There are 198 new cases of COVID-19 in Toronto; Ford says it could cost $23 billion for Ontario to recover; Province’s regional public health units report 336 new cases

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The latest coronavirus news from Canada and around the world Friday (this file will be updated throughout the day). Web links to longer stories if available.

3:45 p.m. There are 198 new cases of COVID-19, said Dr. Eileen de Villa, medical officer of health for the City of Toronto.

Speaking of protests in Toronto around police racism towards Black people, Mayor John Tory said of Toronto that “The most diverse city must become the most inclusive city.”

He praised demonstrators for protesting without resorting to violence.

He said of Torontonians “We say what we have to say, but we do it peacefully.”

Tory said he’s asked the Police board to fast-track for the fall police body cameras at its July meeting.

The Mayor reiterated de Villa’s remarks on protesting safely in light of the COVID-19 outbreak. Protesters should wear masks, maintain a safe distance from one another and wash hands often.

Tory addressed Toronto’s financial needs. He noted that the federal government had made available money to the Province to spend on COVID recovery, including on the needs of municipalities.

“It’s a first move, but it cannot be the only news,” said Tory, who added that he was looking to the Province to see what its move would be.

Tory stressed that a failure of the federal and Provincial governments to supply financial aid to offset significantly Toronto’s losses would result in a need for huge property tax increases and/or huge cuts to services, neither of which are acceptable to residents and businesses already under significant financial pressure.

Tory said that restaurants and businesses such as barbers, hairdressers, tattoo shops, and beauty salons, can review City guidelines for reopening so they are prepared to reopen when the Province says they can.

The City is working to increase patio space for restaurants.

Asked by Francine Kopun, reporter with the Toronto Star why the City is talking about reopening restaurants when there are almost 200 new COVID-19 cases a day, de Villa said the City’s moves are just to help businesses get ready to reopen, and that this will take some time. She added that it's important to give people some hope.

De Villa said business will need to make use of plexiglass partitions, social distancing, and frequent hand-washing when they reopen. Operators can require customers to wear masks. Staff who are sick with the symptoms of COVID-19 should not come to work.

The City has started putting in place the 40 km. of bike lanes approved by Council last week.

It is also closing 10 km. of roads this week to provide space for distancing for people to enjoy the weekend outside.

De Villa stressed that people should congregate only with people from their household.

Short-term housing rentals and AirBNBs have been declared an essential service and can reopen. Asked why this is, de Villa said, that in some cases, this kind of housing enable frontline workers to find accommodation for now close to their place of work, and the decision was made by the Province.

3:25 p.m. There are 94,327 cases of COVID-19 in Canada, according to The Canadian Press, including 7,702 deaths, and 51,879 resolved.

This breaks down as follows (NOTE: The Star does its own count for Ontario; see entries this file):

Quebec: 52,398 confirmed (including 4,935 deaths, 17,098 resolved)Ontario: 29,747 confirmed (including 2,372 deaths, 23,583 resolved)Alberta: 7,091 confirmed (including 146 deaths, 6,611 resolved)British Columbia: 2,632 confirmed (including 166 deaths, 2,265 resolved)Nova Scotia: 1,058 confirmed (including 61 deaths, 997 resolved)Saskatchewan: 648 confirmed (including 11 deaths, 608 resolved)Manitoba: 289 confirmed (including seven deaths, 284 resolved), 11 presumptive

_ Newfoundland and Labrador: 261 confirmed (including three deaths, 256 resolved)

New Brunswick: 136 confirmed (including one death, 121 resolved)Prince Edward Island: 27 confirmed, all of which have been resolvedRepatriated Canadians account for 13 confirmed cases, all of which have been resolvedYukon: 11 confirmed, all of which have been resolvedNorthwest Territories: five confirmed, all of which have been resolvedNunavut reports no confirmed cases.

2:50 p.m.: The pandemic’s effect on the Canadian economy has been harrowing — a full recovery may be a long time coming — but after hitting bottom in late April and early May, most economists agree that the country is already on the mend, with promising growth in the months to come.

Early positive indicators include increases in home and auto sales and the simple fact that more businesses are being permitted to reopen and people are getting back outside and back to work.

Read the full story from the Star’s Jacques Gallant here.

2:45 p.m.: A U.K. study of hydroxychloroquine for treatment of COVID-19 was halted after an early analysis found no benefit, the biggest blow yet for the therapy touted by U.S. President Donald Trump.

Initial results from the trial clearly show the antimalarial drug doesn’t reduce the risk of death among hospitalized patients with the disease, the investigators said in a statement on the University of Oxford’s website. About 26 per cent of patients in the trial getting the drug died, compared with about 24 per cent receiving standard care

2:00 p.m.: British Columbia’s jobless rate continues to climb upwards, hitting 13.4 per cent last month, but there are signs of building confidence.

Finance Minister Carole James says Statistics Canada labour data for May show despite 353,200 lost jobs in B.C. since the pandemic forced a shutdown, the province created 43,300 jobs last month.

James says the increase reflects some businesses bringing back employees in the preparation to reopen as some health restrictions were eased.

1:50 p.m.: A high death toll from the rapid spread of COVID-19 in long-term care proves the need for a nurse specializing in infection control at every home, the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario says.

The proposal came Friday as the province approaches 1,700 nursing-home deaths in addition to seven employees felled by the highly contagious virus.

Read the full story from the Star’s Rob Ferguson.

1:35 p.m.: The World Health Organization is broadening its recommendations for the use of masks during the coronavirus pandemic and said Friday it is now advising that in areas where the virus is spreading, people should wear fabric masks when social distancing is not possible, such as on public transportation and in shops.

WHO Director-General said people over age 60 or with underlying medical conditions also should wear masks in situations where social distancing cannot be maintained. WHO previously had recommended that only health care workers, people with COVID-19 and their caregivers wear medical masks, noting a global shortage of supplies.

1:25 p.m.: Premier Doug Ford said it could cost $23 billion for Ontario to recover from COVID-19. Trudeau’s Friday announcement of $14B for all of Canada “must be the start ... not the end,” Ford says.

“$14 billion for all of Canada just won’t cut it.”

He also says more details are coming next week about the province’s second stage of reopening, including how child-care centres will be allowed to resume operations.

Ford says he does not believe the province is moving too slowly to restart the economy, and it must remain cautious to prevent spread of the virus.

The Star’s Queen’s Park Bureau Chief Robert Benzie reported that Ford also said he does not support paid sick leave.

1:15 p.m.: Newfoundland and Labrador is reporting no new cases of COVID-19 as the province prepares to reopen more businesses and permit larger gatherings next week.

As of Friday, one person is in the hospital with COVID-19 and 256 people have recovered out of 261 cases.

Three people have died from the illness in the province.

1:00 p.m.: Nova Scotia is reporting no new cases of COVID-19, keeping the province’s total of confirmed cases at 1,058.

The province also reported no new deaths on Friday, keeping that total at 61.

12:55 p.m.: Manitoba’s Crown-owned energy utility is issuing temporary layoff notices to 200 workers as part of its cost-control measures during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Manitoba Hydro says it was unable to find alternatives to the layoffs with two of its unions — Unifor and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers — and the job cuts will last four months.

12:50 p.m.: A union representing more than 12,000 health-care workers in Saskatchewan has written to the premier warning of job action if there is no change in negotiations.

Service Employees International Union West says that in late May a Saskatchewan Association of Health Organizations bargaining agent shut down a collective bargaining session.

In a letter to the premier and health and labour relations ministers, union president Barbara Cape says members have been left feeling frustrated and want action.

She says workers are on the front lines of fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, and it is a bad time for the agent to have left the table.

12:20 p.m. (updated): Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has offered $14 billion to help provinces and territories safely restart their economies, but already some provinces say it won’t cover the enormous needs they face.

Trudeau wrote the premiers Tuesday setting out eight priority areas where he says the money must be spent.

Those are: expanded testing, expanded contact tracing; personal protective equipment and other supports for health-care workers; supplying PPE to businesses; sick pay; child care; long-term care for seniors; and support for municipalities.

Read the full story from the Star’s Tonda MacCharles.

12:00 p.m. (updated): There are 94,327 confirmed and presumptive cases in Canada, according to The Canadian Press, including 7,702 deaths, 51,876 resolved.

This breaks down as follows (NOTE: The Star does its own count for Ontario, which can be found below):

Quebec: 52,398 confirmed (including 4,935 deaths, 17,098 resolved)Ontario: 29,747 confirmed (including 2,372 deaths, 23,583 resolved)Alberta: 7,091 confirmed (including 146 deaths, 6,611 resolved)British Columbia: 2,632 confirmed (including 166 deaths, 2,265 resolved)Nova Scotia: 1,058 confirmed (including 61 deaths, 997 resolved)Saskatchewan: 648 confirmed (including 11 deaths, 608 resolved)Manitoba: 289 confirmed (including 7 deaths, 284 resolved), 11 presumptiveNewfoundland and Labrador: 261 confirmed (including 3 deaths, 256 resolved)New Brunswick: 136 confirmed (including 1 death, 120 resolved)Prince Edward Island: 27 confirmed (including 27 resolved)Repatriated Canadians: 13 confirmed (including 13 resolved)Yukon: 11 confirmed (including 11 resolved)Northwest Territories: 5 confirmed (including 5 resolved)Nunavut: No confirmed cases

11:50 a.m.: The U.K. became the second country to officially record more than 40,000 coronavirus-related deaths as more than 100 scientists wrote the British government on Friday to urge it to reconsider lifting virus lockdown restrictions.

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The government said another 357 people who had tested positive for the virus have died in the U.K. across all settings, including hospitals and care homes. That takes the total to 40,261, the world’s second-highest pandemic death toll behind the United States.

11:45 a.m.: Quebec is reporting 50 new deaths from COVID-19, including 33 in the last 24 hours.

The province has also reported 17 deaths that occurred before May 29. That brings the death toll in the province to 4,935.

There were also 255 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday for a total of 52,398 since the pandemic began.

The number of COVID-19 hospitalizations decreased by 46 to 1,030. Of those, 131 people are in intensive care, down from 146 yesterday.

11:30 a.m.: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a $600 one-time payment for Canadians with disabilities in his daily news conference.

11:00 a.m.: As of 11 a.m. Friday, Ontario’s regional public health units are reporting a total of 31,177 confirmed and probable cases, including 2,419 deaths.

After a large agricultural outbreaks led to dozens of new cases in southwestern Ontario earlier this week, recent case growth is once again focused in the GTA; more than three-quarters of the 336 new cases in the last 24 hours were reported in Toronto and Peel Region.

According to a provincial database of cases, about 75 per cent of the 3,792 Ontarians with an active case of COVID-19 reside in the GTA, with nearly 85 per cent of those in living in Toronto or Peel.

Meanwhile, the 48 fatal cases reported in the province since Wednesday morning was well above a recent falling trend, with most of those new deaths reported in Toronto Thursday afternoon. The rate of deaths is down considerably since peaking at more than 90 deaths in a day earlier this month, about two weeks after the daily case totals hit a first peak in mid-April.

Earlier Friday, the province reported that testing labs had once again completed more than 20,000 tests, in the second day in a row near the provincial capacity.

Premier Doug Ford, who has called for widespread testing as a key part of Ontario’s response to the pandemic, faced criticism last month after the labs reported daily totals far below target for 10 straight days.

The province also reported 749 patients are now hospitalized with COVID-19, including 118 in intensive care, of whom 94 are on a ventilator — numbers that have fallen sharply since early May.

The province says its data is accurate to 4 p.m. the previous day. The province also cautions its latest count of total deaths — 2,583 — may be incomplete or out of date due to delays in the reporting system, saying that in the event of a discrepancy, “data reported by (the health units) should be considered the most up to date.”

The Star’s count includes some patients reported as “probable” COVID-19 cases, meaning they have symptoms and contacts or travel history that indicate they very likely have the disease, but have not yet received a positive lab test.

10:40 p.m.: The White House’s coronavirus task force has all but vanished from public view as President Donald Trump pushes Americans to put the outbreak behind them and resume normal social and economic life.

The task force was once a staple of Trump’s response to the pandemic. From March 4 until late April, the panel held nearly daily, televised briefings at the White House, many headlined by Trump. Its medical experts fanned out across TV networks to share guidance on curbing the spread of the virus.

The last briefing was April 27, when Trump predicted the U.S. would suffer between 60,000 and 70,000 deaths from the outbreak. At least 107,000 Americans have died.

10:00 a.m.: North Durham communities continue to see new reported COVID-19 cases.

In Uxbridge, Durham Region Health has reported 85 confirmed cases of the coronavirus as of Monday, June 1st. 27 people are in isolation. They list 39 of the cases as resolved. One person is in hospital because of COVID-19. 18 people in Uxbridge have died from the virus.

They list Scugog as having 17 cases. Two people are in isolation, and 15 of the cases have resolved.

Brock Township has eight confirmed cases of COVID-19. Five people are in isolation, and three cases have resolved.

Region wide, Durham has 1,472 confirmed cases. 137 people are in isolation, 24 people are in a hospital. 175 Durham residents have died due to the virus. 1,136 cases have resolved.

9:50 a.m.: India’s Health Ministry on Friday reported another record spike in new coronavirus cases — more than 9,800 in 24 hours.

India now has 226,770 confirmed cases with 6,348 deaths, 273 of them in the past 24 hours, the ministry said. It says the overall rate of recovery for coronavirus patients is around 48%.

9:30 a.m.: The U.S. unemployment rate fell unexpectedly in May to 13.3% — still on par with what the nation witnessed during the Great Depression — as states loosened their coronavirus lockdowns and businesses began recalling workers.

The government said Friday that the economy added 2.5 million jobs last month, driving unemployment down from 14.7% in April.

The May job gain, which confounded economists’ expectations of another round of severe losses, suggests that thousands of stores, restaurants, gyms and other companies reopened and rehired more quickly than many analysts had forecast.

9:00 a.m.: Ontario’s for-profit nursing homes employ, on average, 17 per cent fewer full-time and part-time workers compared to non-profit and municipal homes, according to a Star analysis of union staffing data.

The Star found that for every 100 beds in for-profit long-term-care homes there were 99 unionized workers, compared to 115 for every 100 beds in non-profit homes and 124 for every 100 beds in municipal homes. The Star’s analysis is based on pre-pandemic staffing levels.

Read the full Star Exclusive by Brendan Kennedy and Kenyon Wallace.

8:30 a.m. (updated): Statistics Canada reports a record high unemployment rate as the economy added 289,600 jobs in May, with businesses reopening amid easing public health restrictions.

The unemployment rate rose to 13.7 per cent, topping the previous high of 13.1 per cent set in December 1982 in more than four decades of comparable data.

The increase in the unemployment rate came as more people started looking for work.

8:15 a.m.: Europe could have its free travel zone up and running again by the end of the month, but travellers from further afield will not be allowed in before July, European Union Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson said Friday after talks among the bloc’s interior ministers.

Panicked by the coronavirus outbreak in Italy in February, countries in the 26-nation Schengen area — where people and goods move freely without checks — imposed border restrictions without consulting their neighbours to try to keep the disease out. The moves caused traffic jams and blocked medical equipment.

6:30 a.m.: Bombardier says it will lay off 2,500 workers from the aviation side of the company because of the pandemic’s impact on its markets.

The transportation firm said the majority of the reductions will impact manufacturing operations in Canada and will take place progressively throughout the year.

Bombardier says it has to adjust its operations to ensure it emerges from the COVID-19 crisis in a strong position.

It says industry-wide business jet deliveries are forecast to be down by 30 per cent year-over-year due to the pandemic.

5:50 a.m.: Ontario is lifting restrictions on short-term rentals today.

Economic Development Minister Vic Fedeli says the facilities were able to resume operations as of 12:01 a.m.

Lodges, cabins, cottages, homes, condominiums and bed-and-breakfast rentals are all included in the reopening.

Ontario’s tourism minister said Thursday the sector had been hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic and the province may not see its visitor levels return to 2019 levels until 2024.

5:45 a.m.: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has cancelled an earlier decision to impose a new, two-day weekend curfew in 15 of the country’s provinces.

Erdogan said on Twitter Friday that the curfew would “lead to different social and economic consequences.”

5:00 a.m.: Across Toronto, many neighbourhoods known for their independent, distinctive characters are at risk of seeing local institutions close, businesses owners and analysts say.

A survey published April 23 by Restaurants Canada found that one in two independent restaurants didn’t expect to survive the following three months without improved conditions.

Read the full story from the Star’s Rosa Saba.

3:33 a.m.: South Africa has seen its largest daily jump in new coronavirus cases.

The 3,267 new cases bring the country’s total to 40,792. More than 27,000 of those are in the Western Cape province centred on the city of Cape Town.

South Africa has the most virus cases in Africa, where the total number is now above 163,000.

The continent still represents less than 3% of the global total of cases but South Africa and Egypt are hot spots, and Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country, is another growing concern with more than 11,000 cases and relatively little testing for the virus.

Shortages of testing and medical equipment remain a challenge across the 54-nation continent, where just 1,700 tests are being carried out per 1 million people.

3 a.m.: Muslims in Indonesia’s capital held their first communal Friday prayers as mosques closed by the coronavirus outbreak for nine weeks reopened at half capacity.

Authorities checked temperature and sprayed hand sanitizers at the entrance to the mosques, and police and soldiers ensured the faithful observed social distancing and wore masks.

Thursday 5 p.m.: Ontario health units report 31,153 cases of COVID-19, up 346, and that 2,419 people have died, which is an increase of 46, the highest total of deaths since May 20; 38 of these were in Toronto. With 183 new COVID-19 cases, the city also accounted for more than half the province’s of total cases today.

Thursday 2:45 p.m.: The Pittsburgh Penguins announce that one of their players has tested positive for COVID-19. The player, who wasn’t identified, is recovering and doing well, the team said. He’s isolating himself at home.

The NHL is working toward a plan to resume the 2019-20 season with 24 teams playing out of two hub cities. The league has said it plans to test players on a daily basis if play resumes.

Read more of Thursday’s coverage here.

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