The latest coronavirus news from Canada and around the world Friday. This file will be updated throughout the day. Web links to longer stories if available.
7:37 a.m. Cineplex Inc. reported a loss of $98.9 million in its latest quarter as its movie theatres were closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The company says the loss amounted to $1.56 per share for the quarter ended June 30 compared with a profit of $19.4 million or 31 cents per share in the same quarter last year.
Revenue totalled $22.0 million, down from $438.9 million.
Cineplex temporarily closed all of its theatres and other entertainment venues March 16 as public health authorities started to put restrictions in place to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.
The company started to reopen its theatres just before the end of the quarter.
Cineplex has also had to deal with the fallout from Cineworld Group PLC’s decision to walk away from a deal to buy the company on June 12. It has filed a lawsuit against its former suitor over the failed deal.
7:35 p.m. New coronavirus cases in the U.S. topped 50,000 for the second day in a row, as countries around the world struggled to curb the virus’s spread.
Total cases in the U.S. exceeded 5.2 million, about a quarter of the world-wide total, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. The nation’s death toll rose by about 1,000 to more than 167,000. That was down from the previous day’s tally, which was the highest daily total since May 27.
6 a.m. More people in Indonesia rolled up their sleeves Friday to test a potential coronavirus vaccine developed by a Chinese company.
The Indonesian government announced the partnership between state-owned enterprise Bio Farma and the Chinese company Sinovac BioTech in early July. As part of the deal, Indonesia recruited 1,620 volunteers for the trial. The first 20 were injected with the candidate vaccine in Bandung, West Java province, on Tuesday, and more followed suit.
“We hope that this third clinical trial will be completed in six months. We hope that in January we can produce it and at the same time, if the production is ready, vaccinate all people in the country,” President Joko Widodo said on Tuesday.
After passing a medical and PCR test to confirm their health, volunteers were given a first dose of the experimental vaccine or a placebo, then a second dose 14 days later.
“I am not worried about the vaccine trial as I have searched the information related to a Sinovac vaccine before,” said Rina Mardiana, 44. “I want to join the trial for humanitarian reasons. I hope the pandemic will end soon.”
Clinical trial research leader Kusnandi Rusmil told The Associated Press that half the volunteers will be injected by the vaccine and the other half with the placebo. “We will see the comparison … in seven months,” Rusmil said.
5:55 a.m. Germany added the most new cases since May, while the head of the French Health Agency Jerome Salomon said the situation in his country is worsening. Travel stocks slumped after the U.K. government said it will require travelers from France, the Netherlands and four other countries to quarantine.
Infections continued to rise in Spain, prompting warnings from business leaders about the cost to the economy if new lockdown measures have to be imposed. New Zealand recorded 12 new local cases on Friday, including some outside the largest city Auckland, where the lockdown was extended.
Democratic nominee Joe Biden said U.S. governors should require masks for the next three months, an approach he said would save more than 40,000 lives, though President Donald Trump said this would be unenforceable.
5:51 a.m. The head of France’s national health service says Paris and Marseille have been declared at-risk zones for the coronavirus as authorities observe a sharp increase in infections.
Jerome Salomon, speaking on France Inter radio, warned “the situation is deteriorating from week to week” in the country. He says virus clusters emerge every day following family reunions, big parties and other gatherings amid summer holidays.
A government decree issued Friday allows authorities to impose stricter measures in the Paris and Marseille areas.
Salomon says there are “more and more people who tested positive, more and more people arriving in hospitals…we need to react before counting new deaths.”
The national health agency reported 2,669 new infections across on Thursday, putting France’s infection rate per 100,000 people to above 30.
4:21 a.m. India’s coronavirus death toll overtook Britain to become the fourth-highest in the world with another single-day record increase in cases Friday.
According to the Health Ministry, India reported 1,007 deaths in the past 24 hours. Its total rose to 48,040 deaths, behind the United States, Brazil and Mexico.
India’s confirmed cases reached 2,461,190 with a single-day spike of 64,553 in the past 24 hours. More than 70 per cent of people infected in India have recovered.
The daily increase in newly reported infections was around 15,000 in the first week of July but jumped to more than 50,000 in the first week of August. The ministry cited its testing efforts, with more than 800,000 tests in a single day, taking cumulative tests to more than 26 million.
Health experts say it needs to be higher, given India’s population of 1.4 billion.
India’s two-month lockdown imposed nationwide in late March kept infections low. But it has eased and is now largely being enforced in high-risk areas. The new cases spiked after India reopened shops and manufacturing and allowed hundreds of thousands of migrant workers to return to their homes from coronavirus-hit regions.
Subways, schools and movie theatres remain closed.
Thursday 10:15 p.m. Despite initial findings and statements to the contrary, it seems children do transmit the coronavirus and play a substantial role in its spread, according to emerging research and several experts who spoke to the Montreal Gazette this week, raising concerns about the prospect of opening schools in three weeks.
But epidemiologists and pediatricians contend the health risks that come with keeping kids away from the classroom remain greater than the risks associated with sending them back — especially for the children themselves, who don’t tend to get as sick from the coronavirus. The experts admit, however, it is possible their return to school will fuel more community spread.
While treating patients on the COVID-19 ward at Ste-Justine Hospital, Dr. Fatima Kakkar, a pediatric infectious disease clinician-researcher, has been struck by how well kids seem to handle the infection.
“It’s been fascinating to me to call a family (to inform them of a positive COVID-19 test) and sometimes they’re even shocked the result came back positive, because the child is already feeling better,” she said. “But what’s also interesting is that in that same family you can have a parent who is very sick, going to the hospital, whereas the child has already recovered.”
The virus affects young children differently, Kakkar said, leading her to believe that worries of children contracting COVID-19 at school and becoming gravely ill are largely inflated.
COVID-19 has so far killed no children in Canada, she said; less than 100 have been hospitalized with the virus, and less than 20 have landed in intensive care. Compare that with last year’s influenza season, she said, which saw 15,000 cases among children, 200 of whom ended up in the ICU and seven of whom died.
But though they don’t get as sick, there are new concerns about the role children play in spreading the virus. An article in the Medical Journal of Australia published online this week claimed that, contrary to claims made by some researchers, children do play an important role in spreading COVID-19.
“Research suggesting otherwise is hampered by substantial bias,” wrote the article’s author, Dr. Zoë Hyde. “Additionally, large clusters in school settings have been reported, with implications for the control of community transmission.”
Thursday 9:30 p.m. A surge of COVID-19 cases among Southwestern Ontario’s Mennonite communities is prompting the region’s public health offices to work together to keep the virus from spreading in the enclaves of farm families who lead a faith-based lifestyle.
From Huron-Perth to Chatham-Kent and Windsor-Essex, public health officials have reported a rise of positive cases among Low German-speaking Mennonite communities in recent weeks.
Chatham-Kent’s top public health doctor said “almost all” of their cases – 84 are active as of Friday – are members of the Low German Mennonite community.
As of Wednesday, in Huron-Perth, 10 of the region’s 74 cases are among Low German Mennonites, mostly in the Perth East area, which includes Millbank and Milverton.
Thursday 8:30 p.m. Mexico has passed the half-million mark in confirmed coronavirus cases.
The Health Department reported 7,371 newly confirmed cases Thursday, bringing the country’s total for the pandemic to 505,751. The department reported 627 more confirmed COVID-19 deaths, giving Mexico a total of 55,293.
Experts agree that due to Mexico’s extremely low testing rates, those numbers are undercounts and that the real figures may be two to three times higher. With only about 1.15 million tests conducted to date in a country of almost 130 million people, less than 1% of Mexicans have been tested.
Read more of Thursday’s coverage here.