Coronavirus: no fabric mask supply for general population yet

Coronavirus: no fabric mask supply for general population yet
Credit: Belga

Federal Justice Minister Koen Geens called for patience regarding the supply of fabric face masks to slow the spread of the new coronavirus (Covid-19) for the general population on Wednesday.

"As a first step, we are going to appeal for fabric, which I hope can be distributed quickly to the municipalities. We will communicate about this subject soon. I ask for patience," said Geens in the Chamber of Representatives, adding that he considered it "dangerous to communicate only about intentions" in the context of the pandemic.

On 2 April, Belgian Prime Minister Sophie Wilmès had announced that there had been a meeting with "the Belgian textile sector, to see to what extent it was possible to launch initiatives at the Belgian level as soon as possible" and Geens had been instructed to followup on the task, which would enable the government to supply masks for the entire population.

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"Today, Minister Geens just discussed the possibility of providing the municipalities with fabric. It is up to them to find the manpower to transform this fabric into masks. This is a totally unsatisfactory response in view of the commitments that have been made and the expectations of the population," said Ecolo MP Georges Gilkinet.

"A centralised order of fabric masks by the federal state, in collaboration with the Belgian textile industry, is only common sense," Gilkinet added.

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