EU Commission delivers first batch of 1.5 million masks from 10 million purchased to support EU healthcare workers

epa08310051 Employees make face masks at the Wilhelmina Hospital in Assen, The Netherlands, 20 March 2020. The sterile medical assistant found a solution to the shortage of mouth masks. Countries around the world are taking increased measures to stem the widespread of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus which causes the Covid-19 disease. EPA-EFE/VINCENT JANNINK

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Over the coming days, 1.5 million medical masks will be delivered to 17 Member States and the UK to protect healthcare workers against coronavirus. This latest EU mask delivery is part of a new Commission funded purchase of 10 million masks via the Emergency Support Instrument to provide direct support to Member States to mitigate the immediate consequences of the pandemic and anticipate the needs related to the exit and recovery.

Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, Stella Kyriakides, said: “We are doing everything we can to support Member States in getting protective equipment to health workers on the frontline. They are Europe’s modern day heroes. This is EU solidarity in action to help respond to the needs of European health systems and €3 billion has been mobilised from the EU budget to directly support national efforts. We remain steadfast in our commitment: together we can win this fight.”

The masks will be delivered to Member States and regions in need in weekly instalments of 1.5 million masks over the coming six weeks.

These deliveries take place on top of the hundreds of thousands of masks already provided from the rescEU reserve of medical equipment in the past weeks, as well as assistance mobilised via the EU Civil Protection Mechanism.

Only a few weeks ago, on 24 April, the Commission decided to mobilise, under the Emergency Support Instrument (ESI), €320 million for Emergency Support actions, of which €100 million are for essential health-related products that will be procured in the coming months

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