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.
BREAKING: In one on one interview Premier Ford tells me Ontario will run out of personal protective equipment for health care workers in one week. US stopped shipment from crossing the border yesterday. #covid19 @CityNews pic.twitter.com/ndR71K0MCt
— Cynthia Mulligan (@CityCynthia) April 6, 2020
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.”