Coronavirus: What’s happening in Canada and around the world on Nov. 2


The latest:

  • Manitoba giving ‘serious consideration’ to a temporary curfew, premier says.
  • B.C. sets record with 1,120 new cases over the weekend.
  • Ontario reports 948 more cases as new long-term care standards introduced.
  • Ontario examining possible reopening as health restrictions in hot spots expire at end of the week.
  • Ottawa announces new rules for arriving international travellers.
  • PM Boris Johnson takes questions from MPs about COVID-19 response in U.K.
  • As COVID-19 sweeps across Russia, hospitals buckle under the strain.
  • Have a coronavirus question or news tip for CBC News? Email us at COVID@cbc.ca.

Manitoba is considering whether to impose a temporary curfew on its residents as the province continues to grapple with a surge of COVID-19 cases.

Premier Brian Pallister said at a news conference Monday that “late-night situations” in the Winnipeg region, a coronavirus hot spot, has significantly caused an “expansion” of cases. 

He told reporters he’s discussed the curfew as an option to mitigate larger gatherings with Dr. Brent Roussin, Manitoba’s chief public health officer.

“According to Dr. Roussin, this is an action that we should seriously consider, and I am seriously considering it now,” the premier said 

Pallister discussed the possible new health restrictions as the Winnipeg region is entering the first day of following new rules under its red alert status. Movie theatres, libraries, sports facilities, restaurants, bars and dining rooms are closed for at least two weeks.

The rest of the province is under the orange level.

Over in the United States, the government’s top infectious diseases expert is cautioning that the country will have to deal with “a whole lot of hurt” in the weeks ahead due to surging coronavirus cases.

Dr. Anthony Fauci’s comments to the Washington Post take issue with President Donald Trump’s frequent assertion that the nation is “rounding the turn” on the virus.  

Fauci said the U.S. “could not possibly be positioned more poorly” to stem rising cases as more people gather indoors during the colder fall and winter months. He said the U.S. will need to make an “abrupt change” in public health precautions.

Speaking of the risks, Fauci said he believes Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden “is taking it seriously from a public health perspective,” while Trump is “looking at it from a different perspective.” Fauci, who’s on the White House coronavirus task force, said that perspective is “the economy and reopening the country.”

White House spokesperson Judd Deere said in response that Trump always puts people’s well-being first, and Deere charged that Fauci has decided “to play politics” right before Tuesday’s election. Fauci has said in his decades of public service he’s never publicly endorsed any political candidate.

WATCH | Trump supporters chant ‘fire Fauci’ at Florida rally:

U.S. President Donald Trump’s supporters began chanting ‘Fire Fauci,’ in reference to the country’s top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, during a rally in Opa-locka, Fla.   0:26

The president touched on Fauci’s service in the early morning hours on Monday as he spoke at a campaign rally in Florida. Trump expressed frustration that the surging cases of the virus that has killed more than 231,000 people in the U.S. this year remains prominent in the news, sparking chants of “fire Fauci” from his supporters.

“Don’t tell anybody but let me wait until a little bit after the election,” Trump replied to thousands of supporters early Monday, adding he appreciated their “advice.”

Speaking at a rally on Monday, Biden again lambasted Trump and his record on COVID-19, saying he would do more to slow the spread of the virus, of which there have been more than 9.2 million cases in the U.S. alone.

“The first step to beating the virus is beating Donald Trump,” he said during a drive-in rally in Cleveland.


What’s happening around the world

The head of the World Health Organization said he has been identified as a contact of a person who tested positive for COVID-19 and will self-quarantine. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus wrote on Twitter late Sunday that he is “well and without symptoms” but will self-quarantine in “coming days, in line with WHO protocols, and work from home.”

Speaking from home, Tedros said on Monday that a recent spike in COVID-19 cases in some countries in Europe and North America presented leaders with a “critical moment for action.”

The WHO director general has been at the forefront of the global response to the coronavirus pandemic, which has infected at least 46.5 million people and led to more than 1.2 million deaths, according to a count of confirmed cases by Johns Hopkins University.

Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO’s technical lead on the COVID-19 pandemic, also said Monday that there’s been no COVID-19 transmission or clusters at the agency’s Geneva headquarters.

Tables are wrapped in plastic as restaurants and bars go under the COVID-19 lockdown in Frankfurt on Sunday. (Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters)

In Europe, several countries are tightening restrictions this week, starting with a partial shutdown Monday in Germany, as authorities across the continent scramble to slow a rapid rise in coronavirus infections that threatens to overwhelm their health-care systems.

Britain and Austria will follow suit later in the week, closing restaurants, bars and non-essential shops. Italy, Greece and Kosovo also announced new measures. In some places, the new rules — which vary in strictness — are prompting violent protests by people frustrated at once again having to forgo freedoms.

But in many, experts are saying they should have come weeks ago — a reflection of the increasingly difficult balance many countries are struggling to strike between controlling the virus and boosting already damaged economies.

“We are aware of the frustration, the sense of loss, the tiredness of citizens, also of the anger which is being manifested in these days, by citizens who find themselves living with new limits to their personal freedom,” said Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte, as he defended his government’s decision to order new measures.

In Paris, health authorities reported 52,518 new COVID-19 infections in the last day, the highest daily numbers since the country began widespread testing. Patients with the virus now make up 70 per cent of France’s intensive care units. 

On Friday, France ordered all residents to stay home and shuttered non-essential businesses, while leaving schools open in a bid to curb staggering COVID-19 case numbers. 

Restaurants, bars, theatres, cinemas, gyms and other leisure facilities are closed in a four-week “wave-breaker” shutdown starting in Germany. Germans have also been asked not to travel, and hotels are being barred from accepting tourists. 

​​​​​In the Americas, coronavirus cases continued their grim climb in the United States on Sunday, with Midwestern states experiencing record hospitalizations.

The U.S. is continuing to break records with its number of infections, as the number of new cases has risen each week for four weeks straight, with the largest increases occurring over the last two weeks. The number of new deaths also increased by three per cent last week. 

Hospitals across the U.S. are competing for nurses, especially in rural areas or smaller facilities that are facing a shortage. 

Nurse burnout from dealing with months of the pandemic response is also becoming a concern, as it has led some to quit the profession. 

Experienced nurses are “burned out with this whole [pandemic],” said Kevin Fitzpatrick, an emergency room nurse at Hurley Medical Center in Flint, Mich., where several left just in the past month to work in hospice or home care or at outpatient clinics.

As a result, he said, the ER is operating at about five nurses short of its optimal level at any given time, and each one typically cares for four patients as COVID-19 hospitalizations surge anew. 

The Brazilian health minister, who is ill with COVID-19, was to stay in a military hospital overnight on Sunday, after having been discharged from a civilian facility earlier in the day.

Brazil also reported an additional 8,501 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the last day, along with 179 deaths, the Health Ministry said Monday.

The death toll in the South American country has reached 160,253, according to ministry data, which makes it the most fatal outbreak in the world other than the U.S. 

In the Asia-Pacific region, India recorded 45,231 new infections, taking total cases there to 8.23 million.

South Korea said it will expand its mandatory mask policy to spas, wedding halls and other places as part of new physical distancing rules.

A health worker performs a swab test on a man at a mobile COVID-19 testing clinic in Kolkata, India, last week. (Dibyangshu Sarkar/AFP/Getty Images)

In the Middle East, Iran’s daily tally of coronavirus deaths hit a record high of 434 on Sunday.

South Africa remains the hardest-hit country in Africa, with more than 726,000 cases reported since the outbreak began and more than 19,400 reported deaths.

WATCH | ICU beds were doubled in Johannesburg due to lack of care specialists:

During a World Health Organization news conference, Mervyn Mer, director of intensive care at Johannesburg Academic Hospital, says officials dramatically boosted the number of available hospital beds over concerns about having only 40 intensive care specialists in the entire country. 1:38


What’s happening in Canada 

As of 7:30 p.m. EST Monday, provinces and territories in Canada had reported a cumulative total of 240,263 confirmed or presumptive coronavirus cases. Provinces and territories listed 200,052 as recovered or resolved. A CBC News tally of deaths based on provincial reports, regional health information and CBC’s reporting stood at 10,208.

Ontario reported 948 new COVID-19 cases, with 315 in Toronto, 269 in Peel Region, 81 in York Region and 64 in Ottawa. The province, which as of Monday reported 350 cases in hospital with 72 in ICU, also announced seven new deaths. The seven-day average is also at an all-time high, reaching 919 cases per day overall.

Monday’s numbers come as Premier Doug Ford announced the government will commit to a new standard that will provide long-term care residents with an average of four hours of direct care per day. Ford said the previous average was 2.75 hours.

To achieve this standard, thousands of workers will need to be hired, and that initiative will begin “in earnest, right now,” said Ford. 

Ford also said Monday that health officials are working on a reopening plan that will go in front of his cabinet as soon as today. A 28-day period of tighter health restrictions including the shutdown of indoor dining in Toronto, Ottawa and Peel expires at the end of this week. The same rules introduced in York Region expire one week later. 

The premier also addressed Rexall temporarily pausing flu shots as it says its pharmacies have been facing shortages. Ford told the company not to overbook, saying the company knew how many flu shots it had to give out.

WATCH | Ontario premier tells Rexall pharmacies not to overbook flu shots:

Ontario Premier Doug Ford says he’s doing everything he can so that people can get the flu shot, and he tells Rexall pharmacy not to overbook people for appointments in response to the company temporarily pausing flu shots. 0:58

After Ford’s statements that he’s been listening to health experts and small businesses owners about what’s possible, Toronto Mayor John Tory issued a letter agreeing with the premier. Other Greater Toronto Region mayors also co-signed the letter.

Dr. Eileen De Villa, the Toronto’s chief medical officer, said at a news conference Monday that it seems that the city’s numbers are plateauing, but they aren’t where she’d like to see them. The stabilizing of the number of new infections is something Toronto residents need to strive to protect, as the city continues to be a COVID-19 hot spot, she said. 

Concerns over private gatherings continue as officials at Western University said they are “troubled” after a large Halloween party was held by students over the weekend. London police confirmed that around 150 people attended a house party and they are investigating. 

Two Quebec regions — Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean and Chaudière-Appalaches — are moving into Quebec’s highest state of alert for COVID-19, joining Quebec City, Montreal, Laval and several other regions labelled “red zones” by the province. 

Quebec, which has seen the most cases of any province or territory, on Monday reported 1,037 new COVID-19 cases. According to a COVID-19 tracking tool maintained by Quebec health officials, there were 499 people hospitalized, with 81 in ICU.

In Manitoba, health officials reported 241 new cases of the virus Monday, along with four new deaths connected to outbreaks at St. Boniface Hospital and personal care homes.

At a news conference, Dr. Brett Roussin announced new self-isolation rules for people in the Winnipeg region who are in quarantine due to possible COVID-19 exposure.

Now, if any member of a household has COVID-19 symptoms, all those living in the home must also self-isolate, he said.

WATCH | Manitoba doctors warn of dire situation in hospitals:

Manitoba doctors have warned the government for a second time about the critical situation inside the province’s hospitals as the COVID-19 epidemic in the province gets further out of control. Renewed restrictions go into effect Monday, but some fear is it’s too little, too late. 2:06

The person experiencing the symptoms must stay in their own room and not use common areas, if possible. 

Doctors in Manitoba have also issued an open letter to the premier, stating that the province is in “grave peril” and calling on emergency funding to be used to combat the spike in COVID-19 infections.

More than 200 doctors signed the letter, stating that the COVID-19 response from the government needs to be faster and more aggressive. 

Saskatchewan reported 74 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday. Of the province’s total 3,292 reported cases, 858 are considered active. Currently, 34 people are hospitalized with the virus. 

British Columbia announced an unprecedented number of new cases on Monday, with 1,120 reported over the weekend, as well as with six new deaths. 

Deputy Provincial Health Officer Dr. Réka Gustafson disclosed the new numbers late Monday afternoon, saying that there are now 2,945 active cases in the province. The new cases confirmed are the highest B.C. has seen during the pandemic, with 352 from Friday to Saturday, 389 from Saturday to Sunday and 379 from Sunday to Monday.

“These numbers are concerning to all of us, but we have learned a lot about COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic,” Gustafson said.

The province’s goals are to minimize severe illness while allowing communities to be as open as possible, she said.

Provincial Health Minister Adrian Dix had warned residents earlier on Monday that the latest numbers would be attention-grabbing. Dix was irritated about the hundreds of people shown on social media crowding Granville Street for Halloween festivities. 

The Early Edition9:26“It’s a very irritating event” says B.C.’s health minister about the Granville Strip gathering

Adrian Dix speaks with Stephen Quinn about rising covid case counts and the sea of people in Vancouver’s entertainment district on Halloween night. 9:26

He called the event “a visible symbol of people not following the rules of gathering, which are limited to 50 people.”

The president of the Alberta Prison Justice Society on Monday called for action as a massive outbreak at the Calgary Correctional Centre has led to two-thirds of inmates testing positive. 

Amanda Hart-Dowhun said, in an open letter to provincial Justice Minister Kaycee Madu and others, that drastic action needs to be taken to uphold the human rights of the inmates and keep them safe against the virus. This could require releasing inmates temporarily into the community, she said. 

Nova Scotia reported two new COVID-19 cases on Monday, saying the new cases were related to travel outside Atlantic Canada. 

In New Brunswick, there were no new cases reported on Monday.

There were no new cases reported on Sunday in Newfoundland and Labrador or Prince Edward Islandwhich has no active cases. 

There were no new cases reported in Yukon, the Northwest Territories or Nunavut over the weekend.

The federal government also announced on Monday evening new rules for travellers to Canada.

All travellers are now required to submit their information, including their quarantine plan, electronically through the ArriveCAN system prior to boarding a plane into the country.

Those who fail to submit the information before reaching the border could face a fine of up to $1,000, the government said in a news release. 

Read more at CBC.ca