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Health Canada approves rapid test for COVID-19

FILE - In this Wednesday, March 11, 2020 file photo, a technician prepares COVID-19 coronavirus patient samples for testing at a laboratory in New York's Long Island. The Trump administration’s plan to provide every nursing home with a fast COVID-19 testing machine comes with an asterisk: the government won’t supply enough test kits to check staff and residents beyond an initial couple of rounds. A program that sounded like a game changer when it was announced last month at the White House is now prompting concerns that it could turn into another unfulfilled promise for nursing homes, whose residents and staff account for as many as 4 in 10 coronavirus deaths. Administration officials respond that nursing homes can pay for ongoing testing from a $5-billion federal allocation available to them. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

Health Canada has approved a rapid COVID-19 test in the country

A day before, the federal government said it would purchase 7.9 million units of the ID NOW

OTTAWA — Just a day after the federal government announced it would be purchasing 7.9-million units of the ID NOW rapid test from U.S.-based Abbott Diagnostics, Health Canada now confirms it has approved the test for use in the country.

These nasal swab test kits could provide results in as little as 15 minutes as opposed to the general one to three days that is happening at testing centres across the country.

The government has not given a timeline for delivery, but Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, says they will be working with provinces and territories to distribute them when available.

“The key priority is high risk and remote settings,” Tam said on Tuesday.

Conservatives have accused the Liberals of dragging their feet on rapid tests, but Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says his government will not interfere with the scientific approval process.

RELATED: Portable COVID-19 test approved for human use in Canada, claims to provide results ‘in minutes’

The news comes as the country continues to deal with serious testing backlogs, as the second wave of COVID-19 sparks a significant spike in cases.

Meanwhile, Health Canada has not received any submissions yet for home testing kits.

According to Health Minister Patty Hajdu, the federal government is in talks with companies that produce those devices, asking them to apply for approval in Canada.