Illegal stocks of face masks and sanitising gel confiscated in Brussels

Illegal stocks of face masks and sanitising gel confiscated in Brussels
Large quantities of mouth masks and hand sanitisers were seized from a shop that was selling them unauthorised and donated to a Brussels hospital. Credit: @zpz_polbru/Twitter

Brussels police confiscated over a hundred face masks and scores of hand sanitiser bottles from a shop in Brussels who was selling them illegally.

Brussels' prosecutor office said that police found 150 face masks and 84 bottles of sanitising gel for sale in a food store whose owner said he was unaware that he was not authorised to sell them.

Amid serious shortages of protective medical equipment amid the coronavirus pandemic, Belgian authorities said only pharmacies were authorised to sell face masks, hand sanitisers and other types of supplies.

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On 9 April, the guidelines were adjusted to allow food stores to sell hand sanitisers again, but police said the shop owner still broke the law because he sold the bottles before that date.

"These items were seized and donated to the CHU Saint-Pierre university hospital in Brussels," police said in a statement on social media.

Sufficient availability of face masks has been a major stumbling block in Belgium's strategy against the coronavirus pandemic.

The government has been facing sharp criticism for a series of faulty orders of "unusable" face masks from abroad.

In March, Federal Health Minister Maggie De Block came under fire for destroying and failing to replace a strategic federal reserve of millions of face masks ahead of the outbreak.

Gabriela Galindo

The Brussels Times

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