Today’s coronavirus news: Poll finds over two-thirds of Canadians support a pandemic curfew; Europe runs low on ICU beds, hospital staff; Medicago reports promising early results of possible vaccine

Today’s coronavirus news: Poll finds over two-thirds of Canadians support a pandemic curfew; Europe runs low on ICU beds, hospital staff; Medicago reports promising early results of possible vaccine

KEY FACTS

  • 7:30 a.m. Cases are soaring in Ontario, prompting epidemiologists to plead with the public to adhere to local public-health guidelines

  • 7:18 a.m. Medicago says it has received promising early test results for its plant-derived vaccine

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

9:16 a.m. Italian basketball team Olimpia Milano has suspended all team activity after “numerous” members of the squad tested positive for the coronavirus.

The club says the cases emerged from tests carried out shortly after Sunday’s victory over Brescia.

All the positive people are asymptomatic and the group will undergo further tests on Tuesday.

Olimpia was due to fly to Russia for EuroLeague matches against Zenit St. Petersburg on Wednesday and Khimki Moscow Region three days later.

It is also scheduled to play Cantù in the domestic season on Sunday.

Olimpia coach Ettore Messina called last week for the EuroLeague season to be suspended until March or April.

9:05 a.m. French soccer club Nice says it has shut down its training facilities because of a COVID-19 outbreak.

Nice says more than a dozen of players and staff members have tested positive for the coronavirus recently. The club says some players from the youth teams have also been affected.

Nice did not identify the players infected but made the announcement after the Swiss soccer federation said defender Jordan Lotomba had been ruled out of this week’s friendly match against Belgium because of a positive test. Lotomba plays for Nice.

Nice says it hopes to reopen the training facilities “next week after new tests.”

Nice’s next French league match is on Nov. 21 in Marseille.

9 a.m. Hong Kong’s first socially distanced outdoor entertainment park opened its doors to the public on Tuesday in an attempt by the entertainment industry to adjust to the coronavirus pandemic.

The park, called The Grounds, has a hundred socially distanced enclosed areas spaced 1.5 metres apart that seat two-to-four people.

Visitors can enjoy a variety of entertainment programs, including live performances and an outdoor cinema.

On Tuesday, groups of viewers gathered for an outdoor screening of the movie “Jaws,” a 1975 classic about a great white shark terrifying a beach community.

8:35 a.m. The Niagara COVID-19 super-spreader cluster responsible for the proliferation of the novel coronavirus in dozens of local bars, homes and stores now has links to cases in the Greater Toronto Area, the St. Catharines Standard has learned.

Even as the cluster in Niagara appears to be winding down — there were no new local cases linked to it in the 73 infections confirmed over the past three days — its widening gyre touched other communities, although the region’s top public health official was unwilling to say which communities have been impacted.

Dr. Mustafa Hirji, Niagara’s acting medical officer of health, said the number of linked cases outside Niagara appears to be in the single digits at the moment, although he could not provide an accurate count.

Read the full story by Grant LaFleche

8:30 a.m. “A time to heal.” That was the theme of U.S. president-elect Joe Biden’s Saturday night acceptance speech, drawn from the book of Ecclesiastes. It was a message directed to Donald Trump’s supporters. “Let’s give each other a chance,” Biden said. “This is the time to heal in America.”

Biden’s call was for healing both physical and psychological: for the actual bodies of America, ravaged by the pandemic, and for the body politic, cleaved by partisan contempt. Both are daunting tasks. As urgent as the first is, it might be the simpler one.

Even as COVID-19 spreads unchecked in virtually every corner of the United States now, with average daily new case counts in the past week topping 111,000, there was a hint of good news on Monday, as Pfizer announced interim analysis of its vaccine trials suggesting it was more than 90 per cent effective.

Read the full story from the Star’s Ed Keenan

7:50 a.m. It’s been a month. So how exactly is Toronto doing?

On Oct. 9, Toronto entered modified Stage 2 restrictions, closing high-risk venues to try to control the city’s fast-rising second wave of COVID-19 infections. The measures were supposed to last 28 days, but the city asked for more time, extending the slate of controls until the end of this week. Monday marked exactly a month of modified Stage 2.

In the meantime, the Ford government released a new colour-coded framework for implementing and removing new restrictions. On Saturday, Toronto is scheduled to move from the current slate of restrictions to the province’s “orange” level of intermediate measures. As proposed, the switch would reopen indoor dining, bars, and gyms, with capacity limits and liquor curfews.

Read the full story from the Star’s Jennifer Yang and Kate Allen

7:32 a.m. Up until a few weeks ago, Canadian snowbird Diane Rood and her husband, Theo, weren’t sure if they were going to be able to make it to their winter getaway in Florida this year, given the COVID-19-related restrictions on crossing the border by car.

“I have arthritis. The thought of staying in Canada with our cold, damp weather just seemed inconceivable,” she said.

The couple from Lambton Shores, Ont., who always drive to Florida, contemplated taking a commercial flight. But that would mean not having a vehicle when they arrived. Plus, they’d have to leave their beloved black Labrador, Abby, behind.

Read the full story by Douglas Quan

7:30 a.m. Cases of COVID-19 are soaring in Ontario, prompting epidemiologists to plead with the public to adhere to local public-health guidelines.

For the fourth straight day, Ontario recorded more than 1,000 new infections Monday, with 1,242 cases reported, following Sunday’s record-breaking count of 1,328 new cases, 1,132 on Saturday and 1,003 on Friday.

Cases in the province were expected to peak in the next couple of weeks and then fall by January, according to models by the University of Waterloo on the spread of the virus, which were based in part on the last round of government restrictions.

Read the full story by Kenyon Wallace and Patty Winsa

7:21 a.m. I hate to be the bearer of bad news — or to sound like a character from a TV show featuring dragons — but winter is coming. And I’m dreading it.

Adding piles of snow to continued COVID-19 restrictions is a recipe for a dreary season. Imagine a bitterly cold January day where most of the city’s businesses and venues remain largely off-limits and there’s a thick layer of snow and ice on the ground. Bone-chilling.

My dread was only increased last week after the infrastructure and environment committee at Toronto city hall voted down a motion brought by Coun. Josh Matlow and Coun. Mike Layton to look at clearing more of the city’s sidewalks of snow and ice. It’s a move that could have made it a little easier for a lot of us to get outside and get around this winter, but the committee rejected it.

Read the full story by Matt Elliott

7:18 a.m. Medicago says it has received promising early test results for its plant-derived vaccine for COVID-19.

The Quebec City-based company says interim results of a Phase 1 clinical trial found that 100 per cent of subjects developed a promising antibody response after two doses of its COVID-19 vaccine candidate.

Medicago says the side effects were generally mild to moderate and short in duration.

The Phase 1 clinical trial was a randomized, partially blinded study of 180 healthy people.

Based on the Phase 1 data, Medicago plans to proceed with a Phase 2/3 clinical trial for its COVID-19 vaccine candidate, subject to regulatory approval.

The federal government has signed a $173-million contract with Medicago to secure the rights to buy 76 million doses of its vaccine, should it meet health and safety standards.

6 a.m.: The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic may have boosted failing public trust in science and scientists, a new survey has found.

“I think it’s fantastic that we see the decline in skepticism about science among Canadians,” said Brett McCollum, a chemist at Calgary’s Mount Royal University who has seen the results of the survey.

Since 2018, the 3M company has commissioned an annual global poll on a wide variety of attitudes toward science.

In 2018, about 29 per cent of people around the world said they were skeptical of science. That had increased to about 35 per cent by the fall of 2019.

5:05 a.m.: Health authorities in Thailand said Tuesday that a Hungarian diplomat in Bangkok has tested positive for the coronavirus, and is believed to have become infected through contact with his country’s foreign minister, who tested positive last week during an abortive official visit.

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Cambodian officials had said Monday that Hungary’s ambassador to Cambodia and Vietnam had tested positive for the coronavirus in the wake of a one-day visit to Cambodia by Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto. Szijjarto was found to be infected when he was tested last Tuesday on arrival in Thailand from Cambodia.

The unnamed 53-year-old Hungarian diplomat in Bangkok is the only locally transmitted case in Thailand so far to be linked to Szijjarto. He was described as asymptomatic but tested positive on Monday, and was sent to the Bamrasnaradura Infectious Diseases Institute in Bangkok’s northern suburbs for treatment. Szijjarto had been sent to the same facility before flying back to Hungary.

4:43 a.m.: In Italy lines of ambulances park outside hospitals awaiting beds, and in France the government coronavirus tracking app prominently displays the intensive care capacity taken up by COVID-19 patients: 92.5% and rising. In the ICU in Barcelona, there is no end in sight for the doctors and nurses who endured this once already.

Intensive care is the last line of defence for severely ill coronavirus patients and Europe is running out — of beds and the doctors and nurses to staff them.

In country after country, the intensive care burden of COVID-19 patients is nearing and sometimes surpassing levels seen at last spring’s peak. Health officials, many advocating a return to stricter lockdowns, warn that adding beds will do no good because there aren’t enough doctors and nurses trained to staff them.

4:15 a.m.: A new poll finds that more than two-thirds of Canadians say they would support a curfew if the pandemic became serious enough.

The online survey by Leger and the Association for Canadian Studies says that 67 per cent of Canadians would back a temporary nighttime curfew — from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. — to curb viral spread in dire circumstances.

However, respondents’ enthusiasm varied widely by age, with young people less disposed to the notion.

4:13 a.m.: Iran was to impose a nightly curfew on businesses in its capital on Tuesday, the first such restriction as the country battles a major surge in coronavirus infections.

Restaurants and nonessential businesses in Tehran were ordered to close at 6 p.m. for one month, to keep hospitals from becoming overwhelmed and to slow the worsening outbreak, which has killed more than 38,000 — the highest toll in the Middle East. Iran has set single-day death records 10 times over the past month, a sign of how quickly the virus is spreading.

The announcement of new limits on Tehran’s bustling cafes and shops, the strictest since a brief nationwide business shutdown in April, reflects the growing sense of urgency among officials. In a first, Iranians’ phones lit up on Monday with a personal appeal from Saeed Namaki, the health minister.

4:02 a.m.: Global stocks and U.S. futures rose for second day Tuesday on hopes for progress toward a possible coronavirus vaccine that might allow the world to revive manufacturing, shopping and normal life.

Market benchmarks in London, Frankfurt and Tokyo advanced while Shanghai closed lower. Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 has been trading at 29-year highs as shares rallied after Joe Biden was declared president-elect days after the U.S. presidential election. News about possible progress on a COVID-19 vaccine have pushed prices still higher.

Investors were enthusiastic after Pfizer Inc. said Monday early data on a vaccine under development suggest it might be it might be 90% effective at preventing COVID-19, though that doesn’t mean its release is imminent.

4:01 a.m.: The latest numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Canada as of 4:00 a.m. EST on Nov. 10, 2020:

There are 268,723 confirmed cases in Canada.

_ Quebec: 115,989 confirmed (including 6,455 deaths, 98,740 resolved)

_ Ontario: 85,395 confirmed (including 3,245 deaths, 72,636 resolved)

_ Alberta: 34,148 confirmed (including 369 deaths, 25,826 resolved)

_ British Columbia: 18,714 confirmed (including 281 deaths, 13,425 resolved)

_ Manitoba: 8,495 confirmed (including 109 deaths, 3,234 resolved)

_ Saskatchewan: 4,087 confirmed (including 28 deaths, 2,769 resolved)

_ Nova Scotia: 1,129 confirmed (including 65 deaths, 1,048 resolved)

_ New Brunswick: 355 confirmed (including 6 deaths, 328 resolved)

_ Newfoundland and Labrador: 297 confirmed (including 4 deaths, 286 resolved)

_ Prince Edward Island: 66 confirmed (including 64 resolved)

_ Yukon: 23 confirmed (including 1 death, 20 resolved)

_ Repatriated Canadians: 13 confirmed (including 13 resolved)

_ Northwest Territories: 10 confirmed (including 10 resolved)

_ Nunavut: 2 confirmed

_ Total: 268,723 (0 presumptive, 268,723 confirmed including 10,563 deaths, 218,399 resolved)

3:54 a.m.: Authorities in China’s financial hub of Shanghai have quarantined 186 people and conducted coronavirus tests on more than 8,000 after a freight handler at the city’s main international airport tested positive for the virus.

No additional cases have been found, the city government said on its microblog Tuesday. It remains unclear how the 51-year-old man contracted the virus, which has largely spared the sprawling metropolis despite its dense population and strong international links.

In the northern port city of Tianjin, more than 77,000 people have been tested after a locally transmitted case was reported there on Monday. That case was believed to be linked to a cold storage warehouse, reinforcing suspicions that the virus may be spreading to victims from frozen food packaging.

12:16 a.m.: Asian stock markets rose for second day Tuesday on hopes for progress toward a possible coronavirus vaccine that might allow the world to revive manufacturing, shopping and normal life.

Benchmarks in Shanghai, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Sydney rose while Seoul fell less than 0.1%.

On Wall Street, the benchmark S&P 500 index closed 1.2% higher on Monday after Pfizer Inc. said early data on a vaccine under development suggest it might be it might be 90% effective at preventing COVID-19, though that doesn’t mean its release is imminent.

Read Monday’s rolling file here.

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