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Canada reports 25 more coronavirus deaths as new cases return to downward trend

Coronavirus: Tory to support bylaw making face masks mandatory in indoor public settings
WATCH: Speaking at a news conference on Tuesday, Toronto Mayor John Tory he will vote in favour of making face masks mandatory when in indoor public settings on the recommendation of the city’s chief medical officer of health amid the coronavirus pandemic. Tory said if passed, the temporary bylaw would be in place in one week.

The number of new coronavirus cases in Canada dipped below 300 on Tuesday for the first time since late last week, a promising sign that the country remains on an overall downward trend.

With 285 lab-confirmed cases over the past 24 hours, Canada has now seen 104,186 cases of COVID-19 to date. Seven provinces saw increases Tuesday, including the first new case in weeks for Nova Scotia.

Read more: How many Canadians have the new coronavirus? Total number of confirmed cases by region

Public health officials also announced 25 new deaths Tuesday, all of them in Ontario and Quebec. Canada’s death toll stands at 8,591 people. More than 67,500 cases of the virus have been resolved.

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Ontario once again led the country in new cases, reporting 157 positive tests and seven new deaths. Quebec saw 68 new cases and 18 more fatalities.

Nova Scotia’s new case was related to travel, public health officials confirmed. It is the only active case in the province, which was the worst-hit in the Atlantic region before its new cases finally flatlined late last month.

Read more: Coronavirus: Canada extends ban on most foreign travellers

Manitoba reported a single new case, while six more were added to Saskatchewan’s total. Alberta and British Columbia saw 41 and 12 new cases, respectively.

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No new cases were reported in New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador or the three territories. Except for New Brunswick, none of those jurisdictions have any active cases and have remained free of the virus for weeks.

Canada has been reporting daily case counts under 1,000 for over a month. Despite jumping past 400 new cases Monday, the country’s pandemic wave overall has been falling since late May.

EU allows visitors from Canada and 13 other ‘safe’ countries
EU allows visitors from Canada and 13 other ‘safe’ countries

New modelling released Monday by the federal government projects the downward trend to continue, with hospitalizations also declining.

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Public Health Canada is predicting between roughly 104,000 and 108,000 cases countrywide by July 12, and between 8,545 and 8,865 deaths by the same date. At worst, that would mean roughly 300 cases per day, and just under 23 new deaths daily.

The cautiously optimistic news prompted Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to announce Monday that his daily coronavirus briefings will come to an end, shifting to just a few times each week.

Read more: Canadians can enter Europe starting July 1. Here’s what you need to know

Yet as all provinces and territories take further steps to reopen their economies, the country is continuing to keep some restrictions in place.

On Tuesday, the federal government announced it is extending its travel ban on all international travellers who are not Canadian citizens, permanent residents or U.S. residents classified as essential until the end of July. The Canada-U.S. border also remains closed to all but essential workers under a separate order, which expires July 21 barring another extension.

Masks are also becoming mandatory in some jurisdictions. Toronto city council voted Tuesday to make masks mandatory in all indoor public spaces, while people in Quebec will have to cover their faces on public transit by mid-July, officials there announced.

Airlines ease restrictions as Air Canada makes cuts
Airlines ease restrictions as Air Canada makes cuts

On Tuesday, Canada was listed among 14 countries whose travellers will be allowed to enter Europe starting July 1.

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Worldwide, the novel coronavirus has infected at least 10.4 million people and killed over 508,000, according to lab-confirmed data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

Experts have predicted the actual number of cases may be 10 times the official count.