OTTAWA -- The federal government fast-tracked the Canadian citizenship process for a University of Manitoba professor, citing an "urgent need" to facilitate his planned research on COVID-19.

Adolf Ng, whose focus is on supply chain logistics, became a Canadian citizen in an extraordinary online ceremony last Wednesday.

Ng had been scheduled to write the citizenship test in March, when his appointment was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

But he was among dozens of academics who'd been awarded federal funds for research into the effects of COVID-19, and he wanted to travel to China as part of his work.

So he wrote the government asking if they could speed up the process and they responded by scheduling a ceremony held over video conferencing.

Ng says that receiving his citizenship in such a unique way brings with it a heightened sense of obligation to contribute to the country.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 7, 2020.