May 7, 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.
State of the pandemic in Canada
Dr. Theresa Tam and Dr. Dr Howard Njoo of the Public Health Agency of Canada shared the latest data on the state of COVID-19 in Canada. In the last week, over 7,500 daily cases were reported, while the number of serious and critical cases of the disease remains high.
Over the last seven days, close to 4,200 people with COVID-19 were treated in Canadian hospitals each day, including over 1,450 patients in intensive care units.
So far, some 15 million doses have been administered and close to 42% of adults in Canada have received their first dose. This week, Health Canada approved the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to effectively protect young people between the ages of 12 and 15 against COVID-19.
“Based on a rigorous, independent scientific study, experts have determined that the vaccine is safe and effective for this age group. It’s a step forward. This will allow us to add another string to our bow in the fight against COVID-19,” said Justin Trudeau.
Over 18 million doses have already been sent to the provinces and territories. Next week, Canada will receive 2 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.
Vaccine patent waivers
When asked about the possibility of waiving intellectual property rights on the COVID-19 vaccine, Justin Trudeau said that the principle has not yet been approved by Ottawa.
“We’ve made an enormous investment internationally, over two and a half billion dollars, with COVAX and the ACT Accelerator, and we’re in discussions with other countries in the World Trade Organization to come up with solutions,” explained Justin Trudeau.
The prime minister also announced Canada’s $375-million contribution to the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, an international partnership designed to help low- and middle-income countries to develop, produce and distribute diagnostic tests, treatments and vaccines.
“We know that the only way to beat the virus here in Canada is by eradicating it everywhere else,” said Mr. Trudeau.
Justin Trudeau announced that 207,000 jobs were lost in Canada in April. He reminded Canadians that the government is offering assistance programs.
“The wage subsidy, more flexible employment insurance and the Canada Recovery Benefit are there for you,” said the prime minister.