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Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced an allotment of 240 million Canadian dollars on Sunday for moving mental health and primary care services online during the COVID-19 crisis.

During his press conference on Sunday, Trudeau said a new mental health platform will provide strategies for managing stress with specific help for those from marginalised communities, Xinhua news agency reported.

The money will include funding for marginalised communities and virtual primary care for patients who may not need to see a doctor in person.

“By helping doctors run appointments online, you can stay safe at home while getting care, and our hospitals can stay focused on those who need it most,” Trudeau said. “If we can use apps to order dinner and video chats to stay in touch with family, we can use new technology to keep each other healthy.”

Last month, Canadian Health Minister Patty Hajdu unveiled an online portal aimed at linking Canadians of all ages to support workers and mental health professionals during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Trudeau also announced on Sunday an additional 175 million Canadian dollars (about US $122 million) to support Canadian company AbCellera for what he called “very promising COVID-19 research,” and introduced a new COVID-19 Supply Council.

The council will be tasked with finding innovative solutions and keeping Canada supplied with medical equipment like ventilators and masks.

“Until we have effective treatments, or better yet a vaccine, we’ll still need a reliable supply of everything from masks to ventilators,” he said.

Several provinces in Canada have begun easing COVID-19 lockdown restrictions and are set to reopen businesses and services on Monday, including Ontario and Quebec which are two provinces hit hardest by the coronavirus.

As of Sunday afternoon, there were 56,696 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Canada while 3,566 died and 23,813 recovered from the virus.

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