Belgium has admitted it destroyed 32 million unused sterilised surgical masks just months before the massive Coronavirus outbreak in Europe and now the country is running low on supplies for medics.
The strategic reserve that the Belgian health body had stored since the 2009 H1N1 swine flue pandemic was destroyed shortly before the recent spread of COVID-19 across Europe.
Belgian daily Le Vif explained that the decision behind the mass destruction of the 32 million surgical masks and 6 million FFP2 respirator masks was motivated by the fact that they were reaching their expiration date and would soon no longer be usable.
Unluckily the government, namely Health Minister Maggie De Block, decided not to replace the resources in an attempt to save money, according to Le Vif.
Le Vif also reports that even though the government had a specific report by the Risk Management Group (RMG) in early February, recommending to stock up on strategic medical masks, nothing followed.
These resources could have been very useful now, as more than a thousand people have tested positive for COVID-19 and over 120 deaths registered in the country.
To find out more about the author, editor or agency that supplied this story – please click below.
Story By: Anastasia Smirnova, Sub-Editor: Joseph Golder, Agency: Newsflash
The Ananova page is created by and dedicated to professional, independent freelance journalists. It is a place for us to showcase our work. When our news is sold to our media partners, we will include the link here.