Belgium Destroyed 32M Masks Just Before Virus Outbreak

Story By: Anastasia SmirnovaSub-EditorJoseph Golder, Agency:  Newsflash

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.

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Anastasia Smirnova

I am a senior writer and correspondent with several years experience working as a contributor for various publications.

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