Walloon company to produce millions of mouth masks
The Walloon government will provide financial support to a regional company to produce millions of medical mouth masks in an effort to reduce Belgium’s dependence on overseas production.
A sharp plunged in global stocks of mouth masks and other protective medical equipment has seen hospitals sound the alarm over the lack of protective gear for staff treating Covid-19 patients.
The Belgian government has also faced backlash for failing to replace a strategic stock of protective face masks before the coronavirus pandemic broke out.
Deltrian, which produces industrial air filtering equipment, is aiming to begin production in a site near Charleroi by late May, L’Echo reports.
The company will aim to produce up to 30 million medical masks per year as well as to launch an operation to sterilised used FFP2 filter face masks.
Thousands volunteer for medical support in Flanders
Thousands of people in Flanders have responded to calls to volunteer for medical reserve teams launched by the government and by the Red Cross.
The Flemish government launched an appeal for volunteers in order to have a back-up contingent at the ready, to which officials said some 2,500 people had responded.
Red Cross Flanders also said that over 2,800 volunteers had signed up with them in recent weeks as part of teams to carry out logistics and support tasks in residential centres.
The volunteers are needed to prepare and distribute meals, make beds and help residents use apps and devices to keep in touch with family during isolation.
But as hospitals feel the strain of waves of new hospitalisations daily, citizens across the country have stepped up to provide help across a range of fronts.
Army lends out ventilators
Two army ventilators have been lent to a hospital in Hasselt, in Limburg, the Belgian province with the highest number of coronavirus cases.
The ventilators are usually employed during foreign missions by the army but have been provided for the hospital to use on Covid-19 patients.
“We received these two fans on a temporary loan from the Defense (…) they are very valuable,” doctor Pascal Vranckx told De Standaard. “After all, we prefer transporting devices than patients.”
In daily epidemiological reports by federal health officials, the province of Limburg has consistently come out as the hardest-hit in Belgium, and has already begun dispatching patients to other hospitals due to a lack of space.
In an effort to replenish dwindling stocks and skyrocketing prices, the government updated regulations to give the companies the green-light to produce hand sanitisers.
The rule revamp saw at least three Belgian distilleries announce they would be making the swap as well as a sugar refinery company, since the rule change also included other companies in the food industry.