Cases continue to climb in India, African countries; Michael Ford becomes first Toronto councillor to test positive for COVID-19

The latest coronavirus news from Canada and around the world Wednesday (this file will be updated throughout the day). Web links to longer stories if available.

6:15 a.m.: The number of coronavirus cases in India continued to rapidly increase Wednesday, with officials reporting nearly 10,000 new cases over the past 24 hours.

The spike has come as the government moves forward with reopening restaurants, shopping malls and religious places in most of its states after a more than two-month-old lockdown.

The government has already partially restored train services and domestic flights and allowed shops and manufacturing to reopen. Subways, hotels and schools and colleges, however, remain shuttered nationwide.

The Health Ministry on Wednesday reported an 24-hour increase of 9,985 cases and 274 deaths. India has recorded 276,583 positive cases, the fifth highest in the world, and 7,745 deaths.

The actual numbers, like elsewhere in the world, are thought to be fair higher due to a number of reasons such as limited testing.

6:11 a.m.: Africa’s coronavirus cases have surpassed 200,000.

That’s according to the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The 54-nation continent has 202,782 cases and 5,516 deaths.

While Africa still represents a tiny percentage of the world’s total COVID-19 cases, well under 5%, officials in South Africa and elsewhere have expressed concern as the number of infections continues to climb.

South Africa leads the continent with 52,991 cases, with almost two-thirds of them in the Western Cape province centred on the city of Cape Town.

Egypt has 36,829 cases and Nigeria has 13,464.

6:10 a.m.: Germany is prolonging its travel warning for more than 160 countries outside Europe until the end of August.

The government agreed Wednesday to extend the guidance introduced on March 17 due to the coronavirus pandemic to almost all non-EU countries, with the exception of some that have successfully contained the outbreak.

Last week, Germany downgraded its travel warning for the rest of the 27-nation EU, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Iceland and Britain.

4:00 a.m.: The latest numbers of confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases in Canada as of 4 a.m. ET on June 10, 2020:

There are 96,653 confirmed and presumptive cases in Canada.

– Quebec: 53,185 confirmed (including 5,029 deaths, 19,361 resolved)

– Ontario: 31,090 confirmed (including 2,464 deaths, 24,829 resolved)

– Alberta: 7,229 confirmed (including 151 deaths, 6,722 resolved)

– British Columbia: 2,669 confirmed (including 167 deaths, 2,319 resolved)

– Nova Scotia: 1,060 confirmed (including 62 deaths, 999 resolved)

– Saskatchewan: 656 confirmed (including 13 deaths, 624 resolved)

– Manitoba: 289 confirmed (including 7 deaths, 285 resolved), 11 presumptive

– Newfoundland and Labrador: 261 confirmed (including 3 deaths, 256 resolved)

– New Brunswick: 147 confirmed (including 1 death, 121 resolved)

– Prince Edward Island: 27 confirmed (including 27 resolved)

– Repatriated Canadians: 13 confirmed (including 13 resolved)

– Yukon: 11 confirmed (including 11 resolved)

– Northwest Territories: 5 confirmed (including 5 resolved)

– Nunavut: No confirmed cases

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Total: 96,653 (11 presumptive, 96,642 confirmed including 7,897 deaths, 55,572 resolved)

4:00 a.m.: The non-partisan spirit that has allowed Parliament to swiftly pass emergency legislation during the COVID-19 pandemic seems likely to come to an abrupt end today.

And that could leave in limbo a number of promised measures, including benefits for disabled Canadians and expansion of the wage subsidy program to include seasonal workers and some additional businesses.

The Trudeau government’s latest bill — which would also impose penalties for fraudulently claiming the Canada Emergency Response Benefit — appears to have no support among the main opposition parties.

Without unanimous consent, the government will not be able to pass the bill this afternoon after just a few hours of debate, as it has done with four previous pandemic-related bills.

Tuesday 7:15 p.m.: Michael Ford is the first Toronto city councillor to test positive for COVID-19.

The 26-year-old Ward 1 Etobicoke North representative, a nephew of Premier Doug Ford, confirmed his diagnosis in a statement Tuesday.

“This morning I was made aware that I have tested positive for COVID-19,” he wrote. “I have been self-isolating and will continue to do so over the next 14 days as I work from home to participate virtually in city business and committee meetings, and to continue serving the residents of Etobicoke North.

“I am feeling well and will continue to remain in constant contact with Toronto Public Health.”

Ford did not say what prompted the test or if he knows how he was infected. He did not immediately return a call from the Star on Tuesday evening.

The youngest member of council, he was elected at age 22 in 2016 and the ward that was previously held by his late uncle Rob Ford.

Read the full story from the Star’s David Rider.

Tuesday 6:20 p.m.: Ontario’s regional health units reported fewer than 300 new COVID-19 infections Tuesday as the province’s average for daily reported cases has fallen to the lowest level since before the epidemic first peaked in April, according to the Star’s latest count.

Since last Tuesday, Ontario has seen an average of 348 cases reported each day, the lowest for any seven-day period since April 2, a time when case counts were still growing rapidly ahead of the pandemic’s worst weeks in the province.

The rate of new cases has fallen even including nearly 300 old but previously unreported infections that were added to the tally this week several days after not being initially reported to Toronto Public Health.

As of 5 p.m. Tuesday, the health units had reported a total of 32,894 confirmed and probable cases, including 2,519 deaths, up a total of 282 new cases since Monday evening — a relatively low one-day total.

And, as has been the case this month, the overwhelming majority of new infections came in the GTA. The region’s five health units saw a total of 214 new cases; the rest of Ontario reported 68.

The 12 new fatal cases reported Monday were also down from recent trends and considerably below from the height of the pandemic from late April to early May, when the province saw as many as 90 deaths in a day.

Earlier Tuesday, the province also reported that 600 patients are now hospitalized with COVID-19, including 116 in intensive care, of whom 88 are on a ventilator — numbers that have fallen sharply since early May.

The province says its data is accurate to 4 p.m. the previous day. The province also cautions its latest count of total deaths — 2,464 — may be incomplete or out of date due to delays in the reporting system, saying that in the event of a discrepancy, “data reported by (the health units) should be considered the most up to date.”

The Star’s count includes some patients reported as “probable” COVID-19 cases, meaning they have symptoms and contacts or travel history that indicate they very likely have the disease, but have not yet received a positive lab test.

TORONTO STAR

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