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Saskatchewan premier calls Trump’s decision to stop exporting N95 masks to Canada ‘reckless’

Scott Moe, premier of Saskatchewan, speaks at a COVID-19 news update at the Legislative Building in Regina on Wednesday March 18, 2020. Michael Bell / The Canadian Press

Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe says U.S. President Donald Trump’s order to an American company to stop shipping protective masks to Canada is “nothing short of a betrayal.”

Moe said Trump’s directive to 3M regarding N95 respirators makes the discussion around COVID-19 protective supplies in Canada all the more urgent.

READ MORE: Canada not looking to retaliate after U.S. restricts coronavirus mask exports: Trudeau

The premier called the U.S. decision “reckless” and says he is reaching out to American governors to try to get it reversed.

“This decision is nothing short of a betrayal of our two great nations shared history of working together in times of need,” Moe said at a news conference Friday.

“In this time of a pandemic, it is even more important that our nations strengthen our resolve to work together to fight this unseen enemy.”

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Moe said Canada should take a serious look at manufacturing its own supplies as other countries may also try to save medical gear for their own citizens.

He was recently part of a call with other premiers, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland to talk about the response to the outbreak.

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Accessing personal protective equipment was discussed, said Moe. There have been talks about how masks, gloves and gowns can be acquired through the federal government and shared with areas that need them the most.

Saskatchewan has announced 14 new cases of COVID-19 for a total of 220.

“We are one nation,” Moe said. “We do have provinces that are short of supplies today and tomorrow.”

Dr. Saqib Shahab, Saskatchewan’s chief medical health officer, said the province’s supply of protective gear is adequate, although he noted that face masks should be saved for health-care workers.

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READ MORE: Assisted care employee tests positive for coronavirus, 14 new cases reported in Saskatchewan

The province said an employee at an assisted-living facility in Regina recently tested positive for COVID-19. It said the employee works at a centre operated by Eden Care and the virus does not appear to have spread to residents or other staff.

The Ministry of Health said residents who have been in contact with the worker will have to isolate for 14 days and be checked for symptoms.

Moe said, effective immediately, workers at long-term care centres will be monitored for COVID-19 symptoms and have their temperatures checked before their shifts.

Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

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Health officials caution against all international travel. Returning travellers are legally obligated to self-isolate for 14 days, beginning March 26, in case they develop symptoms and to prevent spreading the virus to others. Some provinces and territories have also implemented additional recommendations or enforcement measures to ensure those returning to the area self-isolate.

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out.

For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.