Customers wearing face masks shop at a supermarket in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, March 24, 2020. (Photo by Zou Zheng/Xinhua)
"We know that the demand for critical equipment and supplies will grow in the coming weeks, so we need a sustainable, stable supply of these products. And that means making them at home and we're optimistic that they will be available in the coming weeks," Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said.
OTTAWA, March 31 (Xinhua) -- Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Tuesday that his government is allocating two billion Canadian dollars (1.4 billion U.S. dollars) to buy more protective personal equipment against the COVID-19 spread.
Trudeau said his government has signed deals with three Canadian companies Thornhill Medical, Medicom and Spartan Bioscience to make ventilators, surgical masks, test kits and other medical supplies over the coming weeks to cope with the country's rapidly increasing number of COVID-19 cases.
"We know that the demand for critical equipment and supplies will grow in the coming weeks, so we need a sustainable, stable supply of these products. And that means making them at home and we're optimistic that they will be available in the coming weeks," Trudeau said at his daily press conference in Ottawa.
A traveler arrives at Union Station in Toronto, Canada, on March 30, 2020. (Photo by Zou Zheng/Xinhua)
Earlier this month, Trudeau announced to provide monetary support to manufacturers that can retool their assembly lines to make ventilators, masks and other personal protective gear, and to help those already making such products quickly scale up manufacturing capacity.
The government has already shifted Canada's entire industrial policy to focus on the COVID-19 fight. It includes reprioritizing existing innovation and research programs and working on agreements with industry to produce more diagnostic testing products and other disease tracking technology.
Canadian International Trade Minister Mary Ng also announced earlier this month that the government temporarily eliminated tariffs and taxes on all goods imported by public health authorities in the country.
As of 2 p.m. Tuesday Canada Eastern Time, there were 8,467 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 95 deaths in the country, according to CTV News, which has been tracking the number of COVID-19 cases in Canada. ■