack of physical distancing in schools will lead to coronavirus outbreaks in the wider community.

Premier Doug Ford and Education Minister Stephen Lecce last week announced the plan for a full-time return to school for elementary students across the province this fall, and a part-time class schedule for secondary students in larger school boards. They also announced mandatory face masks for students starting in Grade 4, and said the province will spend $309 million on personal protective equipment for educators, additional staffing and cleaning supplies. But reducing class sizes for elementary students was not part of the plan.

Read Monday’s rolling file



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