To respond to the shortage of masks in the midst of the coronavirus crisis, the Prime Minister announced on Saturday that he had instructed industrialists and researchers to work on alternatives.
“We asked the ministry of the economy and the ministry of defense to find alternatives, more exactly to charge a whole series of industrial activities, of researchers, either to multiply the chains of production, or to qualify alternatives, disposable or reusable, “said Edouard Philippe at the National Assembly.
And to continue: “The ministries have qualified test benches, made specifications available to manufacturers, and 40 prototypes are being tested, for surgical masks as for FFP2.”
A destocking of around 25 million masks was carried out in early March, said the Prime Minister. Thanks to requisitions, and taking into account this destocking, the stock was maintained at 105 million masks on March 16. According to the Directorate General of Health, France has a production capacity of six million masks per week.
“Preventing the hecatomb of the healthcare community”
According to the nursing staff, the needs are urgent in hospitals, especially for FFP2, considered to be much more protective than surgical masks.
“That the public authorities and all the actors of the national productive fabric unite to provide the 15 million FFP2 masks that we need every day in order to prevent the carnage of the healthcare community that is looming if this shortage continues “, wrote in a press release several collectives of doctors and other operating room staff.
“Our country is counting on us to face this pandemic, but it is unacceptable to make us take reckless risks because under our coats, we also remain humans, as vulnerable as all“, they add.
Several companies have already donated masks to the government. The LVMH group announced Saturday that it has found a Chinese industrialist capable of delivering 10 million masks to France in the coming days – seven million surgical masks and three million FFP2 masks.
The operation could be renewed at least four weeks in similar quantities, the company said in a statement, adding that it was ready to finance the first week of delivery for an amount of five billion euros. The diversified group Bouygues has promised a million masks.