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The latest developments on COVID 19 in Canada: March 25, 2020

Jannen Belbeck   

News Health coronavirus COVID-19

The latest news on the COVID-19 global pandemic (all times Eastern):
7:20 p.m.
The Canadian Federation of Independent Business says small business confidence has fallen to a new low amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The organization says its latest business barometer has fallen to a record low of 30.8 from a level of 60.5 in February.
It says one in five owners say their business is in a good state, compared with 38 per cent who say it’s doing poorly.
Half of business owners say they are planning layoffs in the next three months, while just five per cent say they will be looking to add full-time staff.
6:30 a.m.
The government house leader says the House of Commons has adopted emergency legislation for up to $82 billion in relief for Canadians impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak.
Pablo Rodriguez says it’s now up to the Senate to approve the bill.
The bill will deliver financial aid and tax deferrals to individuals and businesses hit by the economic impact of the outbreak.
6:10 a.m.
A new poll from the Angus Reid Institute shows 44 per cent of Canadians reported that they or someone in their house had lost work because of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Another 18 per cent of Canadians polled said they expected to lose work in the near future.
More than half the people who had lost work said they were not being otherwise compensated by their employer and the same amount said that applying for employment insurance had been a difficult process.
4 a.m.
The international development minister says Canada will spend millions to help the world’s most desperate people fight COVID-19
Karina Gould says it is in the country’s long-term security interest as well as being the right thing to do.
Gould says Canada has earmarked $50 million, which is part of its response to today’s launch of the United Nations COVID-19 humanitarian response plan.
4 a.m.
The novel coronavirus is creating deepening distress as cancellations and delays roll through the public health system for Canadians awaiting life-changing operations.
Fifteen-year-old Tahlia Ali is among the patients whose organ transplant procedures are put off at the country’s largest transplant centre in Toronto.
Ali has been diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension, which leads to a lack of oxygen to blood vessels in the lungs, and she has two holes in her heart.
The University Health Network has said lung transplants are suspended except in cases of critical deterioration.
Similar stories are emerging affecting people with a variety of conditions, from delays in cancer tests to cancelled joint surgeries.
4 a.m.
Some Twitter users have resorted to online shaming in an effort to convince others to abide by social distancing measures.
And while experts in psychology and sociology say those tactics can work in some situations, they’re more divided on the actual effectiveness of them.
Hilary Bergsieker, an associate professor of psychology at the University of Waterloo, says the audience matters.
Harris Ali, a sociology professor at York University in Toronto, believes that type of online shaming can work.
He sees the situation as one of “social control.”
Ali described it as influencing people to change their behaviour, and likened online shaming to earlier public health campaigns against smoking or drunk driving.
4 a.m.
Residential tenants and landlords face a dilemma as rent comes due on April 1.
Advocacy groups for both landlords and tenants are calling on the federal and provincial governments to offer some kind of relief before the first of April.
Geordie Dent, the executive director of Toronto’s Federation of Metro Tenants Associations, says employment insurance applications are even higher than during the 2008 financial crisis.
On Tuesday, Manitoba’s government suspended any rent increases starting April 1 in response to the economic fallout from COVID-19.
The province joined others including Ontario, Quebec and Prince Edward Island in halting all non-urgent hearings before their landlord-tenant tribunals, effectively banning any evictions resulting from non-payment of rent.
4 a.m.
Some labs are facing a backlog due to diminishing supplies of essential chemicals needed for tests even as some regions across Canada are ramping up efforts to identify people with COVID-19.
The World Health Organization has said expansive testing is the way to curb the pandemic, but global demand has outpaced the supply of reagents – the specific chemicals needed by laboratories to complete the tests.
The Center for Disease Control in the United States has also said that important reagents are “now are in short supply,” a worry echoed by medical associations around the world.
They are all looking for the chemical solutions at the same time and, as a result, some Canadian health authorities and labs are seeking alternative supply chains.
Nearly 120,000 Canadians have been tested for the novel coronavirus – an average of 10,000 a day.
3:35 a.m.
The government has won unanimous consent to quickly pass emergency legislation to free up $82 billion to help Canadians weather the COVID-19 crisis.
After a day of tense negotiations, MPs began debating the bill in the wee hours of morning, with a vote planned within a couple of hours.
3 a.m.
Members of Parliament are close to voting on a deal that would see a unanimous approval for a COVID-19 bill delivering 82-billion-dollars in financial aid and tax deferrals to individuals and businesses.
The government House leader Pablo Rodriguez has tweeted that they were heading back to the House.
Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer also tweeted that they had received the government’s offer.
Negotiations over the language of the bill continued late Tuesday night and overflowing into early Wednesday.
The bill only needs one party’s support to pass the Commons eventually but it needs the support of every M-P present to be put through on an expedited one-day schedule.
(The Canadian Press)
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