Masks: France aims for self-sufficiency

The state wants domestic production to match demand by the end of the year. A difficult gamble.

Emmanuel Macron wears a mask for the first time during his visit to the Mulhouse Field Military Hospital on March 25.
Emmanuel Macron wears a mask for the first time during his visit to the Mulhouse Field Military Hospital on March 25. Mathieu Cugnot / AP

The shortage of masks will undoubtedly remain one of the most striking facts of this health crisis. By a strange irony of history, the richest countries of the planet found themselves confronted with a shortage of basic equipment (masks, gloves, gowns, overshoes …), taken by surprise by the speed of propagation of the virus . Thousands of caregivers and paramedics had to hunt for masks and use the D system – recovery, donations … – to be able to continue to go to the front.

The state was forced to requisition domestic production and then place orders, often at high prices, to replenish inventories. China, to which France had sent masks in January, quickly found itself in a position of strength, following the reopening of its factories. And for good reason. Before the crisis, China and Taiwan accounted for 70% of global mask production.

All the actors agree on one observation. France must regain its sovereignty over this equipment

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