Here is what’s happening with the novel coronavirus in British Columbia on March 25, 2020:
House of Commons reconvene on relief package
The Opposition parties are going to support an $82 billion emergency bill being introduced in Parliament today to help Canadians fight the economic losses caused by COVID-19. The House of Commons is reconvening with 32 MPs in attendance in order to pass the bill proposed last week. Initially, the Conservatives objected to signing as they feared the bill was creating a blank cheque over a provision around control on taxes and spending, however, the Liberals backed off.
The bill is now expected to get quick approval and pass Senate tomorrow.
Employment Standards Act altered last night
Workers who are unable to attend work for reasons related to COVID-19 will be able to take unpaid leave without putting their jobs at risk. That’s one of the significant changes to the Employment Standards Act passed by a dozen members of the B-C legislature during an emergency meeting last night in Victoria.
Tokyo 2020 Olympics postponed
The Tokyo Olympics that were scheduled to begin this July have been postponed. Japan’s Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, and IOC President Thomas Bach managed to reach an agreement to postpone the Olympics and Paralympics until the summer of 2021. This is the first time the Olympic schedule has been impacted since World War II.
BC expert saying social distancing must persist
Disease modelling expert, Caroline Colijn, from Simon Fraser University in Burnaby is encouraging people to continue practising social distancing even if COVID-19 cases continue to rise. Colijn said when a new case is confirmed in BC, it tells experts about transmission that happened up to two weeks before. The benefits of complete social distancing won’t be seen for about two weeks, according to Colijn.
New poll highlight one in five Canadians believe virus overblown
A new Leger poll suggests 20% of people surveyed think the COVID-19 pandemic is being blown out of proportion. The Leger poll points to 18-34 year olds as most likely to think the crisis is overblown.
Other results from the Leger poll suggest 38% of Canadians say their personal income is affected by the crisis and 27% believe they will not be able to pay all their bills.
Washington issues stay at home orders
Governor Jay Inslee has signed a stay at home order for the state just south of British Columbia. The statewide proclamation is slated to last the next two weeks. The move follows a handful of other states, including California. Washington has seen over 1,000 cases of COVID-19 with over 80 deaths as a result of the virus.
Outbreak accelerating globally
The World Health Organization is warning the latest COVID-19 numbers it releases later today will be considerably higher. According to W.H.O., 85 per cent of the new cases are being reported in Europe and the United States. With confirmed cases nearing the 400,000 mark globally, the organization said the outbreak is currently accelerating very rapidly.