Medical staff holds swabs for rapid COVID-19 tests at a high school in Rome, Monday, Sept. 28, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Cecilia Fabiano/LaPresse via AP

Federal government blocking provinces from purchasing new COVID tests, Manitoba says

Federal government is allegedly insisting on controlling the supply and allocating shipments to the provinces

The Manitoba government says the federal government is blocking access to new rapid COVID-19 testing devices.

Central Services Minister Reg Helwer says Ottawa is forbidding Abbott Laboratories from selling its new ID Now tests directly to the provinces.

He says the federal government is insisting on controlling the supply and allocating shipments to the provinces.

Health Canada recently approved the ID Now tests, which deliver results in about 15 minutes without having to send the specimen to a lab for processing.

Helwer says Premier Brian Pallister has written to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, to ask that provinces be allowed to buy the tests directly.

Health Canada was not immediately available to respond.

The Canadian Press

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