COVID-19: OTTAWA OFFERS $100 MILLION IN FOOD AID, ONTARIO RELEASES GRIM FATALITY FORECAST
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced an investment of $100 million on Friday to meet the urgent food needs of “vulnerable Canadians” during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Trudeau said Canadian Armed Forces have been called in to help the isolated communities in Northern Quebec.
He also said the government will be increasing GST credit for people with low-income. Every qualifying adult will receive up to $300 along with $150 for each child.
Those who have lost their jobs are also eligible for the Canadian emergency benefits “that will give you $2,000 per month.”
The prime minister also said the federal government has an agreement with Amazon to “manage the distribution of specialized medical supplies and equipment” to meet provincial needs.
Meanwhile, the Ontario government on Friday released its COVID-19 projections in a press conference after Trudeau’s address.
The province’s modelling predicts that the number of deaths in Ontario will range between 3,000 and 15,000.
The virus is expected to have a lifespan of 18 months to two years, said Peter Donnelly, president and CEO of Public Health Ontario.
Had the government failed to take immediate measures, “Ontario may have suffered 100,000 deaths,” he said.
Ontario may experience as many as 80,000 positive cases and 1,600 deaths by April 30 with the province’s current measures. The modelling projects the cases can be brought down to 12,500 with tougher actions.
Currently, the province only has over 400 ICU beds open for COVID-19 cases. However, the number can be quickly expanded to 900, assured Matt Anderson, Ontario Health’s president and CEO.
Ontario also announced the launch of a new online portal to access COVID-19 lab test results for the ease of public and frontline workers.
Meanwhile, the Peel health unit apologized after it mistakenly mailed letters to 16 people who were positive, telling them that their COVID-19 tests were negative.
Trump administration has asked the medical device manufacturer 3M to stop exporting N95 masks and respirators to Canada and other countries.
The move ‘could hurt Americans as much as anybody else,’ said Trudeau.
The United States reported the highest daily death toll of any country so far at 6,786.
New York recorded 562 more deaths on its deadliest single day. Governor Andrew Cuomo made a plea to the entire country to deploy its resources to New York to help fight the growing crisis.
The Governor said there have been 2,935 virus deaths in the state.
In Florida, coronavirus hit cruise ships MS Zaandam and Rotterdam pulled into Fort Lauderdale harbour on Thursday. The cruise carried 1,200 passengers including over 250 Canadians.
In the UK, Prince Charles inaugurated a new COVID-19 field hospital NHS Nightingale via video link from his home in Scotland. The hospital with a capacity of 4,000 beds is based at the ExCeL conference centre in East London.
Buckingham Palace announced that the Queen will be addressing the Commonwealth on the outbreak on Sunday.
The UK has 38,168 cases with 3,605 deaths.
Spain announced another 932 coronavirus deaths. The total toll rose to 11,000 while the country continues to suffer from second-most fatalities in the world after Italy.
Elsewhere, India witnessed an outbreak in COVID-19 cases with 647 positive cases in the last two days. The rise in cases is being linked to the religious congregation of Tablighi Jamaat in a mosque in Delhi.
Currently, India has 2,567 confirmed cases and 72 deaths.
A ray of hope dawned as an international team led by the University of British Columbia researcher Dr. Josef Penninger found a trial drug for COVID-19.
The drug effectively blocks the cellular door that SARS-CoV-2 uses to infect its host, according to UBC’s peer-reviewed journal Cell.