Canada close to health-care deal with provinces amid ongoing crisis: Duclos | FULL

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Federal health minister Jean-Yves Duclos led the first Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) briefing of the new year in Ottawa on Friday, saying that the federal government has made “significant progress” and is “increasingly aligned” in its negotiations for health-care investments with provinces and territories.

“So the results-conversation is stronger now than it used to be just a few weeks and certainly a few months ago — that’s great news, and I’m quite optimistic it’s going to continue to move in the right direction,” Duclos said.

Chief officer of health Theresa Tam and deputy chief public health officer Howard Njoo were also in attendance, providing updates on pre-flight COVID-19 testing requirements for travellers from China, the projected increase of the XBB.1.5 variant to seven per cent by mid-January, the painkiller shortage across the country and dental benefit program.

The update comes at a time when the number of confirmed cases of the XBB.1.5. subvariant has hit a total of 42 infections. Ontario saw the highest number of cases during the first week of January with a total of 7,456, while Quebec came in second with 5,469 infections.

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