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In a rare Saturday session, Canadian lawmakers passed legislation that will subsidize up to 75% of workers’ salaries to avoid even more mass layoffs during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, now out of quarantine after his wife tested positive for the virus in March, attended the scaled-down session with a "quorum" of about 20 lawmakers.
Opposition parties joined Trudeau’s governing party to unanimously approve the wage-subsidy scheme, which will cost more than $50 billion (in US currency) and will be applied retroactively to days worked since March 15.
A majority of Canadian companies are likely to qualify for the subsidy.
New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced Saturday that a public health order banning mass gatherings was amended to include houses of worship.
“We know that you want to practice your faith, as you should. But this year we must remember that home is holy. The best thing you can do for your community is to stay there," Grisham said in a news release. "While this will be emotionally difficult for so many New Mexicans, public health must be the top priority. The only way to slow the spread of COVID-19 is by staying home and minimizing all person-to-person contact."
There are 478 people linked to the Cook County Jail in Chicago who have tested positive for coronavirus, sheriff’s officials said Saturday.
According to the Cook County Sheriff’s Office, 304 detainees at the jail in Chicago and 174 correctional officers have tested positive for Covid-19.
Of the detainees sickened in the outbreak, 20 have been hospitalized and 39 have been moved to a recovery facility. Earlier this week, officials announced that two detainees died of "apparent" complications due to coronavirus, pending autopsy results.
A federal judge on Thursday denied a motion to order the immediate release of medically vulnerable detainees at the Chicago jail to prevent the further spread of Covid-19.
Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud approved an extension of the curfew imposed across the country until further notice, the state-run Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported.
The Ministry of Interior is asking people "to adhere to the curfew for their safety" SPA reported.
Saudi Arabia initially instituted its curfew in March as part of a series of measures to contain the spread of coronavirus in the country.
There are at least 524,903 cases of coronavirus in the US and at least 20,389 people have died from it, according to Johns Hopkins University's tally of cases in the United States.
The total includes cases from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and other US territories, as well as all repatriated cases.
Wyoming is the only state that is not reporting a death from coronavirus.
The latest US numbers from Johns Hopkins can be found here.
The Internal Revenue Service sent out the first wave of stimulus checks to Americans on Saturday, according to an announcement the agency made on Twitter.
"#IRS deposited the first Economic Impact Payments into taxpayers’ bank accounts today. We know many people are anxious to get their payments; we’ll continue issuing them as fast as we can," the IRS wrote on Twitter.
Deposits will continue in the days ahead, starting with people who have filed tax returns for 2018 or 2019 and authorized direct deposit. Others -- including people who haven't filed returns, authorized direct deposits, or receive Social Security -- will probably have to wait week or months before seeing their money.
The distributions are part of the $2.2 trillion economic relief package passed by Congress in March.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio was asked Saturday if he and the Gov. Andrew Cuomo would come to terms on the issue of closing New York City schools.
“I think we’re always going to work things through in the common interest of our people," he said.
De Blasio added he'd always work with state government and Cuomo.
"But the bottom line is my responsibility – my responsibility is not to the federal government, the state government, my responsibility is not to another elected official my responsibility is to those kids, those parents, those educators who need to be safe and my responsibility is to protect my people."
De Blasio said earlier Saturday the city's public school buildings will remain closed through the end of the year because of coronavirus concerns -- but Cuomo later said no decision about the schools has been made, adding that it’s his legal authority "in this situation" to close schools.
Chicago saw an uptick in violent crime this week, despite the coronavirus pandemic, according to Chicago police data.
There were 19 homicides and 44 people were shot in Chicago from Sunday to Thursday, police data shows.
"Crime overall in Chicago has ebbed and flowed," Chicago police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi tells CNN. "We’ve had days like last week where we have 14 shot in 12 hours."
Guglielmi says it has been a trying time for the Chicago Police Department.
It’s a huge battle for us to try and keep them engaged and positive. Their friends are dying," Guglielmi said.
"In order to be able to do that effectively, we have to make sure our officers are supported."
At least 237 members of the Chicago Police Department have tested positive for coronavirus, interim Chicago Police Superintendent Charlie Beck said at a press conference Saturday morning.