Prime Minister Trudeau addresses the nation live from Ottawa

Trudeau on emergency relief

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UPDATE 8:25 a.m.

Applications opened today for the new federal emergency aid benefit for Canadians who have lost their income because of COVID-19.

Prime Minister Trudeau said today that 240,000 Canadians have already applied today and more will have the opportunity tomorrow.

The Canada Revenue Agency opened its application portals this morning to those born in the first three months of the year, with those born in other months able to apply later in the week.

The agency is trying to keep demand from overwhelming its online and telephone systems.

More than two million Canadians lost their jobs in the last half of March as businesses across the country were forced to close or reduce their operations to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Others are unable to work because they are required to self-isolate at home, or need to look after children whose schools and daycares are closed.

Canadians who sign up for direct deposit could get their first payment before the end of the week, while those who opt for printed cheques will get money in 10 days.

ORIGINAL 8:05 a.m.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will be providing a live update on how the federal government will be approaching what is being described as a crucial week in the fights against COVID-19.

This is now the fourth week of physical distancing and shutdown of non-essential workplaces and health officials say they will be watching closely the number of new cases being reported to get a sense of whether or not the measures in place are proving effective at slowing the virus’ spread.


As COVID-19 triggers survival instinct, unwise decisions can result

Survival instinct triggered

When a Quebec couple recently travelled to the far reaches of Yukon in a bid to escape the novel coronavirus, only to be turned away, it seemed a textbook case of pandemic-generated panic.

But while it was an extreme example, experts say the daily assault of information about COVID-19 can distort people's estimation of the risk the virus poses to them, which leads to both good and bad behaviour.

Dana Tizya-Tramm chief of the Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation in Old Crow, Yukon, told The Canadian Press that when the Quebec couple got off the plane March 27, they displayed a "palpable" fear of the pandemic.

He said he told the couple, whom he didn't identify, that Old Crow couldn't shelter newcomers who might spread the virus among its 250 residents — and then he sent them packing.

McGill University psychology professor Ross Otto says there is a well-established psychological principle that may explain the couple's decision to flee to the North.

In the early 1970s, psychologists Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman posited that humans have trouble estimating the likelihood of something happening to them because they are influenced by examples that come readily to mind.

People may overestimate their chances of dying of terrorism, for example, because of how often that kind of violence is reported on the news. And, Otto said, they may underestimate their chances of dying of more common — but less talked about causes, such as bowel cancer.

Today, there is such a deluge of information about COVID-19 infections and deaths that "people are going to overstate or overestimate their own chances of dying of coronavirus-related causes," Otto suggests.

In some cases, that will spur people to flee to remote areas and put others at risk, to hoard toilet paper or behave in other ethically questionable ways. But, Otto said, that distorted judgment can actually help society by facilitating self-isolating behaviour.

The fear of death prompted by photos of coffins in Italy and stories of doctors having to ration ventilators can make even the most selfish person act in a way that benefits the greater good.

"The more afraid you are of death, the more it behooves you to self-isolate," he said. And the more people isolate, the less the virus spreads.

In Quebec's more remote corners, authorities last month began to worry about an influx of city-dwellers fleeing coronavirus hotspots.

"We started to hear more and more about owners from Montreal, of chalets in this area and in Gaspe, who had already come to the regions to isolate themselves from COVID," Marc Parent, mayor of Rimouski, Que., said in a recent interview. "And we heard of hotels that started receiving travellers from the Montreal area .... It began worrying people."

So public health officials in the region of eastern Quebec asked the province to block access to their towns and villages, according to Parent.

On March 28, the Quebec government ordered police to set up checkpoints, severely curtailing access to eight remote regions, including the Bas-Saint-Laurent, where Rimouski is located. Last week the province extended the restrictions, banning all non-essential travel to much of cottage country north of Montreal, and to Charlevoix, northeast of Quebec City.

Dr. Natasha Crowcroft, a public health expert at the University of Toronto, said the pandemic might be triggering peoples' survival instinct, causing them to want to flee from the virus. But, she added, it's up to authorities to reinforce the message that home is the safest place.

Furthermore, she said, unless someone is already living off the land and is self-sufficient, leaving a city to escape a fast-spreading virus may not be the smartest thing to do.

People who flee urban centres may still be at risk of becoming infected, but with fewer health-care resources to help them, she said: "The idea that fear distorts people's assessment of risk is a really important one."

Application process for emergency benefits begins today

Aid applications begin

Applications open today for the new federal emergency aid benefit for Canadians who lost their income because of COVID-19.

The Canada Revenue Agency will open its application portals this morning to those born in the first three months of the year, with those born in other months able to apply later in the week.

The agency is trying to keep demand from overwhelming its online and telephone systems.

More than two million Canadians lost their jobs in the last half of March as businesses across the country were forced to close or reduce their operations to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Others are unable to work because they are required to self-isolate at home, or need to look after children whose schools and daycares are closed.

Finance Minister Bill Morneau anticipates the wage benefit will cost the government $24 billion.

People born in April, May and June can apply Tuesday, those born in July, August or September can apply Wednesday and applications are accepted Thursday from people born in October, November and December. Friday, Saturday and Sunday will be open to anyone.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Sunday Canadians who sign up for direct deposit could get their first payment before the end of the week. It's anticipated direct deposit applicants will get money within three to five days, while those who opt for printed cheques will get money in 10 days.

"While we still have a lot of work to do, we're making good progress on getting you the support you need as quickly as possible," Trudeau said.

However, opposition parties say there are some glaring holes in the aid that is leaving some people in need out of the program completely.

Conservative finance critic Pierre Poilievre said there are "serious design and delivery flaws" that should be fixed.

Poilievre said some small business owners who paid themselves with dividends don't qualify because they won't have $5,000 of employment income in 2019 as the benefit requires. Further, he said a worker who has lost most of their income but still has one contract or a handful of clients won't qualify for any money because you can't have any current income in order to be eligible.

"They are effectively banned from doing any amount of work that might help keep their business open," he said.

Poilievre said there are some easy fixes, including adjusting the wage benefit down slightly if a worker earns some income, much like happens when someone is collecting employment insurance but manages to find work temporarily.

He also wants small business owners to be viewed as employees for the purposes of the emergency response benefit.

NDP MPs Peter Julian and Gord Johns wrote to Morneau Sunday also asking for changes, including to address the fact the benefit provides an incentive not to work at all.

They said workers who have lost most but not all of their shifts, or lost one part-time job but not the other, "are living on significantly reduced incomes" but won't qualify for the benefit.

"The consequences are that they are now asking to be laid off or furloughed so that they can access the CERB," they wrote. "This is causing significant disruptions to normal business, to essential services, and to community contributions on local economies."

Opposition parties also want more clarity on the government's biggest aid program, the $71 billion, emergency wage subsidy, that will cover up to 75 per cent of wages for businesses that choose to keep employees on the payroll rather than laying them off.

Poilievre said it is going to take too long for businesses to see any of that money, and some of them won't survive that long.


Got COVID symptoms? Avoid snuggling with Fluffy and Fido

Feel sick? Avoid your pets

Canadians who are sick with COVID-19 or suspect they have the virus are being warned to be careful around their pets and other animals.

"COVID-19 virus infections have become widely distributed in the human population. In some rare circumstances, some animals have become infected through close contact with infected humans," says a statement on the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association website.

The association points out that there is no evidence to suggest that animals infected by humans are playing a role in the spread of COVID-19 and that human outbreaks are driven by person-to-person contact.

But as a precautionary measure, it refers to recent recommendations from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency which say anyone with COVID-19 symptoms or those who are self-isolating due to contact with a COVID-19 case should follow similar recommendations around pets and livestock as they would around people.

That includes avoiding close contact with animals, good handwashing and avoiding coughing and sneezing on animals. It also means limiting your animal's contact with other people and animals outside the household, and if possible, have someone else in your home care for your animals.

"Scientists are still trying to understand if and how (COVID-19) affects animals. This is an area that continues to be studied," the CFIA website says, citing the World Organisation for Animal Health.

The organisation says on its website that evidence suggests COVID-19 emerged from an animal source, and that genetic sequence data shows it is a close relative of other coronaviruses in horseshoe bat populations.

But it says to date, there is not enough scientific evidence to identify the source or to explain the original route of transmission from an animal source to humans.

"Currently, there is no evidence that companion animals are playing a significant epidemiological role in this human disease," the organization's website states.

"However, because animals and people can sometimes share diseases (known as zoonotic diseases), it is still recommended that people who are sick with COVID-19 limit contact with companion and other animals until more information is known about the virus."

The Saskatchewan government said Sunday that anyone with COVID-19 should avoid contact with animals.

"If there is already an animal in the household, that animal should remain in isolation along with the patient," a provincial news release said.

The Bronx Zoo announced Sunday that one of its tigers tested positive for the new coronavirus. The four-year-old Malayan tiger named Nadia — and six other tigers and lions that have also fallen ill — are believed to have been infected by a zoo employee who wasn't yet showing symptoms, the zoo said.

Ferries told to reduce passenger numbers to avoid COVID-19

Ferries cut capacity in half

The federal government is bringing in further measures to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 on commercial passenger vessels and ferries.

Transport Minister Marc Garneau announced that starting Monday all commercial marine vessels with the capacity of 12 or more passengers will stop non-essential activities, such as tourism or recreation.

Ferries and essential passenger vessel operators are to immediately reduce the maximum number of passengers carried on board by half in an effort to comply with physical distancing rules.

Transport Canada says operators will also implement alternative practices to reduce the spread of the virus, such as keeping people in their vehicles.

It says the measures will be in place until at least June 30.

In an effort to protect the North, the department is preventing any Canadian cruise ship from mooring, navigating or transitioning in Canadian Arctic waters and any foreign passenger vessels would have to give 60-days' notice just to enter the waters.

"These new measures will help reduce the spread of COVID-19, while continuing to support the continued movement of goods through the supply chain, and ensuring Canadians can access their homes, jobs, and essential services in a safe manner," Garneau said in a news release.

Last month, the federal government deferred the start of the cruise ship season to July 1, 2020.

The new measures will apply to all Canadian coastal and inland waters, including the St. Lawrence River, the Great Lakes, and Canada's Arctic waters.

Those caught breaking the rules could face penalties of up to $5,000 a day for an individual and $25,000 a day for a vessel or corporation as well as criminal sanctions, fines and jail time.

B.C. Ferries, which transports passengers and vehicles to islands off British Columbia and up the coast, drastically chopped its service starting Saturday after it said ridership was down by 80 per cent.

The company said it would be cutting its sailings in half.

House of Commons seeks virtual sittings in COVID-19 shutdown

Virtual parliament possible

Canada's House of Commons is looking at taking its debates virtual as COVID-19 is expected to prevent a return as planned on April 20.

The House recessed March 13 for five weeks to ensure MPs were doing their part to slow travel and prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The all-party agreement to temporarily rise included allowances for smaller numbers of MPs to convene when emergency legislation needed passing.

That happened March 24 and 25 to pass the government's massive aid package, and another emergency day is expected within the next week to make additions to the aid package.

But with most provinces extending stay-at-home orders and requests well into May, the House of Commons is now looking to have virtual sittings.

Liberal House Leader Pablo Rodriguez Sunday wrote to House of Commons Speaker Anthony Rota asking for help to make it happen.

Opposition parties all appeared behind the idea, with Conservatives, Bloc Quebecois and NDP MPs all saying they will support the initiative.

House leaders will be negotiating the plan, but Rodriguez said he also needs "advice and assistance" from the House of Commons administrative staff if virtual sittings are to become a reality. It will require "substantial revisions" to the House of Commons rules.

"All Canadians are doing their part to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and we are asking them to take extraordinary measures to keep everyone safe," Rodriguez wrote in his letter to Rota.

"This includes working from home, and only leaving their homes for essential reasons. It is only appropriate that Members of Parliament practise these same measures, and adapt the way that we conduct our business during the time that the House cannot meet on a regular and normal basis."

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer said last week he wanted more accountability from the government, including more opportunities for opposition parties to ask questions of the government.

His finance critic, Pierre Poilievre, said Sunday the party is very willing to work with the government to find ways for more committees to be held via phone or video conferencing, or for all of Parliament to meet virtually.

"Conservatives will be fully supportive of any virtual return of Parliament," he said.

Bloc Quebecois Leader Yves-Francois Blanchet said in his own letter to Rota, that the Bloc has been asking for this kind of initiative for several days and supports it. However Blanchet indicated he thinks any votes should still be held in person, with the smaller number of MPs as was already negotiated in the earlier agreement.

NDP House Leader Peter Julian said his party is also supportive of the plan.

"People across the country are being left behind by decisions the government is making, and Canadians deserve a way to make sure they are being held accountable," Julian said.

Bars, cannabis sector eligible for $40B credit program

Bars eligible for $40B credit

Devastated bars and lounges as well as the country's hard-hit cannabis sector will have access to $40 billion in new credit being made available via the government's business bank during the COVID-19 crisis, its CEO said on Sunday.

In an interview with The Canadian Press, Michael Denham said the program from the Business Development Bank of Canada and Export Development Canada would now be open to all businesses.

"Any legal business is eligible to be part of the program — that was what I think some industry groups were concerned about," Denham said from Montreal. "That was clarified and we're going to formally announce it on Monday."

Applicants must go through their own banks to access the program.

The business development bank is a federal corporation with a loan portfolio of about $35 billion. Half the $40-billion from the credit availability program will be in addition to that, Denham said.

Although it backstops higher risk loans than banks do, the Crown corporation does aim to be commercially viable. Those approaching their financial institutions for access to the program will have to show they would have been able to handle a loan before the coronavirus hit.

The development bank, which has about 60,000 clients, has been making other changes given the unprecedented impact of the pandemic, Denham said. It has lowered its interest rates, waived fees, and increased the amount of risk it is taking on with its loans.

"All these changes are meant to make ourselves as easy and accessible within the confines of BDC being a lender," Denham said. "We're doing what we need to do."

Struggling businesses have been pressing for deferment of existing loan obligations as well as access to capital loans to help them weather the COVID storm.

The restaurant sector has been particularly hard hit by widespread closures governments and health authorities have ordered in an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19. A recent survey suggested almost one in 10 restaurants had already closed, and nearly one in five expected to close if conditions didn't improve quickly.

The cannabis industry, which had been struggling pre-pandemic, has also had stores close, although online sales continue.

The development bank has seen a flood of new applicants in recent weeks. As many applications have come in via its online financing platform since the start of the crisis in mid-March as would normally be received in a full year.

"That's indicative of the amount of demand and volume we need to need to deal with," Denham said. "We're organizing ourselves to be able to deal with that level of volume, because of the intensity of the crisis."

Actress-activist Shirley Douglas, daughter of Tommy Douglas, dies

Actress Shirley Douglas dies

Shirley Douglas, the impassioned Canadian activist and veteran actress who was mother to actor Kiefer Sutherland and daughter of medicare founder Tommy Douglas, has died.

She was 86.

Sutherland announced his mother's death on Twitter, saying she succumbed to complications surrounding pneumonia — but not related to COVID-19 — on Sunday morning.

"My mother was an extraordinary woman who led an extraordinary life," said Sutherland.

"Sadly she had been battling for her health for quite some time and we, as a family, knew this day was coming."

A native of Weyburn, Sask., Douglas worked with famed directors including Stanley Kubrick ("Lolita") and David Cronenberg ("Dead Ringers"), and won a Gemini Award for her performance in the 1999 TV film "Shadow Lake."

She also tirelessly supported a variety of causes throughout her life, including the civil rights movement, the Black Panthers and the fight to save public health care, pioneered by her politician father.

"Shirley gave a tremendous amount to the industry, helping to lead legislative protections for child performers," Canada's performers' union, ACTRA Toronto, said Sunday on Twitter.

"She was a champion of public health care, for which all of Canada is appreciative of to this day."

In 1965, Douglas married Canadian actor Donald Sutherland, with whom she had two children before they divorced — twins Rachel, a production manager, and Kiefer, who became a film and TV star in his own right.

Douglas also had another son, Thomas, from a previous marriage.

"Shirley was a force of nature," Sutherland said Sunday.

"She is the daughter of two exceptional parents and the mother of three beautiful children. She has fought an extraordinary battle these past five years. That battle is over now. Peace has come.

"So many memories have taken over that battlefield. Memories, stories, and tears have enveloped our loss. Shirley Douglas was passion personified."

In a 2009 interview, she admitted that being away from home for lengthy periods of time to pursue acting was hard on her children, but said she knew it would make her a better mother in the end.

"Our jobs, we move around a great deal ... and that is the reality that my children grew up with — is being left, and not happily," said Douglas, who used a wheelchair in recent years due to a degenerative spine condition that caused her severe pain.

"You either have to decide you're going to be guilty about it and not do it, or that you are going to do it and that you will be, in the end — and I hate to use it as an excuse — but that you'll be a better mother than being home bitter that you aren't allowed out."

Born on April 2, 1934, Douglas showed an early interest in the arts as well as politics as she journeyed on the campaign trail with her father, who became premier of Saskatchewan, a federal NDP leader and a socialist icon.

She attended the Banff School of Fine Arts and went on to study at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London, England, where she acted in theatre and TV and participated in anti-nuclear marches.

In the '60s and '70s, while living in California, Douglas campaigned against the Vietnam War and protested for various politicial and social causes.

She also helped to establish a fundraising group called Friends of the Black Panthers. Her support for the group brought controversy, though — she was refused a U.S. work permit and arrested in 1969 on conspiracy charges of possessing unregistered explosives. The courts eventually dismissed the case and exonerated her.

Douglas's other activism included co-founding the first chapter in Canada of the Performing Artists for Nuclear Disarmament.

She said she never worried whether standing up for what she believed in — even in the days of the so-called Hollywood black list — would hurt her acting career.

"I think to live your life you have to live it, and if you see something that offends you morally or any other way you have to follow that and take it up," Douglas said, noting she also had support from many fellow actors and filmmakers.

"I know a lot of McCarthy-ite victims. It was hard for them but really they had no choice. And when you have no choice and you see something, it's like if you see a child going to be run over by a car — you grab the child.

"And for me, many things that I see wrong are as obvious as grabbing a child and so what else would you do?"

Douglas, who lived in Toronto since '77, was nominated for two other Geminis: in 1998 for her leading role in the series "Wind at My Back," and in 1993 for starring in the film "Passage of the Heart."

She was also an Officer of the Order of Canada, an inductee into Canada's Walk of Fame and had an honorary doctor of fine arts degree from the University of Regina.

Her other screen credits included the film "Nellie McClung," in which she played the title role of the famed Canadian activist. Other TV series in which she appeared included "Street Legal," "Road to Avonlea," "Corner Gas," "Degrassi: The Next Generation" and "Robson Arms."

In 1997, Douglas got to work onstage with son Kiefer in the Tennessee Williams play "The Glass Menagerie."

Perhaps her biggest role, though, was as a champion for medicare.

Douglas would speak of the importance of a universal health-care system at virtually any opportunity and lobbied government officials and fundraised for the cause.

She was also a national spokeswoman for the Canada Health Coalition lobby group and was involved in the Toronto Health Coalition and the Friends of Medicare Toronto.

"Let us never forget that the federal government is the guardian and enforcer of the five principles of the Canada Health Act: universality, accessibility, portability, comprehensiveness and public administration," she said in a statement on behalf of the Canadian Health Coalition during the 2011 federal election campaign.

The latest numbers on COVID-19 in Canada

COVID-19: latest numbers

The latest numbers of confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases in Canada as of 9:27 p.m. on April 5, 2020:

There are 15,512 confirmed and presumptive cases in Canada.

_ Quebec: 7,944 confirmed (including 94 deaths, 464 resolved)

_ Ontario: 4,038 confirmed (including 119 deaths, 1,449 resolved)

_ Alberta: 919 confirmed (including 23 deaths, 279 resolved), 331 presumptive

_ British Columbia: 1,203 confirmed (including 38 deaths, 673 resolved)

_ Nova Scotia: 262 confirmed (including 53 resolved)

_ Saskatchewan: 249 confirmed (including 3 deaths, 67 resolved)

_ Newfoundland and Labrador: 217 confirmed (including 1 death, 28 resolved)

_ Manitoba: 187 confirmed (including 2 deaths, 17 resolved), 16 presumptive

_ New Brunswick: 101 confirmed (including 28 resolved)

_ Prince Edward Island: 22 confirmed (including 6 resolved)

_ Repatriated Canadians: 13 confirmed

_ Yukon: 6 confirmed (including 4 resolved)

_ Northwest Territories: 4 confirmed (including 1 resolved)

_ Nunavut: No confirmed cases

_ Total: 15,512 (347 presumptive, 15,165 confirmed including 280 deaths, 3,069 resolved)

The latest developments on COVID-19 in Canada

COVID-19: latest news

The latest news on the COVID-19 global pandemic (all times Eastern):

9:15 p.m.

Three more COVID-19 patients have died in Alberta, bringing the death toll in that province to 23.

The newly reported deaths involve a man in his 60s in the Calgary area, a woman in central Alberta who was in her 80s and a man who was over 100 years old in the province's north zone.

The Alberta government said Sunday that there have been 919 lab-confirmed COVID-19 cases in Alberta, as well as 331 presumptive cases.

The province says the presumptive cases include people who show symptoms of COVID-19 and are close contacts of laboratory confirmed cases, but did not explain why the number of cases described as "lab-confirmed" dropped from yesterday's total.


8 p.m.

The Queen has issued a message directly to Canadians, hours after delivering a public speech to the British people and members of the Commonwealth.

The monarch says she understands Canadians may be struggling to remain hopeful "when faced with loss and uncertainty, but Canadians have many reasons for optimism, even in the most trying times."

The Queen says Canadians must come together in this time, and that her thoughts and prayers are with citizens of this country.


6 p.m.

Some passengers have begun disembarking the Coral Princess cruise ship in Florida, but Canadians are not among them.

Princess Cruises says new U.S. Centers for Disease Control guidelines saying cruise passengers shouldn't board commercial flights have limited who is allowed off the ship.

Only those travelling to the U.K., Australia and California on chartered flights are being allowed off.

Passenger Sanford Osler of North Vancouver says the cruise line has promised to charter a plane for the 97 Canadian passengers, but no timeline has been laid out.


5 p.m.

The Saskatchewan government is warning anyone who has COVID-19 to avoid contact with animals, just as they should avoid contact with people.

A news release from the province says that while there is no evidence domestic livestock and pets can be infected with or transmit COVID-19, it says the possibility has not been ruled out.

It says if there is already an animal in the household, that animal should remain in isolation along with the patient.

According to the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association website, some animals have become infected with through close contact with infected humans, but there is no evidence to suggest that animals infected by humans are playing a role in the spread of COVID-19.


3:15 p.m.

Queen Elizabeth II addressed Britain, the Commonwealth and the world in a statement issued today, calling for unity in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Promising "we will meet again," the Queen thanked front-line workers fighting the global pandemic and encouraged people to stay home.

Although the Queen addresses the Commonwealth every Christmas morning, it's only the fifth time in her 68-year reign that she has spoken specifically to rally Britons.

The statement, which was under five minutes, was recorded Thursday at Windsor Castle, the Queen's main residence.


2:10 p.m.

Canada is increasing its international aid to help stop COVID-19 by more than $100 million. International Development Minister Karina Gould said Sunday another $109.5 million will be allocated, on top of $50 million the government announced earlier in March.

She said $30 million will respond to requests for help from specific countries, $40 million will go to the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations co-oridinating the world's efforts to find a vaccine for COVID-19, and $84.5 million will be split between a number of international groups including the World Health Organization, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, UNICEF, and the World Food Programme.

2:05 p.m.

New Brunswick is reporting three new cases of COVID-19, bringing the province's total to 101 confirmed cases.

Of the 101 cases, 58 are travel-related, and 32 are close contacts of confirmed cases.

However, five cases are the result of community transmission and six cases remain under investigation.

To date, 28 people have recovered from the viral illness.


2 p.m.

The premier of Newfoundland and Labrador says he's furious with U.S. President Donald Trump for suggesting the country could ban exports of medical supplies to Canada.

Dwight Ball told a news conference today that the province gained international acclaim for the way its residents helped thousands of stranded airline passengers after the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the United States in 2001.

Ball says that when the United States was in crisis, Newfoundlanders and Labradorians "acted fast and did what was necessary."

The premier said even though he was "infuriated" with Trump's actions, he insisted that the people of the province wouldn't hesitate to repeat what they did during 9/11.


1:55 p.m.

Government House Leader Pablo Rodriguez is asking Parliament to figure out how the House of Commons can move to virtual sittings for conducting regular business.

The House was suspended until April 20 to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and was recalled with a smaller number of MPs to pass an emergency aid bill to respond to COVID-19. It will be recalled again in the next week to pass additional measures.

Most provinces are extending physical distancing measures well into May at this point, suggesting a return for the House in two weeks is unlikely.

House Leader Pablo Rodriguez is asking Speaker Anthony Rota for advice on how the House might be able to use virtual sittings.


1:20 p.m.

Quebec Premier Francois Legault is extending the closure of non-essential businesses in the province to May 4.

Legault says COVID-19 is still on an upward slope in Quebec and it would be unrealistic to keep to the original April 13 end date.

The premier announced there were 19 new deaths in Quebec, for a total of 94, and 947 new cases for a total of 7,944.

He says he hopes the number of new cases in the province will peak in the coming weeks.


12:45 p.m.

Canada's public health chief says hospitals should not throw away used masks and other protective equipment because experts are looking to see if they can be disinfected and reused.

Dr. Theresa Tam says protecting health care workers is one of her top priorities in the COVID-19 pandemic.

She says there is work underway looking for the best science that can be used to decontaminate used masks and other equipment.


12:25 p.m.

Nova Scotia is reporting 26 new cases of COVID-19. The province's total now stands at 262 confirmed cases.

With the virus now spreading in communities, the province has ramped up testing at the province's main laboratory, where processing of results will be a 24-7 operation as of Monday.

Health officials say six individuals are being treated in hospital, though 53 have already recovered from the viral infection.


12 p.m.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced details for a cash payment for Canadians out of work because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Applications for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit will be accepted starting Monday, offering Canadians who have lost their jobs because of the crisis $2,000 a month.

Trudeau says it will take three to five days for the money to arrive by direct deposit or 10 days by mail.


11:45 a.m.

Police in Sherbrooke, Que., say a Walmart security guard is fighting for his life after being struck and dragged by a driver who was allegedly enraged by the store's social distancing policies.

They say the incident occurred at about 5 p.m. Saturday when the suspect tried to enter the Walmart with his partner but was told only one person per vehicle was allowed inside.

Police spokesman Martin Carrier says the client allegedly became frustrated and struck the 35-year-old guard with his vehicle, dragging him several metres.


11:35 a.m.

Another resident of Pinecrest Nursing Home has died, bringing the number of COVID-19 related deaths in the central Ontario seniors' residence to 23.

A wife of a resident at the nursing home in Bobcaygeon, Ont, has also died.

It is one of the worst outbreaks of the novel coronavirus in the country.

At least 24 staff members at the facility have also tested positive for COVID-19.


11:05 a.m.

Another 25 people in Ontario have died after testing positive for COVID-19, bringing the provincial death toll for the virus to 119.

The fatalities come as the overall known caseload jumped past the 4,000 mark with more than 400 new ones reported. More than 150 people were on ventilators.

More than three dozen outbreaks have been reported in nursing homes across the province. The frail elderly are at particular risk for coronavirus, which can produce no or mild symptoms, but can also cause lethal pneumonia.

Canadians not allowed off Coral Princess cruise ship

Canadians stuck on ship

Canadians remained aboard the COVID-19-stricken Coral Princess cruise ship on Sunday, a full day after some passengers were allowed on dry land.

New guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control saying cruise passengers shouldn't board commercial planes have limited who is allowed off the ship, Princess Cruises said in a statement, adding that only those with imminent chartered flights can disembark.

"This will unfortunately result in further delays in disembarkation and onward travel for many guests as we work through this complex, challenging and unfortunate situation," the statement said.

Only those bound for Australia, the U.K. and California have been allowed to leave the ship.

North Vancouver resident Sanford Osler said he and his wife are more than ready to head home, and they hope the federal government will help speed up the process.

"Princess says they will try to a arrange a chartered flight for us, but we are calling on Canada to send a plane down for us," Osler said in an email.

The couple is among 97 Canadian passengers aboard the ship, which left Santiago, Chile, on March 5 and docked in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on Friday.

Osler said the last time he was on dry land was March 13, and passengers have been confined to their rooms for nearly a week.

"We're still healthy but do want to get off this ship and get home," said Osler, 70.

Two people aboard the ship have died, and 12 have tested positive for COVID-19, Princess Cruises has said. Still more are experiencing flu-like symptoms.

Cruise ships have been a hotbed for the novel coronavirus beginning in February, when the largest outbreak outside mainland China was aboard the Diamond Princess ship, also operated by Princess Cruises.

The Diamond Princess was quarantined for two weeks in Yokohama, Japan, because of the virus. Ultimately, about 700 of the 3,700 people aboard became infected in what experts pronounced a public-health failure. They cite the close quarters and frequent socialization as contributing to the spread.

The federal government eventually evacuated 129 Canadians from the ill-fated ship and brought them to eastern Ontario for quarantine on Feb. 21, but 47 Canadians infected by the virus had to stay behind in Japan for treatment.

More recently, Canadians on the MS Zaandam and MS Rotterdam, arrived in Canada on a plane chartered by operator Holland America.

Canada looking to disinfect used masks, Tam asks they not be thrown away

Tam: Disinfect used masks

Canadian hospitals should not throw out used face masks and other protective equipment because public health officials are investigating whether it will be possible to disinfect and reuse them, Canada's public health chief said Sunday.

In her daily briefing to Canadians, Dr. Theresa Tam also said chief medical officers are working on recommendations to the general public for the best uses of homemade face masks.

Tam said "every stop is being pulled out" to keep front-line health workers safe in the midst of the COVID-19 outbreak. In Ontario alone, nearly 275 front-line health workers have tested positive for COVID-19. In Italy, one of the worst-hit countries by the novel coronavirus, almost one-tenth of the people with COVID-19 are health care workers.

While Canada continues to try and secure new shipments of face masks and other personal protective equipment (PPE) both from domestic and international manufacturers, Tam said trying to find a way to reuse the masks and equipment the country has is also important.

"I think it is one of the most important and I think worthwhile lines of pursuit for PPE right now," she said.

Tam said part of the solution is science, to figure out how decontamination can happen. She also said there are "multiple entities" in the country that could do the decontamination work once the science is clear.

But for now she said keeping the used equipment somewhere safe is a necessity.

"Also then signalling to provinces and territories that certain things shouldn't be thrown away right now, so that we can actually implement this should we find the actual people who can do this," she said.

Earlier Sunday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he is confident Canada will succeed in convincing the United States not to ban exports of protective equipment to Canada.

"I am confident we are going to be able to solve this," Trudeau said.

Canada is focusing its efforts on proving to the Americans how much Canada provides to its medical system, including doctors and nurses who cross the border to work in American hospitals in border cities like Detroit. Canada also exports raw materials used in the production of face masks to the United States.

President Donald Trump has invoked the Defense Production Act, a Korean War-era U.S. law that provides the power to redirect U.S. manufacturing capacity in times of national crisis, to compel American producers of PPEs and ventilators to ramp up their production and prioritize orders for the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

3M, one of the country's largest producers of the medical-grade face masks known as N95 respirators, said in a statement Friday it had been told by the White House to stop exporting the equipment to markets in Canada and Latin America — a charge the White House has denied.

Late Friday, the White House issued a statement that suggested the purpose of its order was to target what it called "wartime profiteers" —"unscrupulous brokers, distributors and other intermediaries operating in secondary markets."

Such parties could include "some well-established PPE distributors with the ability to unscrupulously divert PPE inventories from domestic customers, such as hospitals and state governments, to foreign purchasers willing to pay significant premiums."

"Nothing in this order," the statement concludes, "will interfere with the ability of PPE manufacturers to export when doing so is consistent with United States policy and in the national interest of the United States."

Media reports suggest Trump and trade adviser Peter Navarro singled out 3M after a Fox News report accused the Minnesota-based company's American distributors of selling its masks to "foreign buyers" that were outbidding U.S. customers.

Trudeau said he wasn't going to answer hypothetical questions about Canada retaliating if the U.S. does prevent shipments to Canada, but said Canada will do whatever it takes to protect Canadians.

He also noted that Monday is the first day people who are out of work because of COVID-19 can go online to apply for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit. It offers Canadians who lost their jobs up to $2,000 a month.

Trudeau says it will take three to five days for the money to arrive by direct deposit or 10 days by mail.

Only those born in January, February and March can apply Monday. The rest of the months will go in order in groups of three on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday before it opens to everyone on Friday.

Trudeau says the government is doing everything it can to prevent the system from crashing.

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