Today’s coronavirus news: May 7, 2022

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

8am: It’s tempting to look at the job market in Canada right now and cry victory for everyone, including working moms, writes Heather Scoffield.

Unemployment is at an all-time high, the proportion of women in their prime working years participating in the labor force is higher than ever before, and even off-reserve Indigenous women are making notable gains.

But to claim victory would be to ignore the lesson learned from a leaked draft US Supreme Court ruling that is poised to roll back abortion rights in this country and that scares us here in Canada.

Backsliding is a real risk when it comes to the evolution of women, and the trends underlying the labor market headlines show us why.

The fear was that women would never recover from the pandemic recession. When COVID-19 prompted governments to tell most of us to work from home and shut down public services, women were hit hard. Low-wage women and racialized women have been hit hard. And working parents have been reeling from home schooling, recurring virtual classes and trying to keep jobs at the same time. Women’s participation in the workforce has been seriously eroded as they try to juggle illness, children, working from home and an unpredictable economy.

Now, after a rollercoaster of massive job losses followed by massive gains and back again, the workforce appears to be behaving more as usual, essentially unchanged in April from March.

Read Heather Scoffield’s full column here.

7am: When Christopher DiRaddo’s second book was released last year during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Montreal author was disappointed he couldn’t mark the achievement with a glitzy in-person book launch.

Instead, he got creative. In addition to a virtual launch, he and his partner created special gift bags that included a signed copy of his book “The Family Way,” and traveled around the Montreal area to deliver them to customers in person.

“In a weird way, it was almost like a reimagining of what a book launch could be,” he said in a recent phone interview.

As in-person literary events resume, authors like DiRaddo say the creative marketing solutions learned during the shutdowns, along with a pandemic-spurred increase in reading, give them hope for the future of their industry.

Several authors and publishers interviewed by The Canadian Press said the pandemic has been difficult for physical stores, which have faced weeks or months of forced closures, capacity limits and cancellations of book launches and met.

5:45 a.m.: A key district in the Chinese capital has ordered the closure of some businesses providing non-essential services such as gymnasiums and cinemas to prevent the spread of COVID infections after President Xi Jinping reaffirmed his strict zero COVID policy.

Beijing’s eastern Chaoyang district, home to embassies and offices of multinationals including Apple Inc. and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., ordered the closure of businesses ‘providing services other than those supporting the means residents’ livelihoods” until further notice, an official said during a Friday night briefing.

Businesses ordered closed include karaoke bars, internet cafes, museums and art galleries, said Yang Beibei, deputy director of Chaoyang District. New rounds of mass COVID testing were announced on Friday after the municipal government shut down some residential areas and subway stops in the city.

In the 24 hours ending Saturday at 3 p.m. Beijing added 78 new cases. Across the country, 4,620 local infections have been reported, with most coming from Shanghai, the National Health Commission said, while 13 people have died.

The city of Shanghai announced on Saturday that it would postpone college and high school entrance exams until July, citing the risk of infection, while some of the city’s biggest manufacturers said they were trying to restart the factories.

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