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Ontario will run out of protective equipment for health care workers in a week: Premier Ford

Last Updated Apr 7, 2020 at 7:11 am PDT

FILE - Ontario Premier Doug Ford answers questions at Queen's Park in Toronto on Wednesday March 25, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn)
Summary

The U.S. stopped a massive shipment of masks from crossing the border on Sunday

The shipment contained three million N-95 masks

Ontario premier doesn’t know if the province will be able to get new masks before the current stock runs out

By next Monday, Ontario’s frontline health care workers may not have the personal protective equipment required to protect them from the novel coronavirus.

Ontario premier Doug Ford told CityNews that the province will run out of the crucial protective equipment in a week after the U.S. stopped a massive shipment of masks from crossing the border on Sunday.

In a one-on-one interview with CityNews reporter Cynthia Mulligan on Monday morning, Ford said the shipment stopped at President Donald Trump’s behest contained three million N-95 masks.

“We are getting near the crunch,” Ford said. “We’re having a real issue with our U.S. counterparts.”

The premier said he expressed his concerns with the U.S. Trade Ambassador, telling him Ontario is in “desperate need” of the equipment.

Ford added that he doesn’t know if the province will be able to get new masks before the current stock runs out but said the province is exploring several other options, including reaching out to contacts in Asia for help.

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

When asked about Ford’s claim that the province’s supply of equipment would soon run out in the midst of a pandemic, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau expressed hope that the situation could be rectified.

Trudeau said his government continues to have “productive and positive” conversations with the United States, and added that “we expect those supplies to be delivered.”

Ford has vocally criticized Trump’s move to halt the shipments, calling it “unacceptable” and vowing to ramp up Ontario’s own manufacturing of personal protective equipment.

“When you sit back and you think of your allies and the wars we’ve gone through, and we’ve stood shoulder to shoulder fighting the same enemies. And now we have an enemy and we’re at war and they want to shut things down with their closest ally in the world?” Ford said Saturday from Queen’s Park.

“When the cards are down, you see who your friends are, and I think it’s been very clear over the last couple of days who our friends are. You know who our friends are? Every Canadian, look in the mirror, that’s who are our friends are right now.”