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Good evening, here are the coronavirus updates you need to know tonight.

Top headlines:

  1. Ottawa turned its back on critical sources of intelligence when it decided to shut down much of its pandemic surveillance capacity last year, expert says
  2. Quebec reports 16 more deaths and 933 cases as it begins first day of a renewed partial lockdown
  3. Airline unions call on Trudeau for $7-billion in loans for ailing industry

In Canada, there have been at least 160,535 cases reported. In the last week 11,441 new cases were announced, 39% more than the previous week.

There have also been at least 136,350 recoveries and 9,319 deaths. Today, 22 deaths were reported, compared to six yesterday.

The Globe and Mail

Worldwide, there have been at least 33,641,553 cases confirmed and 1,007,755 deaths reported.

Sources: Canada data is compiled from government websites, Johns Hopkins and COVID-19 Canada Open Data Working Group; international data is from Johns Hopkins University.


Coronavirus explainers: Coronavirus in maps and charts Lockdown rules and reopening Mask-wearing rules Back to school guide Essential resources


Photo of the day

Spectators respect physical distancing rules as cycling team riders pose during the presentation of the Tour of Italy in Sicily on Thursday.

Gian Mattia D’Alberto/The Associated Press


Coronavirus in Canada

  • In Quebec, Montreal and Quebec City entered a new partial lockdown. Bars, casinos, concert halls, cinemas, museums and libraries were shuttered and restaurants were limited to takeout. The province reported 933 new cases and 16 deaths.
  • Ontario is changing its COVID-19 symptom screening guidance for the province’s schools and child-care centres. The province is now asking parents to keep their children home from school for 24 hours if they have either a runny nose or headache. If a child has both of those symptoms they are asked to consult a health-care provider or have a COVID-19 test before returning to school or child care. Ontario reported 538 new cases of COVID-19 Thursday and three new deaths from the illness.
  • In Atlantic Canada, the “bubble” has largely succeeded in keeping COVID-19 out of the region. How did they do it?
  • Nova Scotia will become the latest province to adopt the federal government’s COVID-19 smartphone application, Premier Stephen McNeil confirmed Thursday.
  • In British Columbia, production for several TV shows, including The Flash and Riverdale, was suspended because of a dispute over COVID-19 testing.

Pandemic surveillance: Ottawa turned its back on critical sources of intelligence when it decided to shut down much of its pandemic surveillance capacity last year, a former federal intelligence adviser says.

  • There is a growing frustration inside Canada’s intelligence community that senior public-health officials did not appreciate the value of advance warning and surveillance before curtailing operations of the Global Public Health Intelligence Network.
  • GPHIN is the subject of two federal investigations: an independent review into the oversight of the highly specialized unit launched by the health minister, and a separate audit by the Auditor-General.

Policing: The RCMP will allow bearded officers to return to operational duties, nearly half a year after they were put on desk duty under a policy that mostly affected Sikh and Muslim Mounties. Last week, the World Sikh Organization, said Sikh officers had been given desk roles for nearly six months because the RCMP said its personal protective equipment does not seal with facial hair.


Coronavirus around the world

  • Europe’s health regulator said on Thursday it had started a rolling review of the experimental COVID-19 vaccine from AstraZeneca and Oxford University, in a move aimed at speeding up any future approval process. The move raises the chances of the vaccine being the first to be approved in the region.
  • About 2,000 Honduran migrants hoping to reach the United States entered Guatemala on foot Thursday morning, testing the newly reopened frontier that had been shut by the coronavirus pandemic.

Coronavirus and business

Restaurants and bars in Ontario face soaring insurance costs and possible closings as Canadian insurers begin to raise premiums and cancel policies during a time when most establishments are struggling to remain open.

  • Insurance premiums have been raised by as much as 300 per cent for some bars and restaurants, while others have been refused insurance entirely.
  • Toronto City Council passed a motion on Wednesday to support the Ontario government in any actions it takes with insurers to prevent “astronomical” increases in premiums.

Also today: Amazon.com Inc. on Thursday said more than 19,000 of its U.S. front-line workers contracted the coronavirus this year, or 1.44 per cent of the total, a disclosure long sought by labour advocates that had criticized its pandemic response.

And: Airline unions call on the federal government for $7-billion in loans for ailing industry


Globe opinion

  • Paul W. Bennett: “One realization is gradually becoming crystal clear: The centralized and over-bureaucratic school system proved to be vulnerable and ill-equipped to respond to the massive pandemic disruption.”

More reporting


Distractions

🏋️‍♀️ For the at-home fitness buff: Tips to remember if you’re trying to stay in shape at home.

  • More isn’t always better: “More” often only leads to broken bodies and bruised egos. Instead, think about this formula: Intensity of Effort + Quality of Movement = Gains For Days.
  • Stretching and mobility are not the same thing: In order for it to provide any lasting benefits, mobility work has to pose a challenge, and you have to be able to modify it as your abilities improve.

And: Diversions and play time could be just what adults need to weather the pandemic


Information centre

Sources: Canada data are compiled from government websites, Johns Hopkins University and COVID-19 Canada Open Data Working Group; international data are from Johns Hopkins.

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