In The News is a roundup of stories from The Canadian Press designed to kickstart your day. Here is what's on the radar of our editors for the morning of April 13.
What we are watching in Canada ...
Federal officials are due to provide an update on measures for seniors, home care and temporary foreign workers during the COVID-19 crisis today.
Over the weekend Quebec's premier rebuked a long-term care home where 31 residents have died in less than a month.
Francois Legault said there was "gross negligence" at Residence Herron, where five of the deaths are definitively linked to COVID-19.
Authorities first inspected Residence Herron on March 29, three days after word of the first death, and found the residence "deserted" as staff had walked off the job.
The province's coroner will investigate, as will police.
Many long-term care homes across Canada are experiencing outbreaks of the novel coronavirus, including Pinecrest Nursing Home in Bobcaygeon, Ont., where 29 residents have died in recent weeks.
Meanwhile, Bloc Quebecois Leader Yves-Francois Blanchet has raised concern about temporary foreign workers arriving in Canada to work on farms.
Those workers have been exempted from COVID-19 travel restrictions because of their importance to the economy. Officials say they'll face health screening before travelling to Canada and will isolate for 14 days once they get here. But Blanchet says those rules don't go far enough.
Also this ...
TORONTO — Nadine Parker couldn't have guessed that she'd be writing her will at the age of 32. But four months pregnant with identical twins and married to a nurse, Parker said the growing COVID-19 pandemic has them both confronting their mortality.
The grim task of preparing for death was necessary. The talk with her husband, she said, was tough.
"It was honest, it was raw," said Parker, noting they both drafted wills.
The new coronavirus that has spread rapidly throughout Canada appears to have led to a sharp demand for wills.
Erin Bury, CEO of the Toronto-based online service Willful, said her business has been busy ever since March 12 — the day after actor Tom Hanks announced he had tested positive for coronavirus and the day after the NBA shut down.
"The first eight days of April compared to the first few days of March, it's been a 620 per cent increase in sales, and 450 per cent increase in traffic," Bury said.
Dying without a will risks having your assets distributed according to a provincial formula, which varies across the country.
If there is no surviving parent, minor children would go to whoever applies to be the guardian — even if it's a relative you didn't like. Pets most often end up in shelters.
It also takes longer to administer an estate and leads to guesswork and uncertainty — and arguments — among family members.
ICYMI (in case you missed it) ...
OTTAWA — It was last on a list of eight threat scenarios, but the danger of a global pandemic made the cut when the Liberal government issued a national security policy in 2004.
With the then-recent SARS outbreak in mind, the government said it would integrate its approach to public health emergencies with its national security agenda, including when drafting threat assessments.
The promise wasn't fulfilled, leaving Canada woefully exposed during the COVID-19 crisis, says security-and-intelligence expert Wesley Wark.
"Despite the idea that we were going to do this with the national security policy, it just never happened," said Wark, a visiting professor at the University of Ottawa's Graduate School of Public and International Affairs.
Rather, Canada was left to rely on open-source information, including assumptions about timely and accurate reporting from countries like China that stood to suffer from the outbreak, he said in an interview.
"With regard to COVID-19, there has been a failure of early warning, and we are reaping the consequences of that."
Wark argues careful analysis of intelligence, including satellite imagery from allies, could have revealed signs such as China's military movements, the sudden setup of medical facilities and activities around funeral homes — "a picture of the crisis that clearly the Chinese authorities, in the early days, were not anxious to publicize."
What we are watching in the U.S. ...
WASHINGTON — The United States' top infectious disease expert says the economy in parts of the country could be allowed to reopen as early as next month.
Dr. Anthony Fauci says there's no light switch that will be clicked to turn everything back on. He says a "rolling re-entry" will be required based on the status of the new coronavirus pandemic in various parts of the country.
Fauci says those factors include the region of the country, the nature of the outbreak it already has experienced and the possible threat of an outbreak to come.
Social distancing guidelines imposed by President Donald Trump are set to expire April 30.
Trump is eager to restart the economy, which has stalled because most Americans are under orders to "stay at home" to help slow the virus' spread.
Fauci spoke Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union."
What we are watching in the rest of the world ...
South Korea today reported 25 fresh cases of the new coronavirus, its 12th day in a row of below 100 cases, as infections continue to wane in the worst-hit city of Daegu.
New Zealand recorded its fifth death from COVID-19 but only 19 new cases today as the rate of fresh infections continues to show signs of diminishing.
The death toll in France from the coronavirus has risen to nearly 14,400, but for the fourth day in a row, slightly fewer people were admitted into intensive care — 35 fewer — giving health officials a reason to grasp for good news. Strict confinement measures began March 17, were renewed once and are expected to be extended again, with a likely announcement today by President Emmanuel Macron.
Italy recorded the lowest number of new coronavirus deaths in three weeks, saying 431 people died in the past day to bring its total to 19,899. It was the lowest day-to-day toll since March 19. For the ninth day running, intensive care admissions were down and hospitalizations overall were down, relieving pressure on Italy's over-stressed health care system.
Hospital officials say Rabbi Eliyahu Bakshi-Doron, a former chief rabbi of Israel, has died from COVID-19. The 79 year old Bakshi-Doron died late Sunday, several days after he was admitted to the hospital with the coronavirus. Hospital officials says he had suffered from underlying health problems.
Greek authorities say there were five more fatalities from COVID-19 in the past 24 hours around the country, all men, raising the total to 98. There are now a total of 2,114 confirmed cases of the disease, 33 added since Saturday afternoon.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has posted a video on Twitter in which he hails the staff in the National Health Service for saving his life when it could have "gone either way." Johnson was dressed in a suit and looked and sounded assured in the video made after his discharge from St. Thomas' Hospital in London. He said he did not have the words to properly thank the staff at NHS for "saving my life."
This report by The Canadian Press was first published on April 13, 2020.
The Canadian Press