Canadians aboard COVID-19 stricken cruise ship to start coming home today

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Canadians aboard another COVID-19 stricken cruise ship are expected to start coming home today.

The Coral Princess arrived in Miami Saturday with 97 Canadian passengers and two Canadian crew members aboard, and Princess Cruises said disembarkation of guests who are fit to fly would begin Sunday.

The company has said that a dozen people on board have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, while others are experiencing flu-like symptoms.

Canada's COVID-19 caseload grew by 1,471 Saturday for a total of 14,018 confirmed and presumptive cases, while the virus-related death toll rose by 46, to 233.

But amid that grim news, there was also some cause for optimism. British Columbia medical health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said the curve in the number of cases in her province appears to be flattening.

And Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said at his daily briefing yesterday that Canada would be receiving "millions" of desperately needed surgical-grade N95 masks in the next 48 hours by a chartered cargo flight.

Trudeau also said he planned to speak with Donald Trump in the coming days in hopes of persuading the U.S. president to rescind a White House-ordered ban on exports of key COVID-19 medical supplies to Canada and abroad.

Meanwhile, Ottawa is giving more financial support aimed at helping the country's most vulnerable survive the pandemic.

Trudeau announced $40 million for Women and Gender Equality Canada Saturday, with up to $30 million to address immediate needs of shelters and sexual assault centres.

Another $10 million will go to Indigenous Services Canada's network of 46 emergency shelters and $157.5 million will go toward addressing the needs of Canadians experiencing homelessness.

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