Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s daily briefing centred on federal funding for research, testing, and modelling. He also touched on the crisis in long-term care homes, confirming that military assistance is on its way to Ontario and Quebec, but cautioning that a longer-term solution will need to be a high priority moving forward. Funding for Research Trudeau announced $1.1 billion for a national medical and research strategy related to COVID-19, on top of the $275 million in research funding announced in March. Investments announced today include:
$115 million for research into vaccines and treatments under development in hospitals and universities across Canada;
$662 million to support clinical trials of vaccines and treatments in Canada; and
$350 million to expand national testing and modelling.
The PM noted that the country is now carrying out over 20,000 COVID-19 tests daily, almost double from where we were at the start of April, but said this must be expanded further before restrictions can be safely lifted. He committed to testing at least one million Canadians in the next two years.
Immunity Task Force
The PM also announced a COVID-19 Immunity Task Force led by top doctors and scientists to focus on blood testing to track and understand immunity to this novel coronavirus. The task force will include Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer, and Dr. David Naylor, who has advised Liberal and Conservative governments on health and science issues.
Long-Term Care Crisis
Addressing the crises unfolding in long-term care homes across Canada, the Prime Minister called the situation “unacceptable” and said Canadians are right to be “angry, frustrated and scared.”
He confirmed that the federal government will be responding to requests from Ontario and Quebec and sending in support from the Canadian Armed Forces to assist in long-term care facilities. But he added that this is at best a short-term solution, asserting, “it’s not up to the military to take care of our elders.”
*Above summary by Enterprise Canada