Canada still needs to work on U.S. to ensure flow of medical supplies: Trudeau

OTTAWA (Reuters) – Canada still has more work to do to persuade Washington to ensure medical supplies flow freely, even though U.S. officials have allowed the export of 500,000 masks, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Tuesday.

Trudeau told a briefing that the masks – ordered by the province of Ontario to help fight the coronavirus – should arrive on Wednesday.

Canadian officials pressed their U.S. counterparts over the weekend and on Monday after Ontario complained the shipment from 3M Co had been blocked after U.S. President Donald Trump signed an order last week to stop personal protective equipment from being exported.

“We have had constructive and productive conversations that have assured that this particular shipment comes through but we recognize there is still more work to do,” Trudeau said.

“We are going to continue to highlight to the American administration the point to which healthcare supplies and services go back and forth across that border,” he continued.

Separately, Canada’s public health agency said on Tuesday that the death toll from the outbreak had risen to 345 from 293 on Monday. The total number of cases is 17,063, compared to 15,822 a day earlier.

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