OTTAWA, March 11 (Xinhua) -- Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Wednesday announced a package of one billion Canadian dollars (about 724 million U.S. dollars) to help combat the spread of COVID-19.
Trudeau told a news conference in Ottawa that his government was "pulling out all the stops" to help Canadians through the global health crisis.
The fund includes 275 million Canadian dollars (about 200 million U.S. dollars) for additional research, such as vaccine development, and 200 million Canadian dollars (about 145 million U.S. dollars) for federal medical supplies and education efforts.
The Trudeau government will also waive the one-week waiting period for employment insurance to assist workers and businesses affected by the COVID-19.
Calling new measures "significant," Trudeau said his government is ready to do more "as the situation warrants it."
On Tuesday, Air Canada announced the suspension of all flights between Canada and Italy over increasing COVID-19 cases in the European country.
The Public Health Agency of Canada said on its website that the risk to Canadians remains low for the general population in Canada, but warned that "this could change rapidly."
It said there is an increasing risk of more severe outcomes for Canadians who are aged 65 or older, or have compromised immune systems.
At least 93 confirmed COVID-19 cases and one death have been reported in Canada so far.