Calgary Tower asks for help lighting up city amid COVID-19 pandemic

The Calgary Tower hopes to shed some light across the city during a time of uncertainty as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

The organization is asking Calgarians to design their own light show to be featured on the tower for the entire city to see.

The organization took to Twitter on Wednesday to explain the details of the LED Challenge.

“We’re countering the self-isolation blues with a colouring contest,” the tweet said.

To enter the contest, residents can download the Calgary Tower template and colour in the white zones.

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Sections of the tower have been numbered on the template. Each section can be home to between one and 16 different colours.

The contest announcement urges residents to be creative and use old light shows as a guideline in their designs.

“The easier it is to translate into a real show, the better your chances are of winning,” the post said.

Entries should be shared on Twitter or Instagram using #MyTowerLights.

The winning entries will be seen lighting up the tower on March 29, April 3 and April 9.

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Coronavirus: Penticton, Summerland close access to playgrounds, outdoor sports facilities

Calling it a matter of public health, the District of Summerland says it will be closing access to several municipal playgrounds and outdoor sports facilities.

The closures will start Tuesday, March 24, at noon, and will remain in place until further notice, the district said in a press release.

The district said the closures are a response to the novel coronavirus pandemic, and how some are choosing to ignore social distancing.

Also Tuesday, the City of Penticton announced that it has now closed all of its playgrounds and outdoor sports facilities and dog parks to help battle the spread of COVID-19.

The city said the closures include courts for tennis, basketball, pickleball and lacrosse courts, plus skate parks, sports fields and outdoor fitness equipment facilities.

The closures, noted the city, are effective until May 30.

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Court says N.S. woman must pay $74,200 in damages for forcing mother-in-law from home

A Nova Scotia woman who was ordered to pay $74,200 for trying to evict her 82-year-old mother-in-law in the middle of winter has lost her appeal before the province’s highest court.

In a ruling Tuesday, the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal describes the eviction attempt as “shocking” and upholds the award to Kathleen Reid of $10,000 in punitive damages and $64,200 to cover the cost of her rent after she was forced out.

According to the court decision, in 1999 Reid paid at least $25,000 for materials and family members provided the labour to build a separate apartment in the Ellershouse, N.S., home of her son Michael and his wife Brenda.

Although attached to the home, the addition had a separate entrance and included a kitchen, sitting area, bedroom, baths and closets.

After Reid’s son, Michael, died unexpectedly in 2010, the title to the family home passed to his wife, and according to the court decision, everything went well until 2014.

That was when Kathleen Reid allowed her grandson and great-grandson to move into her apartment, which the decision says Brenda Reid resented. She told her mother-in-law that she planned to sell the property and wanted her to move out.

When Kathleen Reid refused, “a sustained campaign of harassment” followed, Justice Peter M. S. Bryson writes for the unanimous three-judge panel.

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Canada-U.S. land border closes to all non-essential travel

The land border between Canada and the U.S. closed to all non-essential travel at midnight Friday in an effort to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The border remains open for essential travel, which includes the transportation of goods and travel for work, in order to not hamper trade and the supply chains between the two countries.

“This is a global pandemic, so we need to act with agility and alacrity,” Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland said in a news conference Friday.

“I think people will agree: better to act with speed than to wait for the perfection, which could mean that our country’s response to this pandemic could be delayed — with truly fatal consequences.”

Freeland said that officials are taking a “negative-list approach” in deciding who can cross the border, meaning they are highlighting who shouldn’t be allowed, such as tourists or those travelling for pleasure, rather than who should.

Freeland noted that those who require crossing the border to live their daily lives, such as to shop for groceries, will not be affected.

She also said students who hold valid visas, temporary foreign workers and anyone with valid work responsibilities will be allowed to cross as well.

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France reports 78 more coronavirus deaths, raising total to 450

PARIS (Reuters) – French health authorities reported 78 new deaths from coronavirus on Friday, taking the total to 450 or an increase of 21%, the toll rising less sharply then the two days before as extra measures to enforce the national lockdown were locally announced.

During a press conference, health agency director Jerome Salomon added the number of cases had risen to 12,612, up from 10,995 on Thursday, which is a rise of 15% in 24 hours.

Salomon said 1,297 people were in a serious condition, needing life support, up 16% compared to Thursday.

It is estimated France has around 5,000 beds equipped with the necessary gear but these are unevenly spread around the country.

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Regina cancelling parking tickets issued to health care workers during COVID-19 pandemic

The City of Regina says they will relax bylaw enforcement around Regina General Hospital following “significant concern raised by health care professionals” who work there.

Several health care workers expressed their frustrations on social media after a bylaw officer had issued tickets to staff who are facing additional pressures amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

One registered nurse shared a photo on social media of two parking tickets they received. In a post circulating on Facebook, the nurse said they chose to drive and not shuttle to work following messages from the city and the government asking residents to socially distance themselves to prevent the spread of novel coronavirus.

“Step up city of Regina. I am doing my part to contain this virus, now it’s time to do yours and not penalize us for doing so,” reads the post.

On Thursday, the city issued a press release saying they will cancel all parking tickets — that are non-safety related — in the area surrounding the Regina General Hospital, that have been issued since March 13.

“We have heard the concerns raised by staff at the General Hospital,” said Mayor Michael Fougere in a statement.

“We recognize that these are unusual circumstances and health care professionals are more limited in their movement than ever and we need to respond in kind. We thank them for their hard work combatting the virus and helping to keep Reginans safe and healthy.”

The city says no parking tickets have been issued for time zone violating in the General Hospital area since the province announced its state of emergency on Wednesday.

City council will review additional parking enforcement considerations at a special meeting on Friday.

As for now, tickets will still be issued for people parking in front of fire hydrants, too close to corners or those blocking a driveway.

Parking around the Regina General Hospital has been an issue for several years. Earlier this month, the Saskatchewan government said they will explore the possibility of a privately-built parkade to accommodate the need for more parking space.

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

Health officials say the risk is low for Canadians but warn this could change quickly. They caution against all international travel. Returning travellers are asked to self-isolate for 14 days in case they develop symptoms and to prevent spreading the virus to others.

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. And if you get sick, stay at home.

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

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Africa coronavirus cases to rise as some undetected: AU body

ADDIS ABABA/NAIROBI (Reuters) – Africa will likely see higher numbers of coronavirus cases in coming weeks because of the likelihood some are slipping through the net, the head of a regional disease control body said on Thursday.

The virus has multiplied in Africa more slowly than Asia or Europe, but 34 nations on the continent have now reported a total of more than 600 cases. Worldwide, it has infected nearly 220,00 people and killed nearly 9,000.

“We are picking some people but we are also missing some people,” said John Nkengasong, head of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) which is a branch of the African Union bloc.

“The situation will get worse before it gets better because the chances are clear that people have slipped through.”

Many countries worldwide have suspended flights, closed borders and banned public gatherings to curb its spread.

Nkengasong said the number of confirmed cases in Africa was expected to rise in coming days and such travel bans would delay but ultimately fail to contain the virus.

“Anyone who has followed pandemics over the years, you know that doesn’t work,” he told a news conference in the Ethiopian capital. “When you lock down countries, you should understand clearly how to unlock the country.”

It was very likely, he said, that “people are coming in and they are slipping through and we are not picking them.”

Nkengasong said testing was going to increase as more kits became available. U.S. company Abbott, Swiss-based Roche Diagnostics and California-based Cepheid’s GeneXpert were all ramping up production, he said. The testing could be rolled out quickly through existing HIV infrastructure, he said.

Matshidiso Moeti, the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Africa head, was less concerned than the CDC head about missing cases. “We actually don’t believe that there are large numbers of African people who are undetected and infected,” she said on a teleconference with the media.

Moeti said 40 African countries can now test for the virus, up from just South Africa and Senegal at the start of February.

WHO Africa is planning to help countries set up pop-up hospitals that could be equipped with ventilators and oxygen, she added. Moeti said countries should isolate suspected and confirmed cases but without cutting off other nations.

In Kenya, which has seven confirmed cases, the government will start doing random screenings for coronavirus, Health Minister Mutahi Kagwe said.

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Cornavirus: Tips to deal with isolation from Col. Chris Hadfield

As people around the world continue to self-isolate during the novel coronavirus pandemic, many are turning to the experts for tips on how to survive while isolated.

There are probably few who know it better than Col. Chris Hadfield.

After spending 166 days in space, including as the first Canadian commander of the International Space Station, Hadfield has trained many times for the isolation and loneliness of space.

But for the 61-year-old, space isn’t lonely or isolating. Neither is closing ourselves off from the outside world. Instead, he says isolation and loneliness are psychological, not physical.

“We are all alone and we’re all confined, it’s just a matter of how you sent your own psychological boundaries of what’s normal for you,” he said while appearing on 630 CHED Afternoons with J’lyn Nye on Wednesday.

“Everybody in Canada is, hopefully, shifting their pattern a little to limit their interaction with people they don’t know and try and draw into family and friends a little bit, but that means you’re now surrounded by family and friends more than normal, so take that as a plus.”

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Coronavirus emergency laws published with plan to put retired NHS staff to work

The Government has published proposals for the emergency laws it believes it needs to steer Britain through the coronavirus outbreak.

The sweeping powers – which will be brought to the House of Commons tomorrow – will give the government authority to interfere in areas of British life in a way that would have been unthinkable before the crisis.

Ministers have not declared a "state of emergency" under the Civil Contingencies Act –  meaning Parliament must pass these proposals.

The Bill includes measures which will offer additional employment protections and compensation for those volunteering in health and social care.

It also makes it easier for potentially highly skilled health and care staff who have retired to return to the frontline of the NHS.

  • Coronavirus pandemic – Emergency laws to try to halt outbreak unveiled

Under the new laws, councils will be allowed to strip back services offered both to people in care homes and in their own homes without legal challenge – so long as they do not cause 'serious neglect or harm'.

Doctors will be permitted to detail the cause of death on medical certificates without seeing a deceased person's body – with other senior health professionals allowed to sign death certificates.

Is it safe to take ibuprofen for coronavirus symptoms?

The NHS has stopped advising coronavirus patients to take ibuprofen amid concerns the anti-inflammatory painkiller could only make things worse.

A statement read: "There is currently no strong evidence that ibuprofen can make coronavirus (COVID-19) worse.

"But until we have more information, take paracetamol to treat the symptoms of coronavirus, unless your doctor has told you paracetamol is not suitable for you.

"If you are already taking ibuprofen or another non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) on the advice of a doctor, do not stop taking it without checking first."

Among the proposed powers are a number of powers that will give police powers to detain people with coronavirus who try to ignore movement restrictions on the infected.

Police and border officials will be given powers to detain people for a "limited period" if it is feared they could spread the deadly virus.

Courts will be able to introduce more video conferenceing and the Border Force will have the power to close ports and airports.

The government say that the measures in the Coronavirus Bill are temporary, and "proportionate to the threat we face" and will only be used when strictly necessary.

  • Coronavirus plan: 15 key points from Boris Johnson's UK battle announcement

Among the provisions are proposals designed to "manage the deceased in a dignified way should we experience excess deaths".

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “We are doing everything we can to protect lives and support the NHS, guided by the best scientists and clinicians in the world.

“The new measures we will be introducing in the Emergency Coronavirus Bill this week will only be used when it is absolutely necessary and must be timed to maximise their effectiveness, but crucially they give the government the powers it needs to protect lives.

 “By planning for the worst and working for the best we will get through this, but this is a national effort and we must all work together – from businesses prioritising the welfare of their employees, to people thoroughly washing their hands."

When should you call NHS 111?

Those experiencing coronavirus symptoms, such as a cough or fever, should self-isolate for 14 days.

You should stay at home if you or or anyone in your household has a high temperature or a new and continuous cough – even if it's mild.

  • Everyone in your household must stay at home for 14 days and keep away from others
  • DO NOT go to your GP or hospital.
  • Go to NHS.UK to check your symptoms and follow the specialist medical advice.
  • Only call 111 if you can't get online, you feel like you can't cope at home, or your symptoms do not get better after the seven days.
  • If you are pregnant you should call 111 if you have any concerns about yourself or unborn baby during self-isolation.
  • Pregnant women are advised to contact their midwife, out-of-hours helplines or a maternity team who will provide information on whether you need to go to hospital.

NHS staff will be covered by a state-backed insurance scheme to ensure they can care for patients if, for example, they are moving outside their day-to-day duties while making use of their skills and training.

Paperwork and administrative requirements will be reduced to help doctors discharge patients more quickly when clinically appropriate, to free up hospital space for those who are very ill and enable clinicians to focus on delivering care.

Volunteers will have extra employment safeguards, allowing them to pause their main jobs for up to four weeks while they help

Changes to Councils’ duties under the Care Act will enable them to prioritise people with the greatest care needs and make the best use of the adult social care workforce

Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty said: “Our approach to responding to this outbreak has and will remain driven by the scientific and clinical evidence so we do the right thing at the right time.

 “The measures included in this bill will help support our frontline workers, protect the public and delay the peak of the virus to the summer months when the NHS is typically under less pressure.

“It is important everyone continues to play their part by avoiding non-essential contact and travel as well as washing their hands regularly for 20 seconds with soap and water.”

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Rolling Stones postpone tour due to coronavirus

The Rolling Stones are postponing their 15-city North American tour because of the growing coronavirus outbreak.

The band announced Tuesday that its No Filter Tour, originally expected to kick off in San Diego on May 8, is postponed. They were to make a stop in Vancouver on May 12.

The band’s tour planned to visit other U.S. cities they haven’t played in years, including Cleveland, St. Louis, Austin, Texas, Louisville, Kentucky, Charlotte, North Carolina and Tampa, Florida.

“We’re hugely disappointed to have to postpone the tour. We are sorry to all the fans who were looking forward to it as much as we were, but the health and safety of everyone has to take priority. We will all get through this together – and we’ll see you very soon,” the Stones said in a statement.

Tour promoter AEG is advising concertgoers to hold onto their original tickets and wait for more information.

The Stones’ tour through North America last year was postponed after Mick Jagger had heart surgery, but the band rescheduled those dates and returned triumphantly to the road with a show in Chicago.

Another of the rescheduled shows featured the announcement that NASA had named a tiny tumbling stone spotted on the Martian surface after the band.

The vast majority of people recover from the new virus, but for some, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.

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