Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says two planes from China were forced to return empty to Canada on Monday, without the protective medical equipment that they were sent there to pick up.
One of the planes was a federal charter and the other was destined for a particular province, Trudeau said Tuesday.
Trudeau said there are limits to how long an aircraft is allowed to wait on the ground in China.
“Supply lines and truck shipments to the airports are difficult and interrupted by checkpoints and quarantine measures. For the most part, we’ve been able to navigate through those and ensure that Canada has received the equipment that it needs,” the prime minister said Tuesday during his daily briefing outside his Ottawa residence.
“But these two airplanes were forced to take off empty.”
He said millions of pieces of personal protective equipment, or PPE, have entered Canada in recent days, and more is expected.
He said Canadian factories continue to “tool up” so they can manufacture what is needed at home.
“It’s always a challenge to get the PPE into Canada at a time where the global market is very, very competitive,” he said
Trudeau also unveiled more financial support for vulnerable Canadians struggling to weather the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mike Blanchfield, The Canadian Press