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The Financial Express

Trudeau announces funding for virtual health care, antibody research against COVID-19

Xinhua | Published: May 04, 2020 19:55:31 | Updated: May 06, 2020 10:34:08


Trudeau announces funding for virtual health care, antibody research against COVID-19

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced an allotment of 240 million Canadian dollars (about US$168 million) on Sunday for moving mental health and primary care services online during the COVID-19 crisis.

During his press conference on Sunday, Trudeau said a new mental health platform will provide strategies for managing stress with specific help for those from marginalised communities.

The money will include funding for marginalized communities and virtual primary care for patients who may not need to see a doctor in person.

"By helping doctors run appointments online, you can stay safe at home while getting care, and our hospitals can stay focused on those who need it most," Trudeau said. "If we can use apps to order dinner and videochats to stay in touch with family, we can use new technology to keep each other healthy."

In April, Canadian Health Minister Patty Hajdu unveiled an online portal aimed at linking Canadians of all ages to support workers and mental health professionals during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Trudeau also announced on Sunday an additional 175 million Canadian dollars (about 122 million U.S. dollars) to support Canadian company AbCellera for what he called "very promising COVID-19 research," and introduced a new COVID-19 Supply Council.

The council will be tasked with finding innovative solutions and keeping Canada supplied with medical equipment like ventilators and masks.

"Until we have effective treatments, or better yet a vaccine, we'll still need a reliable supply of everything from masks to ventilators," he said.

Several provinces in Canada have begun easing COVID-19 lockdown restrictions and are set to reopen businesses and services on Monday, including Ontario and Quebec, which are two provinces hit hardest by the coronavirus.

In mid-March, Canada provided 275 million Canadian dollars (about US$194 million) for medical research. It announced the creation of a new strategic innovation fund to allot another 192 million Canadian dollars (roughly US$136 million) to specific companies and research institutions working on new drugs and vaccines.

On April 23, Trudeau announced to allot additional 1.1 billion Canadian dollars (about US$782 million) for national medical research against the COVID-19.

"The better we understand this virus, its spread and its impact on different people, the better we can fight it and eventually defeat it," Trudeau told reporters at a news conference in Ottawa.

As of Sunday afternoon, there were 60,381 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Canada, with 3,791 deaths, according to the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University.

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