REGINA — 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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 3, 2020