Manitoba to spend $35M on equipment in case of novel coronavirus spread

The Manitoba government is preparing to spend about $35 million on personal protective supplies as part of a federally organized bulk purchase to deal with the spread of the novel coronavirus.

“The risk in Manitoba currently is low,” Health Minister Cameron Friesen said Tuesday. “But that risk level will change as we continue to understand that this virus is on the move.”

The purchase through the Public Health Agency of Canada will include items such as gloves, face masks and shields, thermometer covers and hand sanitizer for patients and health-care workers. Friesen said Manitoba is the first province to sign on.

The decision was made out of an abundance of caution, Friesen added, to ensure Manitoba is well-positioned to manage any additional demand on resources.

There are no confirmed cases of COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus, in Manitoba. Ninety-seven people had been tested as of last Thursday.

There have been about 80 confirmed cases in Canada and COVID-19 has been linked to the death of a man in his 80s in Vancouver.

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