- U.S. CDC issues halt to renter evictions to prevent virus spread.
- Nova Scotia government says university student with COVID-19 did not self-isolate.
- Ukraine reports record daily rise in coronavirus cases.
- China will resume direct international flights to Beijing from eight countries including Canada.
- Australian state reports jump in coronavirus cases but says New Year show will go on.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday issued a sweeping nationwide order temporarily halting millions of U.S. renters from being evicted, in a bid to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
The order covers all 43 million U.S. residential renters as long as they meet income eligibility requirements, although an administration official said the government does not expect an “overwhelming” use of the program.
The order lasts through Dec. 31 and applies to individual renters who do not expect to earn more than $99,000 US this year or $198,000 US for joint filers. It also applies to renters who did not report income in 2019 or received a stimulus cheque earlier this year.
The National Apartment Association said the CDC order risked further harm to the economy and would amplify the housing affordability crisis and destroy the rental housing industry. Without payments “owners face a financial crisis of their own,” it said.
Renters must file sworn declarations warning eviction would leave them homeless or force them into a “shared living setting” and attest they have done all they can to get government assistance for rent or housing.
The administration warned renters could be “prosecuted, go to jail, or pay a fine” if they lie in declarations.
An administration official told reporters the order was not an invitation to stop paying rent and said renters should pay a portion of rent if possible. Renters will still owe accrued rent and face penalties for failing to pay.
The CDC order also said renters can “still be evicted for reasons other than not paying rent or making a housing payment.”
U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told a U.S. House of Representatives panel earlier the measure was to ensure people “don’t get thrown out of their rental homes.”
In July, a firm estimated more than $21.5 billion US in past-due rent is owed by Americans.
As unemployment surged to levels unseen since the aftermath of the Great Depression, a patchwork of federal, state and local eviction bans has kept renters who could not make payments in homes.
U.S. President Donald Trump on Aug. 8 directed the CDC to consider if temporarily halting residential evictions was “reasonably necessary to prevent the further spread of COVID-19.”
The U.S. leads the world in confirmed cases of coronavirus, passing the six million mark on Monday. The daily number of infections has been in decline across most of the country in recent weeks, with 36,263 reported on Monday, less than half of the mid-July peak, according to a Reuters tally.
Exceptions include Midwest states such as South Dakota, where hundreds of thousands of motorcycle riders gathered for a rally in August, and Iowa.
What’s happening with coronavirus in Canada
As of 7:45 a.m. ET on Wednesday, Canada had 129,425 confirmed and presumptive coronavirus cases. Provinces and territories listed 114,607 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 9,169.
A university student infected with COVID-19 did not self-isolate after arriving in the province to attend Université Sainte-Anne in Church Point, N.S., the Nova Scotia government said Tuesday.
The student travelled from outside Atlantic Canada and is one of six active cases of the coronavirus in the province, according to a news release.
“The positive and probable cases we announced yesterday are the reason we have a testing strategy in place for post-secondary students. It’s helping us detect and manage cases early,” Dr. Robert Strang, chief medical officer of health for Nova Scotia, said in the release.
“The testing strategy does not replace the need to follow other public health measures. The combination of testing, self-isolating and digital check-ins will help to ensure the safety of all students, faculty and staff, and their neighbouring communities.”
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In a statement on Tuesday, Université Sainte-Anne said the school was told by public health officials that the risk of exposure to others was low and that no close contacts have been identified.
The university said the student with the positive diagnosis will isolate.
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 25.7 million. More than 857,000 people have died, while 17 million have recovered.
Ukraine registered a record 2,495 new coronavirus cases and 51 related deaths in the past 24 hours, the national security council said on Wednesday.
Ukraine has imposed a temporary ban on most foreigners entering the country until Sept. 28 and extended lockdown measures until the end of October to contain a recent spike in cases.
Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmygal said this week the government predicted the number of new coronavirus cases would continue to rise there in September and could reach 3,000 a day by the end of this month.
The country has so far reported a total of 125,798 infections and 2,656 deaths.
China’s aviation regulator said on Wednesday it will resume direct flights to Beijing from eight countries including Canada, Thailand, Cambodia, Greece, Denmark and Sweden from Sept. 3.
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In March, Chinese authorities ordered all international flights to Beijing to be diverted to other airports as their first port of entry, as the capital stepped up measures to battle imported infections.
The Civil Aviation Administration of China said load factors on such flights would be strictly controlled and it would reimpose measures to curb the virus if more than three passengers test positive for the coronavirus upon arrival.
Australia’s most-populous state reported the biggest daily jump in coronavirus infections in two weeks on Wednesday but said there were no plans to cancel the New Year fireworks show over Sydney Harbour, as new cases nationally also ticked up.
New South Wales (NSW) state reported 17 new cases, the biggest one-day jump since Aug. 12, while nationally the count rose to 109 cases from 85 a day earlier.
Victoria state remained the hardest-hit region with 90 cases, although this was well down from its daily peak of more than 700 in early August at the height of a second wave of infections.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the state was pushing ahead with plans to host large events such as the New Year’s Eve fireworks over Sydney Harbour.
“We should be hosting events we’ve hosted before but it will be different,” Berejiklian told reporters. “I think for a lot of people the fireworks represent hope.”