Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said federal health authorities will not cut any corners when it comes to ensuring masks provided by China meet the necessary standards for protecting Canadian health-care workers from COVID-19.
The comment follows reports the Dutch government is recalling around 600,000 defective masks that were recently shipped from China and had been distributed to various hospitals in the Netherlands.
The donation includes 30,000 medical masks, 10,000 sets of protective clothing, 10,000 goggles and 50,000 pairs of gloves, the embassy said, adding N-95 masks would also be sent.
Foreign Affairs Minister François-Philippe Champagne thanked the country on Twitter.
“In the face of a global pandemic, supporting each other is not only the right thing to do, it’s the smart thing to do,” he wrote.
HuffPost Canada reached out to the Public Health Agency of Canada and Global Affairs to learn more about the donation, but did not hear back at the time of publishing.
In February, Canada sent 16 tonnes of protective equipment to China when they were in the midst of fighting COVID-19. The supplies included clothes, masks, face shields, goggles and gloves.
On Thursday, Prime Minister Trudeau defended sending the supplies to what was the epicentre of the coronavirus crisis.
“I can assure everyone that the federal stockpiles have been sufficient to meet the needs of the provinces until this point,” he said.
Canada has more than 5,000 cases of COVID-19 as of Saturday and front-line medical workers have sounded the alarm over shortages in personal protective equipment (PPE) such as masks and gloves.
Canada’s chief public health officer Theresa Tam says such measures are pre-emptive as hospitals try to cut down on waste, even as the federal government is pulling out all the stops to secure more protective equipment.
“We call on governments and organizations at all levels to continue their efforts to bring urgency to the global shortage of PPE and essential medical equipment,” Dr. Sohail Gandhi, the Ontario Medical Association’s president, said in a statement earlier this week. “We must be prepared for a shortage of masks.”
Gandhi also encouraged anyone stockpiling supplies to donate them to their local medical facilities.
“Health-care workers are at high risk of exposure to the virus. Protection for themselves and the patients they care for is vitally important in the battle against this virus.”
With a file from the Canadian Press
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