COVID-19 Government and International Response: April 15, 2020

What to Know

On April 2nd the global count reached 1 million reported COVID-19 cases. Today, global cases surpassed 2 million and stands at 2,053,600 as of 3:30 p.m.

Canada now reports 28,205 up from 26,897 cases yesterday, with Ontario reporting 8,447 cases up from 7,953 yesterday. Of those cases, 3,902 have been resolved. The province has now tested 119,092 individuals and reports 4,429 tests are currently under investigation.

The Bank of Canada continues to introduce measures to support credit markets, with two new programs to purchase provincial and corporate bonds. The Globe and Mail reports: In its regularly scheduled interest-rate announcement, the bank unveiled a Provincial Bond Purchase Program to buy up to $50-billion. It also announced a Corporate Bond Purchase Program, under which it will purchase up to $10-billion of investment-grade corporate bonds in the open market.

Canada’s GDP shrank by 9% in March as a result of measures to contain the COVID-19 outbreak, representing the sharpest drop since Stats Canada began keeping these records in 1961. For the January-to-March period, growth contracted by around 2.6 percent.

In the United States, industrial production has plummeted 5.4%, which represents the worst drop since January 1946. Analysts had expected a drop of 3.5%. Meanwhile U.S. retail sales for the month of March fell 8.7%, the largest drop on record going back to 1967. Economists had been expecting a drop of 8%. More information here.

In the absence of a vaccine or other treatment measures, a Harvard study suggests intermitted social distancing measures may be needed into 2022 to avoid overwhelming health-care systems.

Federal

This morning Prime Minister Trudeau announced changes to the eligibility rules for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit. The measures are aimed to ensure more Canadians can benefit from the program, including:

  • Allow people to earn up to $1,000 per month while collecting the CERB.
  • Extend the CERB to seasonal workers who have exhausted their EI regular benefits and are unable to undertake their regular seasonal work as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • Extend the CERB to workers who have recently exhausted their EI regular benefits and are unable to find a job or return to work because of COVID-19.

As well, the government announced it would work with provinces and territories through a new transfer to cost-share a temporary top up to the salaries of low-income essential workers that the provinces and territories have deemed essential in the fight against COVID-19. More information about both changes here.

With some federally regulated pension plan sponsors facing significant financial constraints, Finance Minister Bill Morneau announced that the government will provide immediate, temporary relief to sponsors of federally regulated, defined benefit pension plans. This relief will be in the form of a moratorium, through the remainder of 2020, on solvency payment requirements for defined benefit plans.

Provincial

With long-term care homes at the centre of Ontario’s COVID-19 outbreak, on the advice of Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, the Ontario government has developed an action plan to better protect residents and stop the spread. The government says these new measures will be implemented in the coming hours. In addition, the province has issued a new emergency order restricting long-term care staff from working in more than one long-term care home, retirement home or health care setting.

 

Country Total cases at 3:30 p.m. Total cases yesterday at 3:30 p.m. Increase from previous Cases per million Total recovered Total deaths
Global 2,053,600 1,970,225 83,375 258.04 501,758 128,886
Canada 28,206 26,897 1,309 742.67 8,948 1,007
United States 618,923 602,846 16,077 1,878.05 49,998 27,112
China 82,295 82,249 77 58.7 77,816 3,342
India 11,933 10,815 1,118 8.77 1,344 392
Italy 165,155 162,488 2,667 2,741.46 38,092 21,645
Spain 177,644 172,655 4,989 3,771.6 70,853 18,708
Germany 133,209 131,121 2,088 1,602.05 62,197 3,551
United Kingdom 98,476 93,873 4,603 1,482.28 12,868
Brazil 28,320 24,169 4,151 134 14,026 1,736
Chile 8,273 7,917 356 432.98 2,937 94
Iran 76,389 74,877 1,512 916.69 49,933 4,777
Australia 6,447 6,400 47 251.19 3,686 63