Trudeau Says Canadian planes sent to China to pick up medical supplies returned empty

Canadian planes sent to China to pick up medical supplies returned empty according to leader Trudeau. This comes after Trudeau took heat last month for giving China 16 tonnes of medical supplies in February.

Canadian conservative leader Andrew Scheer tweeted March 26th:

Outrageous. Drs across the country are facing urgent shortages of critical supplies. PM must explain why he sent 50,118 face shields, 1,101 masks, 1,820 goggles, 36,425 medical coveralls, 200,000 nitrile gloves and 3,000 aprons from Canada’s own gov’t reserves overseas in Feb

Politico reports Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says two planes sent to China to pick up shipments of sorely needed medical supplies were forced to return to Canada empty.

Trudeau told reporters today that the cargo-less planes are an example of the complexities in China when it comes to securing personal protective equipment, which has become a valuable commodity in the global battle against Covid-19.

“Unfortunately, the planes had to take off in this situation without receiving their cargo deliveries,” Trudeau said during his daily Covid-19 update. “We have been fighting in a very competitive international environment where everyone is looking for PPE.”

He said the planes sent across the Pacific to pick up PPE — one on behalf of the federal government and the other for a province — returned to Canada on Monday. Trudeau declined to identify the province.

The prime minister described “severe restrictions” on the ground in China in terms of how long an airplane can stay in airports before they are forced to leave — full or not.

He said supply lines and truck shipments to China’s airports are “difficult and interrupted by checkpoints and quarantine measures.” Trudeau did not specify whether the recent introduction of tougher export controls in China have been contributing to the hold ups.

But he said Canada has still received millions of PPE in recent days — and he expects more shipments to arrive over the coming days and weeks.

For Canada’s Covid-19 response, Trudeau announced C$350 million in new funding today for charities and nonprofit organizations that deliver essential services to vulnerable people.