7:52 a.m. New coronavirus restrictions took effect Tuesday in Austria and Greece
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.
9:41 a.m. A dance studio east of Vancouver is the site of the latest significant outbreak of COVID-19 in British Columbia.
Fraser Health says Capella Dance Academy in Chilliwack closed voluntarily last Wednesday after 26 people tested positive for coronavirus.
The academy offers a variety of classes for toddlers to teenagers and has about one dozen instructors but the health authority hasn’t said how many of the illnesses are among students or staff.
It says all those identified as cases and close contacts have been instructed to self-isolate and health officials are also working with area school districts to ensure they are informed of possible exposures.
9:36 a.m. Most Ontarians believe the COVID-19 pandemic, which struck in March, will last one to two years, a new Star poll suggests.
The Campaign Research survey also found a vast majority of respondents want restrictions to continue until the end of November to curb the spread of coronavirus infections, which have risen to new heights in recent weeks.
This comes as Premier Doug Ford is expected to announce Tuesday a new framework that would allow businesses, such as restaurant, bars, and gyms in Toronto, Peel, York, and Ottawa, to re-open for indoor services.
Read the full story from the Star’s Robert Benzie
8:49 a.m. Coronavirus infections hit a new high this week in Russia, while Germany and the U.K. announced plans to expand virus testing as European nations battled rapidly increasing infections and hospitalizations that strained health care systems.
Across Europe, countries have been re-introducing restrictions to get ahead of a virus that has rampaged across the globe, causing more than 1.2 million deaths — over 270,000 of them in Europe, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.
New coronavirus restrictions took effect Tuesday in Austria and Greece, following a partial coronavirus shutdown in Germany on Monday and tighter rules in Italy, France, Kosovo and Croatia. Residents in England also face a near-total lockdown beginning Thursday, although schools and universities will stay open.
Infections have spiked in Russia, where authorities on Tuesday reported 18.648 new infections, bringing their total to over 18,000 daily cases for the fifth straight day, much higher than the record of over 11,000 daily infections in the spring.
Russia has the world’s fourth-highest coronavirus caseload of more than 1.6 million and has reported over 28,000 deaths in the pandemic.
8:20 a.m. With a major pharmacy chain suspending its Ontario flu shot program because of supply problems, experts warn that the province may be missing its chance to boost vaccine uptake in a critically important year and beyond.
Rexall said appointments would be “temporarily paused due to supply issues that are currently being experienced across the province,” noting that vaccine supply is determined by the Ministry of Health.
Last week, an executive for McKesson Canada, the company that distributes flu shots to more than three-quarters of Ontario pharmacies and that owns Rexall, warned in a letter that its government-supplied inventory of flu shots would be depleted by Oct. 29.
Read the full story from the Star’s Kate Allen
8 a.m. As three areas of the province near the end of the 28-day period of Stage 2 restrictions, there is little evidence that banning indoor dining and closing gyms has had the desired effect.
Peel Region’s seven-day average of COVID-19 cases is nearly double what it was on Oct. 10, when the four-week period began, and the region is considering more targeted restrictions.
Ottawa is the only hot spot to experience a decrease, for which Dr. Vera Etches, the city’s medical officer of health, praised residents in a public statement on Friday.
In Toronto, the rolling seven-day average of cases is up 25 per cent since the restrictions began. Mayor John Tory, though, has remained hopeful that restaurants can reopen in some fashion, telling CP24 on Monday that could mean modified closing hours and tables set further apart, and he suggested gyms could be appointment-only.
Read the full story from the Star’s Kenyon Wallace and Patty Winsa
7:52 a.m. New coronavirus restrictions took effect Tuesday in Austria and Greece, while Germany and the U.K. announced plans to expand testing for the virus as European nations battled rapidly increasing infections and hospitalizations that strained their health care systems.
The moves followed a partial shutdown that Germany began Monday and tighter rules in Italy, Kosovo and Croatia. Residents in England are also expected to face a near-total lockdown beginning Thursday, with an exception to keep schools and universities open.
Nations are scrambling to get ahead of the virus that has rampaged across the globe, causing more than 1.2 million deaths — more than 270,000 of them in Europe, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.
In Britain, the government plans to try out a new COVID-19 testing program in Liverpool, offering regular testing to anyone living and working in the city of 500,000 in an effort to slow the spread of the virus.
“These more advanced tests will help identify infectious individuals who are not displaying symptoms … so they can self-isolate and prevent the virus from spreading,” the Department of Health said.
The trial in Liverpool, which has one of the highest infection rates in England with more than 410 cases per 100,000 people, is seen as a test of how Britain might roll out mass testing across the country.
7:41 a.m. People across Canada will be gathering Tuesday night to watch the results of the divisive U.S. presidential election. Watching particularly closely will be Americans living here.
Given the COVID-19 pandemic, most get-togethers will be virtual but some in-person events are planned. A spokeswoman for Democrats Abroad says the organization is holding a Canada-wide Zoom watch party.
She says more than 400 people have said they will attend with others expected to join as well. Several pubs and restaurants across the Prairies are hosting some form of election-night party.
It’s unlikely, however, that even those hanging in all night will know whether Republican President Donald Trump keeps the White House or loses it to Democrat former vice-president Joe Biden. Most experts believe it will still take days if not months to get the final results of the vote.
People are excited and anxious, not just about the election, but also when the results will be known, said Jennifer Phillips with the Vancouver chapter of Democrats Abroad.
“We are accustomed to knowing who won the election on election night,” Phillips said. “We usually see an unofficial media projection.”
The good thing about virtual gathering, she said, was that it allows people to connect from across Canada.
The election comes at a time when Canadians’ view of the United States has distinctly soured. One recent poll found more than three in five Canadians have an unfavourable view of the U.S. Polls have also suggested about two-thirds of Canadians were hoping to see Biden win.
Democrats Abroad have been especially busy in recent months urging the estimated 620,000 expatriates in Canada to get out and vote. Especially in border swing states such as Michigan, Americans living in Canada could have tipped the scales of the presidential vote.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has expressed hope for a “smooth transition or a clear result” from the election.
“If it is less clear, there may be some disruptions and we need to be ready,” Trudeau said.
6:40 a.m: The coronavirus pandemic produced an election season like no other in the U.S., persuading record numbers of Americans to cast their ballots early, forcing states to make changes to long-established election procedures and leading to hundreds of lawsuits over how votes will be cast and which ballots will be counted.
Polls began opening on the East Coast Tuesday as election officials warned that millions of absentee ballots could slow the tallies, perhaps for days, in some key battleground states.
At least 98.8 million people voted before Election Day, about 71 per cent of the nearly 139 million ballots cast during the 2016 presidential election, according to data collected by The Associated Press. Given that a few states, including Texas, had already exceeded their total 2016 vote count, experts were predicting record turnout this year.
5 a.m.: For as long as Thamina Hunt, 62, has lived in an apartment in Toronto’s Weston neighbourhood, she’s prided herself on paying her rent on time.
Her two-bedroom unit has been an affordable home for the last 17 years. It’s where her grandson spent his earliest years, when he and his mother lived there. Even when Hunt lost her job as a hotel room attendant for several months, after the COVID-19 pandemic stifled travel earlier this year, she resolved to keep up her payments of around $1,000 each month, no matter what.
“My first priority is the rent, and after that if I have food I’ll eat, and if I don’t have food, I wouldn’t eat. I never missed one payment so far,” she said.
But this summer, just months after the eight-unit building was sold to new owners, Hunt and her neighbours were delivered grim news. The company that bought the building had plans to renovate — meaning they were being asked to move out of their units by Dec. 31.
Read the full story by Victoria Gibson here.
5 a.m.: The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health has received a $15-million donation from the Garron family — the first-ever donation to the hospital by the longtime health-care philanthropists — that will enhance the hospital’s brain imaging capabilities.
CAMH’s Brain Health Imaging Centre is credited with breakthrough advances on conditions like depression and Alzheimer’s. The gift, to be announced on Tuesday, will help support the lab’s equipment and ongoing research projects with the potential for transforming mental health diagnosis and treatment in the future, said Dr. Neil Vasdev, director of the hospital’s brain imaging centre.
“This is a very generous investment by the Garron family to provide critical resources we need for CAMH to really stay as a leader in brain imaging,” he said.
“This will allow us to multiply our capacity by a factor of eight from the inception of our centre 30 years ago,” he added. CAMH’s brain imaging lab, which was established in 1989, is one of a few worldwide dedicated solely to mental health research, Vasdev said.
Read the exclusive story from Nadine Yousif here.
4:45 a.m.: A lockdown came into effect in northern Greece on Tuesday, with the southeastern European country joining the list of the continent’s nations tightening restrictions to restrain rapidly increasing coronavirus infections.
As of Tuesday morning in Greece’s second largest city, Thessaloniki, and the neighbouring northern province of Serres, residents can only leave their homes for specific reasons and after notifying authorities by SMS.
Non-essential domestic and international flights to Thessaloniki were cancelled and retail stores, restaurants, gyms, churches and entertainment venues were ordered to shut for the two-week lockdown that came into effect at 6 a.m..
Lighter restrictions came into effect in the Greek capital, Athens, where restaurants, bars, cafes, gyms, museums and entertainment venues shut down for two weeks. Only individual sports are allowed outdoors.
Nationwide, the Greek government imposed a nighttime curfew from midnight to 5 a.m., and made the wearing of masks outdoors compulsory.
Previously: The Town of Aylmer, Ont., declared a state of emergency less than a week before an anti-mask rally planned for Saturday. This would be the second demonstration of its kind in the community of about 7,500 people in southwestern Ontario.
Read Monday’s rolling file here.