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.
9:13 a.m. It’s been a while since those Las Vegas hotel marquees trumpeted the appearances of live shows on the Strip.
MGM Resorts is changing that.
Beginning next month, the hotel company announced it will start to bring back live entertainment to its properties, starting with famed magician David Copperfield.
“After eight months, it’s time to bring entertainment back to the Entertainment Capital of the World,” said George Kliavkoff, MGM Resorts’ president of entertainment and sports. “While there is still a long road in our city’s recovery, the reintroduction of these shows is an important first step. November 6 is going to feel very special as we welcome back team members and guests and bring the curtains up for that first time.”
There has been no live entertainment in Sin City since March. The shows returning on Nov. 6 include Copperfield, comedian Carrot Top, Brad Garrett’s Comedy Club hosted by the former “Everybody Loves Raymond” star, Fantasy, Jabbawockeez, The Australian Bee Gees and Thunder from Down Under.
MGM Resorts says the shows will have limited capacity. In some cases, that’s requiring the performances to now be in larger theaters, in order to accommodate social distancing.
9:10 a.m. Starbucks Canada has confirmed an employee at a Mississauga location has recently tested positive for COVID-19.
According to a Starbucks Canada spokesperson, an employee at the Erin Mills Indigo store Starbucks at 5025 Glen Erin Dr. was diagnosed with COVID-19 on Oct. 18.
The store was “immediately” closed to undergo a deep clean, following guidelines from public health authorities, said the spokesperson.
As a result, the store reopened Oct. 20.
Starbucks confirmed “partners and other partners” who have worked closely with the sick employee are currently self-isolating.
9:05 a.m. While two new cases of COVID-19 were reported in Niagara schools Tuesday evening, the overall number of active cases has decreased.
On Tuesday evening District School Board of Niagara and Niagara Catholic District School Board each reported one new case of novel coronavirus in their systems.
In a media release, the public board’s communications officer, Carolyn LoConte, said a case had been confirmed at Stevensville Public School.
Niagara Catholic said a case had been found at Saint Paul Catholic High School in Niagara Falls.
This is the first time a COVID-19 case has been reported at either of these schools.
When the two new cases reported by the two boards are combined with those on the provincial database, nine cases have been reported in Niagara in the past 14 days.
That is down from the 14 total cases reported Monday.
The provincial database still lists Holy Cross Secondary in St. Catharines as having reported a case in the past two weeks. The Catholic board’s website said this case has been resolved as have all other cases at the board except for the latest at Saint Paul. The Holy Cross case is a student case, said the provincial database which does not indicate whether the person with the novel coronavirus is a staff member or student.
9 a.m. Rogers Communications Inc.’s third-quarter profit and revenue fell compared with a year ago due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but the company beat analyst estimates after rebounding from the second quarter.
The wireless, cable and media company said Thursday it earned $512 million or $1.01 per diluted share for the quarter ended Sept. 30.
That was down from a profit of $593 million or $1.14 per diluted share in the third quarter of 2019 but up from the second quarter, when the pandemic’s first wave gripped the country.
“Our results show we are managing the environment effectively, and our long-term strategy is sound,” Rogers chief executive Joe Natale told analysts in a conference call to discuss the results.
He added that competition between Canada’s wireless carriers intensified in the third quarter, especially involving flanker brands (which include the company’s Fido and Chatr services).
On an adjusted basis, Rogers says it earned $1.08 per diluted share for the quarter, down from an adjusted profit of $1.19 per diluted share a year ago.
Analysts on average had expected an adjusted profit of 78 cents per share and revenue of $3.34 billion, according to financial data firm Refinitiv.
Revenue from across the Rogers business totalled nearly $3.67 billion, up from the second quarter but down from $3.75 billion in the same quarter last year.
7:50 a.m. Natalie Montgomerie already knows what it’s like to live through seasonal depression during a global pandemic.
Her symptoms, which usually begin as days get shorter in November and last until March, lingered this year all the way into the summer months. It’s unusual for her seasonal depression to last that long, but the pandemic-mandated lockdown upended her routine and offered her little in the way of relief.
“COVID-19 made it a lot worse,” Montgomerie said.
Now that winter is approaching, Montgomerie is bracing for the return of her seasonal depression symptoms. But this time, she knows getting through the next few months will be an even harder battle.
The changing seasons won’t only mean shorter days and pitch-black skies before dinner for those who already suffer from seasonal depression. Winter also means fewer chances of enjoying fresh air and socializing outside with friends and family from a safe distance — a freedom cherished by many as socializing indoors can sometimes mean a higher chance of catching COVID-19.
Read the full story from the Star’s Nadine Yousif
7:45 a.m. In the middle of the spring long-term care lockdown, 87-year-old Devora Greenspon likened loneliness to a pain in her heart
Now, with fresh outbreaks of COVID-19 among 216 residents in 86 Ontario nursing homes, Greenspon is girding for the isolation of a second wave.
“Being alone in one room every day almost made me crazy,” she said in a written statement to the government-created Long-Term Care COVID-19 Commission.
Greenspon speaks for many residents who survived the nursing home lockdown but grew depressed or, after months alone, lost the ability to walk, eat or even coherently speak.
The wellbeing of those residents is supposed to be captured by care-plan assessments documented by staff and sent to the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI), an independent not-for-profit funded by federal and provincial governments along with universities and research institutes.
Read the full story by the Star’s Moira Welsh
7:30 a.m. The University of Oxford says the late-stage trial of its COVID-19 vaccine in Brazil will continue following reports of a participant’s death.
The university said it can’t comment on specific incidents but an independent review found no reason to be concerned about the safety of the Brazilian trial.
It says an “independent review, in addition to the Brazilian regulator, have recommended that the trial should continue.”
The Oxford vaccine is being developed in conjunction with the international pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca. Trials are underway in the United States and the U.K., as well as Brazil, to determine whether the potential vaccine is safe and effective in humans.
7:22 a.m. British Columbia’s New Democrats took a risk calling a snap election during a global pandemic to pursue a majority government, creating a major campaign issue for the party’s opponents.
NDP Leader John Horgan said he called the election more than one year ahead of schedule because he is seeking the certainty and stability of a majority during uncertain times, but he spent much of the campaign fending off accusations of political opportunism.
The Greens accused Horgan of breaking a governing agreement in place since 2017, and the B.C. Liberals said he withheld COVID-19 pandemic relief dollars for struggling businesses to bolster his chest of election goodies.
The election during the pandemicsaw politicians campaign remotely with virtual town halls, Zoom calls and elbow bumps replacing traditional gatherings and handshakes from politicians wearing masks.
“Once British Columbians came to terms with the fact the election was underway they wanted to know what the options were, what their choices were and they’ll act accordingly,” Horgan said in an interview. “I believe now we’re days away from putting the election behind us so that we can have a new government, whoever that might be, focused on the needs of British Columbians.”
The election is being conducted safely and support for increased days of advanced polls and requests for mail-in ballots is encouraging, he said.
7 a.m. German soccer club Werder Bremen says one of its players has tested positive for the coronavirus and the team’s training session has been cancelled.
The club didn’t name the player. It says he is isolating at home and is not displaying symptoms.
Bremen says another player and a staff member were also ordered to isolate for 14 days by local health authorities as a precaution. The rest of the team will isolate until more coronavirus testing on Friday.
Bremen is in seventh place in the Bundesliga ahead of its home game against eight-place Hoffenheim on Sunday.
Hoffenheim forward Andrej Kramaric missed last week’s loss to Borussia Dortmund following a positive test for the virus. He will also sit out a Europa League game against Red Star Belgrade.
6:07 a.m.: The changing seasons won’t only mean shorter days and pitch-black skies before dinner for those who already suffer from seasonal depression. Winter also means fewer chances of enjoying fresh air and socializing outside with friends and family from a safe distance — a freedom cherished by many as socializing indoors can sometimes mean a higher chance of catching COVID-19.
The issue even made it to the Ontario legislature, with a private member’s bill tabled by Progressive Conservative MPP Jeremy Roberts (Ottawa West-Nepean) on Oct. 1, asking house members to consider moving permanently to daylight saving time, as research shows moving the clock back an hour in the fall — slated to happen Nov. 1 — is exacerbating depression in people. But the move hinges on Quebec and New York state doing the same and won’t take effect during the pandemic.
Read the full story from the Star’s Nadine Yousif here.
6:03 a.m.: COVID-19 had a devastating effect on the quality of life of nursing home residents, and we may never know how much because some homes hit pause on assessing it. Now, with the second wave here, will nursing homes that did not collect key data during the first surge be adequately prepared to keep residents from spiralling into depression?
Read the full story from the Star’s Moira Welsh
6:02 a.m.: Authorities in Sri Lanka have closed the country’s main fish market and widened the curfew in many parts of the island nation following a surge of coronavirus infections related to a new cluster centred on a garment factory.
The government imposed a curfew Thursday in parts of Colombo and some areas outside the capital. Officials already isolated at least six villages elsewhere in the same province, where the new cluster was discovered early this month.
Authorities also suspended operations at Sri Lanka’s main fish market after 49 traders tested positive. Health workers are conducting tests on hundreds of other traders at the market on the outskirts of Colombo.
Schools and key public offices are also closed, public gatherings banned and restrictions imposed on public transport.
6:01 a.m.: Indian authorities are worried elections in the third-largest state and a religious congregation could spread the coronavirus.
India added fewer than 60,000 new cases for a third day. The Health Ministry reported 55,839 new cases, taking the total past 7.7 million. The 702 deaths recorded in the past 24 hours brought its total fatalities to 116,616 on Thursday.
The Election Commission issued a warning after political campaigning drew large crowds without masks and social distancing in eastern Bihar state where voting for state elections is due to begin next week.
Bihar is India’s third largest state with a population of about 122 million people.
Health officials also are concerned about the potential spread during religious festivals. In West Bengal state, a court limited the size of congregations during the Hindu Durga Puja festival.
6:01 a.m.: Germany’s disease control centre is reporting a new daily record increase in coronavirus infections, which rocketed past the 10,000 mark for the first time as the pandemic continues to spread.
The Robert Koch Institute said Thursday that it had recorded 11,287 new cases over the past 24 hours, shattering the previous record figure of 7,830 daily infections set on Saturday.
The news comes the day after Health Minister Jens Spahn tested positive for COVID-19 himself.
He has been quarantined at home and told Bild newspaper that so far he’s just suffering from “cold-like symptoms.”
The government says Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Cabinet members have always followed distancing, hygiene and mask rules, so there is no reason for other ministers to quarantine.
6 a.m.: Belgian Foreign Minister and former Prime Minister Sophie Wilmes has been hospitalized in intensive care with the coronavirus.
Wilmes, who was in charge when the first wave of infections hit the country this spring, now serves in the new government led by Alexander De Croo.
Elke Pattyn, a spokesperson at the Foreign Ministry, told The Associated Press that Wilmes is in a stable condition and conscious. She said her condition “is not worrying.”
The 45-year-old Wilmes, who was admitted to the hospital on Wednesday evening, said last week she thought she got infected within her family circle.
Belgium, a country of 11.5 million inhabitants, has been severely hit by the coronavirus and is currently seeing a sharp rise in new cases. More than 10,000 people have died from coronavirus-related complications in Belgium.
5:57 a.m.: Both of Puerto Rico’s 911 call centres were shut down Wednesday night after several employees tested positive for the coronavirus, officials announced.
Public Safety Secretary Pedro Janer said people should call the island’s emergency management agency at 787-724-0124 or police at 787-343-2020 in an emergency. He said both agencies are operating 24 hours a day.
However, people calling the first number that Janer provided get a recording asking them to call 911 for an emergency. Then the recording provided callers with a directory.
5:56 a.m.: Amid a record surge of coronavirus infections that’s threatening the entire health system with collapse, the Czech Republic is adopting on Thursday exactly the same massive restrictions it slapped on citizens in the spring. Prime Minister Andrej Babis had repeatedly said these measures would never return.
“We have no time to wait,” Babis explained Wednesday. “The surge is enormous.”
Babis apologized for the huge impact the restrictions will have on everyday life but said if they were not taken “our health system would collapse between Nov 7-11.”
“I apologize even for the fact that I ruled out this option in the past because I was not able to imagine it might happen,” he added. “Unfortunately, it has happened and now, above all, we have to protect the lives of our citizens.”
The measures include limits on free movement and the closure of many stores, shopping malls and hotels. They will remain in place until at least Nov 3.
5:55 a.m.: One day after surviving a confidence vote on a Conservative motion, Justin Trudeau’s minority Liberal government faces another Conservative motion that could trigger yet more high-stakes drama over the possibility of a snap election in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The official Opposition is using its second opposition day this week to debate a motion calling for a sweeping probe by the House of Commons health committee into a host of issues relating to the government’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The motion is so broad and the demand for documents so massive that the Liberals are expected to argue that its passage would paralyze the government — the same argument used to declare the first Conservative motion a confidence matter.
Read Wednesday’s rolling file