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Belgian pharmacies start free face mask distribution

Credit: Belga

The delivery of free face masks from the federal authorities this week is going well, the Belgian Pharmaceutical Association (APB) said on Thursday.

As from Monday, every citizen will be able to get a face mask free of charge from a pharmacist. The masks will be distributed in phases over a period of 10 days depending on age.

Starting 15 June, people born in 1945 or earlier will be able to pick up a mask. A younger age group will be added every day thereafter.

“Most pharmacists have received the masks. We are even slightly ahead of schedule,” said APB President Lieven Zwaenepoel.

“By Monday, everything will be in order.”

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There are, however, some practical problems, the APB pointed out. “The masks are packed in groups of five, but of course not every family has five people,” the APB said.

“In theory, there could be a risk of contamination” when pharmacists remove masks one by one. “But it’s something that pharmacists face every day.”

“Pharmacists have been paying particular attention to hand hygiene over the last three months and have put other protective measures in place. It has become routine,” says the APB president.

Another practical problem is that there is only one size of face mask. “So it won’t fit everyone equally,” Zwaenepoel said.

The Brussels Times