Travel restrictions, school closures and event cancellations are the new normal in Canada, and phrases like “self-isolation” and “social distancing” are now part of the collective lexicon.
Developments in the global COVID-19 pandemic are nearly constant — and it’s certainly difficult to keep track of everything that’s happening.
CBC News has compiled a roundup of stories, explainers and videos on a wide range of topics to keep you up to date on the latest information about the coronavirus.
Latest guidance for Canadians on travel and returning home
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has warned Canadians of a long road ahead. Travel restrictions, social distancing protocols and business closures could all continue longer than you might expect.
Border restrictions are now in place. Canadians are being stranded abroad as commercial flights are scaled back. They are struggling to get home from all over the world, from Morocco to Peru and Algeria. Travel agents are scrambling to help. Read more here.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Saturday said the federal government is working with commercial airlines to ensure flights are available to those who are still abroad — but that those who have symptoms of COVID-19 will not be allowed to board. A flight from Morocco is expected to arrive this weekend.
Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and Northwest Territories have imposed 14-day self-isolation periods on anyone crossing their provincial or territorial borders.
What kind of financial support will Canadians receive?
The federal government this week announced an $82-billion support package. Read more here.
Many Canadians are being laid off because of the pandemic as businessed scale back or shut down. More than 500,000 people applied for Employment Insurance this week. Read more here.
Applicants for EI usually need a medical certificate along with records of employment, though the new rules allow quarantined workers to apply without the certificate. If you can’t apply because you are quarantined, you can also file for EI sickness benefits later and have the claim backdated. Read more about the EI claims process here.
Some banks are also offering mortgage deferrals, although the process is proving to be confusing for some mortgage holders. Read more here.
Meanwhile, several grocery chains have announced they are increasing wages or hiring temporary workers to keep up their shelves stocked during the pandemic. Read more here.
Do I have COVID-19, the flu or a cold?
Public health officials believe the rate of COVID-19 cases in Canada is going to get worse before things start to get better. If you feel sick, when should you get tested?
Some basic facts about the virus, its symptoms, prevention and what to do if you believe you are infected. Read more here.
WATCH | Coronavirus — What are the symptoms?
Coronavirus: What are the symptoms?
- 10 days ago
It starts out looking like a regular flu. But when the virus attacks lung cells, shortness of breath ensues, says family physician Dr. Peter Lin. 0:27
What do I do if I think I have COVID-19?
If you have symptoms of COVID-19, the first step is to contact your health-care provider or local public health agency by email or telephone.They’ll be able to tell you if you’re eligible for testing in your area. Some communities have even launched drive-thru testing sites.
Most provinces and territories are limiting testing so that there will be enough for the highest priority patients, including health-care workers.
Nearly 66,000 Canadians have been tested so far. Read more here.
Do not show up unannounced at a clinic or hospital. However, if you have a sharp turn in your condition, including shortness of breath, call 911 or your local emergency number. Read our guide to what to do in each province and territory.
The importance of staying home
As coronavirus cases continue to rise, Canadians are being asked to stay home to protect their health, and the health of everyone in their communities.
Such measures are taking on increasing importance. On Friday, police in Quebec City arrested a woman who tested positive for coronavirus while she was out for a walk. Read more here.
WATCH | What to do if you’re self-isolating at home for COVID-19:
What to do if you’re self-isolating at home for COVID-19
- 7 days ago
You might choose to self-isolate at home if you’ve been exposed, or think you’ve been exposed, to COVID-19. Ellen Mauro explains what to do. 1:50
Meanwhile, neighbours are banding together online to stay connected and are offering to deliver essential supplies to people who can’t make the trip. Some small gyms are also offering online classes. Read more here.
What’s the difference between social distancing and self isolation?
There are a lot of different terms floating around out there for ways to keep yourself healthy. Canadians should take different precautions based on their level of risk, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada.
WATCH | How to social distance in the grocery store:
How to social distance in the grocery store
- 5 days ago
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As Canadians avoid gatherings and crowds amid the COVID-19 outbreak, grocery stores present a challenge as people stock up and pick shelves bare. 2:07
People are understandably confused about what activities are safe and which ones aren’t anymore. CBC’s health unit has published a helpful guide to social distancing. Read more here.
What products are actually helpful?
Products are flying off the shelves — everything from disinfectant to toilet paper. Public officials are urging people not to stockpile, assuring Canadians there is enough of everything to go around.
But what should you actually spend your money on?
If you’re buying hand sanitizer, make sure it’s at least 60 per cent alcohol. The old-fashioned habit of washing with soap and water works, too.
I can’t find hand sanitizer. What does effective handwashing look like?
The National‘s Andrew Chang explored what proper handwashing looks like with the help of a black light and some helpful children. The results might surprise you.
WATCH | How to wash your hands using the WHO’s recommended method:
Handwashing put to the test
- 5 days ago
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Using “glo germ,” a product that shows up under black light, Andrew Chang takes a first-hand look at how germs are transmitted, and how to wash them off our hands effectively. 7:03
I don’t actually feel sick. Could I still have coronavirus?
Probably not, but there is some evidence that people can get infected with this virus and not show any symptoms, said Dr. Allison McGeer, an infectious diseases specialist at Toronto’s Mount Sinai Hospital who worked on the front lines of the SARS epidemic in 2003.
Those people probably don’t carry it for any length of time, McGeer said. Their immune system will respond to it and they’ll get rid of it. The evidence so far is that those people are less likely to spread the virus than people who are sick.
Part of the reason for all of this social distancing and keeping away from people, though, is there is a possibility that you could have this and not know it, she said.
It’s also unclear if people can contract coronavirus for a second time once they have recovered from it, she noted. Read more here.
Why experts say we need to increase social distancing
The spread of COVID-19 cases in Canada with no known link to travel — called community transmission — is likely already underway, doctors and infectious disease specialists say. Many think there are thousands of unreported cases, and the time to act to limit them is now. Read more here.
WATCH | What social distancing actually looks like:
How social distancing can prevent the spread of COVID-19
- 10 days ago
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Social distancing measures like working from home, school closures and cancelling sporting events could lead to a drop of new infections of coronavirus. 1:54
How should I explain what’s happening to my kids?
Explaining the coronavirus to children without upsetting them is a dilemma. Youth psychiatrist Dr. Rachel Mitchell, with Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto, said it’s important to validate fears held by children, to listen to them and to be sure to speak to them at the age-appropriate level. If they have asked questions, answer them honestly, and don’t share any more information beyond what they asked. Read more advice here.
CBC Kids has published an informative video about social distancing just for them. Find it here.
Coronavirus: How can you avoid catching it?
By now, you likely know not to touch your face. But if you do suspect you’ve already caught it, reach out by phone for assistance, says family physician Dr. Peter Lin
What does all of this mean for pets?
A 17-year-old dog in Hong Kong originally tested positive for the coronavirus, but was later cleared.
On Wednesday, it was announced that the dog, which belonged to a patient with COVID-19, had died. Vets in Hong Kong say the stress and anxiety of being in quarantine while under examination may have been a contributing factor. Read more here.
The World Health Organization has said there is no evidence that pets can be infected with the coronavirus.
WATCH | Coronavirus — How does it spread?
Can coronavirus be spread by people with no symptoms?
- 1 month ago
A report in the New England Journal of Medicine claimed a woman who wasn’t showing symptoms triggered a chain of coronavirus infections. Infectious disease specialist Dr. Isaac Bogoch explains how the report got it wrong. 3:25
What does a state of emergency mean?
Many provinces have declared states of emergency or public health emergency related to the coronavirus outbreak. These announcements give provincial governments extra powers that can, essentially, suspend people’s rights during a crisis, such as controlling their movement or forcing evacuations. Read more here.
Will warmer weather stop the virus?
While the public and experts alike had hoped that the spread of COVID-19 would slow when warmer summer months arrived in Europe and North America, as happened in the 2002-03 SARS epidemic, that no longer seems likely. Though Southeast Asia has close travel, business and investment ties with China, there were few reported cases until recently. Health experts say that wasn’t due to its hot climate, but was instead caused by limited testing and under-detection.
“People in Europe hope warm weather will kill the virus,” said Tikki Pangestu, a professor at Singapore’s Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy. “I doubt this will be the reality.” Read more here.
I’ve been getting strange emails related to the virus. Should I be concerned?
Fraudsters have been targeting Canadians with a variety of coronavirus-related scams, according to police.
These include: text messages offering free face masks in order to obtain your personal information, phishing emails designed to look like they come from the World Health Organization or Public Health Agency of Canada, or fake phone calls claiming you have tested positive for the virus and asking for your credit card details.
Police are urging Canadians to be aware of these scams and to check with friends, family or official government websites before giving away any information. Read more here.
There is, however, one important exception to the rule. The federal government has asked some telecommunications companies to send text messages to Canadians who are still outside of Canada to help get in touch with them.
- THE LATEST Coronavirus: Here’s what’s happening in Canada and around the world on March 21
- What to do if you think you have COVID-19: A guide to each province and territory
- Prepare to see COVID-19 cases rising. That doesn’t mean social distancing has failed
- Canada, U.S. working on mutual deal to restrict non-essential travel
- CBC/Radio-Canada and TV distributors make 24-hour news channels widely available