Coronavirus: global shortage of protective equipment, warns WHO
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Coronavirus: global shortage of protective equipment, warns WHO

Closing borders or isolating entire villages is not an issue in Belgium, Eyckmans said. Credit: © Belga

The world is facing a shortage of masks and other protective equipment against the new coronavirus, the head of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, warned on Friday.

He added that he would talk to supply chain officials to try to resolve “bottlenecks” in production.

Earlier this week, the Chinese government acknowledged that protective masks are urgently needed to deal with the outbreak of viral pneumonia, which has infected 31,161 people in mainland China, 636 of them fatally, according to a latest official report.

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In the rest of the world, 240 cases of contamination have been confirmed in about 30 countries and territories, including two fatalities in Hong Kong and the Philippines.

The WHO has already announced this week that it will send masks, gloves, protective clothing, respirators and kits to test for the virus to countries requesting assistance.

The health organisation had previously announced that it needs more than €600 million over the next three months to contain the virus. According to calculations, $675 million (approximately €613 million) is needed to help poorer countries prepare for a possible outbreak, said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the general director of the WHO, in Geneva on Wednesday.

The Brussels Times