'A global challenge': PM Trudeau commits $850 million to global fight against COVID-19
OTTAWA -- Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says that Canada is contributing $850 million to the global fight against COVID-19, a commitment he made Monday morning during a virtual global summit focused on raising funds for research and development of vaccines and treatments for the deadly respiratory virus.
He called the funding “a beginning,” and vowed “more to come” as the international community collaborates on tackling the novel coronavirus that’s rapidly spread across the world.
“In the fight against COVID-19, our first focus will always be here at home, but this is a global challenge. To keep Canadians safe and restart our economy, we need to defeat this virus not just within our borders, but wherever it is found. That’s how we’ll beat COVID-19 for good,” Trudeau said, speaking about this pledge during his address to Canadians outside Rideau Cottage.
“The more we co-operate, the more likely that we find a cure, and find it quickly. And that’s something we all want to see,” said the prime minister.
Joining the fundraising event, the prime minister highlighted that, to-date, the federal government has committed funding to various domestic research efforts that will contribute their findings to the global effort.
This has included funding to Canadian life sciences companies and to the World Health Organization’s treatment trials, as well as creating “strategies to tackle misinformation, stigma, and fear,” according to a government statement.
“It is almost like a race, but a race where you want everyone to be able to cross the finish line at once. And so we know here in Canada that as long as COVID is raging out of control in another country, Canadians will not be safe,” said Health Minister Patty Hajdu during the ministerial update on COVID-19 efforts in Ottawa.
“When a storm comes, people tend to want to hunker down with their friends, with their families and wait till it blows over, but we cannot isolate ourselves, we cannot hope that everyone else does well while we take care of ourselves, we need to take care of ourselves and take care of the rest of the world as well. Take care of ourselves by taking care of the rest of the world. This is truly a moment for global leadership,” Trudeau said.
Trudeau took part in the global online pledging conference alongside other world leaders who are raising funds to find solutions to the novel coronavirus that has now infected more than 3.5 million people and has killed nearly 248,000 people worldwide.
In Canada as of Trudeau's mid-morning address, there were 59,844 confirmed COVID-19 cases, and 3,766 deaths.
The goal of the event was to raise 7.5 billion euros — $8 billion dollars — to cover what the European Union says is the “global funding shortfall” in preparedness. As of when Trudeau added in Canada’s contribution, nations around the globe had committed 3.5 billion euros. By the end of the livestream 5.1 billion euros had been pledged. The funding will be provided to several global health organizations.
In addition to nations chipping in, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation pledged US$100 million to the effort.
“The world is today confronted with a virus that sweeps across countries and continents, breaking into our homes and our hearts. This virus has caused devastation and pain in all corners of the world, locking us away from the touch of the people we love, the joy of the things we usually do and the sights of the places we want to be,” reads a statement from the European Council, which organized the livestreamed pledging conference.
“This sacrifice, and the heroic efforts of medical and care staff around the world, have helped us bend the trend in many parts of the world. While some are cautiously emerging from lockdown, others are still in isolation and see their daily social and economic lives severely restricted,” the statement continues.
The fundraising effort is centred on the idea that all countries have a stake in controlling the spread and eventually finding an effective treatment or vaccine because until then no country can but the pandemic behind them.