- Spain first Western European country to pass half-million coronavirus cases.
- Rising coronavirus case counts in Canada a cause for concern, Dr. Tam says.
- 23 cases of COVID-19 now linked to large wedding in Greater Toronto Area.
- French Open allowing spectators despite virus resurgence in country.
- Italy’s Berlusconi improving after hospitalization with COVID-19, doctor says.
- India’s coronavirus infections overtake Brazil as some rail services resume.
- Quebec reports more than 200 new cases for second day in a row.
- Empty chairs in Tel Aviv square mark COVID-19 deaths.
Spain became the first country in Western Europe to register 500,000 coronavirus infections on Monday, after a second surge in cases that is coinciding with schools reopening.
Health Ministry data showed a total of 525,549 cases, up from 498,989 on Friday, and 2,440 infections registered in the last 24 hours. Spain updates its data retroactively, so the latest numbers could be revised.
Recent infections have been more common among younger people who often develop no symptoms thanks to their stronger immune systems, and the death rate remains far below the March-April peak when daily fatalities routinely exceeded 800.
Despite the unwanted milestone, hospitals now have enough beds to treat COVID-19 patients.
After a first wave in spring that ravaged Spain’s elderly population and overwhelmed the hospital system, authorities brought the outbreak under control with the help of one of the world’s toughest lockdowns.
But as restrictions on movement were lifted and mass testing began in late June, infections rose from a few hundred a day to a new peak of over 10,000 around 10 days ago, outstripping other hard-hit nations such as France, Britain and Italy.
The overall mortality rate since the pandemic first struck is around six per cent in Spain, lower than in Italy, Britain and France. Spain reported eight new deaths on Monday, bringing the total to 29,516.
Rafael Bengoa, co-founder of Spain’s Institute for Health and Strategy, said hospitals should be able to keep fatalities in check this time even as infections increase, but longer-term problems could overburden the health-care system.
“Many people will be infected, and some of these people, while they won’t die, will suffer an immediate and severe impact on their health that will likely be long-lasting,” he said.
While discounting the need for a new nationwide lockdown, he said localized confinements of city neighbourhoods could become increasingly useful to control transmission.
Some Spaniards think current restrictions are insufficient.
“They aren’t taking adequate measures. Look, people are walking around without face masks, the government is opening schools and that is not fair to children or to adults,” said Madrid resident Lux Marin, 25.
Schools reopened in six regions including the Basque Country on Monday, and others will resume classes over the next 10 days.
“We demand a safe, face-to-face return to class and more resources to guarantee public education and make our schools safe,” said student union leader Coral Latorre, who took part in a rally by teachers and students in Madrid on Saturday.
What’s happening with coronavirus in Canada
As of 5:45 p.m. ET on Monday, Canada had 132,142 confirmed and presumptive coronavirus cases. Provinces and territories listed 116,459 of those as recovered or resolved. A CBC News tally of deaths based on provincial reports, regional health information and CBC’s reporting stood at 9,186.
Canada’s chief public health officer says a steady increase in the average number of new coronavirus cases being reported daily in the country is a cause for concern.
Dr. Theresa Tam said an average of 545 new cases have been reported during the past week, up from 435 on Aug. 31 and 390 on Aug. 24. The average daily case count has increased by 40 per cent over the same period.
“This summer, Canadians by and large followed public health guidance and as a result, nationally, Canada has been able to keep COVID-19 under manageable control, allowing us to carefully resume activities that are important to our social and economic wellbeing,” Tam said in a statement on Monday.
“As we enter the fall, Canadians will need to be even more vigilant about following public health guidance, particularly as the cold weather shifts activities indoors.”
Overall, in the last week, 3,955 people tested positive across Canada, and 28 people died of COVID-19. That compares to 3,044 positive tests and 44 deaths in the week prior.
Holiday weekends in Canada this summer have been associated with a rise in COVID-19 cases, said Dr. Zain Chagla, an infectious disease physician in Hamilton, Ont.
“There has always been this two-week kind of afterwards where we start seeing growth in cases. The September long weekend is no different, other than the fact that we get a bit more mobility among people,” he said.
Chagla warned that enjoying these last days of summer away from home comes with risks.
“When you’re at the cabin, sleeping in the same accommodations, you’re sharing a lot of the same objects. You’re pretty much in each other’s faces.”
WATCH | COVID-19 spike expected after Labour Day long weekend:
In Ontario, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases linked to a large wedding in Markham and Whitchurch-Stouffville has increased to 23, York Region Public Health said Monday.
The wedding took place on Aug. 28 and Aug. 29 at four different locations.
On Saturday, York Region confirmed 11 people had tested positive for the infectious virus that could be traced back to these events. Monday’s update confirmed 23 individuals have now tested positive.
Here’s what’s happening around the world
According to the tally kept by Johns Hopkins University, the global total of confirmed coronavirus cases is now more than 27.2 million. More than 890,000 people have died, while 18.1 million have recovered.
In France, spectators will be allowed at the French Open this month despite the growing number of coronavirus cases in the country, organizers said on Monday.
They unveiled the health protocols for the clay-court grand slam, which will take place at Roland Garros in western Paris from Sept. 27 after being postponed from its May start.
In addition to limited attendance, wearing a mask on site will be mandatory, while all accredited people at the tournament will have to pass virus tests to be admitted in the Roland Garros bubble.
After her spectator-free U.S. Open match on Monday, Serena Williams was among the players questioning how the French can open the doors to fans but the players have to be in a bubble. The French are restricting the players to two hotels.
Williams was OK with fans in attendance, but wanted to know more from French Open organizers about “how we will be protected.”
A doctor says the clinical condition of former Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi is starting to improve after he was hospitalized with pneumonia and COVID-19 in Milan last week.
Dr. Alberto Zangrillo, Berlusconi’s longtime personal doctor, said in a statement Monday that the 83-year-old media mogul, who has a history of heart problems, has pneumonia in both lungs. Zangrillo says Berlusconi’s overall condition “appears to be improving” and that his body has mounted “a specific robust immune response” associated with a reduction in inflammation.
In Britain, the rise in COVID-19 infections is “concerning,” Health Secretary Matt Hancock said on Monday, but he said the government was still in control of the pandemic.
The daily number of cases of COVID-19 jumped on Sunday to 2,988, the highest daily rise since May.
WATCH | Britain sees big jump in COVID-19 cases:
“The rise in the number of cases we’ve seen in the last few days is largely among younger people,” Hancock told LBC Radio.
Asked if the government had lost control, he said: “No, but the whole country needs to follow the social distancing because we can only do this as a whole society.”
He noted that the rise was prevalent among younger people from more affluent backgrounds.
India displaced Brazil on Monday, becoming the country with the second highest number of coronavirus infections after the United States, with 90,082 new cases, and those numbers are expected to grow as some cities reopen underground train services that had been shuttered for months.
With its nationwide tally of 4.2 million exceeded only by the U.S. figure of 6.2 million, India is adding more cases each day than any other country this year since the outbreak of the pandemic.
Monday’s jump was the third straight daily record in India, government data showed, provisionally carrying its tally past Brazil, which has just over 4.1 million cases, although the time difference means the South American nation will release its corresponding figure later.
Commuters were sparse as New Delhi resumed metro rail services on Monday after a break of more than five months, with stations nearly deserted. Bars will open from Wednesday in the capital.
Partial metro train services also opened in the western city of Ahmedabad, the northern city of Lucknow and several other places, after being suspended for nearly six months due to the pandemic.
WATCH | How to prevent COVID-19 cases from becoming outbreaks in schools:
Education officials in Pakistan say authorities will start reopening schools from Sept. 15 amid a steady decline in coronavirus deaths and infections.
Schools were closed in March when the government enforced a nationwide lockdown to contain the spread of the virus. Authorities lifted curbs on most of the businesses in May, but schools remained closed across the country.
Officials said schools will reopen in Punjab and Sindh provinces from Sept. 15 and a formal announcement about opening of schools elsewhere was expected later Monday.
On Sunday, Pakistan reported three new deaths from COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, one of the lowest number of daily fatalities in more five months.
Pakistan has reported 298,903 infections and 6,345 deaths since the pandemic began.
South Korea has added 119 more cases of the coronavirus, its lowest daily jump in more than three weeks amid a downward trend in new cases.
The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Monday the additional figures took the country’s total to 21,296 with 336 deaths.
It’s the fifth straight day the country’s daily jump has stayed under 200. The 119 additional cases are the lowest in kind since mid-August.
South Korea’s caseload had risen since early last month, with many associated with churches, restaurants and schools and an anti-government street rally in the greater Seoul area. One day in late August, South Korea’s daily jump hit over 400.
But the caseload has gradually slowed down, largely thanks to toughened physical distancing rules that restrict dining at restaurants and ban gatherings at churches, night spots, after-school academics and fitness centres.
In Israel, more than 1,000 empty chairs were placed in a central Tel Aviv square early Monday, an eerie display symbolizing the lives the novel coronavirus has claimed in the country.
A red rose was laid on every empty chair with black and white mourning signs representing a person who died due to COVID-19.
On Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced overnight curfews, starting Monday, for some 40 cities and towns hit hard by the virus.
Overall, Israel has recorded nearly 130,000 cases of the virus, with more than 26,000 still active. It recently has been reporting some 3,000 new confirmed cases each day.