The federal government has begun procuring the supplies that will be essential for “mass vaccinations” in the event that a vaccine is found for COVID-19, starting with signing a contract for 37 million syringes.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau first announced that the government was adding syringes on to the list of essential COVID-19 supplies that are being procured, and later Procurement Minister Anita Anand said that the contract has been signed with Canadian company Becton Dickinson Canada to supply the essential tool in delivering vaccines.
“We are also continuing to work to procure the other supplies needed for eventual mass vaccinations on a systemic level. We are making sure that when a viable vaccine is discovered, Canada will be ready for its administration,” Anand said.
Anand didn’t offer a timeline on when the syringes will be delivered, noting that the need at the moment is not as pressing.
“We need to plan ahead for that eventuality,” said Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam, adding that work is also underway around how administering an eventual vaccine would be prioritized to certain segments of the population.
“We do account for the maximum number of Canadians who may wish to be vaccinated,” Tam said.
In mid-May, Health Canada announced that it had given the green light to a clinical trial for a potential COVID-19 vaccine in this country, and Canada is also involved in trials ongoing around the world, too.
It could still be some time before any possible treatment is deemed safe and stable enough for mass-vaccination, though the federal government is funding research and development for various options. This is being done in an effort to offset what Trudeau has flagged as an area where there will likely also be a supply and demand struggle.
Infectious disease expert Dr. Abdu Sharkawy told CTV News Channel that, while not as nearly pressing a need, “if COVID-19 has taught us anything, it’s that preparedness is much better than reactionary responses to a given situation.”
“But if we want to get on top of that there’s certainly no harm,” he said.
FRONT-LINE SUPPLY CHALLENGES PERSIST
During his Rideau Cottage address on federal COVID-19 response efforts, Trudeau provided an update on the ongoing efforts to procure personal protective equipment.
Throughout the pandemic Canada’s attempts to procure essential supplies has been a struggle, with the national tracker from Public Services and Procurement Canada continuing to show that just a fraction of what has been ordered has actually arrived.
Trudeau noted that Canada has received more than 100 million surgical masks, though that is just a third of what the government has ordered. He also noted that nearly 40 million gloves have been procured, yet the government has ordered more than one billion.
Over the last two months the federal government has been providing incremental updates on the stocking-up underway and contract-signing with Canadian manufacturers that have retooled to mass produce life-saving medical supplies.
The prime minister said on Tuesday that the federal government is also funding a handful of Canadian companies that are currently working on potential “breakthrough solutions” for rapid COVID-19 testing.
“Working with suppliers from around the world is key to keeping Canadians safe, but at the end of the day, one of the best ways to ensure we have what we need, well, it’s to make it right here at home,” Trudeau said, noting that demand is only going to increase for protective gear as more businesses and sectors reopen.
As of Tuesday afternoon there are more than 92,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases Canada-wide, though just over a third of those are active cases. More than 7,300 people in Canada have died as a result of contracting the virus.
Canada, U.S. excluded from Britain's new quarantine-free travel list – CTV News
Britain is allowing travellers from dozens of countries to arrive without self-isolating for 14 days, but Canada and the U.S. are not on the list.
On Friday, the British government announced it would cancel the two weeks self-isolation requirement for people arriving from countries deemed a “lower risk” for the coronavirus.
According to the guidance, travellers who have only been to or stopped in the countries on the list during the previous 14 days won’t have to self-isolate upon their arrival in Britain.
Some of the countries on the “travel corridor” list include Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Greece, Belgium, Australia, and New Zealand.
Both Canada and the U.S. did not make the list.
With confirmed cases of COVID-19 climbing in 40 of 50 U.S. states and a record 52,300 newly reported cases on Friday, the U.S. remains the hardest-hit country in the world.
Canada, on the other hand, has seen a steady overall decline in new cases in recent weeks.
Other notable omissions from the list of 59 countries include Russia, Sweden, Portugal, India, and China. No countries in North, Central, or South America were given the exemption.
U.K. Transport Secretary Grant Shapps explained that countries will be given a colour based on a traffic-light system – meaning green is for low risk, amber is for medium-risk, and red is for high-risk.
The U.S., for example, falls into the red category, according to the secretary.
The changes come into effect July 10 and only apply to arrivals in England with the semi-autonomous administrations in the rest of the U.K. – Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland – refusing to lift the quarantine period for travellers on the list.
The British government has chosen to relax the travel restrictions despite the fact that the U.K. has recorded nearly 44,000 deaths related to coronavirus, only behind the U.S. and Brazil as countries with the most deaths worldwide.
With files from The Associated Press
Canada suspends extradition treaty with Hong Kong over new security law – CBC.ca
Canada is suspending its extradition treaty with Hong Kong as part of a package of responses to the new security law China has imposed on the territory, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Friday.
Canada will also treat sensitive goods being exported to Hong Kong as if they were being sent to mainland China.
“Effective immediately, Canada will not permit the export of sensitive military items to Hong Kong,” Trudeau said in a news conference.
China imposed strict new controls on Hong Kong this week, meant to give Beijing more power to police anti-government protests and other activities it considers the work of hostile foreign powers.
Trudeau suggested the new law is a threat to the “one country, two systems” philosophy that was supposed to last 50 years after Britain returned Hong Kong to China in 1997.
Canada’s relationship with Hong Kong, including freer trade and travel than is allowed between Canada and mainland China, depends on that principle, Foreign Affairs Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne said in a separate statement.
“This process demonstrated disregard for Hong Kong’s basic law and the high degree of autonomy promised for Hong Kong under the ‘one country, two systems’ framework,” Champagne said.
“Hong Kong’s role as a global hub was built on that foundation. Without it, Canada is forced to reassess existing agreements.”
Other countries are considering offering asylum. About 300,000 Canadians live in Hong Kong.
“We will continue to support the many connections between Canada and Hong Kong while also standing up for its people,” Trudeau said.
Watch: Trudeau says Canada is suspending the extradition treaty with Hong Kong:
Canada’s moves follow measures taken by the United States earlier this week to tighten trade with Hong Kong and stop selling it military equipment.
Britain announced that up to 2.6 million Hong Kong residents will be able to move to the United Kingdom for up to five years and ultimately seek citizenship.
Those are holders of special overseas British passports that have had much more limited rights attached to them until now. Trudeau hinted that something similar might be in the works in Canada.
“In the days and weeks to come, we’re also looking at additional measures, including around immigration,” he said.
The relationship between Canada and China remains extremely strained. China is holding two Canadians, Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, on national-security charges that Canada considers retaliation for the arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver in 2018 on a U.S. extradition warrant.
READ | Canada’s statement on Hong Kong’s new security law:
Trudeau unsure about Washington trip, cites concern over tariffs
OTTAWA (Reuters) – Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Friday he was still unsure whether he would go to Washington D.C. next week to mark a new North American trade treaty, citing concern about possible U.S. tariffs on aluminum.
Mexico’s President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who is due to meet U.S. President Donald Trump next week, has said he would like Trudeau to attend.
(Reporting by Steve Scherer; Editing by Marguerita Choy)
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