10:49 a.m.: TIFF will now require guests to wear masks
7:30 a.m.: Ford, Legault will hold a summit Wednesday
5 a.m.: New limits on social gatherings in England
The latest coronavirus news from Canada and around the world Wednesday. This file will be updated throughout the day. Web links to longer stories if available.
11 a.m.: A British Columbia First Nation has issued a state of emergency after confirmation that four members have COVID-19 and several others are reporting symptoms of the virus.
A notice on the Tla’amin Nation website says residents have been ordered to shelter in place to slow the spread of the virus while health officials complete contact tracing.
The order affecting the community, which is in the area of Powell River, took effect late Tuesday afternoon and advised members they should stay where the are for the next 72 hours.
Access to the First Nation, about 170 kilometres northwest of Vancouver, has also been restricted to a single entry point and parents are being urged to keep children out of school this week.
A letter from Vancouver Coastal Health says contact with the virus likely occurred during a wake on Sept. 3 or a funeral the following day in Powell River.
The Tla’amin state of emergency comes one day after B.C.’s provincial health officer ordered closure of nightclubs and banquet halls after a spike in the number of COVID-19 cases in the province.
10:39 a.m.: The Toronto International Film Festival will now require guests to wear masks or face coverings at all times at its downtown headquarters, TIFF Bell Lightbox, even when seated in a cinema.
Weeks ago TIFF stated on its website that masks were mandatory inside the venue, but they didn’t have to be worn while seated inside the auditorium during the festival, which runs Thursday through Sept. 19.
Such a mask policy is allowed under current COVID-19 government guidelines, but after news headlines about it raised concerns on social media this week, TIFF has updated its rules.
TIFF now says it has decided to close the Lightbox concession stands, “thereby eliminating this as a point of contact between patrons and staff during the pandemic-tailored festival.”
10:10 a.m. (updated): Ontario is reporting 149 cases of COVID-19, a decrease from the past few days, with over 17,600 tests completed. No additional deaths were reported. Twenty-eight public health units are reporting five or fewer cases, with 21 of them reporting no new cases. Toronto is reporting 50 cases with 41 in Peel and 16 in Ottawa.
10:05 a.m. (updated) The Bank of Canada is keeping its key interest rate target on hold at 0.25 per cent and says it will stay there until inflation is back on target.
The central bank’s key rate has remained at its lower effective bound since March when COVID-19 lockdowns plunged the economy into crisis.
In a statement today, the central bank’s governing council says that bounce-back activity in the third quarter looks to be faster than it anticipated in July.
But it warns of indicators like an uneven rebound in employment and subdued business confidence that points to a slow and choppy recovery process.
The bank says its key rate will stay at near-zero until economic slack is absorbed and the two-per-cent inflation target is “sustainably achieved.”
The statement reiterated that the central bank stands ready to do whatever is necessary to aid the economy as it recuperates from the COVID-19 crisis, which will include ongoing purchases of federal government bonds.
9:18 a.m. In the latest sign of how it’s prospering while others are faltering during the pandemic, Amazon said Wednesday it is seeking to bring aboard 33,000 people for corporate and tech roles in the next few months.
It’s the largest number of job openings it’s had at one time, and the Seattle-based online behemoth said the hiring is not related to the jobs it typically offers ahead of the busy holiday shopping season.
Amazon can afford to grow its workforce: It is one of the few companies that has thrived during the coronavirus outbreak. People have turned to it to order groceries, supplies and other items online, helping the company bring in record revenue and profits between April and June. That came even though it had to spend $4 billion on cleaning supplies and to pay workers overtime and bonuses.
Demand has been so high, Amazon has struggled to deliver items as fast as it normally does and had to hire 175,000 more people to help pack and ship orders in its warehouses. Walmart and Target have also seen sales soar during the pandemic.
8:45 a.m. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will visit HXOUSE in Toronto on Wednesday. An announcement and media availability will follow. Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade Mary Ng, and Member of Parliament for Hull-Aylmer Greg Fergus will be in attendance.
8:21 a.m. German security officials say thousands of extremists took part in a demonstration against the country’s coronavirus restrictions last month that culminated in attempts by some protesters to storm parliament.
The head of Berlin state’s intelligence service, Michael Fischer, told lawmakers Wednesday that a preliminary review of images from the Aug. 29 protest indicated that “at least 2,500 to 3,000 right-wing extremists and Reich Citizens took part in the protests.” The Reich Citizens movement disputes the legitimacy of the post-World War II German constitution; the movement overlaps with far-right groups.
Fischer said those counted so far were identified as right-wing extremists based on the clothing, flags, symbols and slogans they were carrying.
“But beyond that there were doubtless also people participating in the events who couldn’t be identified as right-wing extremists or Reich Citizens based on their outer appearance,” said Fischer. He added that some of those protesters likely moved in the same circles as extremists deemed hostile to the German constitution.
Attempts by some of the protesters to storm the Reichstag parliament building in Berlin were widely condemned by German officials. But some lawmakers also criticized an apparent lack of preparation by police in the capital. Only a handful of officers stood in the way of protesters on the Reichstag steps until reinforcements arrived.
Fischer acknowledged that authorities had received information in advance of the protest that some participants had called for the storming of the parliament building, and security officials had discussed the threat at a meeting two days before the event. But he insisted officials hadn’t foreseen that protesters would actually go through with the plan.
Police said a total of almost 40,000 people took part in the protests on Aug. 29.
8:10 a.m. Lululemon Athletica Inc. beat expectations as second-quarter profits slipped despite a two-per-cent increase in sales driven by a surge in online revenues.
The Vancouver-based athleisure retailer says it earned $86.8 million (U.S.) or 66 cents per diluted share, down from $125 million (U.S.) or 96 cents per share a year earlier.
Revenues for the period ended Aug. 2 were $902.9 million (U.S.), up from $883.4 million (U.S.) in the prior year.
The company, which reports in U.S. dollars, was expected to earn 54 cents per share on $842.5 million, according to financial data firm Refinitiv.
Net revenue from company-operated stores plunged 51 per cent to $287.2 million while direct to consumer net revenue was $554.3 million, an increase of 155 per cent.
7:30 a.m. (updated) Amid mounting concerns of a second wave of COVID-19 with an uptick of new cases, the premiers of Canada’s two most populous provinces are convening with their senior ministers.
Premier Doug Ford and Quebec’s Premier François Legault will hold a summit Wednesday at the Hilton Toronto Airport Hotel in Mississauga to discuss plans for the economy recovery — and to gird for a reprise of the pandemic.
“We’re going to have a great discussion,” Ford, who has been taking French lessons twice a week, said Tuesday before a private dinner with Legault and their spouses.
“If you add up our population and Quebec’s, we’re well over 60 some odd percent of the overall population and we have a loud voice when it comes to dealing with the federal government,” the Ontarian said.
But Ford, whose Progressive Conservatives have worked closely with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberals throughout the COVID-19 crisis, stressed Wednesday’s summit shouldn’t be a gang tackle of Ottawa.
Read the full story from the Star’s Robert Benzie
7:03 a.m.: A key negotiator trying to cobble together a Belgian coalition government has tested positive for COVID-19, co-negotiator Conner Rousseau said Wednesday, dampening hopes that one of the country’s longest political impasses could be broken soon
Dutch-speaking Liberal Egbert Lachaert has the coronavirus, forcing key politicians from six other centre-left and centre-right parties to resort to video conferencing as they try to hammer out a government program. Later Wednesday, Rousseau said the other six party leaders tested negative.
7 a.m. A new report from the Ontario Chamber of Commerce says affordable child-care offerings, flexible work arrangements and support for job training are all key to helping women recover from the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The provincial business organization says the health crisis is having an oversized impact on women and is creating what it calls a “she-cession,” with women’s participation in the labour force falling to its lowest level in three decades.
To reverse the trend, the Chamber suggests measures that include a rapid increase in child-care spaces that allow for physical distancing, earmarked funding for a potential second wave of COVID-19 and enhanced resources for parents to support their children with remote learning.
The organization is also calling for the long-term affordability and accessibility of child care to be addressed through investments, tackling the shortage of early childhood educators and exploring workplace-based child care.
The report says women should be given more flexible work opportunities and chances to train in areas where labour market data suggests there are shortages.
6:04 a.m.: South Korea’s ambassador to France said his country managed to enforce a quick response to the coronavirus based on its previous experiences of major epidemics, at a French parliament hearing on Wednesday.
Speaking before a Senate’s commission of inquiry into how authorities handled the COVID-19 crisis, Choi Jong-moon detailed South Korea’s effective actions to fight the spread of the virus, including quickly ratcheting up testing.
6:01 a.m.: Canada’s status as an international winter-sport host is taking a beating during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Cancellations that started in March when the coronavirus shut down sport have resumed with Canada losing more World Cups and world championships in 2020 and 2021.
However, Calgary is attempting to plug the drain.
With an eye on Edmonton’s success so far as an NHL hub city, Tourism Calgary and WinSport at Canada Olympic Park want the city to be an international hub for a sport they’re not ready to reveal.
“We’re in conversations on a couple of major bubbles that could potentially come to Calgary,” Tourism Calgary senior vice-president of sales Carson Ackroyd told The Canadian Press.
“With a couple of our key facilities, one of them obviously being WinSport, where do we have a natural advantage from a facility perspective where bubbling could attract a number of events into one spot?”
5:07 a.m.: Pope Francis wore a face mask and used hand sanitizer Wednesday as he appealed for the faithful to look out for the health of others as well as themselves during the coronavirus pandemic.
Francis took off the mask as his car pulled into the San Damaso courtyard inside the Apostolic Palace, where last week he resumed his weekly public audiences after a nearly six-month COVID-19 shutdown.
4:59 a.m.: New limits on social gatherings in England to six people are set to stay in place for the “foreseeable future,” potentially until or even through Christmas, British Health Secretary Matt Hancock said Wednesday.
Hancock said the new limit for both indoor and outdoor gatherings, which will come into force and be enforceable by law from Monday, will provide “more clarity” to people and should help keep a lid on a recent sharp spike in new coronavirus cases.
One of the reasons for the pick-up in cases is that many people have been confused over the past few months as lockdown restrictions have been eased, notably over how they relate to gatherings both in and out of the home. Scientists say a clear message is crucial in containing pandemics.
4:47 a.m.: A major overnight fire swept through Greece’s largest refugee camp, that had been placed under COVID-19 lockdown, leaving more than 12,000 migrants in emergency need of shelter on the island of Lesbos.
In dramatic night-time scenes, the migrants at the overcrowded Moria refugee camp, which was originally meant to house around 2,000 people, fled fires that broke out at multiple points and gutted much of the camp and surrounding hillside olive groves. Protests also broke out involving migrants, riot police, and firefighters. There were no reports of injuries.
4:15 a.m.: The Bank of Canada will say this morning what it will do with its key interest rate at a time when there is very little economic drama for the first time in years.
The central bank’s key rate has remained at 0.25 per cent since March when COVID-19 lockdowns plunged the economy into crisis.
Governor Tiff Macklem said in July that the rate would stay at near-zero until the country is well into a recovery and inflation is back at the bank’s two per cent target.
4:02 a.m.: The leaders of the two provinces hardest-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic are meeting in Mississauga to discuss economic recovery and health preparedness.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford and Quebec Premier Francois Legault have convened an inaugural summit to talk about what they see as key areas for co-operation.
They say the provinces plan to share lessons learned from the pandemic and work together to boost economic recovery and growth by reducing barriers to international trade.
4:01 a.m.: Students across British Columbia are getting ready for COVID-19 orientation sessions this week amid a flurry of new protocols aimed at reopening schools while the pandemic wears on.
Education Minister Rob Fleming has said districts are expecting 85 to 90 per cent of students to attend school in person, but some parents and students say they’re frustrated by the lack of remote learning options, large class sizes and inconsistent messaging about physical distancing.
4 a.m.: The latest numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Canada as of 4 a.m. EDT on Sept. 9, 2020:
There are 133,747 confirmed cases in Canada.
_ Quebec: 63,876 confirmed (including 5,770 deaths, 56,162 resolved)
_ Ontario: 43,536 confirmed (including 2,813 deaths, 39,196 resolved)
_ Alberta: 15,093 confirmed (including 247 deaths, 13,154 resolved)
_ British Columbia: 6,591 confirmed (including 213 deaths, 4,978 resolved)
_ Saskatchewan: 1,669 confirmed (including 24 deaths, 1,587 resolved)
_ Manitoba: 1,349 confirmed (including 16 deaths, 940 resolved)
_ Nova Scotia: 1,086 confirmed (including 65 deaths, 1,018 resolved)
_ Newfoundland and Labrador: 269 confirmed (including 3 deaths, 265 resolved)
_ New Brunswick: 192 confirmed (including 2 deaths, 186 resolved)
_ Prince Edward Island: 53 confirmed (including 44 resolved)
_ Yukon: 15 confirmed (including 15 resolved)
_ Repatriated Canadians: 13 confirmed (including 13 resolved)
_ Northwest Territories: 5 confirmed (including 5 resolved)
_ Nunavut: No confirmed cases
_ Total: 133,747 (0 presumptive, 133,747 confirmed including 9,153 deaths, 117,563 resolved)
1:25 a.m.: While Indonesia has recorded more deaths from the coronavirus than any other Southeast Asian country, it also has seen by far the most fatalities among medical workers in the region, leading to concerns about the long-term impact on the nation’s fragile healthcare system.
The tribulations endured by Indonesian healthcare workers are similar to others globally: long working hours, hospitals filled to capacity and a lack of resources like personal protective equipment.
Indonesia’s government has been able to provide PPE to healthcare workers after an initial shortage that saw doctors wearing plastic raincoats while working. But other issues remain in the country, where more than 200 medical workers, mostly doctors and nurses, have died from the virus.
Read Tuesday’s rolling file