Read The Star's live coverage of the coronavirus pandemic here . This story is no longer updating.
12 a.m.: Air Canada is temporarily laying off more than 5,000 employees across the country, according to a statement from the union representing flight attendants.
The move comes after the airline announced it will be massively limiting service to international destinations.
The layoffs will affect 3,600 Air Canada employees and 1,549 Air Canada Rouge employees. They will still be able to "collect employment insurance and maintain benefits, along with travel benefits" according to the union statement.
11:05 p.m.: The president of the Treasury Board of Ontario says he developed mild symptoms associated with COVID-19 over the weekend and has been tested.
Peter Bethlenfalvy says in a tweet today that he has been in isolation since developing the symptoms and is working from home.
He says he will release the results of the test when they come in.
Ontario reported 43 new COVID-19 cases today — the largest single-day increase — bringing the total in the province to 257.
10:45 p.m.: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's office says he spoke with the premier of Prince Edward Island today about CBC's decision to scrap most local TV newscasts.
A statement about Trudeau's conversation with Dennis King says both leaders agreed that people from P.E.I. deserve access to local coverage during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The PMO says Trudeau committed to having the minister responsible speak to the CBC to explore options for Islanders "given these extraordinary circumstances."
The CBC temporarily scrapped most of its local TV newscasts to consolidate resources at CBC News Network amid the COVID-19 crisis on Wednesday.
9:55 p.m.: A group of people may have been exposed to the novel coronavirus at the Resort Municipality of Whistler.
A statement from Vancouver Coastal Health says one or more people who were at Whistler between March 8 and 11 have been diagnosed with COVID-19.
It is asking people who were in the area between those dates to self-isolate and watch for symptoms.
9:20 p.m.: Former Liberal cabinet minister Jane Philpott says she has returned to the front line to help combat COVID-19.
Philpott, who was a family physician before she became involved in politics, says she is helping the team at Markham Stouffville Hospital in Ontario in the COVID-19 assessment centre. She represented the riding of Markham-Stouffville in the House of Commons before she was defeated in the 2019 federal election.
9:03 p.m.: Cirque du Soleil has announced company-wide layoffs as COVID-19 continues to hurt the economy.
A statement from the president of the entertainment group says the staff reductions, which affect 95 per cent of its 4,679-member workforce, are temporary.
Daniel Lamarre says the decision was a necessary measure to stabilize the company for the future.
He says cities and countries where the group performs have legislated the closure of public gatherings of more than 250 people to help stop the spread of COVID-19, which resulted in a call for a halt in activity.
8:16 p.m.: Haiti has confirmed its first two cases of the new coronavirus.
President Jovenel Moise said the unidentified patients that tested positive for COVID-19 have been quarantined. He declined to release further details out of fear for their safety. Moise also said he would close all airports, schools, factories and seaports.
The announcement comes just days after officials closed the border that Haiti and the Dominican Republic share on the island of Hispaniola.
7:30 p.m.: There are 871 confirmed and presumptive cases in Canada. The numbers by province:
- Ontario: 257 (including 2 deaths, 5 resolved);
- British Columbia: 271 confirmed (including 8 deaths) 5 resolved;
- Alberta: 146 confirmed (including 1 death);
- Quebec: 121 confirmed (including 1 death);
- Canadians quarantined at CFB Trenton: 9 confirmed;
- Manitoba: 9 confirmed, 8 presumptive;
- Saskatchewan: 8 confirmed, 12 presumptive;
- Nova Scotia: 5 confirmed, 9 presumptive;
- New Brunswick: 2 confirmed, 9 presumptive;
- Prince Edward Island: 2 confirmed;
- Newfoundland and Labrador: 1 confirmed, 2 presumptive.
7:20 p.m.: President Donald Trump on Thursday called off the G-7 meeting at Camp David scheduled for June, citing the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the White House said.
The leaders of seven major industrial nations — Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States — will instead huddle by video conference, White House spokesman Judd Deere said.
Trump had originally hoped to hold the summit at his private golf resort outside Miami before moving it to Camp David after a public uproar.
6:58 p.m.: An investigation is underway in at least two provinces after a Saskatchewan doctor who attended a curling bonspiel in Edmonton tested positive for COVID-19.
Dr. Allan Woo, president of the Saskatchewan Medical Association, said in a letter to members that he tested positive for the virus Wednesday night."I attended a curling bonspiel held March 11-14 in Edmonton," he said in the letter Thursday. "This bonspiel is an annual event that usually attracts 50-60 physicians from Western Canada."
Woo is one of four new presumptive cases of COVID-19 in Saskatchewan, bringing the total in the province to 20.
6:54 p.m.: Vacation airliner Sunwing is offering available seats on its repatriation flights from southern destinations to stranded Canadians, free of charge, the company said Thursday.
The seats are open to non-Sunwing customers as the travel company responds to calls from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for Canadians to return home as soon as possible in response to the sometimes deadly coronavirus.
6:13 p.m.: There has been another COVID-19 related death in the North Vancouver care home where an outbreak has already claimed six other lives, confirm B.C. health officials, bringing the national total number of deaths to 12. There are now 271 confirmed cases of the virus in B.C.
5:50 p.m.: Alberta has recorded its first death from COVID-19 , bringing the national total to 11. The province's chief medical officer Dr. Deena Hinshaw says the man who died was in his 60s and had underlying health conditions. She says it appears he contracted the virus in the community and not through travel. Alberta is reporting 27 new cases of the infection for a total of 146. It is the fourth province to record a death.
5:37 p.m.: Region of Durham Health department says four residents at long-term care home in Oshawa have tested positive for COVID-19. The infected patients include two women, ages 80 and 92, and two men, ages 68 and 71. All four patients currently live in Hillsdale Terraces, near Rossland Rd. and Oshawa Blvd. N., in Oshawa. They are all in isolation.
5:08 p.m.: The federal government is suspending its passport services until further notice. Canadians will only be able to obtain or renew passports if they need to travel for urgent reasons. This includes serious illness, the death of a friend or family member, humanitarian work or who would otherwise lose a job or business.
Service Canada says anyone who does not meet the criteria for urgent travel — or is experiencing symptoms such as a fever, coughing, having trouble breathing — will have to wait, as would anyone who is in self-isolation.
Social Development Minister Ahmed Hussen says that with travel restrictions in place, Service Canada needs to focus on assisting Canadians with issues that are currently the most critical.
5:03 p.m.: Toronto has closed its central intake centre to walk-in referrals to homeless shelters over social distancing concerns. Phone lines remain open, but the closure means that the Streets to Homes Assessment and Referral Centre, which is usually open 24 hours a day to help refer people to a shelter bed, respite or drop-in with space available, won't be available. Homeless people will have to rely on shelter staff and outreach workers. "It puts a lot of extra work on busy shelters," said long-time street nurse Cathy Crowe.
4:36 p.m.: Vancouver council has voted unanimously in favour of a motion to declare a state of emergency in the city.
Mayor Kennedy Stewart told councillors he decided to move forward with the motion after police identified "over 20" bars and restaurants that defied an order to close on St. Patrick's Day.
The order was issued to prevent large gatherings and limit the spread of COVID-19.
4:23 p.m.: Peter MacDonald, director of donor relations for Ontario, said a nationwide spike in cancelled and delayed appointments has been reflected in serious drops in blood donations in the GTA where eight permanent sites, plus mobile clinics, usually collect 3,000 litres every week.
Last Saturday, after the Ontario government extended the March school break by two weeks and urged people to not gather, donations plummeted 32 per cent below the usual goal.
Efforts to restock blood and blood product supplies — needed to treat accident victims, patients undergoing surgery, people getting cancer treatments, among others — started rebounding Tuesday only after some health officials and politicians heeded a plea to say it's OK to donate.
4:16 p.m.: Toronto's medical officer of health, Dr. Eileen de Villa is encouraging all non-essential businesses such as hair and nail salons as well as clothing stores to close immediately as city officials continue to urge social distancing to combat the growing COVID-19 outbreak.
4:05 p.m.: Dr. Eileen de Villa, Toronto's chief medical officer of health, confirms that the city has 128 confirmed COVID-19 cases, with 11 of those people hospitalized.
3:35 p.m.: Dr. David Williams, chief medical officer of health for Ontario, said the increase of 43 COVID-19 cases today wasn't surprising, considering the increase in Canadians coming back from travel and the increase in reporting. He warns that it could get up to 50 or 60 new cases a day.
3:30 p.m.: The University Health Network is teaming up with the 211 help line and a social service agency to help those impacted by the virus stay on their feet financially as the economic implications of COVID-19 play out.
UHN, a hospital network and health research organization in Toronto, is collaborating with 211, an Ontario telephone helpline and website that gives information about and referrals to the province's government, community, social and health-related services, along with West Neighbourhood House, a social services organization in the city.
Those with COVID-19 symptoms or who suspect they may be infected and show up at emergency wards within UHN's network or at the COVID-19 screening centre at Toronto Western will get information about the services.
3:25 p.m.: Millions of people in North America watched helplessly as the coronavirus epidemic rolled over first Asia and then Europe. And when that inevitable tide hit North America, fear and anxiety levels across the continent shot through the roof.
And as those anxiety levels rise, so too does the mental health toll on both victims and those untouched by the virus.
3:15 p.m.: Associate medical officer of health Dr. Barbara Yaffe says 22 people in Ontario now hospitalized with COVID-19.
2:40 p.m.: Hamilton's hospitals have been instructing some staff who travelled abroad to return to work immediately instead of self-isolating.
Many hospitals in Ontario were doing the same, advising only staff who were in China, Italy or Iran to self-isolate for 14 days. Those who travelled to other places were told to self-monitor and come to work if they had no symptoms of COVID-19.
Despite the federal government recommending since March 13 that travellers abroad self-isolate upon return, hospitals only adopted that policy five days later on Wednesday.
2:28 p.m.: The Trump administration is considering an upgrade to its already dire warning to Americans against all international travel as the coronavirus outbreak spreads.
U.S. officials said Thursday the State Department could soon issue a new alert urging Americans not to travel abroad under any circumstances.
At the moment, the department's advice to U.S. citizens is to "reconsider" all international travel under what is known as a "level three" alert. A global "level four" warning would be unprecedented as such alerts are generally reserved for specific countries embroiled in conflict, natural disasters or where Americans face specific risks.
2:17 p.m.: New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs has declared a state of emergency to help the province stop the spread of COVID-19 because he says too few citizens were following orders to avoid public gatherings.
Higgs told a news conference today that all public schools, universities and colleges will remain closed until further notice and all non-essential retail businesses must cease admitting the public effective immediately.
The premier says grocery stores, pharmacies, liquor and cannabis stores operated by the province, post offices, gas stations and hardware stores can remain open, adding that restaurants can only offer take-out.
Higgs says his directives are no longer suggestions, and all citizens, under law, must comply.
2 p.m.: Canadian foreign affairs minister Francois-Philippe Champagne has been tested for COVID-19 after he began experiencing flu-like symptoms after returning from a trip abroad, he tweeted. He is in self-isolation while awaiting test results. "I will continue to work around the clock to support Canadians facing difficulties abroad and to co-ordinate the international response to this crisis," he tweeted. "We must remember to practice social distancing and take all necessary precautions to protect each other in the face of this virus."
1:43 p.m.: Quebec is reporting 121 confirmed COVID-19 cases today, up from 94 the day before, with seven people in hospital.
The government is asking people to stick close to home and not travel to other parts of the province unless necessary.
Premier Francois Legault says the province wants to limit travel as the province is monitoring the situation region by region.
The province's health authorities say all regions of the province now have confirmed cases.
1:36 p.m.: The death toll in Italy from the coronavirus overtook China's on Thursday in a stark illustration of how the outbreak has pivoted toward Europe and the United States.
Italy, with a population of 60 million, recorded at least 3,405 deaths, or roughly 150 more than in China — a country with a population over 20 times larger.
Italy reached the bleak milestone the same day that Wuhan, the Chinese city where the coronavirus first emerged three months ago, recorded no new infections, a sign that the communist country's draconian lockdowns were a powerful method to stop the virus' spread.
On Thursday, a visiting Chinese Red Cross team criticized Italians' failure to properly quarantine themselves and take the national lockdown seriously.
1:30 p.m.: Newfoundland and Labrador's chief medical officer of health reported no new cases of COVID-19 today, but one of the three presumptive cases was confirmed positive.
Dr. Janice Fitzgerald says 684 people in the province have been tested and 681 have been confirmed negative.
She says public health is monitoring 276 people who are in self-isolation.
1:10 p.m.: A person in Manitoba who tested positive for COVID-19 has been hospitalized.
Dr. Brent Roussin, the province's chief public health officer, says the patient has moderate symptoms.
There are 17 cases of the novel coronavirus in the province. All but one has been connected to international travel.
Health Minister Cameron Friesen says the province has received 27 extra ventilators for a total of 270, and more are on the way.
12:35 p.m.: Halton Region Public Health announces that it has been notified of a death related to COVID-19. The individual, a man in his 50s, is the second known death in Ontario related to COVID-19. The man had an underlying health condition and was being treated at Oakville Trafalgar Memorial Hospital and Milton District Hospital.
"This is the tragic proof that we need to work together as a community to help stop the spread of COVID-19 by practicing social distancing and taking action to protect yourself and those around you," Dr. Hamidah Meghani, Halton Region's Medical Officer of Health, said in a statement. "This is a larger community issue and I know that everyone joins me in extending their deepest condolences to his family at this time."
12:15 p.m.: Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland says all asylum seekers crossing into Canada from the U.S. at Roxham Road will be temporarily housed beginning tomorrow.
Freeland says this is to ensure they are all quarantined for 14 days just as everyone else coming into Canada from the U.S. and other countries should do.
Freeland says she spoke to Quebec Justice Minister Sonia LeBel, as well as all provincial premiers, about the issue.
12:10 p.m.: Premier Doug Ford announces that all renewals for driver licences, licence plate stickers and health cards are suspended . You can use your expired documents for now.
Ford said this is to reduce the need for in-person visits to Service Ontario outlets and will help private motorists and commercial operators.
The premier stressed that expired and expiring health cards can continue to be used access to health services.
12:04 p.m.: Tribunals Ontario will not issue any new eviction orders until further notice. Sheriff's offices have been asked to postpone any scheduled enforcement of eviction orders currently set for this week.
12 p.m. After the Ontario government's Telehealth toll-free number was down for hours yesterdat despite 300 new lines, Health Minister Christine Elliott said another 1,300 lines have been added Thursday.
The service is the first point of contact for residents with questions about COVID-19, such as whether they need to be tested depending on what symptoms they have.
"We're working to add even more to help further reduce wait times," Elliott tweeted.
11:20 a.m.: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says it will take "weeks to months" for social-distancing measures to be lifted in the fight against COVID-19.
He says the government is following the advice of health experts and will not lift restrictions on public activities and movements until it is safe to do so.
11:12 a.m.: The Canada-U.S. border will likely be closed to all non-essential travel in both directions as of Friday night.
Trudeau announced the expected timing of the closure Thursday morning after leaders of the two countries revealed details of the plan Wednesday.
Both countries have been in talks in recent days to negotiate a mutual ban on recreational travel without restricting the flow of two-way trade and commerce.
Essential cross-border workers like health-care professionals, air crews and others are to be permitted to cross.
10:39 a.m.: There have been 16,650 people in Ontario tested for COVID-19, the latest figures show — and 12,421 have tested negative for the virus. But there are 3,972 cases still listed as under investigation.
Of the 43 new positive cases announced today, at least 16 were related to travel. But information on whether people are self-isolating or hospitalized, their ages and regions, as well as how they were infected, is listed as "pending" for more than half of the new cases.
Others have a recent travel history to places such as the United States, the Carribean, Mexico and Europe; or they're close contacts of other confirmed cases.
One of the new patients, a man in his 80s in Durham Region, is hospitalized.
Five cases are listed as resolved which is when a patient is no longer infectious based on two consecutive negative tests. One person has died.
10:30 a.m.: Ontario is reporting 43 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the provincial total to 257.
10:15 a.m.: Duty counsel at a downtown Toronto courthouse have been told not to come to work on Thursday due to unsafe work conditions, according to emails obtained by the Star from the CEO of Legal Aid Ontario.
"I learned today that in-custody persons exhibiting signs of illness may have been transported by police to the College Park courthouse," David Field wrote in an email to staff at the College Park courthouse on Wednesday evening.
10:02 a.m.: Stocks are falling in early trading on Wall Street on Thursday, but the losses are more subdued than the wild swings that have dominated recent weeks. At least for now.
The S&P 500 was down 1.9 per cent shortly after trading began, following eight straight days where it swung up or down between 4.9 per cent and 12 per cent. Markets have been so volatile because investors are weighing the increasing likelihood of a recession on one hand against huge, emergency efforts by global authorities to support the economy on the other. Markets got more of each on Thursday.
The TSX was down 300 points in early trading.
10 a.m.: The Liquor Control Board of Ontario, which has curbed product returns during the pandemic, will lift that prohibition for publicans and restaurateurs within the next fortnight.
"Right now, the hold on returns applies to all but the plan is to accommodate licensee returns within the next two weeks," the LCBO said Thursday.
9:30 a.m.: A trans-Atlantic cruise ship carrying several COVID-19 cases among its passengers and with dozens of Canadians aboard has docked in the French Mediterranean port city of Marseille.
Global Affairs Canada says at least 77 Canadians are on the Costa Luminosa. The ship has more than 1,400 passengers.
French authorities have allowed the ship to stay for up to four days under strict conditions.
It is not known whether passengers will be allowed off, given the current stringent restrictions imposed in France amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Global Affairs Canada has said officials are standing ready to provide consular assistance to the Canadians.
8:45 a.m.: British Columbia's Municipal Affairs Ministry has cancelled three municipal byelections and a referendum in four communities around the province as part of efforts to avoid the spread of the new coronavirus.
A statement from the ministry says it has scrubbed byelections set for Victoria and Rossland on April 4, a referendum in Kamloops on the same day and a byelection slated for Lytton on April 25. None of the votes have been rescheduled.
8:30 a.m.: The coronavirus pandemic has infected 222,000 people around the world and killed more than 9,100, according to the Johns Hopkins resource center. About 84,500 have recovered.
Last month, Wuhan was overwhelmed with thousands of new cases of coronavirus each day, but in a dramatic development that underscores just how much the outbreak has pivoted toward Europe and the United States, Chinese authorities said Thursday that the city and its surrounding province had no new cases to report.
But in a stark warning for the world, Italy appeared set to surpass China's death toll from the virus. The two milestones were a dramatic illustration of how much the global outbreak has pivoted toward Europe and the United States.
7:15 a.m.: TTC has its first confirmed case of COVID-19 , a bus mechanic at the agency's Duncan shop. Up to 170 workers being sent home. TTC says a temporary shut down of the garage is not expected to impact service.
7 a.m.: There are 727 confirmed and presumptive cases in Canada.
- British Columbia: 231 confirmed (including 7 deaths, 5 resolved)
- Ontario: 214 confirmed (including 1 death, 5 resolved)
- Alberta: 119 confirmed
- Quebec: 94 confirmed (including 1 death)
- Manitoba: 13 confirmed, 4 presumptive
- Saskatchewan: 2 confirmed, 14 presumptive
- Nova Scotia: 3 confirmed, 9 presumptive
- New Brunswick: 2 confirmed, 9 presumptive
- Canadians quarantined at CFB Trenton: 9 confirmed
- Newfoundland and Labrador: No confirmed cases, 3 presumptive
- Prince Edward Island: 1 confirmed
- The Territories: No confirmed cases
- Total: 727 (688 confirmed, 9 deaths, 10 resolved, 39 presumptive)
6 a.m. Adoptions are on hold and pet shelters across the country are scrambling to make ends meet to take care of their animals during the COVID-19 pandemic. Humane society offices in Calgary, Edmonton and Toronto are closed to the general public. Volunteers have been sent home and dogs and cats already at the shelters are going to have to wait before getting a chance to find a new home.
"We really just don't want people coming in and out of the building, so unfortunately all of our animals … are staying put," said Jessica Bohrson, communications manager for the Calgary Humane Society.
4:55 a.m.: Indonesia halted a mass congregation of nearly 9,000 Muslim pilgrims and began quarantining them and checking their health Thursday to prevent the further spread of the coronavirus amid a spike in cases.
The four-day gathering at a boarding school in a rural area in south Sulawesi province wasn't approved by authorities and drew fears it could spread the virus widely in the world's fourth most populous nation.
It was organized by a Muslim missionary movement, Jamaat Tabligh, which held a similar event in Malaysia three weeks ago that has been linked to nearly two-thirds of that country's 900 infections as well as dozens of cases in other nations.
1:46 a.m.: Iran's top leader will pardon 10,000 more prisoners in an apparent effort to combat the coronavirus, state TV reported Thursday.
The report quoted judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Esmaili as saying that 10,000 prisoners — among them an unknown number of security related inmates — will be granted amnesty under a decree by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on the occasion of the Iranian new year, called Nowruz.
Overnight: Global Affairs Canada says at least 77 Canadians are on a trans-Atlantic cruise ship that has several COVID-19 cases among its passengers.
Toronto police have confirmed a civilian member of the force has tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.
The federal government is lifting COVID-19 travel restrictions on migrant farm workers coming to Canada , relieving industry fears that the national response to the pandemic could threaten the nation's food supply.
An Air Canada flight attendant has tested positive for the coronavirus in Hawaii, and was the first of that state's 16 current COVID-19 patients, according to local media.
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- COVID-19 deaths surpass 5,000 in U.S. Los Angeles County
- COVID-19 death 'hoax' embroils Arizona State University: Professors' trust 'violated' after Twitter user claiming to be a queer, indigenous professor who died from the virus is exposed as a bizarre fake account
- 2 new COVID-19 deaths reported; USS Constitution to reopen
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- Vietnam confirms 18 new Covid-19 infection cases, total rising to 670
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