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Manitoba government delays end of birth alerts due to COVID-19

Manitoba says it is delaying an end to a practice that allows hospitals to notify child-welfare agencies about new mothers who are deemed to be high risk.

Families Minister Heather Stefanson says the province is intent on responding to the spread of COVID-19 and now is not the time to implement a broad change.

She says in an email that ending birth alerts would put additional pressure on the health-care system.

Provincial statistics show newborn apprehensions occur, on average, once a day in Manitoba.

There are about 10,000 children in care in the province and about 90 per cent are Indigenous.

Stefanson announced the phaseout of birth alerts by April 1 earlier this year.

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Kirsten Hillman to be officially named Canada’s ambassador to U.S.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is promoting a veteran of the international-trade trenches to be Canada’s first permanent female envoy to the United States — just as a raging international pandemic tests the continent’s cross-border resolve.

Kirsten Hillman, who is currently the acting ambassador in Washington, is taking over the corner office of Canada’s embassy on Pennsylvania Ave. on a full-time basis, Trudeau is set to announce today.

Hillman is no stranger to difficult negotiations with the country’s largest trading partner, having played a central role in the 13-month effort in 2018 to negotiate a replacement for the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Most recently, she worked closely with partners around the world in the talks to ensure the Canada-U.S. border remained open to two-way trade and commerce despite the global outbreak of COVID-19, Trudeau says in a statement obtained by The Canadian Press.

“When we worked together to negotiate the new NAFTA, I saw Ms. Hillman’s ability to stand up for Canadians and fight for their interests,” Trudeau says in the statement.

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Regina fire ‘adapting’ to ongoing challenges of COVID-19 pandemic

Regina Fire chief Layne Jackson says the department is doing everything it can to avoid a similar situation to what happened in Saskatoon earlier in the month — when firefighters came into contact with someone being tested for COVID-19.

Four firefighters from Saskatoon’s Fire Station No. 4 had to go into self-isolation as a result, but were eventually cleared and returned to work.

“I’ve spent a lot of time on the phone with the Saskatoon fire chief and listening to their experience and what they went through up there. I’m happy it turned out to be a good outcome for them,” Jackson said.

“We have some contingency plans in place for that, should we have the need for an emergency quarantine or isolation.

“We’re communicating to all the staff regularly and updating them on the situation, updating them on our preparation and sending out operation bulletins and operation flashes on how to adjust procedures and how to adjust tactics when going into these types of situations.”

He said that for the most part, it’s business as usual for all emergency responders.

“We’re still responding to all our emergency and all of our requests for service, but we’re taking extra precautions,” Jackson said.

“We have over 100 paramedics on the fire department and we respond to many emergency medical calls. We were definitely on top of this early on making sure the crews had the equipment.”

As for morale, Jackson said his team is doing well and are focused on serving the community.

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“I want to thank all of our emergency crews and staff here at the department. They’ve all been remarkable during this situation,” Jackson said.

“Our people are just like anybody else. They have families, they have worries and they get sick themselves. The staff are here and they are … up for the challenge. I’m pretty proud of them.”

City of Regina’s emergency operation centre

Regina’s fire department is also in charge of activating and operating the city’s emergency centre, in case of a major event.

Jackson said COVID-19 has presented the city with a unique situation.

“What makes the situation so complicated…we would usually have other departments that can step in and be relied upon when we are having a local emergency,” Jackson said.

“In this situation, all the jurisdictions whether it’s federal, provincial or sister of brother cities they’re all dealing with the same emergency, concurrently. It adds an element of complication because that’s a non-traditional approach.”

Whether it’s transit, waterworks, waste collection, planning and development or even the city’s communications team, Jackson said it’s been great watching the departments come together during this pandemic.

“I’m always excited about the work emergency services is doing, but I’m really excited when I see all the other critical services in the city coming together and really stepping up,” Jackson said.

Jackson said the city has some great people working inside its emergency operation centre focused on dealing with COVID-19.

City of Moose Jaw services

In Moose Jaw, the city said it has been challenging for emergency responders to try and maintain safe distances while attending scenes, having to deploy more resources.

The city also said it hasn’t seen a noticeable spike in water use, but waste has increased. It’s actively monitoring the situation to see if they need to boost collection efforts.

Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Health officials caution against all international travel. Returning travellers across Canada are legally obligated to self-isolate for 14 days, beginning March 26, in case they develop symptoms and to prevent spreading the virus to others. In Saskatchewan, international travellers are already required to self-isolate for 14 days upon their return to the province.

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out.

For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.

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Coronavirus: Saskatchewan athlete Brock Weston recounts falling ill with COVID-19

The possibility of having COVID-19 started to become real for Brock Weston as he drove home to Saskatchewan.

The Wisconsin college student had had fever sweats the night before. A stuffy nose and sore throat he thought were from dust in the air or maybe, at worst, a cold or flu had been hanging around for a couple of days.

“I had no appetite. I couldn’t smell. My eyes were hurting,” the 25-year-old told The Canadian Press in a telephone interview Wednesday.

“I thought, ‘OK, maybe this is a little more than just the flu.’”

Weston, who plays hockey and studies biology and chemistry at Marian University, had been packing for his trip home last week when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau warned Canadians abroad to hurry back.

While on the road, he called his parents about taking extra precautions for his arrival at the family farm near Maidstone, about a two and half hour drive west of Saskatoon.

When he got there, he still felt lousy. He was running a fever and coughing and noticed pressure in his chest when he took deep breaths.

“You read about the people that started with this mild chest pressure and all of a sudden they’re in the hospital and can’t breathe,” Weston said.

“I was definitely nervous once I started to kind of realize that I might have it.”

He did a self-assessment, which told him he should call for a referral. He phoned a clinic in town, which led to more calls until he was booked in for a test.

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When he arrived for testing in Lloydminster, Weston phoned from a parking spot and was directed to a building through a set of doors. He was instructed to sanitize and put on a mask.

Weston said a health worker took a swab resembling a large Q-Tip and inserted it high into both sides of his nose.

“It was mostly just uncomfortable,” he said.

“Kind of like a sneeze that would never come.”

He was told it could take a week for results, but three days later he received a call.

He had tested positive for COVID-19.

Weston is self-isolating in the basement of his parents’ house while they stay upstairs. He said he’s sharing the story of his symptoms and diagnosis so others will take the virus seriously, stay home and think of others.

COVID-19 certainly slowed him down, he said.

“I had absolutely no sense of smell and no taste. I had no appetite for five days. I lost over 10 pounds.

“I kind of got this migraine that just carried over four or five days that made my eyes just hurt. Couldn’t look to left, right, up, down.”

Weston said he’s now feeling almost 100 per cent, after lots of sleep and liquids.

And he’s helping out on the farm.

“It’s a little easier on the farm because I can stay six feet away from Dad outside.”

Weston is not entirely sure where he contracted the virus, but believes it was while he was in Nashville on a spring break with friends.

He has to have two negative test results to be out of quarantine. The first test is set for Saturday.

Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Health officials caution against all international travel. Returning travellers across Canada are legally obligated to self-isolate for 14 days, beginning March 26, in case they develop symptoms and to prevent spreading the virus to others. In Saskatchewan, international travellers are already required to self-isolate for 14 days upon their return to the province.

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out.

For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.


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Coronavirus-hit workers now legally allowed to carry over annual leave

British workers will legally be able to carry their annual leave over after coronavirus decimated holiday plans.

Workers who have not taken all of their statutory annual holidays because of the coronavirus crisis will be able to carry it over into the next two years, the Government has announced.

Most workers are entitled to 28 days' holiday including bank holidays every year.

However many can;t be carried between each year, meaning workers lose their holiday if they do not take it.

But after government intervention, employers also face financial penalties if they do not ensure their workers take their statutory entitlement in any one year.

Interventions announced on Friday will allow up to four weeks of unused leave to be carried into the next two leave years.

The Government said the changes will ensure all employers affected by Covid-19 have the flexibility to allow workers to carry over leave at a time when granting it could leave them short-staffed in some of Britain's key industries, such as food and healthcare.

Business Secretary Alok Sharma said: "Whether it is in our hospitals, or our supermarkets, people are working around the clock to help our country deal with the coronavirus pandemic.

"Today's changes will mean these valued employees do not lose out on the annual leave they are entitled to as a result of their efforts, and employers are not penalised."

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Environment Secretary George Eustice said: "From our fields to our supermarkets, we are hugely grateful to the many people working around the clock to keep the nation fed.

"At this crucial time, relaxing laws on statutory leave will help ensure key workers can continue the important work to keep supplies flowing, but without losing the crucial time off they are entitled to.

"We welcome the measures the food industry is already taking to keep shelves stocked and supply chains resilient, and will continue to support them with their response to coronavirus."

The changes will amend the Working Time Regulations, which apply to almost all workers, including agency workers, those who work irregular hours, and workers on zero-hours contracts.

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Coronavirus: Dufferin County, Ont. declares state of emergency

Dufferin County, Ont. declared a statement of emergency on Thursday in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Due to the rapidly changing conditions, it has become necessary to declare an emergency so that we may be able to address resident needs in a more timely manner,” Dufferin County Warden Darren White said in a statement.

County officials say the emergency declaration doesn’t change the rules that exist to ensure the municipality operates effectively.

“The county continues to provide essential services to the community,” officials say.

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“This includes, but is not limited to our long-term care home, income and community housing supports, waste and recycling pick-up, general maintenance of county roads, building permit applications and inspections.”

As of Thursday afternoon, there are 835 active cases of the novel coronavirus in Ontario. There have been 15 deaths in the province.

Map of Canadian COVID-19 cases:

 

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Spanish bullfighters ‘demand £634m’ coronavirus cash bailout sparking fury

Much of coronavirus-ravaged Spain has erupted in outrage after bullfighting bosses demanded a massive government cash bailout.

Industry chiefs are asked for a €700 million (£635 million) in taxpayer cash injection to save keep bloodsport afloat, reports say.

Several organisations that defend and promote bullfights have asked the Spanish government to refund tickets for cancelled shows and pay the bullfighters’ wages.

It comes as the same time as the national sport has fallen out of favour with most Spaniards deeming it cruel.

In a joint letter, bull bosses told culture minister José Manuel Rodríguez Uribes that VAT should be dropped further and that the state should cover their sanitary and veterinary expenses.

And now the minister has reportedly committed himself to resolving the situation, provoking fresh fury.

The storm of controversy comes as Spain’s coronavirus death toll soars to 3,434 – higher than China and second only to Italy.

Madrid-based Marta Esteban, of Animal Guardians, said the bullfighting sector – which already gets government funding – seemed to want hundreds of millions of euros more.

“They say they lost €700m. I guess that’s what they are looking for,” she said.

“But there’s no confirmation from the government on what they will do.

“In a moment in which the rest of Spain is giving its all to help each other, the bullfighting world is thinking on how to get money from us to help themselves.

“The business of torturing animals for entertainment should never get public funding, much less now when the health system and helping the most needy should be the priority.”

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Unable to protest publicly, Spaniards flooded social media with criticism, making the country’s number-one trending Twitter hashtag #AyudasTauromaquiaNO, meaning “no help to bullfighting”.

Many shared selfies with placards demanding “more health workers, less bullfighters”, directly addressing the culture minister and his boss, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez.

Aïda Gascón, director of the Spanish NGO, AnimaNaturalis, said the government should reallocate all bullfighting subsidies.

She said: “We believe not only that the government should ignore these demands, but that it should rethink aid to bullfighting and allocate it where it is most necessary.

“Public resources should not be used to promote shows based on animal abuse and mistreatment.

“Even less so in the coming months, when all public effort and support will be needed to allocate them to health resources and to alleviate economic effects for families, freelancers and companies."

Mr Sánchez’ deputy, Carmen Calvo, is among those who’ve tested positive for the coronavirus. She has been admitted to hospital with respiratory symptoms.

Bullfighting has been on the wane in Spain in recent years.

In 2016, Ipsos MORI polled Spaniards between the ages of 16 and 65, and found 58% opposed it, while 19% supported it.

The same polling found that only one in 10 Spaniards wanted public funds used on the bullfighting industry, while six of 10 strongly disagreed with that use.

Further figures showed that there were 58% fewer bullfights in Spain last year than a decade previously.

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Spain’s terror police chief, Jesus Gayoso, dies of coronavirus – 800 officers killed

He was head of the Civil Guard’s Rapid Action Group, which has become heavily involved in recent years in the fight against radical Islamic terrorism. Members of the special forces unit, which has also undertaken international missions in places like Kosovo and Haiti, arrested British fugitive Daniel Dobbs in January at his hideaway in Malaga.

The 32-year-old had gone missing from a South Yorkshire prison in November 2018 after being sentenced to 13-and-a-half years in jail in January 2014 for trafficking heroin and amphetamines.

He was held during a dawn raid linked to an operation against an illegal subterranean Costa del Sol cigarette factory he was suspected of running with another Brit.

Mr Gayoso, who had no known underlying health issues, had joined the unit he headed nearly 25 years ago.

The married dad-of-two started to feel unwell on March 8 and thought he had common flu. He is said to have been sent home after going to hospital four days later before being admitted to San Pedro Hospital in Logrono on March 17 in a serious condition.

He became the fourth Civil Guard to die of Covid-19. Nearly 800 Spanish police officers have died after testing positive for the virus.

The Civil Guard said in a tweet: “We regretfully confirm the death of Jesus, head of the force’s Rapid Action Group, victim of Covid-19.

“Our hearts are with his relatives, friends and colleagues. Rest in peace brother. We will never forget your example.”

Civil Guards were joined last night by National Police officers and emergency services workers in an emotional tribute outside the force’s HQ in Logrono.

After a round of applause they sang a hymn used to honour Armed Forces members who lose their lives in service. The Christian song translates in English as ‘Death Is Not The End.”

Members of Mr Gayoso’s unit were involved in making sure coronavirus sufferers in a northern Spanish town which was one of the first to be hit by a mass outbreak earlier this month, obeyed quarantine orders.

More than 30 people tested positive for the virus in Haro, which has a population of just over 12,000, after attending a gypsy funeral in the Basque capital Vitoria.

Police sources said he started to display the tell-tale symptoms of coronavirus before his officers were sent to Haro in hazmat suits. He is believed to have caught it during a work trip to Belgium at the start of the month.

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Kingston police looking for owners following dog attack

Kingston police are looking for two women who may own a dog that attacked a man, sending him to hospital with bite wounds.

Just before 10 p.m. on Thursday, a man and his wife were walking near Friendship Park in the area of Chestnut and Carlisle streets when police say a tan pit bull aggressively came running towards their own dog.

The man then stepped between the dogs and the pit bull attacked him, biting him on the leg and arm.

Two women who appeared to own the pitbull were able to take control of it through a leash and muzzle, Kingston police said.

The women then allegedly left the scene and would not give the dog’s medical information to the couple.

The man was rushed to hospital by paramedics for his injuries.

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Business

National Enquirer Publisher Is Cutting Employees’ Pay

American Media is the latest media outlet to announce cuts as the coronavirus has shaken the economy and the advertising market.

By Marc Tracy

American Media Inc., the publisher of The National Enquirer, Men’s Journal, Us Weekly and other titles, is cutting the pay of its employees by more than 20 percent, a spokesman said on Saturday, as the coronavirus has shaken the economy and the advertising market.

“American Media is committed to doing everything we can during the Covid-19 crisis to ensure our staff maintain their employment and health benefits,” the company said in a statement.

There have been no layoffs, the spokesman said.

The cuts, first reported on Saturday by The Daily Beast, are the latest instance of a media outlet looking to slim down as normally robust advertisers, like restaurants and travel businesses, shutter. Some alternative weeklies have laid off as much as three-quarters of their staffs. Last week, the digital giant BuzzFeed announced temporary payroll cuts.

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