Trudeau, top public health officials update Canadians on COVID-19 as case numbers climb

Canada has signed an agreement to secure another 20 million COVID-19 vaccine doses.

During a news conference in Ottawa today, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a deal with AstraZeneca on access to a vaccine prospect now being developed at Oxford University. As a result, the federal government has now secured access to six leading vaccine candidates.

“We’ve been guided by science since the very beginning and right now, both the COVID-19 vaccine task force and the immunity task force are doing important work to help us identify the most promising vaccine options and strategies,” he said.

There is no vaccine yet for COVID-19 and Public Services and Procurement Minister Anita Anand said the global market is “intense and unpredictable.”

“When a vaccine is ready, Canada will be ready,” she said.

The federal government already has reached vaccine agreements with Sanofi, GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson, Novavax, Pfizer and Moderna.

Trudeau, Anand, Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam and her deputy Dr. Howard Njoo are hold a briefing in Ottawa today and CBCNews.ca is carrying it live.

Earlier this week, Tam warned that Canada is at a “crossroads” in its pandemic battle and said the actions of individual Canadians will decide whether there will be a massive spike in COVID-19 cases.

Modelling shows the epidemic is accelerating nationally, with projections that cases could climb to more than 5,000 daily by October. If Canadians don’t step up preventative measures, the virus could spread out of control and trigger a wave of infections bigger than the first one, Tam said.

The following day, Trudeau delivered a rare address to the nation with a similar message. He warned that infections could surge and urged Canadians to do their part to prevent transmission by following public health guidelines on masks, gatherings and physical distancing.

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