Story By: Ernest Bio Bogore, Sub-Editor: Joseph Golder, Agency: Newsflash
The French authorities have received 14 million masks from China and have reportedly ordered a billion more over just 15 days during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Health Minister Olivier Veran announced that France has ordered over a billion masks for the country’s embattled healthcare workers.
According to reports, the orders have been placed all over the world, including China.
Veran said: “Deliveries will be staged over the next few weeks and months.”
The day after the announcement, local media said that an Air France plane carrying 5.5 million medical masks from China landed at the Paris-Charles De Gaulle Airport in the country’s capital on 29th March.
An Air France statement said: “Our first Boeing 777 cargo has just arrived at #ParisCDG with nearly 100 tons of medical equipment on board including over 5 million masks.”
The airline indicated earlier in the day that the plane was coming from the Chinese city of Shanghai.
Reports say that on 30th March, a cargo plane carrying 8.5 million medical masks from Shenzhen landed at Paris-Vatry airport.
Meanwhile, the Paris-Vatry Airport, which has a large cargo area dedicated to freight, is reportedly expecting to receive the billion face masks over the next 15 days.
Reports say a flight is scheduled this week with another seven million masks.
Reports also said the air bridge between China and France is planning four rotations per week from Shenzhen and Shanghai of cargo ships loaded with masks to fill the shortage.
A spokesperson said the planes “will carry an average of 100 tonnes of cargo each, with masks and medical equipment in varying quantities” from China, specifying that each plane will contain a minimum of 10 million masks.
Reports said that on 31st March, Macron visited a mask factory to encourage them to increase production.
The increase in production in the four remaining French mask companies will allow production to increase from 15 million to 40 million masks per month from April. This will give France a capacity of 10 million units per week.
According to reports, the French government also wants to increase the number of intensive care beds to over 14,000 from the initial 5,000 to cope with the influx of COVID-19 patients.
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