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COVID-19 threat to Indigenous people and quarantine stream; In The News for May 1


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 May 1 ...


COVID-19 in Canada ...

OTTAWA — The federal government will be under pressure today to explain what it's doing to prevent COVID-19 from spreading like wildfire through First Nations reserves and remote Inuit communities in the North.

Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett, Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller and Northern Affairs Minister Dan Vandal are scheduled to be grilled by MPs at a virtual meeting of the House of Commons Indigenous and Northern Affairs committee.

Their appearance comes one day after Nunavut identified its first positive case of COVID-19 in Inuit community of Pond Inlet on Baffin Island.

First Nations reserves and remote communities are considered among the most vulnerable areas in the country, due to often over-crowded living conditions that make physical distancing next to impossible and the lack of ready access to health-care services.

Even as the infection rate appears to be slowing down in most of the country and provinces are taking the first cautious steps toward reopening their economies, chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam warned Thursday about the growing risk to Indigenous communities.

"I am also concerned about increasing numbers of COVID-19 in First Nations communities in several provinces," she said.

"We must get ahead of things to protect and support these communities, ramping up testing and contact tracing to find where chains of transmission are occurring."


In other Canadian news ...

OTTAWA — The search for five Canadian service members enters the third day today after a helicopter crashed off the coast of Greece during a NATO training mission.

Chief of the defence staff Gen. Jonathan Vance confirmed Thursday the body of one sailor, Sub-Lt. Abbigail Cowbrough of Nova Scotia, had been recovered.

The six were aboard a Cyclone helicopter that went down Wednesday as it was returning to the Halifax-based frigate HMCS Fredericton.

The Canadian military is deploying a flight investigation team to determine the cause of the crash.

Allied warships and aircraft are also helping the Canadian military find the other service members and the missing helicopter in the Ionian Sea.


Also this ...

CHARLOTTETOWN — Prince Edward Island is poised today to become the second province to cautiously begin a gradual return to normal.

It will restart priority, non-urgent health-care services, including some elective surgeries and certain health providers, including physiotherapists, optometrists and chiropractors. And it will begin allowing outdoor gatherings and non-contact outdoor recreational activities of no more than five individuals from different households.

P.E.I. follows New Brunswick's move last week to allow limited golfing, fishing and hunting;    interactions between two families; and a return to school for post-secondary students.

Saskatchewan, Alberta and Manitoba are also planning to ease some restrictions.

Quebec, which has seen the largest number of COVID-19 cases and deaths, is set to reopen retail stores outside Montreal on Monday, with those in Montreal to follow on May 11. Schools and daycares outside Montreal are set to re-open May 11 as well.

The federal government, in collaboration with the provinces and territories, unveiled earlier this week national guidelines for re-opening shuttered businesses and allowing Canadians to resume more normal activities.


COVID-19 in the U.S. ...

Essential workers will strike nationwide on May Day to demand safer conditions during the coronavirus outbreak, while other groups plan rallies against tight stay-at-home orders they say are crippling the U.S. economy.

Organizers say employees of Amazon, Whole Foods, Target and FedEx have become the unexpected frontline workers of the pandemic.

Workers will walk off the job or call out sick to demand unpaid time off work, hazard pay, sick leave, protective gear and cleaning supplies.

Meanwhile, protesters will take to the streets in cities nationwide to demand states loosen shelter-in-place rules and "reopen."


COVID-19 around the world ...

ROME — When Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte said the government would relax some parts of a nationwide coronavirus lockdown, residents entering an eighth week of home confinement dove for their dictionaries.

Conte announced that starting May 4, people in Italy will be permitted to travel within their home regions for visits with their "congiunti." That's Italian for either relatives, relations or kinsmen.

Italy's cooped-up citizenry, therefore, sought clarification. Which relatives? What relation? Would a second-cousin count as kin? A brother-in-law?

Conte sought to clear up the confusion, but he created more.

He said he meant that Italians will be able to visit "relatives, and those with whom they have relationships of steady affection."


COVID-19 in sports ...

Female athletes, particularly hockey players, will be interested to see if the federal government provides pandemic bailout money to the Canadian Football League.

A men's professional league that pays an average salary of $80,000 asking for as much as $150 million in taxpayer money has those from the defunct Canadian Women's Hockey League contemplating the disparity.

A pandemic didn't shutter the CWHL last year, but the sheer size of CFL's financial ask is mindboggling to former goaltender Liz Knox.

"We're asking for peanuts compared to a $150-million ask," Knox told The Canadian Press on Thursday.

"When the CWHL was folding, we were talking in the hundreds of thousands (of dollars) to get us in the clear so the league didn't have to fold.

"We're talking two or three CFL salaries. That would made the difference of us literally surviving or not."

Former CWHL commissioner Jayna Hefford told The Canadian Press in an email "there were conversations" with the federal government about financial aid to save the league before it went under in the spring of 2019.

Commissioner Randy Ambrosie says the CFL's long-term future would be in peril if the 2020 season was wiped out by COVID-19.


Your quarantine stream ...

Cinemas are staying closed in the midst of the pandemic, but some of Hollywood's biggest movie stars will be glowing bright on streaming platforms in May.

Here's a rundown of other standout titles heading to streaming services in May:

"I Know This Much is True"

Mark Ruffalo plays identical twin brothers whose turbulent relationship has endured the many demons of their troubled family. But when an incident at a public library leaves one of them committed to an asylum for his paranoid schizophrenia, the other brother goes to great lengths to contend with his own past. (Crave/HBO, May 10)

"Space Force"

Steve Carell reunites with Greg Daniels, the writer who revamped "The Office" for American audiences, for a space-race satire in the vein of "Dr. Strangelove."  The supporting cast is stacked with scene stealers, including John Malkovich, Fred Willard and Jane Lynch. (Netflix, May 29)

"Peanut Butter Falcon"

A troubled crab fisherman, played by Shia LaBeouf, who's on the lam encounters a young man with Down syndrome who escaped an assisted living facility and is headed to Florida in hopes of meeting his wrestling hero. (Crave/HBO)


This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 1, 2020.

The Canadian Press

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