Millions of surgical masks had arrived in Canada from China, the federal government confirmed Monday.
Shipment came when the front-line medical workers dealing with the pandemic COVID-19 says there is a “real risk” out of personal protective equipment.
Here’s what we know about the delivery.
What shipments consist of?
According to Cecely Roy, press secretary for Anita Anand, minister of public services and procurement, flight, landing in Toronto Monday morning that contains millions of surgical masks that have been obtained from Chinese suppliers, as well as the equipment to be ordered separately by the province of Quebec and Nova Scotia.
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How masks distributed?
The hope is to provide a mask for the provinces and territories “as soon as possible” through the government’s new distribution arrangements set up with Amazon and Canada Post, said Roy. But before that could happen, the mask needs to be assessed by the Public Health Agency of Canada, he said.
Is there a problem with the mask?
Roy said there is nothing unique about this shipment. It is routine for health officials to check that it meets the requirements before distributing them, he said. Health officials could not say how long it takes to assess a mask.
In recent days, international media reports have indicated a problem with some masks is manufactured in China, which has ramped up the medical supplies. According to the BBC, the Dutch health ministry announced it had recalled 600,000 face masks because they did not fit and their filters do not work, even though they have a certificate of quality.
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China said the producers Made remove non-surgical masks, the news agency Agence France-Presse.
How terrible is the need for a mask in Canada?
“Even with all the measures that are being taken to ‘flatten the curve,’ we are still at risk of real use all supplies of personal protective equipment (PPE),” Dr. Atul Kapur, an emergency physician at The Ottawa Hospital and co-chairman of the committee of public affairs Emergency Physicians Association of Canada, wrote in an email. “So everything we can do to reduce demand and increase supply is very important, including this shipment.”
Kapur added: “From what we heard was, everyone, be careful about the proper use of PPE, in anticipation of increased need.”
If the masks are cleared for use, how will they be divvied up?
The Star requested federal health officials on the details of the needs of the province, but they say they need time to gather information.
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Why does Canada need to source masks from China and are there plans to import more?
Roy said that China is a mask-manufacturing main hub, along with Europe and the United States.
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