France has ordered “more than a billion” masks, notably from China, to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic, Health Minister Olivier Véran said on Saturday.
“More than a billion masks have been ordered from France and abroad for the weeks and months to come,” the minister announced during a press conference.
“A narrow and intensive air bridge between France and China has been set up in order to facilitate the entry of masks into our territory,” he added, recalling that France needs 40 million masks per week.
France, the minister said, produces 8 million masks per week. “Our reserves are not infinite,” he said.
“There is another way to respond to this important demand (for masks), it is to try to create new products, to use the wealth, the innovation of French companies in terms of textiles and paper, to make sure to create new masks responding to very specific uses, “said Prime Minister Edouard Philippe.
These masks, he said, are intended for “all those who, not being caregivers, will be able to find with guaranteed masks a good way to equip themselves, to reassure themselves and protect themselves”
“24 domestic producers have qualified models that they want to produce, are capable of producing almost half a million masks per day in the coming days, and during the month of April one million masks per day. Some can be reused, will be washable at least five times, “added Philippe.
“The masks must not, under pain of being useless, be accompanied by an oversight of the barrier gestures”, he insisted.