Updated at 1:15 p.m. (EDT): Wearing a non-medical mask, even if you have no symptoms, is an additional measure people can take to protect others from the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief medical officer, told reporters on Monday.
Wearing a non-medical mask prevents people from infecting others, particularly if the wearer is carrying the virus without symptoms or hasn’t experienced symptoms yet.
“Transmission is happening more often than previously recognized before symptoms show,” Tam said.
Tam said 15,822 COVID-19 have been confirmed in Canada, with 293 deaths, including people in their 20s.
CERB applications open
About 240,000 people applied for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit during its first active morning after launching on Monday, said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, adding that many Canadians who are “falling through the cracks” will get help in the coming days.
COVID-19 has resulted in a harsh economic downturn in Canada, with 4 million people expected to apply for the CERB.
The CERB will pay eligible applicants—anyone who has lost their job or cannot work because of COVID-19—$2,000 per month for up to four months.
The CERB doesn’t currently support people who are currently working reduced hours or making less money than they would with the benefit, including gig workers, freelancers, contract workers, and volunteer firefighters. University students who are looking for summer work aren’t covered, either.
Trudeau said he will announce in the coming days how the CERB will ensure everyone struggling with income losses are covered.
The CERB application website has received positive responses on social media, with several Twitter users saying the website was easy to use and applying didn’t take long.
Trudeau also addressed rumours that the U.S. blocked shipments of personal protective equipment from making their way into Canada, stating that the two countries are in talks and “we expect those supplies to be delivered.
Banks halve the interest on credit cards
Trudeau also said that Canada’s major banks are temporarily lowering credit card interest rates to provide relief for people struggling financially during the pandemic.
Bank of Montreal, CIBC, and Bank of Nova Scotia are dropping interest rates by about half to 10.99 percent for eligible credit card holders
Toronto-Dominion Bank, Royal Bank of Canada, and National Bank of Canada announced similar measures.
Thousands in fines issued
Several Canadians who ignored physical distancing measures over the weekend received hefty fines for violating emergency orders.
In Toronto, people caught standing within 2 metres of each other face a $5,000 fine.
Local officials said they are seeing some “encouraging behaviour,” with most residents seemingly taking physical distancing seriously, according to Global News, even though 311 received 141 complaints about gatherings and unsafe behaviour in public parks.
Law enforcement warned hundreds of people on Saturday, ultimately giving out one ticket at a public park and five to non-essential businesses that remained open. Toronto Public Health also issued two notices to businesses that remained open, despite orders.
In Halifax, Nova Scotia, police issued dozens of tickets over the weekend to people who visited public parks and beaches, despite the fact that all provincial and municipal parks and public amenities are closed under the region's state of emergency.
People caught standing too close or at social gatherings face fines beginning at $1,000 in Halifax. Businesses in violation of physical distancing face fines beginning at $7,500.
In Quebec, a Walmart security guard is fighting for his life after an infuriated shopper, disgruntled by physical distancing measures, allegedly hit the guard with a vehicle. Police are also searching for a Quebecer who intentionally coughed on a debit machine at a drive-through.
Parliament could go virtual
The House of Commons is trying to figure out how it can move its operations online after
shutting down on March 13.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau asked to recall parliament to pass emergency legislation to protect Canada’s struggling economy. But the move had critics questioning why they have to physically distance while MPs do not.
Now, all political parties agree that moving sessions online is a good idea, but Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-Francois Blanchet said he still believes votes should be held in person.
House leaders will be in charge of putting together a plan.
MPs were supposed to return to Ottawa on April 20, but with most provinces extending their COVID-19-related states of emergencies, it seems unlikely, CBC News reported.
Thousands of COVID-19 cases
As of Monday morning, the country had 15,822 probable or confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 293 deaths, most of which (119) have been recorded in Ontario.
Here is the latest breakdown of confirmed or probable COVID-19 cases across Canada:
British Columbia: 1,203
Newfoundland and Labrador: 217
New Brunswick: 101
Nova Scotia: 262
Prince Edward Island: 22
Northwest Territories: 5
On Sunday, the global total of confirmed COVID-19 cases surpassed 1.1 million, with more than 62,000 deaths.
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