Loading articles...

Feds contributing $375M to COVID-19 fund for low- and middle-income countries

Last Updated May 7, 2021 at 10:28 am PDT

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau holds a press conference in Ottawa on Friday, April 23, 2021, during the COVID-19 pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

The federal government is contributing another $375 million to the World Health Organization’s Access COVID-19 Tools Accelerator, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Friday.

Trudeau says the funds will help develop, produce and distribute diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines to low- and middle-income countries.

“To end this pandemic here and elsewhere, we need to fight the virus and variants around the world. That’s why all countries need to have access to vaccines and treatments and we must work together to make sure no one is left behind,” said Trudeau.

Trudeau would not say whether he supported companies waiving intellectual property protections for COVID vaccines, but said Canada was involved in discussions at the World Trade Organizations on vaccine proposals.

“What we want is…to work with our partners to find the right solution to ensure that people have access to necessary resources to get through this pandemic,” said Trudeau. “We are engaged wholeheartedly in these discussions on various proposals and we know we need to work together as a world to get to the right place. There are different perspectives around the table from a number of different countries and we need towards consensus.”

“I can assure you Canada is not interfering or blocking. Canada is working to find a solution that works for everyone,” added Trudeau.

The prime minister also said $10 million in support has been sent to India through the Canadian Red Cross to help with the COVID-19 crisis the country is dealing with. A cargo plane with ventilators and anti-viral medication was sent this week and more will be sent.

Infections have swelled in India with a new daily record of 414,188 confirmed cases and 3,915 additional deaths Friday. The official daily death count has stayed over 3,000 for the past 10 days.

That brings the total to more than 21.4 million COVID-19 infections and over 234,000 deaths. Experts say even those dramatic tolls are undercounts.

Trudeau said the supplies being sent to India are surplus supplies and it won’t compromise the Canadian response.

The federal government has also set up a new portal that will make it easier for small and medium businesses to access rapid COVID-19 tests.

“Rapid tests are key to identifying and isolating cases and therefore, reducing the risk of further outbreaks,” said Trudeau. “Testing works.”‘

With files from The Associated Press