April 23, 2021 – Federal government update on the COVID-19 pandemic
Here is an update on recent decisions and actions by the Canadian government in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Status of the pandemic and modelling
Dr. Theresa Tam and Dr. Howard Njoo from the Public Health Agency of Canada reiterated that the situation is still critical and that hospitalizations continue to rise. Indeed, the average number of cases is twice as high as last month. An average of 8,400 cases a day were reported last week.
Over half of the cases recently reported in Canada were variants.
However, based on modelling, some restrictions may be lifted by the end of July if enough people are vaccinated.
Canada’s public health experts reiterated that the vaccine is 92% effective in preventing infection and 96% effective in preventing hospitalization, after two doses.
In the meantime, Canadians must continue to stay home, avoid contact and respect the health guidelines.
Canada has distributed 14 million doses of the vaccine across the country and 30% of adults eligible for vaccination have already received their first dose.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that Canada reached an agreement with Pfizer that will guarantee the delivery of 35 million doses in 2022 and 30 million the following year. This agreement also includes the option of adding 30 million doses in 2022 and 2023 as well as 60 million in 2024.
Canada will also receive the first 300,000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine next week. In addition, 1 million Pfizer doses will be delivered early next week and 650,000 doses of Moderna will arrive mid-week.
“The vaccine doses continue to be the good news we all need during, what has become, a very difficult spring,” said Mr. Trudeau.
The prime minister congratulated Medicago, based in Québec City, for being the first Canadian company to submit its COVID-19 vaccine to Health Canada.
Lastly, Justin Trudeau announced that he and his wife, Sophie Grégoire-Trudeau, will be receiving their first dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine this afternoon at a pharmacy in Ontario.
“We’re looking forward to it. It’s such a relief to know that this simple gesture helps us protect not only ourselves but the people we love in our inner circle. So, if it’s your turn, please make an appointment as soon as possible. If we each do our part, we’ll beat this virus,” he said.
The prime minister reiterated that all non-essential flights from India and Pakistan will be suspended for the next 30 days, in order to prevent the spread of the new B.1.617 variant.
In addition, passengers travelling from India and Pakistan on indirect flights will have to obtain a negative COVID-19 test before their departure from the last country they visited before landing in Canada.
These restrictions are being added to the already strengthened measures that have been extended until May 21.
The measures currently in place include testing before and after arriving in Canada, strict quarantine and hotel stays at the expense of travellers arriving by plane.