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Pandemic to redistribute international student flows



Universities in the UK and US look set to lose ground among international students, thanks to their countries’ responses to the coronavirus pandemic. Anglosphere nations which had better records containing the virus are likely to benefit from this, with a new report suggesting Canada, New Zealand and Australia are in line for a windfall of foreign enrolments.

Having enjoyed a boom in funding thanks to the marketisation of higher education, a huge number of universities across England and Wales have been placed under major financial stress by the Covid-19 lock-down. Mass redundancies and attacks on staff pay and conditions are reportedly on the cards at many institutions, as they prepare for a funding shortfall of £2.5 billion in the next academic year.

According to one study, performed by consultant London Economics for the University and College Union (UCU), the lion’s share of this drop will come from a massive reduction in the number of international students – who pay inflated tuition fees in the UK – arriving in the system. An estimated 47% drop in international student numbers will cost the university sector £1.5 billion – and coupled with a fall in domestic intake, this could jeopardise 60,000 jobs across the UK.

Similarly, Ireland’s seven universities are currently facing a major funding crisis, as factors such as the collapse of international student fee income, rental of on-campus accommodation and commercial revenues will cost the universities €374 million in the 2020 and 2021 financial years. The Irish Universities Association predicts that the loss in fee income from international students alone will be €181 million.

Pandemic to redistribute international student flows

Not every country in the higher education Anglosphere  looks set to be hit hard however; as with any financial crisis, there are also beneficiaries. An analysis by Big Four professional services firm EY has predicted that New Zealand will increase its share of globally mobile students by 1% – around 10,000 additional enrolments – thanks to its rapid suppression of the coronavirus. Better still, Australia, which has also largely contained the epidemic, will increase its share by 2%.

Synthesising findings from surveys of more than 40,000 prospective international students by groups including IDP Connect and the British Council, EY’s study painted a generally upbeat picture of international student flows, in spite of the Covid-19 pandemic’s duration. New international student enrolments will remain at 1.1 million or more for the next three years, even if coronavirus’ effects persist half a decade.

As reported by Times Higher Education, EY’s report also stated that while only about 330,000 internationals are studying in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the US and UK in 2020 – a fall from 1.09 million in 2019 – this is largely due to deferrals by students unable to travel to their universities from home amid the lock-down. As recent survey results suggest that only around 5% of such students said they would give up their international studies, 2021 will see up to 1.85 million people starting degrees in foreign countries, as deferred students resume their academic activity.

Meanwhile, as new students look to find a country which suits their academic needs, as well as a relatively secure environment, the report says that the big winner will be Canada. The country is expected to capture an extra 6% share of the global international education market, largely at the expense of the US, which is perceived to have handled the pandemic very poorly. At the same time, Australia looks set to gain 2%, and New Zealand 1%, as Chinese students who EY says are more “cautious about their health” consider alternatives to the UK.

While Australia, New Zealand and Canada look set to eat into the international student market share of the UK and US – whose respective efforts to curb the spread of Covid-19 have been roundly criticised at home and abroad – the UK may still prove resilient thanks to its attempts to forge trade links with India. According to EY, interest from Indian students in April was higher than a year earlier – notwithstanding Covid-19 – because of the British government’s liberalisation of post-study work rules.

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Today’s coronavirus news: 2 City of Toronto workers at Parks, Forestry & Recreation test positive; 8 cases identified among thousands of people who attended anti-racism rallies in Calgary, Edmonton





  • 7:15 p.m.: 8 cases identified from anti-racism rallies in Alberta

  • 6:27 p.m.: Canada, U.S. expected to extend cross-border travel ban

  • 1 p.m. Toronto warns of drastic cuts without aid

The latest coronavirus news from Canada and around the world Tuesday. This file will be updated throughout the day. Web links to longer stories if available.

10 p.m.: Two City of Toronto workers in the Parks, Forestry & Recreation department have tested positive for COVID-19.

In a press release issued Tuesday evening, the City said it was made aware of the employees’ diagnoses earlier in the afternoon.

The workers were exposed to the virus sometime between July 6 and 10, the City said. The employees have been advised to self-isolate for 14 days by Toronto Public Health.

The City said that no children in CampTO programs, which began Monday, have been directly exposed to the employees.

The employees have been advised to self-isolate for 14 days by Toronto Public Health, the City said.

Through contact tracing, the city also identified 23 other employees who have been in contact with the two workers. All of them were advised to get tested and self-isolate for 14 days, the City said.

The City said it is in the process of advising families, employees, the union and the public of these cases “as a matter of public transparency.”

Toronto Public Health advises that the risk of contracting COVID-19 for children and families at this CampTO program is very low.

9:25 p.m.: As gyms and fitness studios outside of Toronto prepare to open Friday, and those in the city look ahead for their turn, the owners of small studios say it will be impossible for many to reopen with the current limitations and lack of support.

Stage 3 of Ontario’s reopening allows indoor gatherings of up to 50 people with two-metre physical distancing still in effect.

But gym and studio owners say operating at a significantly reduced capacity with little federal financial support might not be feasible and many may choose to stay closed or shut their doors for good.

Read the full story from the Star’s Rosa Saba.

9 p.m.: Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced 13 new COVID-19 cases in B.C., bringing the total number diagnosed to 3,128. That was followed by 62 cases announced Monday over a three-day period.

She said the recent rise in cases is due to more people socializing when they need to recommit to the basics of keeping transmission low, including washing hands and gathering in small numbers.

“This is what is going to get us through the next year,” she said, adding she’s spoken with restaurant owners and employees who say some people are arriving in groups of 20, which would increase the risk of the virus spreading.

“People need to be on their best behaviour,” she said. “It’s for your safety as well as the people who work there.”

Anyone concerned about the high number of visitors to bars or restaurants should contact public health officials, Henry said.

8:15 p.m.: He’s doing his best to qualify as an “underground” artist.

Banksy made his mark on the London Underground, dipping into the subway with a pile of paint to coat a car with rats engaging in coronavirus-themed behaviors.

On Tuesday, the elusive English street artist — whose identity is studiously kept secret from the broader public — shared a video on Instagram showing the tube as it turned into his canvas.

Banksy dressed as a street cleaner, clad in white and bright orange with goggles and blue gloves.

In the tagged car, an unmasked rat sneezes specks onto a window. Another rodent dispenses hand sanitizer.

“If you don’t mask — you don’t get,” Banksy captioned the post.

Banksy often draws rats. He once coated his own bathroom with them.

At the end of the clip, the car doors close, and a painted sentiment blaring in blue on the wall outside the train — “I GET LOCKDOWN” —is replaced with lettering painted on the closing car doors.


7:15 p.m.: Eight COVID-19 cases have been identified among thousands of people who attended recent anti-racism rallies in Calgary and Edmonton.

Alberta’s chief medical health officer, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, says the outcome could have been worse had so many people at the events not been wearing masks.

Hinshaw says she’s concerned about the rise in new cases in recent weeks, and that people might be starting to tune out public health messages urging the use of masks, hand-washing and physical distancing.

Alberta found 86 new cases of the virus out of nearly 6,000 tests done on Monday.

There were also two new deaths, one of which was linked to an outbreak at Edmonton’s Misericordia Community Hospital.

Hinshaw also says she was disturbed to hear about businesses turning away members of the Siksika Nation east of Calgary, where there are nine active COVID-19 cases.

The First Nation’s leadership have acted quickly, transparently and proactively to control the spread of the virus among its 7,500 members, Hinshaw said.

“When the result of that prompt and transparent action is stigma against their members, it sends a message against transparency and risks discouraging people from being tested or co-operating with public health,” she said Tuesday.

“The members of the Siksika First Nation deserve better than that. All Albertans of every heritage deserve better than that.”

6:36 p.m.: Premier Doug Ford is hitting the campaign trail, but he’s ruling out an early election call to cash in on a bump in the polls over his government’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In an interview with the Star on Tuesday, Ford was asked if his province-wide summer tour is to set the stage for a snap vote this fall.

“No, not at all,” the premier said from Waterloo. “We’re going to year four.”

That means the June 2022 election will go ahead as planned.

Read the full story from the Star’s Robert Benzie.

6:27 p.m.: Canada and the United States are now widely expected to extend their mutual ban on non-essential cross-border travel as COVID-19 destroys President Donald Trump’s hopes for a quick end to America’s public-health nightmare.

The Canada-U.S. border has been closed to “discretionary” travel like vacations and shopping trips since the pandemic took hold of the continent in mid-March, a rolling 30-day agreement that’s currently set to expire July 21.

Officials on both sides of the border who are familiar with the ongoing talks, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss matters not yet public, say another extension until late August is all but inevitable, thanks to a towering wave of new COVID-19 cases that’s swamping efforts to restore a modicum of normality in the U.S.

New York Rep. Brian Higgins, one of several members of Congress from northern states keen to see a plan for reopening the border, expressed dismay Tuesday at news he called disappointing but hardly surprising.

Recent calls from Higgins and others for a plan to start easing border restrictions have been greeted with social-media scorn and derision in Canada, where recent polls make clear the idea of allowing entry to Americans any time soon is a non-starter.

The novel coronavirus has been particularly resurgent in southern states like Florida, Texas, Georgia and Louisiana, where businesses tried to reopen early, contrary to the advice of public health officials, and the wearing of face masks became a partisan issue.

6 p.m.: As of 5 p.m. Tuesday, Ontario’s regional health units are reporting a total of 38,966 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19, including 2,761 deaths, according to the Star’s latest count.

The rate of new infections in Ontario has fallen sharply over the last two months and has remained low so far in July.

Over the last seven days, the province’s 34 health units have reported an average of 127 new infections per day — well down from a sustained peak of nearly 600 cases per day, seen in late April.

Tuesday’s total, up 91 cases in 24 hours, does not include any new reports from Toronto, which has switched to updating just three days a week.

Meanwhile, another two new fatal cases were reported Tuesday, both in Peel Region; Amid the worst of the province’s epidemic, the health units reported as many as 94 deaths in a single day.

Earlier Tuesday, the province reported 137 patients are currently hospitalized with COVID-19, including 30 in an intensive care unit, of whom 21 are on a ventilator — numbers that are themselves near the lowest the province has reported since first publishing hospitalization data in early April.

The province says its data is accurate to 4 p.m. the previous day. The province also cautions its latest count of total deaths — 2,723 — may be incomplete or out of date due to delays in the reporting system, saying that in the event of a discrepancy, “data reported by (the health units) should be considered the most up to date.”

The Star’s count includes some patients reported as “probable” COVID-19 cases, meaning they have symptoms and contacts or travel history that indicate they very likely have the disease, but have not yet received a positive lab test.

5:55 p.m.: In another rebuke of China, President Donald Trump on Tuesday signed legislation mandating sanctions for Chinese officials involved in Beijing’s crackdown in Hong Kong and issued an executive order that ends U.S. preferential treatment for Hong Kong.

The two actions are part of the Trump administration’s offensive against China for what he calls unfair treatment by the rising Asian superpower, which hid details about the human-to-human transition of the cornoavirus. The almost daily administration broadsides against China come as Trump is being criticized for the surge in COVID-19 cases in the United States and as he works to portray his expected Democratic challenger, former Vice-President Joe Biden, as weak on China.

U.S.-China relations are at a low ebb. Since the two nations signed phase one of a trade deal, the talks are currently stalled with virtually no hope of restarting before the November election.

4:30 p.m.: Federal opposition parties are demanding to know why the Liberal government created a $900-million program to help students find volunteer positions rather than putting the much-needed funds into an existing summer jobs program.

The call for answers comes as the government tries to chart a way forward for the new Canada Student Services Grant, which has been in limbo after WE Charity withdrew from administering the program amid controversy over its links to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his family.

The Liberals have billed the grant program as a way to reward tens of thousands of students who want to help with the COVID-19 pandemic and can’t find paid work. Participants were told they could earn up to $5,000 toward their education costs by volunteering the maximum 500 hours.

Opposition parties say the Liberals could have accomplished the same task without controversy by putting the money into the Canada Summer Jobs program, through which thousands of positions for students are subsidized by the federal government every year.

4:21 p.m.: Manitoba’s 13-day streak without new COVID-19 infections ended Tuesday as health officials reported five additional cases, including that of an airline passenger.

The individual was on a WestJet flight from Winnipeg to Calgary on June 27 and on a return flight on July 2. All passengers on those flights are being asked to monitor themselves for symptoms, the Health Department said.

Investigations into how the five contracted the novel coronavirus are continuing.

Even with the new cases, Manitoba remains among the provinces with the lowest infection rates, with 330 confirmed and probable cases. No one was in hospital with the virus as of Tuesday and five cases were active.

The Progressive Conservative government has relied on the low numbers to reopen most businesses and relax many restrictions on public gatherings in recent weeks.

3:47 p.m.: Canada’s deputy public health chief says going inside a bar to have a drink with friends remains a high-risk activity in the era of COVID-19.

Dr. Howard Njoo’s reminder comes days before Ontario will allow indoor dining and drinking at restaurants and bars in much of the province.

Ontario’s decision, which takes effect Friday, comes against the protests of parents who fear it will lead to a second wave of COVID-19 that will keep schools from reopening in September.

Njoo would not link school reopenings to the risks in reopening bars but says young people often congregate in bars for long periods of time in close proximity and any indoor space is a higher risk for transmission than outside.

That has proven to be true in Quebec, which is now enforcing a provincewide mask order indoors and rolling back bar hours and patron limits after more than 30 cases were linked to nine bars in Montreal in recent days.

Premier Doug Ford says the decision to let bars and restaurants open for indoor use is a necessary economic move to save thousands of small, family-owned businesses from going belly-up.

3:40 p.m.: Montreal health officials say they have seen a rise in the percentage of positive results from COVID-19 testing over the past several days.

Positive cases are now about three per cent of the total, compared to about one per cent over the past few weeks, Dr. David Kaiser of Montreal’s regional health authority said Tuesday.

That percentage translates to about 10 to 15 cases per day, Kaiser explained, a relatively low positivity rate compared to the height of the pandemic, when authorities were conducting more tests.

“But if it’s sustained and if we don’t feel that we can get on top of where transmission is happening and stop it, that’s what’s more alarming,” Kaiser told reporters.

Health officials over the weekend called on anyone who visited or worked in a bar since the beginning of the month to get tested for COVID-19.

On Saturday, officials reported eight COVID-19 cases tied to Montreal-area bars. By Tuesday, Kaiser said that number jumped to a minimum of 30 cases connected to nine bars.

3:06 p.m. British Columbia’s government is predicting what was a balanced budget will balloon to a deficit of $12.5 billion because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Finance Minister Carole James says the numbers are staggering with a predicted a GDP decline of 6.8 per cent and retail sales down 15.9 per cent.

James says B.C. has lost over 235,000 jobs since February.

The B.C. government has already tabled legislation giving itself room for three years of deficits and James says that will be re-examined each year.

2:50 p.m. Riverdale Farm and High Park Zoo are among free Toronto city attractions newly reopened — with limits — after being closed for months to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

Mayor John Tory announced the reopenings Tuesday at the 7.5-acre working farm in Cabbagetown. The attraction, with a changing array of cows, pigs and other animals, is popular with children. Tory calls Riverdale Farm his favourite place in the city, citing visits first with his children and later his grandchildren.

“The reopening of the Riverdale Farm, High Park Zoo and conservatories in our city will provide families an opportunity to enjoy some of our city’s most treasured attractions,” the mayor said in a statement.

Only outdoor areas of both Riverdale Farm and the High Park Zoo, the oldest in the city, are open to the public for now. Signs notify visitors of physical distancing requirements. Washrooms and drinking fountains are getting extra cleanings.

Riverdale Farm opens daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. High Park Zoo is open from 7 a.m. to dusk.

Read more from the Star’s City Hall Bureau Chief David Rider: Riverdale Farm, High Park Zoo reopen — with limits

2:40 p.m. Premier Doug Ford says his government is taking steps to prepare for a potential second wave of COVID-19 in the fall.

Ford has provided no details of the plan, but says the province’s health system is better off now than in the early stages of the pandemic.

The premier made the comments during a visit to a Cambridge, Ont., business that is manufacturing personal protective equipment.

Ontario’s hospitals are warning the province it must prepare the health-care system for a potential second wave of COVID-19 that could hit during flu season.

The Ontario Hospital Association says the government must develop a contingency plan to ensure regional service and staffing plans are in place ahead of a possible surge.

OHA president Anthony Dale says if a potential second wave collides with flu season, it will add significant pressures to hospital operations.

The call comes in reaction to the government’s decision to move most of Ontario to Stage 3 of reopening later this week.

Dale said moving to Stage 3 will represent a heightened risk for the province and it must be prepared to respond.

2 p.m. Canada’s deputy public health officer says the federal government would be having “a different conversation” with the Toronto Blue Jays about playing regular-season games at Rogers Centre if the United States and Canada were at similar stages in controlling the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dr. Howard Njoo said Tuesday that discussions are ongoing between the Canadian government and the Major League Baseball team, but he said the issue of having both the Blue Jays and American-based teams continually crossing the U.S.-Canada border complicates the idea of hosting regular-season games.

Njoo said the federal, Ontario and Toronto governments were comfortable with the measures the Blue Jays put in place to safely train as a team at Rogers Centre.

Read More: COVID-19 situation in U.S. complicates Blue Jays plans to play at home, official says

1:55 p.m. Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister has written to his counterparts across the country, encouraging them to pressure the federal government to change the Canada Emergency Response Benefit.

The program offers money to people who have lost work because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but Pallister says it has become a disincentive for people to return to work.

He says instead of cutting off benefits after people earn $1,000 a month, the federal government should reduce the benefit gradually as people’s incomes rise.

Pallister says he hopes Ottawa will agree to change the program if other premiers join his call.

Manitoba has among the lowest rates of COVID-19 in the country, and is launching a new tourism campaign to attract visitors from the other western provinces.

Pallister says precautions will continue during the pandemic, but the economy cannot remain shut down.

1:28 p.m. A Michigan sheriff’s deputy on Tuesday fatally shot a man suspected of stabbing another man who had challenged him about not wearing a mask at a convenience store, police said.

The shooting occurred in Eaton County, southwest of Lansing, about 30 minutes after the stabbing at a Quality Dairy store, state police Lt. Brian Oleksyk said.

A sheriff’s deputy spotted the man’s vehicle in a residential neighbourhood and shot him when he tried to attack her with a knife, Oleksyk said.

Sean Ruis, 43, of Grand Ledge, who worked at the Michigan Department of Transportation, died at a hospital. He was suspected of stabbing a 77-year-old man inside the store when he was confronted about not wearing a mask, Oleksyk said.

The stabbing victim was in stable condition at a hospital. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has ordered people to wear masks in stores to reduce the risk of spreading the coronavirus.

The decision about whether to wear a mask in public for some has become a political statement, and there have been other instances of violent encounters over masks. In May, a security guard at a Family Dollar store in Flint was fatally shot after denying entry to a customer without a mask.

1:19 p.m. The government of Saskatchewan says two recent flights into Regina carried passengers who later tested positive for COVID-19.

In a post on its website, the government says Air Canada Flight 7947 from Toronto on July 4 and WestJet Flight 296 from Calgary on July 6 had confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus on board.

The province doesn’t have information to offer on the affected seats on the WestJet flight, but says anyone sitting in rows 14 to 20 on the Air Canada flight may have been exposed.

The government is urging passengers to self-monitor for symptoms for 14 days after arriving at their destination.

People who think they may have been exposed to the virus on those flights can use the Public Health Agency of Canada’s self-assessment tool to gauge symptoms.

Saskatchewan also offers a self-assessment tool.

As of Monday, the province had 90 active COVID-19 infections with three people in hospital.

There have been a total of 871 cases, 766 people have recovered and 15 have died.

1:01 p.m. Health officials in British Columbia’s Okanagan region say the number of positive COVID-19 tests linked to an outbreak in Kelowna has grown to 13.

Interior Health says six more people have tested positive and their activities are linked to events that occurred in Kelowna’s waterfront district between June 25 and July 9.

Those are in addition to seven people who visited the city earlier this month and later tested positive for COVID-19, triggering the health authority’s alert.

Health Minister Adrian Dix says possible exposures that occurred in the waterfront district are believed to stem from private parties held around Canada Day.

That has prompted a statement from Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran urging visitors to respect the advice of provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and use appropriate “travel manners.”

Basran says visitors will come to Kelowna because travel restrictions are not in place, but he says people must take the health risk seriously and respect physical distancing rules and proper hygiene such as hand washing.

On Monday, health official announced 62 new cases of COVID-19 in B.C. since Friday, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the province to 3,115.

1 p.m. Toronto’s projected $1.9-billion COVID-19 deficit has been reduced by $513.7 million in savings on wages, fuel, and services like crossing guards for school children, but unless other governments step up with emergency funding, drastic cuts to programs and services will have to begin within weeks, Mayor John Tory said Tuesday.

Speaking at a press conference at city hall, Tory pointed out that Toronto and mayors in other cities have been lobbying for emergency funding from other levels of government since April. He called on the federal government to launch a national program for cities hard hit by costs incurred fighting the pandemic.

Toronto has experienced both a surge in costs for things like procuring additional shelter space for the homeless, supplying personal protective equipment to staff on the front lines, and overtime. Meanwhile, it has experienced a drop in revenue from services like the TTC.

“We are working to find savings wherever we can,” said Tory.

Without funding from the provincial and the federal governments, Toronto will have to make deep cuts to programming or significantly raise taxes, Tory has said.

On Tuesday, he said cuts will have to start by the end of summer if they are to have the required impact on the city budget.

Read more from the Star’s Francine Kopun: ‘We don’t have the luxury of time’: Toronto to make drastic cuts to services within weeks without help from Queen’s Park or Ottawa, mayor warns

12:43 p.m. New Brunswick is reporting one new case of COVID-19 in the province.

Public health officials said today the case involves a person in their 20s in the Moncton region.

Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Jennifer Russell, says the case is related to travel outside the Atlantic provinces and the person is self-isolating.

She says each new case is a reminder the novel coronavirus can present itself at any time.

There have now been 167 cases of COVID-19 in New Brunswick, 163 of which are considered recovered.

New Brunswick has reported a total of two deaths attributed to the virus, and there are two active cases.

12:36 p.m. Ontario’s hospitals are warning the province it must prepare the health-care system for a potential second wave of COVID-19 this fall.

The Ontario Hospital Association says the government must develop a contingency plan to ensure regional service and staffing plans are in place ahead of a possible surge.

OHA president Anthony Dale says a potential second wave will likely collide with flu season, adding significant pressures to hospital operations.

The call comes in reaction to the government’s decision to move most of Ontario to Stage 3 of reopening later this week.

Dale says moving to Stage 3 will represent a heightened risk for the province and it must be prepared to respond.

12:24 p.m. Florida confirmed 132 coronavirus deaths Tuesday, a one-day record for the state.

That’s a 10% increase from the previous record set Thursday, but likely includes deaths from Saturday or Sunday not reported until Monday.

The rolling seven-day average is 81 deaths per day, currently the second highest in the U.S. behind Texas and double the 39 average two weeks ago. Doctors had been predicting a surge in deaths because Florida’s daily reported infection cases have gone from about 2,000 a day to more than 12,000 in the past month.

That is partly driven by increased testing. However, the percentage of tests coming back positive has increased from 6% a month ago to more than 18 per cent.

When COVID-19 was ravaging New York three months ago, it recorded 799 deaths on April 9 and had a top seven-day average of 763 deaths on April 14. It now has one of the lowest death rates in the country per capita, recording 10 per day during the last week.

12:24 p.m. More than 300 students and tutors have tested positive for coronavirus at high schools in the West African nation of Ghana.

Health officials confirm the Accra Girls Senior High School has been hardest hit, with 55 students and staff contracting the virus. Its campus remains under quarantine. Parents have thronged the school protesting the government’s refusal to grant them access to their children.

Classes resumed June 22 for senior high school students, and education officials maintain infection rates at schools are still comparable to those for the general population.

Ghana has 139 confirmed deaths from COVID-19 and confirmed more than 25,000 total infections since the pandemic began.

12:24 p.m. Some 41 workers at Kenya’s largest maternity hospital have tested positive for the coronavirus.

Ministry of health Director General Dr. Patrick Amoth says 19 cases involve health care workers and 22 are hospital support staff.

He says those infected are asymptomatic and undergoing medical care under home-based isolation. Three mothers at the facility also tested positive for COVID-19, but Amoth says no babies have been affected.

He says services at the hospital will continue and measures have been put in place to protect the health workers and the public visiting the hospital.

Nurses Association of Kenya President Alfred Obengo says infection control prevention measures at the hospital weren’t followed.

The first doctor in Kenya to die of COVID-19 was buried Monday, amid calls by health professionals for better insurance coverage and compensation. Kenya has recorded 10,791 coronavirus cases and 202 confirmed deaths.

12:24 p.m. Italy has made contingency plans to transfer recently arrived migrants with coronavirus to military hospitals after their presence in a southern seaside town sparked protests among some residents.

Italy’s interior ministry says surveillance measures were beefed up in the apartment building in the Calabrian town of Amantea to ensure the quarantine is respected among migrants who tested positive for the virus.

Other migrants who tested positive after a rescue at sea have been quarantined on a ferry offshore.

12:24 p.m. A group of Florida teachers and parents took part in a “motor march” in Jacksonville to promote the reopening of schools “when it’s safe.”

Two grassroots groups — the Duval Schools Pandemic Solutions Team and the Duval For a Safe Return to Campus — say they want the school district to put certain regulations in place until a vaccine for COVID-19 is available.

The 5-mile drive ended at the Duval County Public School headquarters just before the board’s meeting.

Marla Bryant, co-founder of the Duval Schools Pandemic Solutions Team, told the Florida Times-Union the group’s primary concerns include requiring masks in classrooms, keeping desks 6-feet apart, rigorous cleaning and disinfecting at each school and a full-time distance learning option for all grade levels.

Previously, the district was criticized for not offering a full-time distance learning option for K-12 students who wanted to stay enrolled in their existing school. Florida’s Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis has said schools should reopen as planned next month.

12:24 p.m. Coronavirus infections are rising again in the Netherlands, with the country’s public health institute reporting 534 confirmed positive tests in the last week, an increase of 102 from the previous week.

The Dutch government has relaxed many of the restrictions to rein in the spread of the virus when it nearly swamped hospital intensive care units in late March and April.

The government is still calling on people to adhere to social distancing measures and stay home and get tested if they develop symptoms of COVID-19.

The health institute reported eight confirmed COVID-19 deaths and 16 people hospitalized in the last week. The confirmed Dutch death toll is 6,135.

12:24 p.m. Bosnia is reopening its border for the citizens of the European Union after four months.

Prime Minister Zoran Tegeltija says the EU citizens must provide a negative test on the coronavirus to be allowed into the country. The test must not be older than 48 hours.

Bosnia and the rest of the Balkans have faced a spike in the virus cases in the last weeks after relaxing lockdown measures during the outbreak in spring.

Bosnia is not on the list of countries allowed into the EU after the bloc recently reopened its borders. The government initially said it, too, would not reopen for EU citizens.

This has triggered protests in the southern town of Mostar and elsewhere by people who are dependent on tourism and have been hit hard in the pandemic.

12:24 p.m. Serbia’s health minister is asking people to avoid protesting against the country’s restrictive measures to combat a surge in coronavirus cases.

For over than a week, thousands of people across Serbia have been defying a ban on public gatherings of more than 10 people to demonstrate against the Serbian president’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The protests started July 7 when President Aleksandar Vucic announced the capital of Belgrade would be placed under a new three-day lockdown following a second wave of confirmed coronavirus infections.

His government ended the plan and introduced a 10-person ban, but that hasn’t stopped the protests. Vucic and health officials say the mass gatherings have contributed to the virus surge.

Serbia’s Health Minister Zlatibor Loncar says in the past 24 hours, its recorded 344 new cases and 13 deaths in the country. That makes a total of more than 4,500 confirmed cases and 418 deaths.

12:06 p.m. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo added four more states to New York’s quarantine list on Tuesday as he sought to contain the spread of COVID-19 from regions of the country where infection rates are growing.

The addition of Minnesota, New Mexico, Ohio and Wisconsin means that travellers from 22 states will be required to quarantine for 14 days upon entering New York.

The list of states that meet New York’s travel advisory’s metrics has continued to grow each week as coronavirus cases continue to spike nationwide.

Last month, the governors of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut announced a joint travel advisory that applies to any person arriving from a state with a positive test rate higher than 10 per 100,000 residents over a seven-day rolling average or a state with a 10% or higher positive rate over a seven-day rolling average.

Cuomo has warned that New York’s dropping number of infections could be reversed if out-of-state travellers lead to a rise in infections.

The state reported just five deaths of COVID-19 patients in hospitals and nursing homes Monday, but the percentage of people testing positive for the coronavirus ticked up to 1.5% from a level of about 1% where it had been since mid-June, and Cuomo said gatherings over the Fourth of July weekend were to blame for some of the new infections.

11:55 a.m. Quebec is reporting five additional deaths from COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, bringing the province’s total to 5,633.

The province also reported today another 109 novel coronavirus infections, for a total of 56,730, with 26,025 cases considered recovered.

Hospitalizations continue to decline, with 10 fewer patients being treated for the disease compared with the previous day, for a total of 295.

Among those in hospital, 21 are in intensive care, the same number as Monday.

The government says it conducted 9,072 COVID-19 tests July 12, the last day for which data is available.

Quebec Premier Francois Legault announced Monday that mask-wearing will be mandatory in all public indoor places beginning Saturday.

11:48 a.m. Another essential worker has tested positive for COVID-19 on Prince Edward Island.

Chief medical officer of health Dr. Heather Morrison says the man in his 30s is not a health-care worker, but she did not disclose the nature of his work.

She says he recently returned from international travel and is recovering while self-isolating at home.

The latest case follows two cases in recent days at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Charlottetown involving a health-care worker and a patient in the emergency department.

More than 100 patients and 125 staff were identified through contact-tracing, and Morrison says all tests done so far have come back negative.

She says some people who have been in contact with the health-care worker in the last few days may be tested a second time.

11:14 a.m. Sources say Canada and the United States are likely to agree to extend their mutual ban on non-essential travel between the two countries for another 30 days.

The Canada-U.S. border has been closed to so-called “discretionary” travel like vacations and shopping trips since the COVID-19 pandemic took hold of the continent in mid-March, an agreement that’s set to expire July 21.

Officials familiar with the ongoing talks, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss matters not yet public, say another extension until Aug. 21 is all but inevitable.

News of the likely extension, initially reported by the Globe and Mail newspaper, comes with COVID-19 resurgent in the U.S., particularly in southern states where businesses reopened early and the wearing of face masks has become a partisan issue.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau hinted at the possibility Monday after a phone call with U.S. President Donald Trump.

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Trudeau says Canada is closely monitoring what he calls a “constantly evolving” situation, but won’t say whether officials have discussed extending the border restrictions beyond the standard 30-day window.

11 a.m. Much of Ontario is moving into the third stage of reopening as the number of new COVID-19 cases remain steadily low.

Health Minister Christine Elliott said there were 111 new cases reported Tuesday with one death.

“Locally, 28 of Ontario’s 34 public health units are reporting five or fewer cases, with fully 21 of them reporting no new cases at all,” Elliott said on Twitter.

“With 122 more resolved, there are 11 fewer active cases in the province,” she said.

There are 137 patients in hospital with COVID-19 with 39 in intensive care units. Of those, 21 are on ventilators.

Read the full story from the Star’s Robert Benzie: Ontario reporting 111 new COVID-19 cases, 1 death

10:45 a.m. As the federal and provincial governments race to ramp up testing for COVID-19, a Richmond Hill company is breaking ground on a rapid, cheap and easy-to-use device to detect infection.

LooK SPOT, a portable rapid point-of-care antigen test device, is the brainchild of Laipac Technology Inc., a leading GPS electrical engineering company based in Richmond Hill.

The test, which is expected to roll out in September, will be able to detect proteins of the new coronavirus from a nasal swab sample in less than five minutes with 95 per cent accuracy, according to Laipac.

“It will be the start of something big,” Diego Lai, founder and CEO of Laipac Technology, said on July 8. “We have a lot of faith in this and hope it would become something that would help a lot of people.”

With no prior training required, the test is based on a technique called lateral flow immunoassay (LFIA) —commonly used for home pregnancy tests — which only takes a few minutes to produce a result after a sample comes in contact with the LFIA strip, according to the company’s website.

10:33 a.m. A union representing Ontario health-care workers says it’s planning a series of escalating political and legal actions, including brief work interruptions, in response to the province potentially extending its emergency powers.

The Ontario Council of Hospital Unions, a division of the Canadian Union of Public Employees, says it’s pushing back against the province’s emergency order because it suspends their collective bargaining agreement.

Union president Michael Hurley says his members are going to start by sending their MPPs emails this week, explaining how the order damages their workplace rights.

The union says it’s also planning legal challenges and will hold rallies outside of its workplaces on Friday.

Members of the union will vote on Monday night to see if it will be necessary to have a brief work stoppage the next day.

Hurley says that while the emergency orders were acceptable in the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s now a detriment to health-care workers and the emergency is over in most of the province.

A spokeswoman for the union confirmed on Monday that 98 per cent of its membership voted in favour of political action over the weekend.

10:04 a.m. British Health Secretary Matt Hancock has confirmed the wearing of masks will be mandatory in shops and supermarkets in England. The requirement is expected to take effect July 24.

The decision follows weeks of discussion by the government about their value during the coronavirus pandemic.

“We are not out of the woods yet, so let us all do our utmost to keep this virus cornered and enjoy summer safely,” he said. Anyone not wearing a face covering can be fined 100 pounds ($125) and shops can refuse entry to anyone failing to comply.

10:04 a.m. German Chancellor Angela Merkel is signalling she favours people in hard-hit counties staying in their areas after major coronavirus outbreaks.

Germany has loosened many restrictions on public life during the past 2 1/2 months, but local authorities will consider new restrictions if the number of infections in an area exceeds 50 per 100,000 residents during a one-week period.

Last month, a partial lockdown was imposed on the Guetersloh region of western Germany after an outbreak at a slaughterhouse. Many other German regions refused to allow people from the area to stay unless they could produce a recent negative test.

Merkel asks, “isn’t it better for the hot spot itself to say, you can only travel anywhere if you have a negative test … than if we check at every hotel in Germany whether someone from a particular county is there?”

She says it’s being discussed with state governments, which are responsible in Germany for lockdown measures.

10:04 a.m. Regional authorities in Andalusia, on the southern Spanish coast, approved a package of measures making face masks mandatory in all open or enclosed spaces, including beaches and swimming pools.

People can take off their mask only to swim. Fines can reach 100 euros ($114).

Other exceptions are inside family homes or when eating, and for children under 6 or people with health problems.

Andalusia, home to such historic cities as Seville, Cordoba and Granada, is also famed for its beaches. Like the rest of Spain, it is trying to control outbreaks of the coronavirus after ending a national lockdown.

10:04 a.m. French President Emmanuel Macron says he wants to require masks inside all indoor public spaces by Aug. 1.

In an interview with French television networks marking Bastille Day, Macron says “the best prevention” for the virus are masks, social distancing and hand washing.

Macron says France’s virus reproduction rate is inching past 1 again, meaning each infected person is infecting at least one other.

Many other European nations required masks in indoor public space when they started easing virus lockdowns. France took a more relaxed attitude, recommending but not requiring masks.

Recent rave parties in France and widespread backsliding on social distancing — even within Macron’s presidential palace and other government facilities — have raised concerns.

France has confirmed more than 30,000 virus deaths.

10:04 a.m. Israel’s Health Ministry says the country has confirmed 1,681 new coronavirus cases, a record high.

Israel was widely praised for taking swift action early in the pandemic by closing its borders and imposing other restrictions to contain the virus’s spread. But since reopening the economy and schools in May following a more than monthlong lockdown, the number of new cases has steadily increased.

Health Ministry Director General Hezi Levi says the government is making every effort to try to avoid another countrywide lockdown.

“A general lockdown is without a doubt one of the tools that we try our utmost to avoid reaching for,” Hezi told Israel Radio, but says it remained an option authorities are considering.

Israel has recorded a total of 41,235 cases of the coronavirus. The country currently has over 21,000 active cases and confirmed at least 368 Israelis deaths from COVID-19, according to the Health Ministry.

10:04 a.m. A semi-official Iranian news agency says Tehran’s governor has imposed new restrictions because of a spike in coronavirus cases, ordering mosques and several businesses closed for a week in the Iranian capital.

According to the Tasnim news agency, Anoushiravan Mohseni Bandpey, the governor, said the measures would apply to mosques and women’s beauty salons, gyms, swimming pools, cinemas and coffee shops.

The development comes after Iran has been seeing a surge in COVID-19 infections and deaths in recent weeks, including record numbers of deaths so far in the pandemic for the Middle Eastern country.

Health Ministry spokesperson Sima Sadat Lari says 179 more people died in Iran from the virus on Monday, bringing the country’s confirmed death toll to 13,211.

She says there were 2,521 new confirmed cases on Monday, more than half of which were hospitalized, bringing the overall number of infections to 262,173.

Iran is the regional hotspot for COVID-19, with the highest number of infections and deaths from the virus.

10:04 a.m. Austria is expanding a list of countries with banned flights to include six nations in the western Balkans, Romania, Bulgaria, Moldova and Egypt.

Austria currently bans flights from eight countries and one region of Italy. The Austria Press Agency reported that only the latter — Lombardy, the Italian region worst-hit by the coronavirus pandemic — is being removed from the list starting on Thursday.

The health ministry added 10 new countries in light of high coronavirus infection levels and kept the eight that were already on the list: Belarus, China, Britain, Iran, Portugal, Russia, Sweden and Ukraine. There are exceptions for flights bringing in freight, repatriated Austrians, medical caregivers or agricultural workers.

10:04 a.m. Africa’s coronavirus caseload has climbed above 600,000 as the pandemic on the 54-nation continent continues to pick up speed.

Africa surpassed the half-million case mark less than a week ago. The continent now has more than 610,000 confirmed cases. South Africa has the most cases on the continent, with more than 287,000.

South Africa’s public hospitals are already filling up, and the government on Sunday night reimposed a ban on alcohol sales to help free up hospital beds. The return of alcohol sales on June 1 was blamed for a surge in emergency admissions and an increase in the number of women and children killed.

Other countries struggling with shortages of medical equipment and personnel include Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country, which has more than 33,000 cases.

10:04 a.m. The authorities in Thailand are suggesting almost 1,900 people quarantine themselves and get tested for the coronavirus after a breakdown in screening allowed two foreigners who tested positive for the disease to pose a risk to public health.

The agency co-ordinating Thailand’s coronavirus response also announced it was rolling back regulations for admitting foreign visitors to tighten up procedures.

Taweesilp Visanuyothin, spokesman for the COVID-19 centre, said the agency was suggesting that 1,882 people whom a contact tracing app indicated may have crossed paths with an infected member of a visiting Egyptian military team self-isolate for 14 days and get themselves tested as soon as possible. Seven people already known to have had direct contact have already been quarantined.

Officials in the eastern province of Rayong closed several schools and a mall, sealed off part of the hotel where the Egyptians had stayed and gave free coronavirus tests for people who feared they may have had contact with the infected man.

The second case involved the infected 9-year-old daughter of a foreign diplomat whose family returned from Sudan and stayed in their condominium in Bangkok.

10:04 a.m. The official opening of the Dutch parliamentary year will happen without the traditional pomp and ceremony in September due to coronavirus restrictions.

The Hague municipality and the defence ministry says King Willem-Alexander’s traditional ride in an ornate horse-drawn carriage from a palace in the city to the parliament won’t happen and appealed to the public not to visit the city on Sept. 15.

Thousands of people usually flock to The Hague to line the route of the monarch’s coach ride to parliament.

The venue of the meeting of both houses of Dutch parliament has been changed from the historic Knights Hall to a church that is large enough to accommodate all 225 lawmakers with social distancing in place.

9:30 a.m. Premier Doug Ford is launching an election-style summer tour of Ontario as the province reopens after months of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Over the next eight weeks, he will be travelling to seven regions, stopping in 38 ridings, and covering nearly 5,000 kilometres to thank Ontarians and the many businesses across this province for stepping up and doing their part during COVID-19,” Ford’s office said Tuesday.

The premier will be in Cambridge on Tuesday afternoon at Eclipse Automation, a company that retooled its machines to manufacture N95 and surgical masks and other medical supplies.

He will then tour Challenger Motor Freight to “thank workers for continuing to operate throughout the pandemic, including bringing essential products across the U.S. border.”

Read the full story by the Star’s Robert Benzie

8:31 a.m. Pearson Airport in Toronto is eliminating 500 jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Greater Toronto Airports Authority announced Tuesday. That’s a workforce reduction of 27 per cent. The changes reflect a significant decrease in global air traffic, with passenger numbers at Pearson currently at operating at 1996 levels. The job reductions will be achieved through the elimination of unfilled positions, together with voluntary departures and layoffs.

8:05 a.m. Canadian trials have just begun for a prospective COVID-19 vaccine but its Quebec-based manufacturer is already downplaying its potential impact.

Dr. Bruce Clark, president and CEO of the biopharmaceutical company Medicago, cautions observers against holding unrealistic expectations that his product — or any of the numerous vaccines in development globally — will bring the pandemic to a screeching halt.

“Whatever vaccine we get in this first round — unless it’s a miracle — it’s not going to be perfect,” says Clark, whose company began trials for its proposed vaccine Monday in Quebec City.

“It’s going to have to undergo development, it’s going to take probably years to come up with an understanding of the right vaccine, the right approach. It’s not the panacea.

“To assume that we can have, in 18 months, the solution to a pandemic that comes around once in a generation, is naive.”

So much is still unknown about COVID-19, notes Clark, including how it may manifest during the flu season later this year.

He suspects a more likely scenario is that a vaccine will offer only part of the solution, along with new therapeutics and ongoing public health interventions.

Medicago’s first phase of clinical trials will test a plant-based product on 180 healthy men and women, aged 18 to 55.

The randomized, partially blinded study uses technology that does not involve animal products or live viruses like traditional methods.

Clark notes that vaccine developers typically use chicken eggs to propagate a virus, but Medicago uses recombinant technology involving the genetic sequence of a virus, with living plants as the host.

The resulting virus-like particles mimic the shape and dimensions of a virus, which allows the body to recognize them and spark an immune response.

Clark says the plant-based approach is significantly faster and offers more consistent results than egg-based or cell-based methods.

While it takes five to six months to propagate a virus in eggs, the plant-based technique requires just five to six weeks, he says.

“In a pandemic, something like COVID, if you’re able to cut that much time off development, you have a substantial impact on public health.”

7:46 a.m. The coronavirus pandemic is weighing heavily on the financial health of JPMorgan Chase, as America’s largest financial company set aside billions in the second quarter to cover potential losses from all the businesses and consumers who are unable to pay their debts due to the slumping economy.

The results offer a glimpse into how badly the pandemic is impacting the financial health of American consumers and businesses. Last quarter, when the coronavirus pandemic had only just begun, JPMorgan set aside nearly $8.3 billion (U.S.) to cover loan losses. The bank added additional $10.5 billion (U.S.) to those reserves this quarter.

The year-over-year decline was almost entirely due to the coronavirus pandemic. JPMorgan reported its highest quarterly revenue in its history, but those gains were overtaken by the money set aside to cover potentially bad loans.

Whether JPMorgan and the other big banks have set aside enough money to cover bad loans remains unclear, but the outlook does not look good.

The coronavirus pandemic is now in its fifth month in the U.S., with infections hitting records in several states and economies shutting down again. Enhanced unemployment benefits run out at the end of the month, and at this point many consumers are upward of 90 days past due on their debts.

“Despite some recent positive macroeconomic data and significant, decisive government action, we still face much uncertainty regarding the future path of the economy,” JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon said in a prepared statement.

JPMorgan is the first of the big six Wall Street banks to report its results this week, with Wells Fargo and Citigroup reporting on Tuesday as well. like JPMorgan, the other banks are expected to take significant losses on their loans this quarter due to the pandemic.

7:19 a.m. China is pushing harder to make territorial claims in the regional seas and even using the coronavirus pandemic to expand its influence and take strategic superiority, posing a greater threat to Japan and the region, Japan’s government said.

The report highlighting the government’s defence priorities was adopted by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Cabinet on Tuesday, less than a day after the Trump administration rejected outright nearly all of Beijing’s significant maritime claims in the South China Sea in a statement likely to deepen the U.S.-China rift.

The Abe government’s Defence White Paper 2020 highlights what are potential Chinese and North Korean threats as Japan tries to further increase its defence capability. Under Abe, Japan has steadily increased its defence budget and capability and purchased costly American arsenals.

Defence Minister Taro Kono recently scrapped the deployment of a pair of costly U.S. land-based missile intercepting systems due to technical issues, and Abe quickly announced his intention to revise Japan’s defence guidelines, possibly allowing Japan to go beyond its conventional defence-only role under the Japan-U.S. security alliance, including discussing a possibility of acquiring a preemptive strike capability.

The White Paper accused China of using propaganda, including spreading disinformation, about the spread of the coronavirus.

“The COVID-19 pandemic may expose and intensify strategic competition among countries intending to create international and regional orders more preferable to themselves and to expand their influence,” the report said. “We need to closely watch their move with serious concern affecting the national security.”

6:10 a.m. Britain’s government will demand people wear face coverings in shops as it seeks to clarify its message after weeks of prevarication amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock is expected to tell the House of Commons on Tuesday that anyone failing to comply with the order could face a fine. The order comes into effect on July 24, giving shops and the police time to prepare.

Many European nations, including Germany, Spain, Italy and Greece, already require masks to be worn in enclosed spaces.

Britain, which has reported one of the world’s highest numbers of coronavirus cases and deaths, had taken a more relaxed attitude, recommending masks but not requiring them — at least until now.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who in the spring spent a week in the hospital being treated for COVID-19, had not been seen in public in a mask until last week. On Monday morning, he urged people to wear them. Monday evening, his government announced it would be compulsory.

5:35 a.m.: Vice-President Mike Pence travels Tuesday to Louisiana, which has re-emerged as one of the nation’s hot spots for the coronavirus only months after seeming to contain its outbreak.

The Republican vice-president was scheduled to meet with Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards, members of the congressional delegation and state health officials to talk about the state’s response to the COVID-19 disease caused by the coronavirus.

Pence’s visit comes as Louisiana’s confirmed virus cases, percentage of positive tests and COVID-19 patient hospitalization rates are surging — worrying public health experts about the level of virus spread in a state that previously appeared successful in combating its outbreak.

“Louisiana has been on the radar, literally front and centre, of the White House Coronavirus Task Force since the very beginning. We’ve never come off of that radar,” Edwards said. “I think that’s a big reason why the vice-president chose to come to Baton Rouge and to Louisiana.”

5:32 a.m.: China said the number of people in treatment for COVID-19 in the country has fallen to just 297, with only three new cases of coronarvirus reported, all brought from outside the country.

No new deaths were announced, leaving the total at 4,634 out of 83,605 cases of the disease.

A pair of experts from the World Health Organization were in China on Monday to make arrangements for an investigation into how the pandemic may have spread after the virus was first detected in the central Chinese city of Wuhan late last year.

5:28 a.m.: Australia’s Queensland state is toughening the punishment for those who break coronavirus quarantine rules. Queensland Deputy Premier Steven Miles said the current fines for breaking a mandatory 14-day hotel quarantine for some visitors or lying about their whereabouts may not be a sufficient penalty.

The maximum penalty will now be a higher fine or up to six months’ imprisonment.

Queensland reopened its borders to all but Victoria state residents two weeks ago. Victoria is the centre of Australia’s recent outbreak, adding 270 new infections overnight to its more than 4,000 active cases.

5:25 a.m.: India’s number of coronavirus cases jumped by another 28,000 on Tuesday and are fast approaching 1 million.

The 28,498 cases reported in the past 24 hours took the national total to 906,752. Cases have jumped by 100,000 in four days.

The Health Ministry also reported another 553 deaths in the past 24 hours, taking total fatalities up to 23,727.

India has largely lifted its nationwide lockdown, and the virus has been spreading at a significant rate, prompting several big cities to impose partial lockdowns.

India is the third worst-affected country in terms of infections, only behind the United States and Brazil.

5:22 a.m.: Pakistan announced Tuesday it would resume vaccinations against polio next week, months after the drive against this crippling children’s disease was halted because the novel coronavirus had overwhelmed the country’s health system.

The anti-polio campaign would last three days, from next Monday, with the plan to have about 800,000 children vaccinated, the officials said. Police departments have received requests to ensure the safety of the polio workers.

5:20 a.m.: The British Columbia government is expected to give a financial update today on how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected its residents, businesses and the economy.

Finance Minister Carole James says the pandemic has created “profound” challenges for people in B.C. and around the globe, fundamentally changing the ways people live and work.

She says the update will provide a summary of those impacts and outline the supports government has put in place and will continue to provide.

5:15 a.m.: A union representing Ontario health-care workers says it will announce “political action” this morning in response to the province potentially extending its emergency powers.

The Ontario Council of Hospital Unions, a division of the Canadian Union of Public Employees, will be making the announcement at Hamilton General Hospital.

A spokeswoman for the union confirms that 98 per cent of its membership voted in favour of some form of political action over the weekend.

The Progressive Conservative government introduced a bill last week that would allow it to keep some emergency measures in place in the months ahead.

4 a.m.: A new poll suggests Canadians are torn on whether the federal government should turn off the spending taps to keep the resulting deficit from flooding the nation’s future.

The Leger/Association for Canadian Studies survey found 41 per cent think that COVID-19 support programs and payments must immediately be scaled back.

Forty-four per cent think the payments to Canadians and businesses ought to continue even with the $343-billion projected deficit.

The poll suggests 78 per cent are worried about that bottom-line figure, and 60 per cent think the way out of the hole is to cut government spending, while 21 per cent say raising taxes is the solution.

The poll surveyed 1,523 Canadians between July 10 and 12 and cannot be assigned a margin of error because online polls are not considered truly random.

Monday 9 p.m.: British Columbia’s health minister says several COVID-19 exposures in Kelowna serve as a reminder of the risks posed by private gatherings.

Adrian Dix said during a news conference Monday that warnings of possible exposures at a restaurant, spin studio, bed and breakfast and resort are believed to stem from “private parties” at the hotels.

Eight positive tests for the disease are linked to visits to downtown Kelowna and the city’s waterfront between June 25 and July 9, said an email from Interior Health, the regional health authority.

“When people come together for private parties — in this case it was primarily people in their 20s and 30s — the risks are considerably higher,” Dix said.

The exposures follow the move to a new phase of reopening in B.C. that allows for tourism within the province. Although the accommodation industry was not ordered to close during the pandemic, many operators did so voluntarily but began welcoming guests again as part of the new phase.

Infections in B.C. inched up on Monday as health officials announced 62 new cases since Friday.

Two more people also died for a total of 189 deaths in B.C.

The new figures bring the total number of confirmed cases in the province to 3,115, while 2,718 people have fully recovered from COVID-19.

Monday 11:40 a.m. A store employee at Square One Shopping Centre has tested positive for COVID-19, according to media relations spokesperson Ashley Shantz.

According to Shantz, the employee’s last day of work was July 8. Management from the store closed the location for “appropriate cleaning and sanitization.” The store is still closed, confirmed Shantz.

Staff who worked with the employee have been asked to get tested and report any negative results before reopening.

Shantz could not confirm which store or restaurant the employee worked at, when the mall was notified of the positive case, or which position the employee held.

Click here to read more of Monday’s coverage.

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Feds should have put $912M into Canada Summer Jobs program: Opposition




OTTAWA — Federal opposition parties are demanding to know why the Liberal government created a $900-million program to help students find volunteer positions rather than putting the much-needed funds into an existing summer jobs program.

The call for answers comes as the government tries to chart a way forward for the new Canada Student Services Grant, which has been in limbo after WE Charity withdrew from administering the program amid controversy over its links to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his family.

The Liberals have billed the grant program as a way to reward tens of thousands of students who want to help with the COVID-19 pandemic and can’t find paid work. Participants were told they could earn up to $5,000 toward their education costs by volunteering the maximum 500 hours.

Opposition parties say the Liberals could have accomplished the same task without controversy by putting the money into the Canada Summer Jobs program, through which thousands of positions for students are subsidized by the federal government every year.

“The government chose specifically to ignore the opportunity of the Canada Summer Jobs and instead went for this,” Conservative economic development critic Dan Albas said of the Canada Student Services Grant.

“It makes no sense … They put a ton of money — $912 million — towards an untested concept when they have a ready-to-go program.”

The Liberals have expanded the summer-jobs program by increasing the wage subsidy available to companies and not-for-profit groups to 100 per cent of the local minimum wage, expanding what types of positions qualified and extending the eligible work period to early next year.

They also injected an extra $60 million to create 10,000 more positions than last year for students. The move brought the total budget for the program to $323 million and the expected number of summer jobs to 80,000.

The opposition says the available funding is not enough to cover demand in a normal year. The federal Employment and Social Development Department itself says on its website that in 2019, “requests for funding totalled more than three times the program budget.”

Neither the government nor WE have said how many volunteer positions they were expecting to fill through the $912-million grant program. There has been criticism that participants receive only $10 per hour — less than the minimum wage in any province.

There have also been questions about many positions advertised as available through the volunteer scheme, including thousands for students to shoot videos, make websites and create other content in placements apparently created by WE to meet the requirements of the volunteer program.

NDP ethics critic Charlie Angus said that stands in contrast to the summer jobs program after the government asked members of Parliament across the country to identify potential positions in their ridings in the spring — many of which did not get funding.

“We had really legitimate organizations ready to hire students to do legitimate work, and all of that was sidelined,” Angus said. “These were a lot more credible positions than making a video showing how to do exercises.”

The Liberals have indicated they plan to move ahead with the volunteer program despite WE’s withdrawal, saying the federal Employment Department has taken over and is looking at ways to make it happen.

But the Conservatives, NDP and Greens all say the government should learn its lesson and put the money into the Canada Summer Jobs program, which is already managed by the government and has a history of success.

That starts with revisiting what the Tories and New Democrats suggested was the large number of summer jobs requested by businesses and not-for-profits and not funded because of a shortage of money.

“The government should be focused on a program that is transparent, that is fair, that is broadly supported by all parties, and that already has a number of applications that have been ranked and have not been filled just because there’s not enough money,” Albas said.

Green MP Elizabeth May said organizations that applied for positions through the student-volunteer program should also be allowed to transfer their requests to the summer-jobs program.

And if that is not possible, Angus said, the government should be looking at taking the money and putting it into direct financial support for students, including by adding the funds to the Canada Emergency Student Benefit for those unable to find work due to COVID-19.

“They have two options: One is to put that money into Canada Summer Jobs and one is to put it straight into the support for university students so they have the funds necessary to go to school and cut out all these schemes they worked out with WE,” he said.

“I think they need to move on this immediately. The summer is getting close to half over. It may be at this point too difficult to get the Canada Summer Jobs up, but there are a lot of organizations that we submitted names for.”

Bloc Quebecois Leader Yves-Francois Blanchet, meanwhile, repeated a call on Tuesday for Trudeau to step aside in favour of his deputy Chrystia Freeland while the WE affair is fully investigated. But Blanchet said that based on what’s known now, he doesn’t believe the Liberal government should fall over it.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 14, 2020.

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Charities question whether WE-run student program would have been worth the money




Potential partners and participants in the Canada Student Service Grant program are questioning how money from the $912 million student summer grant program was being spent by WE Charity — and whether the programming would have provided meaningful experiences for student volunteers.

CBC News has been shown documents that WE Charity created as part of its role as program administrator and funds distributor. Before it withdrew from its $19.5 million contract to administer the program, WE was partnering with charities and non-profit organizations to put the student volunteers to work. Teachers were also sub-contracted to both recruit and supervise groups of students from their communities.

The program set aside money for training and supervising the students, based on the number of students who signed on — a financial incentive for the charities and teachers to get as many students involved as possible.

Teachers picking up this extra contract work to supplement their regular public salaries this summer were to receive $12,000 for recruiting 75 to 100 students. In rural areas, they’d only need to supervise 55 students for the same amount of money.

In a statement issued to CBC News Monday, WE said the primary role of these teachers was to support students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds, or to recruit students in parts of the country with fewer volunteer opportunities.

Many charities have seen their regular programming and fundraising significantly disrupted by the pandemic and have been forced to lay off staff, making it difficult for them to welcome new student volunteers. That’s why up to $5 million of the program’s budget was earmarked to give organizations the capacity to train and supervise volunteers.

But charities appear to have been offered different amounts of money to supervise similar numbers of students.

WE said the funds were being allocated among the 83 organizations that had signed up to take volunteers, based on each organization’s reach (local versus national) and its ability to engage “target populations,” which were defined in terms of regional diversity and whether the participants were visible minority individuals or Indigenous.

Different sums for different charities

WE was collecting information about the ethnicities of students applying for the grant.

CBC News has been shown an email to a smaller charity. In it, a WE representative tells the charitable organization it could receive “up to $10,000” for supervising at least 100 students for a minimum of 100 hours.

Meanwhile, another larger charity that was talking to WE about participating was told that it could receive $25,000 to host 100 students, or up to $100,000 in program funding if it could scale up to take 400 volunteers.

CBC News is not identifying the charities or the individuals who provided this information because they remain interested in hosting student volunteers this summer. Operational responsibility for the grant has transferred to the government, but the program has not been cancelled — even if it has stalled for now.

Youth Minister Bardish Chagger’s office says it is working away on a transition plan as the federal government takes over the youth volunteer grant program from the WE Charity. (The Canadian Press)

Danielle Keenan is a spokesperson for Bardish Chagger, the youth minister who is responsible for this program. Keenan told CBC News Monday that the government is still working diligently on a transition plan which, among other things, will determine what happens with partners and subcontractors who’ve already signed on to the program. Chagger said earlier this month her department wanted to proceed in a way that has as few adverse impacts on students as possible.

WE told CBC that it has strongly recommended that the work begun by the partners it contracted continue.

‘Only positive mentions’ allowed

The text of a potential partnership agreement between WE Charity and a charity that was a prospective participant in the program was shared with CBC News. It includes language requiring the partner to keep all information confidential.

The program is defined in the agreement as part of the broader Canada Service Corps youth initiative that began prior to the pandemic.

The agreement, which needed to be signed before an organization could receive any financial support for hosting volunteers, requires all personnel to “make only positive mentions of the project, including in public disclosures and social media.”

Organizations that participated were required to submit a positive quote that WE could use to promote the program, to allow their logos to be used by WE, to participate in WE-hosted launch events and to promote the program on their social media channels “at least twice” using templates WE would provide.

The agreement shown to CBC News includes a specific target for the number of volunteers the charity or non-profit would oversee.

Even if 100,000 students were recruited and logged enough hours to earn the maximum $5,000 grant, that would only account for $500 million of the more than $900 million allocated to the program.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau waves to the audience as he appears on stage during WE Day UN in New York City, Sept. 20, 2017. (Adrian Wyld / Canadian Press)

On Monday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was asked about the size of the government’s budget relative to the number of volunteers anticipated.

The prime minister insisted again that WE Charity had a network capable of making these youth placements quickly, adding that was the reason why the public service recommended contracting the project out.

“We’ll work with other organizations and perhaps with Service Canada as a way of delivering those grants,” he said, adding that the public service is working on a new delivery model to replace WE.

‘I’ve heard absolutely nothing’

In their statement published in full-page newspaper ads on Monday, WE founders Craig and Marc Kielburger said their coalition of 83 not-for-profit partners was supporting 24,000 placements, “with more opportunities being added.”

The prime minister said Monday in French that the placements WE arranged are still available to the government “free,” even though WE has pulled out of its contract.

Some students who have applied online have yet to be matched with a volunteer opportunity so they can start accumulating hours. They only have until the end of October to accumulate the 500 service hours required for the maximum $5,000 grant.

University of British Columbia student Amanda Dickson-Otty told CBC News that she applied for the volunteer grant program before WE decided to withdraw from the contract, and was told that the first 40,000 applicants would be assigned to a “volunteer placement manager” to match them with a specific volunteer opportunity.

She said she was never told if she was to be among this first cohort, but the most recent count of applications from both WE and the federal government is 35,000 — so it appears she could be.

“I’ve heard absolutely nothing,” she said, adding that she hasn’t seen many new listings lately. “It doesn’t exactly inspire confidence.”

Dickson-Otty said she prefers to work with a placement manager rather than apply directly to one posting.

“Honestly, since there are hundreds of placement options, it’s a bit overwhelming to pick just one,” she said. “What if I pick one that has hundreds of applications for two positions, instead of another suitable position that desperately needs people? What if I pick a position that, once I learn more about it, I realize I’m not actually suited for?”

Whether they were to be supervised by a subcontracted teacher or a non-profit organization, WE was allowing students to earn up to one quarter of the 100 hours required to receive the minimum grant ($1,000) by completing online training modules through LinkedIn Learning.

WE told CBC News that it established a mandatory five-hour “on-boarding” course, followed by optional training materials that could be used toward a further 20 hours.

This training could be specific to their volunteer job this summer, but could also include skills useful later in life. The cost of developing this training was part of WE’s administration contract.

No work available? Make some

WE representatives encouraged charities and non-profits to participate even if didn’t have any work that needed doing this summer, and offered to help those organizations invent new work.

WE told CBC News on Monday that “many long-standing service opportunities did not fit the safety criteria which was established as part of the program considerations.”

Instead, it said, it created volunteer roles that were “repositioning these organizations’ needs into safe service opportunities.”

Teachers supervising students could match students with volunteer jobs that individual organizations were offering, or — if there weren’t any suitable ones available — create new jobs from WE’s suggestions of activities, which included:


  • Tutoring children whose classroom learning was disrupted this spring, including the kids of front line workers.

  • Creating exercise information and videos for children or seniors to help them keep active while staying inside.

  • Making protective masks, which could then be given to children for the next school year.

  • Creating ways to celebrate front-line workers. 


The materials WE sent to charities offer suggestions like putting “digitally savvy student volunteers” to work designing social media campaigns, creating photo and video content or doing other online research.

Another role suggested making students “COVID-19 Safe Ambassadors” who could be trained on “critical social issues” like bullying, literacy or mental health and then share their knowledge as mentors in the community.

Students with creative skills could “interview and write stories on behalf of seniors who have been isolated by COVID-19, to celebrate their lives and achievements, and share their wisdom and knowledge through the creation of an intergenerational capsule of community stories,” WE suggested.

Wilfrid Laurier students take part in a pre-pandemic convocation ceremony. One expert in management and organization studies questions whether the program WE planned to run would have left young volunteers with useful skills. (WLUConvocation/Twitter)

Colleen Sharen, a Brescia University College professor in management and organization studies, said she doubts that many students — particularly those just graduating from high school — have the expertise to work as trainers.

“You’re setting students up to have an expertise that they don’t really have,” she said. Social media campaigns can be great, she said, but “if you’re talking about mental health and tactics to manage mental health … there are many students who might, with all the right intentions, communicate bad information because they don’t have the expertise they need to do it.”

Other suggested activities — like telling seniors’ stories or making masks — aren’t necessarily experiences that set students up for future careers, she added.

“I’m not sure if employers care if you sewed 100 masks during COVID,” she said. “Do we really need videos on seniors stories? It’s nice, but if we weren’t in a pandemic we would not be paying students to do this. Is it enough value we added, or are we just creating a justification for giving students money?”

Rather than pay teachers and other groups to execute this program, Sharen said it would be cheaper and more efficient to just give students in need $900 million to fund their education next year through existing programs, as the current system for government grants does now.

A straight cash transfer to needy students also would have avoided claims that the federal government has designed a program that violates employment standards by paying less than minimum wage.

While it’s important to make sure students don’t drop out of school because of financial need during the pandemic, “let’s not make this more complicated than it needs to be,” Sharen said.

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