- The Government of Canada is investing $1.1 billion of new money for vaccine research, treatment, clinical trials and increased testing. $115 million will go towards vaccine research and production, $662 million will be allocated to clinical trials of new treatments, and $350 million will be for serology and infection testing and modelling. This funding includes support for research focused on genome sequencing, data sharing and countermeasures to mitigate spread.
- The Prime Minister also announced the creation of the COVID Immunity Task Force, led by Dr. David Naylor, Dr. Catherine Hankins, Dr. Tim Evans, Dr. Theresa Tam, and Dr. Mona Nemer. This team of scientists will be focused on immunity study through serology testing. Serology testing looks for the presence of antibodies, which may indicate that someone who had few or no symptoms has developed an immunity to COVID-19. The goal is to have one million Canadians tested over a two-year period.
- The PM said that Canada is committed to domestic production of the vaccine in addition to playing a role in international efforts to develop an effective inoculation against COVID-19.
- The PM also committed to improving data collection, including disaggregated data to better understand how COVID-19 affects particularly vulnerable populations. As of today, approximately 20,000 tests are being conducted each day. The PM said that gradual reopening should be based on closer to 50-60,000 tests per day.
Full details on the new funding announced today can be found here.
The federal government has launched aCOVID-19 Economic Response Planportal to easily access all support measures announced to date. Total federal spending on support for individuals and businesses related to COVID-19 now exceeds $146 billion.
Also of interest, Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe announced his plan to reopen the economy today. He laid out a five-phase approach starting in early May. Phase one will see most medical services like dentists, opticians and chiropractors reopen starting May 4 with new PPE requirements, while low-risk recreational activities like boating and fishing will be allowed. Golf will resume on May 15 with new rules in place. Following the May long weekend, phase two will see retail stores including hair salons reopen with physical distancing and PPE requirements in place. Dates for the subsequent phases have not yet been set, but the Premier specified plans to reopen restaurants at 50% capacity in phase three, followed by gyms, pools and theatres in phase four. Phase five would include mass gatherings like concerts and sporting events, but no date for the resumption of these activities is anticipated anytime soon. Schools, colleges and universities will remain closed until the fall at the earliest.