COVID-19 Government and International Response: March 26, 2020

What to Know

Global COVID-19 cases are rapidly growing resulting from acceleration in the U.S. and Europe. There are now almost 510,000 cases of COVID-19, up from 450,000 yesterday. Canada reports 3,796 cases, up from 3,290 cases yesterday. Ontario confirmed 170 new cases today, the largest single day spike so far. There are now 837 cases of COVID-19 in the province. Global News reports the province has tested more than 38,000 people so far and just under 11,000 are under investigation for the virus.

Federal

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is warning Canadians not to be taken in by scams exploiting the government’s COVID-19 aid programs. The Prime Minister reminded Canadians to check the government’s website for information about the programs in place and how money would be distributed.

The government’s $107-billion Canada Emergency Response Benefit, passed in the House and Senate yesterday, providing $52-billion of financial aid and $55-billion in tax deferrals to Canadians and businesses. The application process will open in April and will be administered through the Canada Revenue Agency.

Responding to reports that the United States plans to send troops to the Canada/U.S. border Prime Minister Trudeau told reporters “Canada and the United States have the longest unmilitarized border in the world and it is very much in both of our interests to remain that way.” Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland later told reporters the Canadian government felt this is “entirely unnecessary,” “damaging to our relationship,” and that “Canada is strongly opposed to this U.S. proposal and we’ve made that opposition very, very clear to our American counterparts.”

Provincial

The AGCO announced today that restaurants and bars in Ontario will be able to sell alcohol with food takeout and delivery orders between 9 a.m. and 11 p.m. effective immediately as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. More information here.

Yesterday the Provincial government released its fiscal update and COVID-19 Action Plan. The province says the plan is the first step of its response to the economic and health care needs resulting from COVID-19. The plan includes $7 billion in additional resources for the health care system and direct support for people and jobs. The government is also making available $10 billion in support for people and businesses through tax and other deferrals.

As part of the plan, the Ontario Government is enabling $1.9 billion in relief for employers to reduce the financial strain on business brought on by COVID-19. The measure, which will run through the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board, will see premium payments deferred for six months for all businesses in the province. More information here.

Toronto Region Board of Trade responded that the plan provides workers and business owners more certainty as Ontario aims to control the spread of COVID-19. More information here.

Premier Ford also announced that 72 COVID-19 assessment centres are now open across the Province. More information, including locations in Toronto, here.

Toronto

The City of Toronto closed more than 800 playgrounds and hundreds of other park amenities yesterday as a result of people not heeding calls to physical distance. Yesterday, Toronto Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Eileen de Villa, announced that Toronto has 319 confirmed cases of COVID-19.

International

  • United States will likely surpass Italy and China’s COVID-19 count before the weekend. There are now 79,313 reported cases, up nearly 20,000 since yesterday.
  • China is reporting 81,285 cases of COVID-19, up from 81,218 yesterday.
  • India’s number of COVID-19 cases has grown to from 519 to 606.
  • Italy is reporting 80,539 cases and will likely overtake China tomorrow. Spain grew to 56,197 cases and Germany has 43,211 cases. The UK has 11,658 cases, two thirds of which are in England.
  • Iran’s spread is slowing, reporting just over 2,000 new cases today for a total of 29,046 cases. Yesterday the country reported 2,200 new cases.
  • The number of cases in Brazil is also growing now over 2,600 cases from 2,200 yesterday and Chile reports 1,306 cases, up from 1,142 cases yesterday.