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30,000 ventilators to be made in Canada amid coronavirus pandemic: Trudeau

Thousands of Canadian companies race to refocus on medical equipment supplies
WATCH: Thousands of Canadian companies race to refocus on medical equipment supplies

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced on Tuesday that the government is working with a number of Canadian companies to manufacture ventilators amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Trudeau said 30,000 ventilators will be made in Canada.

The prime minister made the remarks from Rideau Cottage where he currently is self-isolating.

Coronavirus outbreak: Trudeau says Ottawa working with various companies to make 30,000 Canadian-made ventilators
Coronavirus outbreak: Trudeau says Ottawa working with various companies to make 30,000 Canadian-made ventilators

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According to Trudeau, the government has signed letters of intent with a number of partners, including Thornhill Medical, CAE, Ventilators for Canadians and a group led by Starfish Medical.

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“These purchases will help increase our capacity to make sure these life-saving machines are made right here at home,” he said.

Trudeau said the government is preparing for the worst-case scenario and that he hopes 30,000 ventilators will be “far more than sufficient.” He said officials are working with the manufacturers to get a better idea of when the ventilators will be available but said some should be ready “in the weeks to come.”

According to Trudeau, officials are also working with more than 20 companies including Arc’teryx, Stanfields and Canada Goose to produce other supplies like gloves and medical gowns.

What’s more, Trudeau said the government is continuing to buy “millions” of surgical masks to keep front-line workers safe.

“We are also buying disinfectant for hands and then also more than 85 products will be distributed and manufactured in Canada,” he said. “Some will take more time to be manufactured in Canada, but at each step, we move forward towards getting an increase of our production capacity.

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He said 50,000 N95 respirators from Minnesota-based company 3M are expected to arrive from the U.S. on Wednesday.

Coronavirus outbreak: Trudeau stresses masks do more to protect others than the wearer
Coronavirus outbreak: Trudeau stresses masks do more to protect others than the wearer

3M confirmed on Monday it would continue to ship desperately needed N95 masks to Canada after reaching an agreement with the U.S. government.

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During his daily COVID-19 response briefing on Monday, U.S. President Donald Trump announced that his government had made a deal with 3M to produce 166.5 million face masks for its health-care workers.

A press statement from 3M released after Trump’s announcement confirmed that both Canada and Latin America would continue to receive supplies.

READ MORE: More Canadians afraid of becoming sick with COVID-19, poll says

Last week, Trump asked the company not to ship the respirators to Canada as global demand for personal protective equipment (PPE) caused shortages.

According to Trudeau officials are also in touch with suppliers “around the world” to secure additional personal protective equipment.

At a press conference on Tuesday, Minister of Public Services and Procurement Anita Anand said Canada received an order from China for eight million surgical masks, as well as other supplies ordered directly by Nova Scotia and Quebec on Monday.

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She said they are expecting other deliveries from China “in the days to come.”

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“The reality is that we are operating in a highly competitive global environment and international logistics are challenging,” Anand said. “We are working closely with our partners around the world, including embassies, as well as with on-the-ground logistics and co-ordination firms to ensure that supplies can move from source to where they are needed in Canada right here, right now with hundreds of millions of pieces of equipment ordered.”

According to Anand, Canada has sources more than 230 million surgical masks, with more than 16 million having been delivered to date.

Roughly 75 million N95 masks are on order, Anand said.

“We expect to have roughly 2.3 million masks in Canada’s possession by the end of the week,” she said. “Amongst other supplies, we have also ordered over 113,000 litres of hand sanitizer, most of which is expected to be delivered this month.”

Anand said Canada has received 20,000 litres in the past 24 hours, with more expected to be delivered this week.

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Coronavirus outbreak: Trudeau says ‘entire world was unprepared’ for need for PPE

“There is no question that a lot of work is going into sourcing all of these health supplies and many more supplies in Canada and around the world,” Anand said. “But I know that the work does not end there. We will not rest until these supplies are in Canada, in our hands and ultimately in the hands of the many health-care workers on the front lines of this crisis.”

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Tuesday’s update comes a day after applications for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) officially opened.

The program offers Canadians who’ve lost their jobs over the COVID-19 pandemic cash payments of $2,000 a month.

Officials have staggered the process by each applicant’s birthday so as not to overwhelm the system. On Tuesday, people with birthdays in April, May and June can apply for the emergency benefits.

President of the Treasury Board Jean-Yves Duclos on Tuesday confirmed more than 966,000 new applications were received on Monday.

More than three million applications for CERB have been received since March 15.