Today’s coronavirus news: Pandemic intensified economic disparities in Canada, report says; Italy orders strict new anti-virus measures; Second COVID-19 vaccine trial paused over unexplained illness

KEY FACTS

  • 6:50 a.m.: Report says pandemic intensified economic disparities in Canada

  • 6:12 a.m.: Italy orders strict new anti-virus measures

  • 5:21 a.m.: Johnson & Johnson halts coronavirus vaccine trial because of sick volunteer

  • 4 a.m.: India sees its fewest new cases since mid-August

The latest coronavirus news from Canada and around the world Tuesday. This file will be updated throughout the day. Web links to longer stories if available.

6:50 a.m.: A new report says COVID-19 has widened the gap between the haves and have-nots in Canada, amplifying the economic disparities that existed pre-pandemic.

The affordability index by BDO Canada Ltd. found that while one in five Canadians say they are better off, nearly two in five say their personal finances deteriorated during the first wave.

The index, based on polling data by the Angus Reid Group, found that those who are worse off are nearly four times more likely to say their debt load is overwhelming.

The report underscores a yawning chasm between Canadians who are losing ground and those whose financial situation has improved during the pandemic or hasn’t changed.

6:12 a.m.: Italian Premiere Giuseppe Conte has ordered strict new anti-coronavirus measures, including limits on private gatherings and a ban on casual pickup sports.

Conte negotiated with the country’s regions to win limits on private gatherings, over the objections of some governors. Parties in closed spaces are banned, but the measures, imposed Tuesday, are limited to “strong recommendations” against private gatherings in homes with more than six people who don’t live under the same roof.

Bars and restaurants must close by midnight, and drinks can only be consumed at tables — not while standing at the bar or outside — after 9 p.m. Also banned are any contact sports that are not organized by an association that can maintain distancing rules. That means no casual games of Italy’s beloved soccer in local parks.

After mandating the wearing of masks outdoors last week, the government sought the additional measures, with the number of new cases rising to around 5,000 a day in the past week.

5:21 a.m.: A late-stage study of Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine candidate has been paused while the company investigates whether a study participant’s “unexplained illness” is related to the shot.

The company said in a statement Monday evening that illnesses, accidents and other so-called adverse events “are an expected part of any clinical study, especially large studies,” but that its physicians and a safety monitoring panel would try to determine what might have caused the illness.

The pause is at least the second such hold to occur among several vaccines that have reached large-scale final tests in the U.S.

The company declined to reveal any more details about the illness, citing the participant’s privacy.

Temporary stoppages of large medical studies are relatively common. Few are made public in typical drug trials, but the work to make a coronavirus vaccine has raised the stakes on these kinds of complications.

5:12 a.m.: Israel has now recorded more than 2,000 deaths from the coronavirus as the country remains under lockdown for a fourth week to quell the outbreak.

The Health Ministry reported Monday night that the country had surpassed 2,000 deaths. It reported five more fatalities on Tuesday, raising the toll to 2,021.

Israel — which has confirmed more than 295,000 cases — had garnered praise earlier this year for its swift imposition of travel restrictions to limit the pandemic’s spread, but after lifting the first nationwide lockdown in May, new cases quickly increased.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government imposed a second blanket lockdown on Sept. 18 as the infection rate per capita grew to one of the highest in the world.

5:02 a.m.: South Korea has reported 102 new cases of the coronavirus, its first daily increase over 100 in six days. The steady rise is a cause of concern as officials have lowered social distancing restrictions this week after concluding that the viral spread was slowing after a spike in mid-August.

The figures released by the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency brought the national caseload to 24,805, including 434 deaths.

Loading…

Loading…Loading…Loading…Loading…Loading…

Fifty-eight of the new cases was reported from the densely populated Seoul metropolitan area, where transmissions have been linked to hospitals, sports facilities, a funeral home and an army unit.

Thirty-three of the new cases have been linked to international arrivals, including passengers from Russia, Nepal, Japan and the United States.

5 a.m.: Authorities in the eastern Chinese port city of Qingdao say they have completed coronavirus tests on more than 3 million people following the country’s first reported local outbreak of the virus in nearly two months.

The city’s health department said Tuesday that no new positive cases had been found among the more than 1.1 million test results returned thus far. The city said it had a total of 12 cases, six with symptoms and six without, since the new outbreak was first spotted over the weekend at a hospital.

The National Health Commission, however, said Tuesday that at least six new cases of the virus were found in Qingdao in the past 24 hours.

The reason for the discrepancy was not immediately clear.

4 a.m.: India has registered 55,342 new coronavirus cases, its lowest single-day tally since mid-August.

The Health Ministry raised India’s confirmed total to more than 7.17 million cases on Tuesday but said the country was showing a trend of declining daily cases over the last five weeks.

The ministry also reported 706 deaths in the past 24 hours, raising the toll to 109,856.

According to data shared by the Health Ministry, the average number of daily cases from Sept. 9-15 was 92,830. The average has steadily declined since then, falling to under 73,000 per day over the last week.

Meanwhile, India’s testing rate has remained constant, with almost 1.1. million tests being carried out every day.

India, a country of nearly 1.4 billion people, is second in the world in total cases, behind only the U.S., which has confirmed over 7.8 million infections.

Monday 8:30 p.m.: An ongoing wave of COVID-19 cases in the El Paso area prompted Gov. Greg Abbott to announce Monday that a surge team of medical professionals would be dispatched to the area.

The 75 doctors, nurses and respiratory therapists being dispatched will be accompanied by a supply of extra personal protective equipment to support efforts by El Paso hospitals to meet the surge of coronavirus infections. The team will be in addition to the 169 professionals the state previously sent to the area.

As of Monday, 313 people were hospitalized with COVID-19 in El Paso, Hudspeth and Culberson counties of West Texas. The state estimated that active COVID-19 cases in El Paso County alone soared from almost 4,000 on Oct. 1 to just over 6,000 Monday. Seven cases were fatal during that period.

Click here to read more of Monday’s coverage.