PM commits $10M to India for COVID-19 relief as Canada’s vaccine rate rises

OTTAWA (NEWS 1130) – The prime minister is committing $10 million in supports for India amid its devastating COVID-19 crisis, just as our country’s vaccination rate is bumping up.

With India posting shocking daily COVID-19 case counts in excess of 300,000, Justin Trudeau says Canada is fronting the money to help with relief efforts and protective equipment.

“We’re ready to provide $10 million through the Canadian Red Cross to the Indian Red Cross,” Trudeau announced Tuesday. “This will support everything from ambulance services to buying more PPE locally.”

The feds are also in discussions with the Indian government as they offer more resources such as ventilators.

Trudeau said Minister of Foreign Affairs Marc Garneau will also be speaking with his counterpart in Pakistan later today about the crisis situation in that country and what Canada can do to help. The prime minister encouraged Canadians who wished to help to donate to the Canadian Red Cross.

Canada is now second in the G20 on vaccination rates, according to Trudeau, who adds it is thanks in large part to the recent surge of people aged 40 to 55 who have packed pharmacies and clinics to get their vaccines, including the AstraZenenca.

Meanwhile, Ottawa is still in talks with the U.S. to see what Canada’s cut may be of the 60 million AstraZeneca vaccines the White House plans to send to other nations. Canada has purchased 20 million doses of the shot from the U.S., but hasn’t been able to access it due to export controls.

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The news comes as the Canadian Armed Forces is deploying 60 service members to help out at COVID-19 testing centres in Nova Scotia and approved a request from Ontario for military assistance and support in dealing with a surge of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.

Canada is also in talks with allies around the creation of an international COVID-19 vaccination passport, for potential travel after full vaccination.

“Our decisions will be based on science and the fact that those decisions are ongoing right now means that we will be aligned with our partners around the world,” he said.

Trudeau has previously said he is not considering a vaccine passport for any travel within Canada.

With files from The Canadian Press

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