OTTAWA — The federal government is rolling out a $1 billion funding package to help provincial health-care systems cope with the increasing number of new coronavirus cases and to help Canadian workers who are forced to isolate themselves.
The money will help buy masks and other supplies for health-care workers, as well as funding research for a vaccine.
The Liberals are loosening restrictions on employment insurance payments for people who are off work due to illness by waiving the waiting period for benefits.
This would also make it easier for people with more precarious jobs to stay home and avoid infecting others, by quickly getting them money so there isn't a disruption in income.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the government is already preparing to do more if need be to provide the right kind of support to Canadians as the situation progresses.
There are few confirmed instances of community transmission of the virus that causes COVID-19 in Canada, but the number of cases continues to grow.
So far, there have been 94 confirmed cases of the illness in Canada.
Trudeau says Canada has been fortunate so far but the country needs to be prepared for all scenarios.
The illness has sickened more than 100,000 people around the world and led to mass quarantines and restrictions on public gatherings.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 11, 2020
The Canadian Press