Ford says 500000 masks are coming

07 Avril, 2020, 00:34 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • A nurse wears the protective clothing used when treating patients at Sunnybrook and Women's Hospital in Toronto. THE CANADIAN PRESS  Kevin Frayer

Canada said on Monday it was pressing Washington over a complaint that United States officials had blocked the export of three million face masks bought by the province of Ontario to fight the coronavirus outbreak.

All of this comes on the heels of a statement last week by 3M saying that the Trump administration had ordered the company to stop exporting N95 respirators to Canada and Latin America.

A federal government official speaking on background told Global News they are not aware of the US blocking any federal shipments, but noted that most federal supply orders are coming from China.

In his daily media briefing outside Rideau Cottage on Monday, Trudeau faced questions about comments made earlier in the day by Ontario Premier Doug Ford that a vital shipment of medical masks and supplies was blocked at the border from entering the province on Sunday.

A Woodbridge company will also start production of up to a million masks next week.

"What I understand is we had three million masks that were stopped by USA officials coming out of 3M in South Dakota", Ford said.

The move to block such masks, which are crucial in protecting healthcare workers on both sides of the border from the virus that causes COVID-19, outraged many officials in Canada.

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he's confident shipments of personal protective medical gear from the United States will continue to arrive in Canada, despite apparent efforts by President Donald Trump to keep the equipment on American soil. "That's unacceptable. Absolutely unacceptable that they're doing this", Ford said in an interview with Global News.

On Friday, the United States stopped the export of masks from Minnesota-based 3M to Canada.

"These conversations have been progressing well and we are optimistic that the USA government will grant Canada an exemption", the office said.

Ford says he is a "trust but verify" type of person and until he physically sees the masks in Ontario, he will not be sure.

He later added during his press conference that the 500,000 masks being released should buy Ontario healthcare workers an extra week of personal protective equipment, but that the situation was still dire.

In Canada, there are 15,496 confirmed cases and 280 deaths so far.

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