BRUSSELS – Will everyone get a mask?

According to the National Security Council’s new measures for relaxing the current lockdown, passengers on public transport would be required to wear a mask  from 4 May, while it will become mandatory in companies that cannot guarantee sufficient social distance between its employees. However, providing everyone in Belgium with a face mask by 4 May will not be possible, confirmed justice minister Koen Geens’ cabinet on Monday.

Speaking on VTM news, Geens, who also has been tasked with overseeing the application of the measures aimed at opening up the economy, said the blamed the shortage of capacity among manufacturers, who already have to provide personal protective equipment (PPE) for front-line workers in hospitals, emergency services and care homes.

According to Geens, the Belgian federal government also has placed an order on Friday evening with two major textile manufacturers for 22 million mask filters, two per person.

“It is not possible, in this short term, to roll out a national production, which provides enough masks for everyone,” his cabinet told VRT Niews.

Even though the measures will foresee masks as mandatory on public transport and “strongly recommended” in other places, health minister Maggie De Block relativised their importance.

“A mask is not going to stop the virus, but it is an extra barrier. And any barrier is good if we cannot keep the necessary distance from others. But masks give a false sense of security,” she told Belgian media.

(Alexandra Brzozowski | EURACTIV.com)

 

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