- Chief public health officer warns of pandemic ‘fatigue’ as COVID cases surge among young people.
- Health experts ask Ottawa to decide on funding domestic vaccine trial.
- Worldwide coronavirus cases cross 15.8 million, death toll at 638,271.
- German cruise ship makes weekend voyage with 1,200 people aboard.
- Florida passes 400,000 coronavirus cases.
- Ottawa says COVID-19 tracing app now in beta testing.
Canada’s chief public health officer issued a pre-weekend warning to young people to be cautious to prevent the spread of COVID-19 after an uptick in cases, largely among people in their 20s and 30s.
Dr. Theresa Tam says there’s a worrisome trend of rising infections among people aged 20 to 39. She noted that less than one per cent of Canadians have been infected, which means the population remains highly susceptible to getting sick.
Tam said the peak of new daily cases arrived in early May, when the average daily case count was 1,800. That number fell to 273 in early July but has crept back up to 487 in the last seven days.
WATCH | The challenge to contact trace passengers as Canadian air travel picks up:
Federal Health Minister Patty Hajdu has urged Canadians to ask themselves before going out this weekend: “Is what I’m about to do worth the risk?”
Hadju on Friday said the government needs to do a better job of tailoring its public health messaging to younger Canadians. She said her department is working on new language and new ways to connect with an age group the government often struggles to reach.
“I have had a pit in my stomach that I haven’t felt quite frankly since February or March when we saw our numbers start to surge,” she said.
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Hadju said the federal government has launched an online tool to help Canadians evaluate the risks of various activities and behaviours, which will be integrated with the COVID-19 tracing app now in the beta testing phase. The government also has posted online reminders of the risk level for certain behaviours.
More than 15.8 million people have been reported to be infected by the novel coronavirus globally and 638,271 have died, according to a Reuters tally. Infections have been reported in more than 210 countries and territories since the first cases were identified in China in December 2019.
In the United States, a world-leading 4.1 million cases have been confirmed and more than 145,000 people have died from COVID-19.
“We have to change our behaviour now, before this virus completely moves back up through the north,” said Dr. Deborah Birx, who is with the White House coronavirus task force.
“This first wave that we see now across Florida, Texas, California and Arizona began with under-30-year-olds, many who were asymptomatic and didn’t know they were spreading it,” she said.
Texas was approaching 400,000 cases on Friday, while Florida passed that mark, health officials said.
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Recovering from even mild coronavirus infections can take at least two to three weeks, according to a study published Friday and led by researchers at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
They surveyed 274 patients in several states who tested positive for the virus. After three weeks of having symptoms, about one-third of middle-aged adults had not fully recovered, and for those 50 and older, the rate was almost half. Patients with chronic illness, especially obesity, were more likely to have lingering symptoms.
What’s happening with coronavirus in Canada
As of 3:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, Canada has seen 113,556 confirmed coronavirus cases. There are 5,523 active cases overall in the provinces and territories, with 99,115 listed as recovered or resolved. A CBC News tally based on provincial reports, regional health information and CBC’s reporting indicates that 8,918 Canadians have died.
WATCH | Should bars and restaurants be shut down following uptick?
Ontario reported 138 new cases on Saturday for a total of 38,543. Thirty-three of those cases were in the Windsor-Essex area, which posted the highest number of new infections in the province on Friday — 57 cases — a majority of them involving agri-food workers.
Premier Doug Ford said his team has been asked to consult a constitutional lawyer to find out if the province can order mandatory testing for migrant farm workers. The province has sent mobile testing units to some farms, but the uptake isn’t as high as Ford would like.
WATCH | COVID-19 is becoming more common in young people:
Quebec reported 171 new cases on Saturday for a total of 58,414.
Saskatchewan reported 37 new cases and 14 new recoveries on Saturday, or a total of 1,136 total cases and 862 recoveries.
Manitoba, which announced four new cases Saturday, was set to go ahead with a scaled-back Phase 4 plan for reopening.
Casinos and movie theatres will be able to operate at 30 per cent capacity of the site.
The current site capacity of 30 per cent for faith-based services and powwows will be maintained, while the requirement for participants to break into sub-groups has been eliminated.
The draft plan proposed that Manitobans could see walkup counter service when bars, microbreweries and distilleries reopen, but that section has been deferred.
WATCH | What back-to-school might look like across Canada:
Health officials in British Columbia have announced a new community outbreak of COVID-19 in Haida Gwaii. Until now, the remote islands have managed to avoid any cases, but 13 local residents have now tested positive.
What’s happening in the rest of the world
In the United Kingdom, the government announced that all people arriving from Spain as of Sunday will need to self-isolate to ensure they do not spread the coronavirus. The government is also advising against all but essential travel to mainland Spain.
A spokesperson for Spain’s Foreign Ministry said the country “respects decisions of the United Kingdom” and is in touch with authorities there.
But the announcement is expected to deal a blow to Spain, which is trying to recoup its tourism season after the sector took a battering from COVID-19 lockdowns and travel restrictions earlier this year. It will also hit airlines and travel companies struggling to get back to business. Spain has reported more than 272,000 cases of COVID-19 and more than 28,000 deaths.
In England, swimming pools and gyms were starting to reopen Saturday for the first time since the U.K. went into lockdown in March. At least a third of public pools were expected to remain closed.
The country’s new rules on mask-wearing took effect Friday, with face coverings required to enter banks, stores and food shops. Refusing to follow the rule can result in hefty fines.
WATCH | Britain’s indoor mask rules go into effect:
A German cruise ship has set sail for the first time since the industry was shut down because of the coronavirus.
The TUI Cruises ship “Mein Schiff 2” — “My Ship 2” — set sail from Hamburg on Friday night for the weekend cruise in the North Sea, the dpa news agency reported. Occupancy was limited to 60 per cent, or 1,200 people, who will make no land stops before returning to Germany on Monday.
Passengers and crew are required to stay 1.5 metres apart or wear protective masks and won’t serve themselves at the ship’s buffet. All passengers filled out a health questionnaire before boarding and had temperatures checks.
Russia on Saturday reported 5,871 new coronavirus cases and 146 more deaths from the respiratory disease.
The nationwide tally of infections has risen to 806,720, Russia’s coronavirus crisis response centre said. The death toll now stands at 13,192, and 597,140 people have recovered.
The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Bulgaria passed 10,000 on Saturday, as the Balkan country reported 270 infections in the past 24 hours, official data showed.
Eight people had died from the virus overnight, taking the official death toll to 337. Total infections stand at 10,123. Some 5,252 people have recovered, data from the official coronavirus information platform showed.
Vietnam reported its first local coronavirus infection for more than three months on Saturday after a man in the central city of Danang tested positive four times for the virus, a government statement said.
Thanks to strict quarantine measures and an aggressive and widespread testing program, Vietnam had kept its virus total to an impressively low 415 cases and had reported no locally transmitted infections for 100 days.
In the Philippines, thousands of people were crammed into a baseball stadium in Manila on Saturday, breaking physical distancing rules despite coronavirus risks, after people wanting to return to their home provinces flooded a government transportation program.
Officials had reserved the stadium as a place to test people before transporting them back to their home provinces under a program to help people who had lost their jobs in the capital return to their families elsewhere.
Officials had planned for 7,500 people to arrive at the stadium from Friday, but were caught out when another 2,000 people who were not yet scheduled to travel headed there anyway.
Hong Kong reported 133 new coronavirus cases on Saturday, including 126 that were locally transmitted, a record for a daily increase, as authorities warned that the city faces a critical period in containing the virus.
The Asian financial hub reported 123 new cases on Friday after it extended strict social distancing measures this week.
Since late January, more than 2,000 people have been infected in Hong Kong, 18 of whom have died.