- Ontario and Quebec report largest daily increases in COVID-19 cases in six weeks.
- Newfoundland and Labrador reports first case in more than a week.
- India’s number of coronavirus cases passes 4 million.
- Czech Republic imposes tougher restrictions amid record daily spike.
As Canadians settle into the last long weekend of the summer and many prepare for the start of school, the country’s two most populous provinces are reporting their highest daily increases in cases of COVID-19 since late July.
Ontario reported 169 new confirmed cases on Saturday, while there were 175 new cases in Quebec and two deaths tied to the respiratory infection.
In Ontario, the largest counts for the day were in Peel Region with 46, Toronto with 42, Ottawa with 30 and 19 in York Region, Health Minister Christine Elliott said on Twitter.
Most schools in Ontario will open for students on Tuesday, but schools in Quebec have been open for more than a week, and 46 out of 3,100 schools in the province have at least one case of COVID-19 since then, according to government figures released Friday.
Quebec Health Minister Christian Dubé said the number of cases are in line with what was expected and that in most of the 46 cases, the staff or student was infected outside of school.
He would not specify how many cases there were in each school but said none had turned into outbreaks, with widespread transmission within a school.
Ontario Education Minister Stephen Lecce, in reaction to the Quebec figures, noted that Ontario has mandated masking in classrooms, while Quebec has not, and said more than 600 public health nurses will be stationed in schools this fall. Under Ontario’s plan, students in grades 4 to 12 will be required to wear masks indoors, and younger students will be encouraged to do so. But individual school boards, including in Toronto, have voted to require masks for all students.
Since the start of the pandemic, there have been 63,292 confirmed cases in Quebec, and 5,769 people infected have died.
Ontario has now seen 43,003 cumulative confirmed cases of the virus since the outbreak began in late January, and 2,811 people have died.
Meanwhile, Newfoundland and Labrador reported its 1st case in more than a week, and Manitoba reported 21 new infections.
“A key concern this past week has been the continuing increase in daily case counts,” Canada’s chief public health officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, said in a statement on Saturday.
“Although we are well below the almost 1,800 cases reported daily at the peak of the initial wave in early May, we have been seeing an increasing trend in this disease activity indicator.
“With 631 new cases reported across Canada yesterday, the most recent seven-day moving average now has us at 545 cases being reported daily. This exceeds the maximum number of daily cases reported during increased activity in mid-July.” Tam said
WATCH | Tam offers advice on indoor gatherings this fall:
As of 5 p.m. ET on Saturday, Canada had 131,495 confirmed and presumptive coronavirus cases. Provinces and territories listed 116,136 of those as recovered or resolved. A CBC News tally of deaths based on provincial reports, regional health information and CBC’s reporting stood at 9,183.
Here’s what’s happening around the world
According to the tally kept by Johns Hopkins University, the global total of confirmed coronavirus cases is now more than 26.6 million. More than 875,000 people have died while 17.7 million have recovered.
The World Health Organization said it’s not expecting widespread vaccinations against COVID-19 until the middle of next year.
There are at least 176 potential vaccines at various stages of research around the world, but just eight of them are in the final stage of human clinical trials, or Phase 3.
Dr. Margaret Harris of the WHO said this part of the process can’t be rushed. All data from trials must be shared and compared, she said.
WATCH | Infectious disease specialist cautions against rushing vaccine development:
In Europe, the number of people infected with the coronavirus has continued to surge in the Czech Republic, surpassing 700 for the first time. Health authorities have already imposed new restrictive measures in the Czech capital, reacting to the spike. Starting on Wednesday, it is mandatory again to wear face masks in stores and shopping malls. At the same time, bars, restaurants and nightclubs have to be closed from midnight to 6 a.m.
In Asia, India’s total number of coronavirus cases crossed four million on Saturday. The country is leading the world in new infections and closing in on Brazil’s total, which is the second highest in the world. Initially, the virus ravaged India’s sprawling and often densely populated cities. It has since stretched to almost every state in the country, spreading through villages and smaller cities where access to health care is crippled.
In the Americas, the pandemic has hit Mexico so hard that the governments of several states ran out of death certificates. Officials say federal forms started running out about 15 to 20 days ago in at least three states — Baja California, the State of Mexico and Mexico City — and authorities say a million new forms have been printed and are being distributed. Mexico has suffered the fourth-highest level of COVID-19 deaths in the world.
Amid pandemic restrictions in Africa, some religious leaders and followers on the continent are speaking out — or sneaking out to worship — as they argue that limits on religion could lead to a crisis of faith. Some ministers in Nigeria — Africa’s most populous country — have sparked a separate controversy for saying followers should continue paying their tithes into designated bank accounts, while Tanzanian President John Magufuli has alarmed health experts by asserting that divine power would offer protection from the virus.