10:20 a.m.: Trudeau looking to prorogue Parliament
8:55 a.m.: Freeland to be next finance minister, reports say
6:15 a.m.: Canadian parents plan to send their kids back to school: Poll
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.
10:35 a.m. (updated): Ontario is reporting 125 new cases of COVID-19 and four new deaths related to the virus.
The total number of cases now stands at 40,870, which includes 2,793 deaths and 37,126 cases marked as resolved.
The province also reported 90 new resolved cases today.
Health Minister Christine Elliott says the “uptick” in cases is due to increases in Peel Region, Toronto and Windsor-Essex.
Elliott also said that 27 of Ontario’s 34 public health regions reported five or fewer cases, while 16 reported no new cases.
The province was able to complete 23,067 tests in the previous day.
The Star’s Robert Benzie has the story.
10:20 a.m. (updated): Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland will be sworn in as Canada’s new finance minister later today.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is also looking to prorogue Parliament next month in order to come back with a new speech from the throne and an economic update in October.
Multiple sources confirm to The Canadian Press that Freeland will remain as deputy prime minister as she adds the finance portfolio to her already packed list of responsibilities.
Bill Morneau announced last night he was leaving the finance post following much speculation about a growing rift between him and Trudeau.
Both Morneau and Trudeau are embroiled in ethical investigations for not recusing themselves from a decision to award a large student grant contract to WE Charity despite both having close ties to the organization.
The Trudeau government is also planning a cabinet retreat in mid-September with the intention of proroguing Parliament and presenting a pandemic recovery plan in a throne speech in early October.
8:55 a.m.: Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland will become Canada’s first female finance minister, filling the gap left by Bill Morneau’s abrupt resignation Monday evening, according to multiple reports.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is expected to shuffle his deputy prime minister into the coveted finance portfolio. The move was first reported by CTV and confirmed by CBC. The Star has yet to independently confirm the news.
Freeland, a former financial journalist, has already held several senior portfolios in the Trudeau cabinet, including international trade, foreign affairs, and most recently the re-created role of deputy prime minister.
7:37 a.m.: South Africa, which had one of the world’s strictest anti-coronavirus lockdowns for five months, relaxed its restrictions on Tuesday in response to a decrease in new cases.
The country loosened its regulations to permit the sales of alcohol and cigarettes, and the reopening of bars, restaurants, gyms and places of worship, all limited to no more than 50 people. Schools will reopen gradually starting Aug. 24.
With more than 589,000 confirmed cases, South Africa has more than half of all reported cases in Africa. The 54 countries of the continent reported a total of more than 1.1 million cases on Tuesday, according to the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
South Africa has recorded more than 11,900 deaths from COVID-19, while overall the continent has reported just over 25,800 deaths. The actual numbers of cases and deaths are estimated to be much higher, say health experts.
South Africa’s new confirmed cases have dropped from an average of 12,000 per day at the peak in July to less than 5,000 per day last week. The country confirmed 2,541 new cases on Tuesday.
7 a.m.: British retailer Marks & Spencer plans to eliminate about 7,000 jobs as it streamlines management and store operations after sales plunged during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The job cuts, which represent about nine per cent of the company’s workforce, will occur over the next three months and affect Marks & Spencer’s central office, regional management and U.K. stores, the London-based grocery, clothing and housewares chain said Tuesday.
Sophie Lund-Yates, an analyst at financial services firm Hargreaves Lansdown, said the cuts stemmed from Marks & Spencer’s understanding that drastic measures were needed to survive.
“M&S has realized it needs to act now if it wants to secure the longevity of the business” she said. “Coronavirus has exacerbated existing fault lines — namely that shopping habits have changed and M&S has been slow off the mark meeting those shifting demand patterns.”
6:20 a.m.: Including housing allowances, the city has helped 1,570 people move from the shelter system to permanent homes since the pandemic struck hard in mid-March. In the same period last year, 1,050 shelter residents were housed through the same two programs.
The Toronto Community Housing Corporation said that shelter residents who moved in during the pandemic have had smoother transitions than they’ve seen in the past.
TCHC spokesperson Bruce Malloch credited the assistance provided through a COVID-era partnership with the city, which assists residents with furniture, clothing and social support needs. That agreement expires when Toronto’s state of emergency ends.
Read the full story from the Star’s Victoria Gibson.
6:20 a.m.: India has reported another 55,079 new coronavirus cases. The Health Ministry on Tuesday also reported 826 deaths in the past 24 hours, taking total fatalities to 51,797. India now has the fourth most fatalities behind the United States, Brazil and Mexico.
Nevertheless, its deaths per million people stand at 34, far lower than what has been reported in some North American and European countries. India has been recording at least 50,000 new infections per day since mid-July. It has now reported 2.7 million infections.
6:18 a.m.: Australia’s coronavirus hot spot, Victoria state, reported its lowest number of new infections in a month. Victoria’s Health Department reported 222 new cases Tuesday, the lowest tally since July 18. The state also reported 17 deaths following a record of 25 fatalities on Monday. Infections have been trending down after a second lockdown came into force in the state capital, Melbourne, in early August.
6:17 a.m.: A maintenance worker at a New Zealand hotel where returning travellers are isolated has tested positive for the coronavirus, the second instance of community transmission in the country since last week.
But health authorities say the man’s close contacts have so far tested negative, giving them hope the outbreak might be contained. Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield said the employee wears protective equipment while carrying out maintenance work and doesn’t typically interact with guests. Meanwhile, a cluster of virus cases discovered last week in Auckland that sent the nation’s largest city into a two-week lockdown has grown to 69 infections after authorities reported 13 new cases Tuesday.
New Zealand now has a total of 90 active cases, including returning travellers who are in quarantine. Before last week, New Zealand had gone 102 days without any community transmission.
6:16 a.m.: South Korea will ban large public gatherings and shut down churches and nightspots in the greater capital area amid an alarming surge in viral infections that health officials describe as the country’s biggest crisis since the emergence of COVID-19.
In a nationally televised announcement on Tuesday, Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun said strengthening social distancing restrictions for the Seoul metropolitan area, which is home to half of the country’s 51 million people, was inevitable because a failure to slow transmissions there could result in a major outbreak nationwide.
South Korea reported 246 new cases Tuesday, mostly from the capital area, pushing its total for the last five days to 959.
The measures, which will take effect Wednesday in Seoul and nearby Gyeonggi province and the city of Incheon, prohibit gatherings of more than 50 people indoors and 100 people outdoors. Nightclubs, karaoke rooms, buffet restaurants, computer gaming cafes and other “high-risk” venues will be shut. Churches will only be allowed to provide online services.
6:15 a.m.: A new poll suggests the majority of Canadian parents plan to send their kids back to school in the fall, but would want classes cancelled if there is a new COVID-19 outbreak in their community.
The online poll by Leger and the Association for Canadian Studies is the latest to take parents’ temperature about the pending return of classes during the pandemic.
Two-thirds of parents surveyed said they were worried about children returning to school at the end of the summer, with only 31 per cent saying they were not.
And while 63 per cent of parents said they planned to send their kids to school this fall, 69 per cent felt all classes should be suspended if there is a significant increase in COVID-19 cases in their community.
The poll also found strong support among parents for requiring certain measures to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 at schools, including making students, teachers and staff wear masks.
Monday 5:39 p.m.: As of 5 p.m. Monday, Ontario’s regional health units are reporting a total of 42,809 confirmed or probable cases of COVID-19, including 2,827 deaths, up another 132 cases and no new deaths in 24 hours, according to the Star’s latest count.
It was the second Monday in a row in which the province saw cases jump into the triple digits, following a pattern that has seen larger than normal case counts reported following weekends.
Four health units reported double digit-case counts Monday: Toronto, with 32 new cases, Ottawa at 19, Peel Region, at 18, and Hamilton with 16.
Several health units, including Hamilton, do not report daily updates over the weekend and instead report multiple days’ worth of cases on Mondays.
The long term average for daily case reports has been consistently below triple-digits since the province saw a brief spike late last month, and the province remains near the lowest rate of new infections since before the pandemic first peaked in Ontario in the spring.
That rate remained flat Monday at an average of 84 cases per day over the last week — still the lowest seven-day average Ontario has seen since a mid-April peak of nearly 600 daily.
Ontario has averaged fewer than a single reported death per day over the last seven days.
The vast majority of the province’s COVID-19 patients have since recovered; the province lists fewer than 1,000 active cases of the disease.
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 Monday’s rolling file