- Ottawa lifts cross-border travel restrictions for wider range of family members.
- Quebec reports 1,078 new COVID-19 cases as new rules come into effect.
- Alberta Health Services declares outbreaks at Edmonton hospital.
- Brazil surpasses five million confirmed cases, verging on 150,000 dead.
Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam said Thursday the second wave of COVID-19 is showing up in Canada as a series of regional epidemics.
Ontario and Quebec account for 80 per cent of recent cases, but British Columbia and Manitoba are seeing more daily diagnoses than they did in the spring.
Tam said New Brunswick has been doing well, like the rest of Atlantic Canada, but has an outbreak in a long-term care home that it’s rushing to contain.
An increase in the number of COVID-19 patients in hospitals in Ontario and Quebec has her worried that they could be strained before long.
The Public Health Agency of Canada says the country has had an average of 2,052 new cases a day for the past week, with 18 deaths a day and 673 people in hospital.
Meanwhile, the federal government is lifting COVID-19 cross-border travel restrictions for a wider range of family members as of Thursday, which means some Canadians will soon be able to reunite with loved ones outside the country after being separated for months.
The changes, announced on Oct. 2, will allow for the entry of certain extended family members of Canadian citizens and permanent residents, including couples who have been dating for at least a year and their children, as well as grandchildren, siblings and grandparents.
The government said it would also consider “potential limited release from quarantine” for some visitors.
Visits will be permitted for these classes of travellers on compassionate grounds such as terminal illnesses, critical injury or death. Details on which members of an extended family qualify for the newly announced exceptions and the conditions that have to be met to secure a compassionate exception will also be released later Thursday.
What’s happening in the rest of Canada
As of 2:30 p.m. ET on Thursday, Canada had 175,067 confirmed or presumptive coronavirus cases. Provinces and territories listed 147,218 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 9,554.
Manitoba reported 67 new cases on Thursday, including 57 in the Winnipeg health region.
In Alberta, outbreaks have been declared in two units at the Misericordia Community Hospital in west Edmonton, Alberta Health Services said Thursday.
Eight patients and two health-care workers have tested positive, AHS said in a news release. Another 29 health-care workers are in isolation.
In Quebec, 1,078 new cases of COVID-19 and 10 more deaths were reported on Thursday, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 82,992 and the death toll to 5,915. There are 425 people in hospital, an increase of 16, including 68 in intensive care.
Also Thursday, additional COVID-19 regulations went into effect in Quebec’s red zones, which include the Greater Montreal area, Quebec City area, Chaudiere-Appalaches region and three towns in the Gaspe region.
Ontario reported 797 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, the most on any single day since the outbreak began while the province’s labs processed 48,488 tests — also a single-day record.
Dr. Jeff Kwong, a professor of family medicine and public health at the University of Toronto, warned of a “runaway train” of COVID-19 cases if some weekend gatherings become superspreading events once infected attendees return to their homes, schools and workplaces.
WATCH | Calls for more aggressive approach against COVID-19 in Ontario:
Telling Ontarians to behave is not going to work for everyone, so the province needs to take a more aggressive approach to stop the spread of COVID-19, says infectious disease specialist Dr. Michael Gardam. 1:37
Newfoundland and Labrador had its fourth consecutive day with no new cases.
Nova Scotia also reported no new cases, for the sixth day in a row.
In New Brunswick, Horizon Health Network has asked its employees to volunteer to work at the Manoir Notre-Dame special care home in Moncton, the centre of an outbreak.
So far this week, 19 positive cases are linked to the facility. Thirteen are residents, four work at the facility, and two are family members of people who live or work there.
In Prince Edward Island, the federal government’s contact tracing application for smartphones is now live. Chief public health officer, Dr. Heather Morrison, says the app is a quick and easy way for people to give themselves and others added protection against the novel coronavirus.
In the North, Nunavut’s Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Michael Patterson says there are now 10 confirmed cases at the Hope Bay mine, with another six presumptive cases, but has declared the outbreak “contained.”
Meanwhile, N.W.T’s Chief Public Health Officer Kami Kandola said she would consider a bubble with Atlantic Canada but not Yukon.
What’s happening around the world
The World Health Organization reported a record one-day increase in global coronavirus cases on Thursday, with the total rising by 338,779 in 24 hours, led by a surge of infections in Europe. The previous WHO record was 330,340 on Oct. 2.
According to Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, the global total of confirmed coronavirus cases stands at more than 36.2 million. More than one million people have died, while over 25.2 million have recovered.
Europe reported 96,996 new cases, the highest total for the region ever recorded by the WHO. As a region, Europe is now reporting more cases than India, Brazil or the United States.
France’s new daily infections remained above the record 18,000 threshold for the second day on Thursday with new measures to curb the outbreak expected, and infections in the U.K. have reached record levels with over 17,000 new cases reported on Thursday.
In Asia, Hong Kong reported 18 new infections on Thursday, raising concerns among health officials.
India registered 78,524 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, driving the country’s total since the pandemic began to 6.8 million. India has witnessed a steady drop of confirmed coronavirus cases for three consecutive weeks now — from recording more than 86,000 daily cases in the last two weeks of September to an average of more than 70,000 cases daily so far this month. The numbers have also fallen sharply from earlier in September when daily cases averaged around 93,000 in India.
In the Americas, Brazil has surpassed five million confirmed cases and is verging on 150,000 dead.
The coronavirus continues to rip through Latin America’s largest country, and mayors — many of whom aren’t keen to keep restrictions in place ahead of November elections — are reopening their cities. Experts are warning of a possible second wave.
In Africa, the coronavirus crisis is expected to drive a 3.3 per cent contraction in sub-Saharan African economies and could push 40 million Africans into extreme poverty, the World Bank said on Thursday.
Meanwhile, Tunisia was expected to announce a curfew in the capital after the governors of four provinces that make up greater Tunis called for action to halt a surge in infections.