The latest coronavirus news from Canada and around the world Saturday. This file will be updated throughout the day. Web links to longer stories if available.
10:30 a.m.: When kids across the Greater Toronto Area get together on their teams this fall, they will be in hockey equipment in hockey rinks, but they won’t be playing hockey games.
They will be able to practise and maybe scrimmage, but definitely not hit.
Hockey — at least as they’ve known it, with five-on-five play — won’t happen for some time.
Read more from the Star’s Kevin McGran as he breaks down a parent’s guide to minor hockey in the GTA during the pandemic. (Warning: It’s complicated)
10 a.m.: The federal government announced temporary changes Thursday to Canada’s decades-old Employment Insurance (EI) program, as well as new benefits to fill in the gaps. The widely used Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) program will wind down in four weeks, giving Canadians a small runway to plan their next steps.
8 a.m.: China on Saturday reported another 22 new cases brought by travellers from abroad, with no additional local infections. The National Health Commission said 454 people remain in treatment and 3,667 are in isolation.
While local spread of the virus appears to have been contained in mainland China, the semi-autonomous southern city of Hong Kong continues to struggle with its worst outbreak since the pandemic began. The territory’s leader Carrie Lam said Friday Hong Kong will offer free coronavirus tests to its residents over a period of two weeks starting Sept. 1., in hopes of restarting the services-dependent local economy.
7 a.m.: A school year set to start in the middle of a global pandemic brings a multitude of unprecedented challenges, but perhaps none more so than for kindergarten classes where back-to-school safety measures will face their biggest test.
Physical distancing will be especially difficult in kindergarten classes which are often the largest in schools, many with between 25 and 30 students and two adults — a teacher and early childhood educator (ECE) — in a single space.
Unlike other elementary grades, kindergarten classrooms are set up to facilitate group-style, play-based learning, not for students to sit at individual desks.
6 a.m.: India has recorded another 24-hour jump in coronavirus infections as the disease spreads across the country’s southern states after plateauing in the capital and the financial centre of Mumbai. The Health Ministry reported 69,878 new cases on Saturday, bringing the total to 2,975,701. Globally India has been reporting the biggest daily rise in cases for 18 consecutive days.
5:21 a.m.: South Korea is banning large gatherings, closing beaches, shutting nightspots and churches and removing fans from professional sports in strict new measures announced Saturday as it battles the spread of the coronavirus.
Health Minister Park Neung-hoo announced the steps shortly after the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 332 new cases — the ninth straight day of triple-digit increases. The national caseload is now at 17,002, including 309 deaths.
While most of the new cases came from the densely populated Seoul metropolitan area, which has been at the centre of the viral surge in recent weeks, infections were also reported in practically every major city and town, raising concerns that transmissions are slipping out of control.
10 p.m.: Canada Post has closed a mail processing plant in Edmonton after an employee tested positive for COVID-19.
The Crown corporation says the worker was exposed to the virus outside the workplace and has not worked since Aug. 16.
It says the employee felt fine and had no symptoms.
Workers at the facility were advised of the positive test on Friday afternoon and everyone was sent home.
Canada Post says it is now in the process of deep-cleaning and sanitizing the 149 Street facility.
Friday 6:02 p.m. There are 124,282 confirmed cases in Canada, including 9,062 deaths, according to The Canadian Press.
This breaks down as follows (NOTE: The Star does its own count for Ontario; see entries elsewhere in this file.):
- Quebec: 61,495 confirmed (including 5,733 deaths, 54,472 resolved)
- Ontario: 41,179 confirmed (including 2,796 deaths, 37,397 resolved)
- Alberta: 12,748 confirmed (including 230 deaths, 11,374 resolved)
- British Columbia: 4,825 confirmed (including 200 deaths, 3,845 resolved)
- Saskatchewan: 1,595 confirmed (including 22 deaths, 1,439 resolved)
- Nova Scotia: 1,077 confirmed (including 64 deaths, 1,008 resolved)
- Manitoba: 830 confirmed (including 12 deaths, 553 resolved)
- Newfoundland and Labrador: 268 confirmed (including three deaths, 265 resolved)
- New Brunswick: 188 confirmed (including two deaths, 178 resolved)
- Prince Edward Island: 44 confirmed (including 40 resolved)
- Yukon: 15 confirmed, all of which have been resolved
- Repatriated Canadians account for 13 confirmed cases, all of which have been resolved
- Northwest Territories: five confirmed, all of which have been resolved
- Nunavut reports no confirmed cases.