Coronavirus: Trump says 3M to supply U.S. with 55.5M face masks a month

WATCH: As 3M reaches a deal with the White House to keep sending face masks to Canada, this country's top doctor, Theresa Tam, has new advice on wearing face masks in public. Mike Drolet explains, and looks at the competition among countries for masks.

U.S. health care supply company 3M says Canada will continue to receive its N95 masks following an agreement the company made with the United States.

Speaking during his daily COVID-19 response briefing on Monday, U.S. President Donald Trump announced that they had made a deal with Minnesota-based 3M to produce 166.5 million face masks for its health-care workers.

A press statement from 3M released after Trump’s announcement confirmed that both Canada and Latin America would continue to receive respirators.

“3M will import 166.5 million respirators over the next three months primarily from its manufacturing facility in China, starting in April,” read press release.

“The Administration is committed to working to address and remove export and regulatory restrictions to enable this plan. The plan will also enable 3M to continue sending U.S. produced respirators to Canada and Latin America, where 3M is the primary source of supply.”

The announcement comes on the heels of several disputes between Canada and the United States over their supplies of personal protective equipment (PPE).

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Last week, 3M released a statement in response to a Trump administration order to stop exporting N95 respirators to Canada and Latin America.

And earlier on Monday, Ontario Premier Doug Ford said that around three to four million medical masks ordered from 3M were blocked at the border on Sunday. Ford later clarified that 500,000 of those masks were now being released to Ontario.

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In a tweet Monday night, Ford responded to 3M’s announcement to continue sending masks across the border.

“I am very pleased that a resolution has been reached between 3M and the U.S. administration. I want to thank 3M and officials on both sides of the border for their support to ensure Canada’s continued access to vital PPE,” read his tweet.

“We are stronger together.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau declined to confirm on Monday whether the shipment to Ontario was blocked, instead saying that Canadian officials were in talks with the U.S. over the situation.

“We are working very closely with all provinces and monitoring the levels of personal protective equipment and the challenges they’re facing,” said Trudeau while speaking to reporters outside of Rideau Cottage in Ottawa.

“We continue to have productive and positive conversations with the United States, emphasizing for them that health-care supplies and workers across the border are very much a two-way street.”

During his COVID-19 briefing on Monday, Trump said that the deal would end the “3M saga” happily.

“Because of my actions under the DPA, I can also announce today that we’ve reached an agreement with — a very amicable agreement — with 3M for the delivery of an additional 55.5 million high-quality face masks each month,” Trump said.

“So that we’re going to be getting over the next couple of months 166.5 million masks for our frontline health-care workers, so the 3M saga ends very happily.”

— With files from Amanda Connolly

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