In his daily address this morning, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has provided more details on Canada’s medical equipment procurement plan as demands for these products rise due to COVID-19.
Trudeau announced the federal government will be investing $2 billion to purchase bulk supplies in Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), and they will begin to work with local manufacturers to produce more medical necessities.
He has also said he will be working with the private sector on agreements to purchase equipment for the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and that the production of ventilators, masks, sanitizers, gowns and test kits are currently in process by Canadian companies – and that newly-produced equipment should be available in the coming weeks.
Over 3,000 companies have contacted the federal government regarding what they can do to help during the COVID-19 pandemic just in the past week, according to Trudeau.
“There is no question we need more masks, ventilators, and testing kits, but how many more we need depends on you,” said Trudeau, in his ongoing plea for Canadians to stay home and practice physical distancing.
“If you stay home and follow public health recommendations, you can slow the spread.”
The federal government recently announced an $82 billion assistance package for Canadians and businesses struggling financially during the global pandemic. This was followed by a $5 billion relief package announced by the B.C. provincial government.
Trudeau also announced a 75% wage subsidy for small and medium sized businesses and a new Canada Emergency Business Account which will allow banks to offer $40,000 loans to businesses, interest-free for the first year.
The provincial government also announced the indefinite suspension of all in-person classes at K-12 schools in B.C., closure of all bars and restaurants, and a moratorium on evictions among other steps to enforce social distancing measures.
Canada has tightened its borders and is denying entry to people who are not Canadian citizens or permanent residents in Canada.
U.S. citizens are no longer an exception to this rule, and non-essential travel between U.S. and Canada has been temporarily banned as of March 21st. Moreover international flights have now been restricted to international airports in Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, and Calgary.
The BCCDC has set up a 2019 novel coronavirus telephone information line at 1-833-784-4397 for those who have further questions about this disease.
Anyone concerned that they may have been exposed to, or are experiencing symptoms of the novel coronavirus, should contact their primary care provider, local public health office, or call 8-1-1.
The Province has also created the 1-888-COVID-19 line to connect British Columbians needing non-medical information about the coronavirus pandemic.
As of the time of publication, the total number of COVID-19 patients worldwide has risen to 823,284.
Over 40,639 people have died from the illness and 174,333 have made a full recovery.