Canada to fund COVID-19 vaccine, treatment development: Trudeau

Canada to fund COVID-19 vaccine, treatment development: Trudeau
Canada to fund COVID-19 vaccine, treatment development: Trudeau

Ottawa, March 24 (IANS) Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that his government will allot C$192 million ($132 million) on the development and production of vaccines and treatments against the novel coronavirus.

"We're investing in a long-term solution to COVID-19," Xinhua news agency quoted Trudeau as saying on Monday at a press conference outside Rideau Cottage where he has been in self-isolation since his wife tested positive for the disease.

"Once there are promising options, Canada needs the capacity to mass produce treatments as quickly as possible."

The money is being made available to Canadian research and life-science companies and educational bodies across the country, including some who focus on antibody discovery and plant-based vaccines.

Trudeau also announced measures to help Canadian farmers and agri-food businesses amid impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"We are opening up C$5 billion in additional lending capacity. Starting today, farmers and producers can apply to Farm Credit Canada for the support they need to keep food growing and get it on to our tables," said Trudeau.

He reiterated that physical distancing was vital.

"If you choose to ignore that advice, you're not just putting yourself at risk, you're putting others at risk," Trudeau said.

"Enough is enough. Go home and stay home. This is what we all need to be doing and we're going to make sure this happens."

Trudeau said his government has not ruled out any enforcement options and he will have a conference call with the premiers and territorial leaders to discuss continued coordination on quarantine and self-isolation, including providing health equipment.

"The premiers and I will also talk about continuing to move forward with measures to support families and small businesses to ensure our economy rebounds," he said.

On Sunday, the Prime Minister had announced that the House of Commons will resume to pass legislation for the financial aid of C$82 billion and other plans.

There are now more than 1,500 confirmed COVID-19 cases, with 21 deaths, in Canada.