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Can connecting passengers leave the airport? Your COVID-19 travel questions answered

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!b kind: post labels: Z-Cbc, News, Hot News, Top Stories categories: Z-Cbc, News, Hot News, Top Stories title: Can connecting passengers leave the airport? Your COVID-19 travel questions answered

Also, why do you need to quarantine after travel instead of just getting a COVID test?

We’re answering your questions about the pandemic. Send yours to COVID@cbc.ca, and we’ll answer as many as we can. We publish a selection of answers online and also put some questions to the experts during The National and on CBC News Network. So far, we’ve received more than 53,000 emails from all corners of the country.

These days more of us are travelling — sometimes between provinces and even on airplanes. Here are some of the questions we’ve been getting about travel.

Why can’t we just get tested instead of isolating after international travel?

That’s a good question. 

Currently, people who cross into Canada must self-isolate for 14 days to make sure they don’t spread the coronavirus, whether they’re experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or not. So, why can’t we just test people and skip the time-consuming isolation period?

Matthew Cheng, an infectious diseases doctor at McGill University Health Centre, says there are two main reasons:

Also, testing too soon after exposure to the coronavirus, before viral loads are high enough to be reliably measured, can result in a false negative. That means anyone who was exposed on the plane, for example, wouldn’t be expected to test positive.

Cheng noted that the quarantine is intended to reduce risk from people who may have caught COVID-19 either on their trip or on their way back to Canada.

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam recently indicated that officials are looking into whether it’s practical to test people when they enter Canada instead of requiring them to quarantine.

However, she offered no timeline and stressed that more research is required before any changes are introduced.

In the meantime, Air Canada is planning to start a voluntary testing trial for some passengers to help persuade the federal government to end strict quarantine rules. You can read more about that here.

Air Canada is asking international travellers arriving at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport to volunteer for a COVID-19 test as part of a study to determine the effectiveness of 14-day quarantines. The airline industry hopes to find a way to replace lengthy quarantines with testing. 1:58

I have a connecting flight. Will I be allowed to leave the airport?

Travel is another one of those things that COVID-19 restrictions complicate things we used to take for granted, like turning a layover into a mini holiday or visit.

Teressa A. wrote us to ask if she and her husband would be allowed to get a hotel in Toronto while awaiting their connecting flight to Prince Edward Island from the Caribbean.

Connecting travellers are only allowed to leave the secure area of the airport during their connection if the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) permits the travellers to enter the country, as is the case for Canadian citizens. You can read the CBSA’s guidance for returning Canadians here.

In that case, according to Health Canada, yes, they can leave to stay at a hotel as long as they are not symptomatic. However, they:

Symptomatic travellers can’t travel onward unless they use private transportation to get to a place of isolation. “If they can’t get to their location, we will hold them in a federal designated quarantine site unless they can make alternate suitable arrangements,” Health Canada said in an email.

WestJet says it will remove passengers from flights who consistently refuse to wear a mask (without a medical exemption) and ban them from flying for a year. As CEO Ed Sims explains, the tough new stance is part of a wider strategy designed to keep passengers safe and flying as the COVID-19 pandemic reshapes air travel. 9:23

Do I have to self-isolate in Manitoba or one of the Atlantic Canada provinces if I am driving through?

Provinces that require travellers from out-of-province and not within their “travel bubble” to self isolate typically have exceptions for those that are driving through without stopping. 

Manitoba requires travellers from out-of-province to self-isolate for 14 days. But those driving through do not have to do this if they are not planning to stop in Manitoba, the government of Manitoba says.

New Brunswick is part of the Atlantic Canada travel bubble, and travellers en route to other Atlantic provinces often pass through. Those driving through will be screened and will have to demonstrate they are authorized to travel through to their province of destination. But if they do that successfully, they can go directly to their destination.

Like an extended family, the four Atlantic provinces have walled themselves in, creating measures to restrict outsiders and COVID-19 cases. So far, it’s worked and there doesn’t seem to be much of a rush to burst the Atlantic bubble. 5:09

Why am I seeing so many U.S. plates if the land border is closed? 

Canada and the United States agreed to close their shared land border to non-essential traffic starting on March 21 to help stop the spread of the virus. The agreement, which is reviewed every 30 days, will be extended until at least Sept. 21. 

Since then, a small number of fines have been doled out to Americans skirting Canada’s travel rules. However, the CBSA points out that there are many legitimate reasons why Americans may have entered the country.

“Simply seeing a U.S.-plated vehicle or boat is not a reason to suspect someone of suspicious cross-border activity,” said CBSA spokesperson Mark Stuart in an email.

Here are some of the reasons you might be seeing U.S. plates:

According to the CBSA, which tracks numbers on a weekly basis, just over 4.4 million Canadians and foreigners have entered Canada by land or air since March 23. The numbers are a drop in the bucket compared to pre-pandemic travel. 

The agency reports that between March 22 and Sept. 2, it denied entry to more than 18,000 people trying to cross from the U.S. by land or air, because they wanted to visit for non-essential reasons, such as shopping or sightseeing. 

You can read more about that here. And you can find more information about the U.S.-Canada border on the Canadian government’s website here.


Source: cbc.ca

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Blacks, Latinos in California cited for minor offenses at higher rates than whites: study

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Blacks, Latinos in California cited for minor offenses at higher rates than whites: study

Blacks and Latinos in California are cited for minor non-traffic infractions at far higher rates than their white counterparts, a new study found.

The findings, released Wednesday by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area, found that black adults were up to 9.7 times more likely to be cited for minor offenses like loitering or jaywalking.

Latinos, meanwhile, were up to 5.8 times more likely to receive citations than white adults in the same jurisdiction.

The study analyzed data for non-traffic citations issued by California’s 15 largest law enforcement agencies between July 2018 and December 2019.

“We spend millions of dollars discriminatorily enforcing these non-traffic infraction laws against black and Latinx people,” Elisa Della-Piana, the group’s legal director, said in a statement.

“The fines and fees are largely uncollectable, but the debt burden, warrants and arrests cause significant harm.”

In Los Angeles, black residents were 3.8 times more likely to be cited for non-traffic infractions than whites between 2017 and 2019, receiving 30 percent of all such citations by the LAPD during that time span despite comprising 7 percent of the population, the study found.

The LAPD also issued 63 percent of all “loitering-standing” citations to black residents, the study found.

Data from police in Long Beach, meanwhile, showed that black adults were 3 times more likely to be issued infractions from 2017 through 2019 — comprising 36 percent of all of citations issued despite making up just 11 percent of the city’s population.

A similar pattern was also found in San Diego, where black adults were 4 times more likely to be written up for minor infractions than white residents, data showed.

“The results are harmful,” according to the study’s authors. “As other studies have documented, even brief encounters with the police can be traumatic, and officers are often more disrespectful to Black and Latinx people.”

No one who received a citation was fined less than $100, with most getting penalized between $250 and $500, the study found.

The LAPD did not respond to a request for comment on the study by the Los Angeles Times, the newspaper reported Wednesday.

A spokesman for police unions in San Jose, San Francisco and Los Angeles, meanwhile, insisted cops are not biased while on the job.

“When it comes to enforcing the laws, we focus on behavior — not color, not race, not creed, not religion and not sexual orientation,” spokesman Tom Saggau told The Mercury News.

“Police don’t create the laws, and if these attorneys don’t want quality-of-life crimes enforced, they should talk to legislators.”


Source: nypost.com

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Air Canada orders first batch of 25,000 rapid COVID-19 testing kits

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New tests can detect coronavirus within as little as 5 minutes

Air Canada has ordered its first batch of rapid tests to detect the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. 0:00

Air Canada has ordered 25,000 testing kits that can detect COVID-19 in someone in as little as five minutes, a key hurdle for an industry that’s desperately trying to make it safe and possible for travellers to fly again.

The first batch of tests will be for employee volunteers, now that the devices by Abbott Laboratories have been approved for use in Canada by federal health and safety authorities, the airline said Thursday.

Current tests have to be administered at testing centres, which have been plagued by long lineups, and results can take days.

The new test is faster and requires a nasal or throat specimen to be collected from a patient on a swab and inserted into an analyzer to detect the presence of the virus. Positive results come back in as little as five minutes. Negative results can take about 13 minutes to verify.

The airline is moving ahead with the plan after a testing phase when it partnered with McMaster University and the Greater Toronto Airports Authority to test arriving international travellers at Toronto’s Pearson airport.

“Preliminary results from the study indicate testing can help protect customers and facilitate the safe relaxation of government travel restrictions,” Air Canada said.

More than 13,000 tests

Since the test began on Sept. 3, more than 13,000 travellers have been tested.

More than 99 per cent of the tests came back negative. Of the less than one per cent that came back positive, more than 80 per cent were identified on the initial test, while the rest were detected with a followup test seven days later.

“We believe testing will be key to protecting employees and customers until such time as a COVID-19 vaccine is available,” said Air Canada’s chief medical officer, Dr. Jim Chung. 

“Rapid testing is also a means to enable governments to relax current blanket travel restrictions and quarantines in a measured way while still safeguarding the health and safety of the public.”

Airlines have been hit harder than many other industries, as fears of the virus have walloped demand for travel, and border restrictions have limited the number of flights that airlines are even allowed to offer.


Source: cbc.ca

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Students suspended over recording of Calgary school principal using N-word

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Calgary Catholic School District says word used ‘strictly for educational purposes’

Multiple students from St. Michael School in Calgary have been suspended after a portion of a conversation between a group of Black students and their principal was shared online. 

The audio recording in question catches the principal uttering a racial slur.

“So how come it’s OK for you to say [the N-word]?” principal Lianne Anderson asked a group of Black students, questioning their use of the word.

Principal Lianne Anderson was recorded using the N-word with a group of Black students. CBC News has bleeped the audio. 0:06

One of the students shared the recording with a family member, who posted it online, calling the principal’s choice to use the N-word “unacceptable.”

The Calgary Catholic School District is defending Anderson’s actions and said the principal chose to use the word “strictly for educational purposes.”

“The word was more so used in a situation to explain, like, ‘If it’s not OK for me to use the word, why is it OK for you to use the word?'” said district spokeswoman Sandra Borowski. “I think the whole point was to kind of clarify that, bottom line, the use of the word is just generally unacceptable for anyone.”

Adora Nwofor, an anti-Black racism activist and coach in Calgary, said this type of response illustrates the need for more anti-racism training in schools. 

“To use the N-word without saying ‘N-word,’ if you are not part of the oppressed population, is oppression,” Nwofor said. “To police Black people on the use of a term that we are taking back for ourselves is not really the correct response.”

Multiple students have since been suspended for violating the school’s code of conduct. 

“I definitely understand that there is, you know, the possibility that it’s coming across that the students are being disciplined for the use of that word,” said Borowski. “But at the end of the day, they’re only being disciplined for having recorded a conversation, taking clips out of context and posting that conversation online. So it’s unfortunate that the topic of a negative racist term is the focus of the conversation.”

The student code of conduct states that “making, possessing, selling, accessing or sharing any audio, visual or audiovisual recording of any individual without the individual’s consent unless the recording is of a public space or an event open to the public” is considered to be “unauthorized” by the school district. 

Nwofor, who also is a leader for the local Black Lives Matter chapter, said the conversation never should have happened, because Black people are allowed to use the word if they choose. 

“It is a word that we are reclaiming that was used to oppress people, and if you are not Black and you are using that word, you are using it as an oppressor and it means you have privilege,” she said. “If you have privilege and you use that word, you are being an oppressor and you’re being racist, quite frankly.” 

A case of ‘taking that power back’

Alberta activist and education consultant Sagal Yusuf said hearing this story makes her emotional, because she remembers situations just like it happening to her during her school days. 

“It’s supposed to be, you’ve taken the power that [the word] has to be violent and to be used against you and you use it in a completely different context, and you’re using it as a way of expressing affection for somebody else,” she said.

“When someone else uses it who is not Black, who is white, especially someone in a position of power like this, you are basically saying, ‘I’m taking that power back from you … and I’m going to use it in the same manner that it was used in the past, to put you in a traumatic and violent state.'”

The Calgary Catholic School District said all its staff are required to provide welcoming, caring, respectful and safe learning environments that respect diversity. 

“Each of our staff members are part of our faith development, in other words a Catholic community of caring, where we teach values based on faith, caring, respect, responsibility, trust and family. Staff also attend a mandatory annual boundaries presentation, which outlines appropriate staff behaviour,” the district said in an email to CBC News. 

The district said it has also recently formed a committee that examines and addresses racism and discrimination.

“[We are] currently looking into providing additional support that will create a better understanding and ability to recognize derogatory and or racist language.”

Board has ‘zero tolerance for any instances of racism’

Borowski said the school board takes these situations seriously. “We do say that we have zero tolerance for any instances of racism and discrimination at our schools.”

Nwofor said she understands why there might be rules about using the word at a school, and said if there is zero tolerance, then the principal should never have said the word. 

“I would tell the authority figure the correct way to handle it is to say, ‘We have a zero N-word policy here, and we are going to discuss with your guardians about how to move forward.'”

The Calgary Catholic School District said the principal is not facing any disciplinary actions. Nwofor said that’s not fair.

“That principal should be reprimanded, there should be a very high cost to using that word,” she said. “What the white children who are privileged are seeing is that it’s OK to say it. They’re seeing that they’re not going to get in trouble — it’s the Black kids who are going to get in trouble.”

Yusuf said there are plenty of ways the principal could have had a discussion with the students about the word without actually using it. 

“Given the context that we’re living through, you have to be completely, deliberately trying to ignore everything in order for you to be able to use the word. If it was a sincere discussion, if she wanted more information about the use of the word, it’s very simple to use … ‘the N-word,'” she said.

“If it was supposed to be an educational thing, if it was supposed to be something where they can have a discussion, you don’t actually have to use the word.”

 

For more stories about the experiences of Black Canadians — from anti-Black racism to success stories within the Black community — check out Being Black in Canada, a CBC project Black Canadians can be proud of. You can read more stories here.


Source: cbc.ca

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Three men discovered dead in backyard

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Three men discovered dead in backyard

Los Angeles authorities are investigating after three men in their 30s were found dead in a backyard.

LA County sheriff’s deputies received a call shortly after 3 a.m. Thursday from a woman at Norwalk home, where the trio was found unresponsive, NBC Los Angeles reported.

One man was discovered in the pool, while two others were out of the water in the backyard, CBS LA reported.

Firefighters also responded and attempted life-saving measures on the victims, but the men were all pronounced dead at the scene, Fox11 reported.

No information was released about the circumstances surrounding the deaths.


Source: nypost.com

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Kylie Jenner: I Registered 50K People to Vote! I’m Saving America!

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It wasn’t a huge shock to see that Kylie Jenner posted thirst traps to save democracy by encouraging people to vote.

Laugh if you want, but … it’s working.


Kylie's Face

It’s not like Kylie Jenner needs an excuse to flaunt her incredible body in a bikini … but she used her powerful curves for a good cause.

On Monday, September 28, she took to Instagram to grab eyes and attention with her gorgeous body.

Her caption encouraged all of her followers to register to vote, using the same influence that she used to become a makeup mogul to try to save America.

Kylie Jenner IG voting promo 2020

Apparently, Kylie’s curvaceous reminder to register to vote worked.

TMZ reports that Kylie’s post drew in massive traffic to Vote.org.

As a result, the site was inundated with a 1500% boost of traffic driven from Instagram.


Kylie 2020

Over 48,000 potential new registered voters arose from one Instagram post. The number is likely continuing to rise.

That is, folks, about fifteen times the normal amount of traffic that Vote.org sees.

Phrased another way, Vote.org received an 80% increase in total users of its voter registration and verification tool between one day and the next.


Kylie Jenner's Sailor Cleavage

Before anyone speculates that these numbers are inflated by other factors, such as this being the week of the first debate, these metrics are not a mystery.

Only about 2,900 users took the leap from Instagram to the registration verification tool on Sunday.

This was out of 174,000 to use that tool that day from any source. So yes, it seems clear that Kylie sent them.


Kylie Jenner Voter Registration

Believe it or not, only about 138 million out of 328 million Americans voted in 2016.

It is truly an indictment of our system that anyone, from politicians to celebrities to influencers, has to beg people to vote.

That said, in many cases, voters are not demotivated because of some intrinsic personality flaw, but because of campaigns designed to discourage them, including voter disenfranchisement.


Kylie Jenner Gropes Herself

This year has shown unprecedented enthusiasm for early voting, driven by both the COVID-19 pandemic and by the absolute horrors of the Trump Administration.

Four years ago, fewer than 10,000 Americans had voted early. This year, so far, more than 1 million have cast their ballots.

This year has the highest rate of early voting in US history.


Kylie Jenner 2020

One thing of interest is that Kylie has not technically endorsed any candidate. In 2016, she voiced her support for Hillary Clinton.

It’s no mystery who Kylie is voting for, as with the rest of her family, but she has yet to officially state that she’s supporting Biden.

The general consensus is that Kylie may be keeping quiet out of misplaced respect for brother-in-law Kanye West and his farcical Presidential run. 


Kylie Jenner's Cleavage in 2020

(LOL, can you imagine having to talk to Kanye with a straight face? Kim roped her entire family into an uncomfortable position by marrying him)

Some may say that the numbers using the site, impressive though they may be, aren’t enough to tilt an election in either direction.

While it’s true that the electoral college awards disproportionate voting power to sparsely populated rural states, a massive show of voter enthusiasm can overcome even the greatest electoral roadblocks.


Kylie Jenner: The Cleavage

Additionally, there is more than just the presidency at stake right now.

Yes, deposing one a brainrotten maniac who openly gives instructions to white supremacist groups is the highest priority.

But senate races, government races, and other key items on the ballot can come down to just a few thousand votes. Winning back the White House is only part of the solution to save our country from ruin.


Source: thehollywoodgossip.com

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Pope Francis refuses to meet with Mike Pompeo before election

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Pope Francis refused to meet with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo because he doesn’t want to meet with “political figures” during elections, and after the nation’s top diplomat criticized a deal the Vatican is negotiating with China, according to a report.

The Vatican on Wednesday turned down Pompeo’s request for an audience with the pope after the secretary of state earlier this month accused the Holy See of jeopardizing its “moral authority” if it extends an agreement with China over the nominations of bishops, Politico reported.

“Two years ago, the Holy See reached an agreement with the Chinese Communist Party, hoping to help China’s Catholics. Yet the CCP’s abuse of the faithful has only gotten worse. The Vatican endangers its moral authority, should it renew the deal,” Pompeo wrote on Twitter Sept. 19.

Pompeo also blasted Catholic Church leadership during a religious freedom conference organized by the US Embassy to the Holy See in Rome this week, saying it should be at the forefront of human rights.

The Vatican’s top diplomats – Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin and Foreign Minister Archbishop Paul Gallagher – confirmed the pope turned down Pompeo’s request for an audience on Thursday, saying he didn’t want the Catholic Church to be pulled into the US election, Reuters reported.

“Yes, he asked. But the pope had already said clearly that political figures are not received in election periods. That is the reason,” Parolin said.


The Vatican's Secretary of State, Italian Cardinal Pietro Parolin (right) meeting with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo

The Vatican’s Secretary of State, Italian Cardinal Pietro Parolin (right) meeting with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo

The China deal “is a matter that has nothing to do with American politics. This is a matter between Churches and should not be used for this type of ends,” Parolin said.

The two-year-old deal between the Vatican and Beijing is expected to be renewed this month.

Parolin defended the agreement and said the Vatican hopes it would advance religious freedom and allow for “normalization” of the Catholic Church community in China that has seen its members driven underground if they recognize the pope.

Parolin and Gallagher said the Vatican was taken by “surprise” over Pompeo’s public criticism of the church.

“Normally when you’re preparing these visits between high-level officials, you negotiate the agenda for what you are going to talk about privately, confidentially. It’s one of the rules of diplomacy,” Gallagher said.

Pompeo, asked if he was “picking a fight” with the Vatican, said, “That’s just crazy.”


Source: nypost.com

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Barber shoots at clients complaining about missed appointments

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Barber shoots at clients complaining about missed appointments

An irate Florida barber shot at two clients who confronted him about not keeping their appointments, police said.

John Digiovanni, 35, of Boca Raton, was arrested Wednesday on two counts of attempted murder after a man told police he shot at him and his friend in the parking lot of the First United Methodist Church, WPTV reported.

The victims told detectives Digiovanni had scheduled appointments to cut their hair but didn’t show up for them in the past two weeks, police said.

One of the scorned customers reached out to Digiovanni on Monday about making the appointments and not keeping them, prompting the barber to start yelling and threatening him, police said.

The men then asked Digiovanni to meet them later that night to discuss what was bothering him before agreeing to meet at the church, police said.

One of the men told police Digiovanni began yelling from his car when he arrived at the church, while the victim insisted he just wanted to talk, the South Florida Sun Sentinel reported.

But Digiovanni hopped out of his car and pointed a gun at one of the men, police said. He then shot at both of his clients before returning to his car, where he squeezed off one more round before driving away.

Investigators said video evidence backed up what the victims told detectives, but police didn’t specify whether the encounter was recorded by the victims or was caught on a surveillance camera, the newspaper reported.

No injuries were reported and neither man was struck, police said.

Digiovanni remained held without bail Thursday at the Palm Beach County Jail, online records show.


Source: nypost.com

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Coronavirus: What’s happening in Canada and around the world on Thursday

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Ottawa offering to send Canadian Red Cross into COVID-19 hot spots; new restrictions take effect in Quebec

As parts of Canada grapple with the onset of a second COVID-19 wave, sources say the federal government is offering to send the Canadian Red Cross into hot spots, while Quebec is giving police new legal tools to help enforce stricter public health measures taking effect in the province’s designated red zones.

Ottawa has been reaching out to hard-hit regions recently experiencing outbreaks and surges, said a senior government official who was speaking on the condition of anonymity.

The official said so far the government has made contact with British Columbia, Alberta and Quebec, and with Toronto, Ottawa, Windsor-Essex and Peel Region in Ontario, with plans to talk to Winnipeg on Thursday.

Depending on an individual region’s needs, the Red Cross could provide logistical support for testing centres and long-term care homes, help in isolating infected individuals, assist with feeding and caring for the sick and offer psychological aid, said the official.

The work would be covered by the $100 million in new funding the federal government gave the Red Cross back in May.

Over the summer, Health Canada worked with the Red Cross — a charity that receives funding from the Canadian government and has a long history of responding to disasters — to build up a civilian workforce to deploy during regional outbreaks in the event of a second wave of infections in the fall.

The organization has already helped to deliver food to temporary foreign workers isolating in southwestern Ontario and deployed to Quebec long-term care homes.

Meanwhile, three regions — Greater Montreal, Quebec City and Chaudière-Appalaches — are now under stricter COVID-19 measures, as the provincial government attempts to slow the surge of new coronavirus cases.

The new restrictions, announced earlier this week, took effect at 12:01 a.m. ET on Thursday and are set to last until Oct. 28 in those regions, which have been designated as red zones under the province’s COVID-19 alert system.

The restrictions include: a ban on home gatherings (with some exceptions, such as a single caregiver allowed per visit); the closure of all bars, casinos and restaurants, except for takeout; the closure of libraries, museums, cinemas and theatres; and mandatory masks during demonstrations.

Quebec has strengthened its COVID-19 restrictions, especially for areas under the provincial red zone designation, and have provided legal tools for police to enter homes and break up unsanctioned gatherings. 3:39

Speaking during a late-afternoon news conference on Wednesday, Premier François Legault said the negligence of a few has led to the crackdown. “Lives are at stake. We want to keep our children in schools,” he said. “We also want to protect our health network.”

To that end, the premier said police in the red zones will be issuing $1,000 fines to those who violate the newly strengthened public health rules. With fees, those fines will top $1,500.

With the crackdown on house guests, police are authorized to demand proof of residency and if residents refuse entry, officers will be able to obtain warrants faster through a new, virtual system that was established in collaboration with the Crown, the premier said.

Normally the process for obtaining a warrant can take a day or two, but that won’t work when police want to break up parties that very same evening, Legault said. He said people who shrug off the rules and host parties are “putting the lives of other people in danger.”

Quebec reported 838 new cases of COVID-19 but no new deaths Wednesday. Since the start of the pandemic, there have been 74,288 confirmed cases and 5,834 people have died in the province.


What’s happening in the rest of Canada

As of 7:15 a.m. ET on Thursday, Canada had 158,758 confirmed or presumptive coronavirus cases. Provinces and territories listed 134,971 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 9,333.

In , health authorities say they are expecting new daily cases of COVID-19 to reach 1,000 in the first half of October, as the province confirmed another 625 new infections on Wednesday.

According to Adalsteinn Brown, the dean of the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto, the number of new cases reported daily are doubling every 10 to 12 days. That means the province could see a “remarkably high surge” in the coming weeks.

Ontario has put a lot of effort into ramping up its COVID-19 testing, but experts say contact tracing is lagging woefully behind and it may be too late to fix the problem. 2:01

He said the growth in infections was initially limited to the 20-39 age group, however cases are now climbing in every age group.

“Although we see a large amount of infections among younger people right now, this is likely starting to spill over into older age groups, which is where we see the most tragic and most challenging consequences for health and for the health-care system,” said Brown.

With the country bracing for caseload spikes, Health Canada regulators on Wednesday approved the ID NOW rapid COVID-19 testing device.

The Abbott Laboratories-backed molecular devices can be administered by trained professionals at places like pharmacies, walk-in clinics and doctors’ offices without the need for a laboratory to determine if someone is infected with the virus.

Ottawa has signed an agreement to buy millions of rapid-test devices for COVID-19, but it hasn’t been approved by Health Canada. The technology promises to detect the virus in less than 15 minutes and many are pushing to speed up its approval. 1:56

The point-of-care devices can give results in 15 minutes and could result in millions more tests for communities dealing with a surge in coronavirus cases.

To date, the vast majority of tests have been done at public health clinics, with samples then sent to laboratories for analysis — a process that can take days.


What’s happening around the world

According to Johns Hopkins University, the global total of confirmed coronavirus cases stands at more than 33.9 million. More than one million people have died, while over 23.6 million have recovered.

In the , the two largest school districts in the country are rolling out ambitious and costly plans to test students and staff for the coronavirus, bidding to help keep school buildings open amid a rise in infections among the nation’s school-age children.

New York City is set to begin testing 10 to 20 per cent of students and staff in every building monthly beginning Thursday, the same day the final wave of the district’s more than one million students returns to bricks-and-mortar classrooms for the first time in six months.

“Every single school will have testing. It will be done every single month. It will be rigorous,” New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said in announcing the plan as part of an agreement with the teachers’ union to avert a strike. At least 79 Department of Education employees have died from the virus.

With an estimated 100,000 to 120,000 tests expected each month, each costing between $78 US and $90 US, New York City’s school-based testing plan goes well beyond safety protocols seen in most other districts.

Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Unified School District has launched a similarly comprehensive, $150-million US testing program to help determine when it will be safe to resume in-person instruction. The district began the school year remotely in August for all 600,000 students. The New York and Los Angeles systems are respectively the nation’s largest and second-largest school districts.

In , Madrid will carry out a national order restricting mobility in large Spanish cities with rapid virus spread, but its regional president announced Thursday she will fight the Spanish government’s resolution in the courts because she deems it arbitrary.

Spain’s official gazette on Thursday published the Health Ministry order that gives the country’s 19 regions two days to implement limits on social gatherings and shops’ opening hours, and restrict trips in and out of any large cities that have recorded a two-week infection rate of 500 cases per 100,000 residents.

Countrywide, only Madrid and nine of its suburban towns met the criteria as of Thursday.

Spain’s central government and regional officials in Madrid have been at odds for weeks over how to respond to the pandemic while the spread of the virus in the Spanish capital surged to the highest level in Europe’s second wave of infections.

The centre-right Madrid government has resisted the stricter measures in the city of 3.3 million and its suburbs for fears of damaging the economy. Regional chief Isabel Diaz Ayuso also claims that Spain’s national left-wing coalition is targeting Madrid for political reasons and disregarding her efforts to contain the spread of the virus.

has reported 86,821 new coronaviruses cases and another 1,181 fatalities, making September its worst month of the pandemic.

The Health Ministry’s update raises India’s total caseload to more than 6.3 million and 98,678 dead. India added 41 per cent of its confirmed cases and 34 per cent of fatalities in September alone.

India is expected to become the pandemic’s worst-hit country within weeks, surpassing the United States, where more than 7.2 million people have been infected.

The government announced further easing of restrictions Oct. 15. Cinemas, theatres and multiplexes can open with up to half of seating capacity, and swimming pools can also be used by athletes in training.

The government also said India’s 28 states can decide on reopening of schools and coaching institutions gradually after Oct. 15. However, the students will have the option of attending online classes.


Source: cbc.ca

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