Here are the stories making headlines surrounding the novel coronavirus in British Columbia on April 7, 2020:
April, May, June…GO
Anyone born in the months of April, May, and June are now able to access the online portal and apply for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). Monday, the platform launched to those born in the first three months of the year and, according to Canada Revenue Agency, 788,510 people successfully applied for pandemic relief. The agency’s figures capture from the time applications opened at 6 a.m. Monday until midnight. Hundreds of thousands more are expected to apply Tuesday and Wednesday in order to receive the $2,000 per month benefit that is available for the next four months. Anyone already receiving employment insurance benefits is to be automatically transferred over to the CERB.
BC Ferries now screening
BC Ferries says it’s starting to screen passengers on routes longer than 30 minutes with a series of questions. Passengers will be screened for COVID-19 symptoms and their travel may be restricted. The move follows an announcement Sunday by Transport Canada of new measures for ferries during the COVID-19 pandemic. Transport Canada is also requiring that all sailings are limited to a 50% capacity. BC Ferries has said it already has many of the measures in place, including enhanced cleaning, limiting passenger capacity and allowing passengers to stay in their cars during sailings.
3M masks coming north again
Coveted N95 respirators will now be allowed to keep flowing from the U.S. to Canada, despite an earlier order by US President Donald Trump to hold all stock for Americans. U.S. manufacturer 3M said they have reached an agreement with the White House, ending a days-long saga that the company feared could have hurt their international standing. Yesterday, Ontario’s premier said the province’s stock of the masks was dangerously low after a shipment was held up at the Canada-US border over the weekend. Some of the N95 masks will be coming from the company’s manufacturing facilities in China, which is how 3M says it will meet at least some of the ever-increasing American demand while still filling orders in other countries.
Dr. Henry pens letter to British Columbians
By now most residents of BC are very familiar with Dr. Bonnie Henry. With daily and vital updates, she has become a staple in many of our routines. Although her approval rating has remained extremely high, one question raised by many continues to be why doesn’t she tell people what communities are linked to the confirmed cases. On Monday, Dr. Henry penned an open letter to British Columbians stressing her thoughts on the matter. In the letter, she said “once there is community transmission, there is no boundary to the spread of COVID-19. Simply put, the risk is everywhere.” Dr. Henry continued to suggest that it would be irresponsible to mention only a few communities while giving people outside those areas a false sense of safety. She also emphasized that telling people this information can create a stigma for those regions and it isn’t going to stop the spread of the virus. You can read her whole letter here.
BC Update on numbers
Speaking of Dr. Henry, she will be giving her daily BC update, alongside Health Minister Adrian Dix, at 3 pm PT on Tuesday. Her announcement can be watched live on CHEK’s Facebook Page and YouTube channel. The latest numbers given by the duo on Monday brought BC’s total cases to 1,266, with 783 of those having fully recovered. They also unveiled the latest death in BC from coronavirus was a man in his 40s.
Justin Trudeau’s daily address
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will also make his daily address today at his standard time of 8:15 am PT. Businesses are eagerly awaiting updates on the 75% wage subsidy that was announced last week and on Monday, Trudeau hinted that eligibility for the CERB was going to expand to more Canadians in the coming days. You can watch the Prime Minister’s address on CHEK’s Facebook Page and YouTube channel.
Overseas: Britain’s Prime Minister getting worse
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson remains in intensive care in a London hospital after his coronavirus symptoms worsened. Officials say Johnson is not on a ventilator but has been given oxygen. Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove says he doesn’t know if the prime minister has pneumonia, which often develops in patients hit hardest by the novel coronavirus. Buckingham Palace says the Queen is being kept informed about Johnson’s health as she remains in self-isolation at Windsor Castle.