The Federal Minister responsible for Belgium’s strategic stock of face masks and other protective equipment used by health care and other care professionals Philippe De Backer (Flemish liberal) has announced that almost 31.4 million surgical face masks have arrived at Antwerp Docks aboard a ship from China. Speaking in an interview with the daily ‘De Tijd’, Mr De Backer said that the masks were destined for Belgium’s strategic stock of protective equipment for use by health care and other care professionals.
The arrival of the masks doubles the number of face masks in our country’s strategic stock. At the start of the coronavirus crisis it transpired that Belgium’s strategic stock of surgical face masks had been destroyed.
In order to prevent a repeat of this and the situation earlier this year in which many health care professionals and those working in care homes were left with insufficient or no protective material, the strategic stock will be better managed in future.
Mr De Backer says that by the end of the month there should be around 100 million masks, gloves and aprons in the strategic and that this should suffice to cope with any shortages of protective equipment should they arise.