COVID-19: Canada not ready to open US-Canada border

Published On April 16, 2020 | By Anushka Yadav | COVID-19, News

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in his daily briefing on Thursday from Ottawa announced more economic measures and relief including business loan eligibility and three-months’ rent assistance for small businesses. 

Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arrives for a news conference at the Rideau Cottage, as efforts continue to help slow the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada April 16, 2020. REUTERS/Blair Gable

The federal government had previously announced interest-free loans for those with payrolls worth between $50,000 and one million. 

He announced today that businesses with payrolls worth between $20,000 and $1.5 million in 2019 will also be eligible for a government-backed loan under the Canadian Emergency Business Account (CEBA). 

“Our government has the intention of introducing the emergency help for commercial threats and it will enable small businesses with their rents for the month of April, May and June,” Trudeau said on rent assistance. 

Canada has seen a rise in the number of nursing home residents testing positive for COVID-19. The number has gone up 12 per cent in the last day, according to statistics released by the Ontario government.

Reports from public health units say more than 933 residents of nursing homes have tested positive along with 530 staff members until Wednesday.

Trudeau said that Ottawa is working on helping essential workers “who earn less than $2,500 a month” with wage top-ups. 

“We are working closely with Quebec to finalize an assistance plan, and we will have more news to share with you soon with you,” he added. 

Quebec has the highest count of coronavirus cases with 14,248 confirmed cases and a death toll of 360. 

US President Donald Trump hosted a teleconference Thursday morning to discuss easing the restrictions to reboot the American economy ahead of the November presidential election.

Currently, the US has 657,720 confirmed cases and 33,460 deaths due to the virus. 

Trudeau said it is too soon to lift the US-Canada border restrictions. “There is a significant amount of time still before we can talk about loosening such restrictions,” he said.

He also stressed on the importance of “collaboration and coordination” by his fellow G7 leaders.

Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam in the daily briefing said that the epidemic appears to be slowing. However, she said Canadians can prevent outbreaks by a social distancing “double-down.” 

“More than 50 per cent of COVID-19 related deaths were caused in long-term care homes,” Deputy chief public health officer Dr. Howard Njoo said. Tam stressed the need for immediate action to avoid broader outbreak and deaths. 

In Ontario, Premier Doug Ford said he wants 14,000 people to be tested for COVID-19 each day in the province by the end of April. 

Currently, Ontario has 7,953 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with 274 deaths. The province completed 9,001 tests yesterday, according to data released by the Ministry of Health.

More than 30 TTC bus drivers refused to work on Wednesday because they weren’t provided masks. “We’re working now to work this issue out to make sure with the advice of Toronto Public Health and the Ministry of Labour that we get PPE to the people who need it,” Mayor John Tory said.

The PGA Tour announced the cancellation of the 2020 RBC Canadian Open due to the pandemic.  

“Our foremost consideration is the health and safety of everyone in our community, including the players, spectators, our staff and volunteers, the media and the thousands of supporters who contribute to the success of our event,” said RBC Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer Mary DePaoli.

Datametrex AI Limited, a Canada-based technology-focused company has secured the right to import COVID-19 test kits from South Korea’s iONEBIO INC. The kits were also used in the drive-through stations in South Korea. 

The company is now working with Health Canada for the approval of the rapid test kits fast-tracked. 

South Korea has been successful in planking the curve with a total count of 10,613 confirmed cases and 229 deaths. 

However, South Korea’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) announced today that 141 people who had apparently recovered from COVID-19 have tested positive again.

In India, students from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Guwahati built a drone to sanitize larger areas within 15 minutes. 

“The roads and areas can be selected on Google maps and the drone can be automated to perform the task within a signal range of 3 km.

“A drone can cover more than 1.2 hectares in one flight and more than 60 hectares in a day,” said civil engineering student Anant Mittal.

The total coronavirus count in the country reached 12,759 with 420 deaths.

Kenya’s dusk-to-dawn COVID-19 curfew has led to 12 killings by the police. The Kenyan government’s Independent Policing Oversight Authority says the curfew enforcement led to 35 “watertight” cases of police brutality.

Currently, Kenya has 234 confirmed cases of coronavirus with 11 deaths.

The global count for COVID-19 has reached to 2,101,164 confirmed cases, 532,830 recovered cases and 140,773 deaths.

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