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Coronavirus: Plane full of PPE lands in Edmonton from China

Alberta care home providers seeking personal protective equipment
WATCH ABOVE: Just days after the Premier Jason Kenney announced Alberta would be sending excess PPE to other provinces, local care homes say they're running low on critical supplies like masks. As Sarah Ryan explains, they're told Alberta Health is working on replenishing their supplies.

A cargo plane full of personal protective equipment landed at the Edmonton International Airport late Sunday night.

The cargo jet, which came from China, included 80,000 pounds of procedure masks, gowns and face shields for front-line workers to use through the COVID-19 pandemic.

“For us in Alberta, we wanted to make sure we had all of the equipment that health-care workers need,” Alberta Minister of Municipal Affairs Kaycee Madu said from the tarmac.

READ MORE: 82 new COVID-19 cases confirmed in Alberta as death toll hits 44

Madu said the Alberta government and the Alberta Health Services procurement unit have been “actively searching for PPE around the world.” A spokesperson with AHS said the equipment will go into the AHS stockpile.

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“This is one of so many planes that will arrive in Alberta to make sure that we have all of the tools and resources we need to overcome this pandemic,” Madu said.

“We will do everything we can to keep people completely safe and I think this is a typical example to Albertans that their government is prepared to do whatever it takes to keep them safe and to make sure that those of our citizens who happen to fall ill from COVID-19 have the best personal protective equipment to overcome this pandemic.”

READ MORE: 1 additional death from COVID-19 in Alberta; province will send equipment to other areas of Canada: Kenney

The president and CEO of EIA said the work showcases the important work done at the airport, beyond passenger flights.

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“It makes me feel really special because it’s just a big part of our airport,” Tom Ruth said.

“Passenger flights are substantially down right now but we’ve been planning strategically for logistics for a long time. And you see flights like this coming in and you realize how important it is to have these air pipelines that are connecting products for all these important reasons.”

Coronavirus outbreak: Alberta to send hundreds of thousands of PPE to other provinces
Coronavirus outbreak: Alberta to send hundreds of thousands of PPE to other provinces

On Saturday, Premier Jason Kenney announced Alberta is donating some of its supply of protective masks, gloves and ventilators to Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia.

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Kenney said Alberta has more than enough supplies of the equipment for its own COVID-19 needs.

“I for one as an Albertan and as a Canadian could not in conscience watch us stockpile massive amounts of surplus equipment while we see many of our fellow Canadians in some provinces within days of running out of some of these supplies,” Kenney told a media teleconference.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Alberta assures ample supply of PPE ahead of shipments to B.C., Quebec and Ontario

Jitendra Prasad, who is director of procurement at AHS, told the news conference that Albertans’ needs will still be met.

“I think it’s really a great honour that we are able to do this and I think it does demonstrate that Albertans will always stand with fellow Canadians coast to coast,” Prasad said.

AHS said it has sufficient numbers of PPE.

Coronavirus outbreak: Alberta’s health minister says province ‘more than ready for the peak’ of COVID-19 outbreak
Coronavirus outbreak: Alberta’s health minister says province ‘more than ready for the peak’ of COVID-19 outbreak

Kenney said the number of hospitalizations in the province are below numbers that had been predicted in models for this point, and he says that’s due to Albertans following public health guidelines.

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A cargo plane carrying 80,000 pounds of procedure masks, gowns and face shields arrives at Edmonton International Airport Sunday, April 12, 2020 from China.
A cargo plane carrying 80,000 pounds of procedure masks, gowns and face shields arrives at Edmonton International Airport Sunday, April 12, 2020 from China. Eric Beck, Global News
A cargo plane carrying 80,000 pounds of procedure masks, gowns and face shields arrives at Edmonton International Airport Sunday, April 12, 2020 from China.
A cargo plane carrying 80,000 pounds of procedure masks, gowns and face shields arrives at Edmonton International Airport Sunday, April 12, 2020 from China. Eric Beck, Global News
A cargo plane carrying 80,000 pounds of procedure masks, gowns and face shields arrives at Edmonton International Airport Sunday, April 12, 2020 from China.
A cargo plane carrying 80,000 pounds of procedure masks, gowns and face shields arrives at Edmonton International Airport Sunday, April 12, 2020 from China. Eric Beck, Global News
A cargo plane carrying 80,000 pounds of procedure masks, gowns and face shields arrives at Edmonton International Airport Sunday, April 12, 2020 from China.
A cargo plane carrying 80,000 pounds of procedure masks, gowns and face shields arrives at Edmonton International Airport Sunday, April 12, 2020 from China. Eric Beck, Global News
A cargo plane carrying 80,000 pounds of procedure masks, gowns and face shields arrives at Edmonton International Airport Sunday, April 12, 2020 from China.
A cargo plane carrying 80,000 pounds of procedure masks, gowns and face shields arrives at Edmonton International Airport Sunday, April 12, 2020 from China. Eric Beck, Global News

With files from The Canadian Press.