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Feds ramp up efforts to deal with COVID-19 through research funding, quarantine supports

Last Updated Mar 6, 2020 at 4:32 pm PDT

Summary

Ottawa announced new cash for research and help for Canadians who have to be quarantined amid the COVID-19 outbreak

Feds have boosted funding for health research teams to allow Canada to participate in global effort to fight the virus

The prime minister has left the door open for supports for businesses as well

TORONTO – From supports for people facing quarantine, to money for medical research, the federal government is boosting its efforts to battle the novel coronavirus outbreak.

With more Canadians becoming infected and even more facing quarantine, Finance Minister Bill Morneau said the government will soon be announcing supports for those placed in isolation in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“We stand ready to support Canadians and the economy as necessary in coordination with our provincial and territorial partners, as well as with our international colleagues,” Morneau said, adding he is also adjusting the risk factors in his upcoming budget to make sure the government has the fiscal cushion to deal with this outbreak.

“Our government is planning for every contingency,” he told reporters Friday. “And I will tell you we have the tools to respond very quickly.”

This comes as Ottawa boosted funding for 47 health research teams across Canada by $20-million for a total investment of $27-million.

“We could amplify the work that’s happening in all of the countries that are racing to try and find a cure,” Health Minister Patty Hajdu said.

Michael Strong, president of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, said the money will go to good use.

“Everything from developing a vaccine, to direct treatment therapies, to trying to modify how the virus might actually work,” he said. “And then looking at ways of better detection.”

However, it could take more than a year to develop a vaccine to deal with the virus, which has infected tens of thousands of people worldwide and more than 40 in Canada.

Meanwhile, the prime minister has left the door open for possible supports for businesses impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak. The spread of the virus has impacted the economy in a number of ways. Earlier this week, the Bank of Canada and U.S. Federal Reserve both slashed their key interest rates in an effort to dampen the blow being done by the virus.