A Finnair plane landed at Tallinn airport on Tuesday with 740,000 surgical masks, 350,000 FFP2 protective masks and 12,100 protective gowns on board, marking the first delivery under a special order for personal protective equipment placed by the government with suppliers in China.
Minister of Public Administration Jaak Aab, the head of emergency situation work, said: "This will be the first consignment arriving as a result of the large-scale contract concluded by the state. It is the first among several batches, with which we will ensure that the needs of health care and care services, but also many institutions of the state and local governments for personal protective equipment are met. With this and subsequent deliveries we will ensure a month's supply."
Starting from Wednesday, the equipment will be distributed among hospitals, nursing homes, family doctors, social workers of municipalities, staff at border crossing points and other front line personnel. The final distribution will be endorsed by the minister of public administration in his capacity as the head of emergency situation work.
The total value of the contract with the Chinese signed by Aab on March 26 is $11.4 million USD. The large-scale order will secure a month's supply of equipment for hospitals, care homes, the Rescue Board, the Police and Border Guard Board and other authorities, including 7.6 million protective masks, along with gloves, protective suits, protective goggles and other means of personal protective equipment.
In addition to the order, the government has concluded an agreement with a Japanese company on the supply of 1.6 million protective masks. Starting from next week, 400,000 units of masks are to arrive in Estonia per week.
Besides, other orders of smaller scale are under work.
Estonia has concluded an agreement on the purchase of the output of the country's sole certified manufacturer of protective masks, according to which the Sillamae-based company Esfil Tehno AS will ensure the supply 50,000 FFP3 type respirators to the government per week over a six-month period starting from mid-April.
Benu pharmacies to see masks from Tuesday
The first protective masks from the shipment of personal protective equipment delivered to Estonia on Sunday will be sold at Benu pharmacies from Tuesday, and all pharmacies operating under the Benu brand will be supplied with the masks on Wednesday at the latest.
Kaidi Kelt, pharmacist and retail director of Benu Apteek, said that the batch to be put on sale in Estonia is sufficient for covering the preliminary personal protection needs of most people in Estonia, provided that people do not start hoarding masks.
Kelt noted that wearing a mask does not provide full protection from coronavirus.
"The masks sold at pharmacies are hygiene products, which help prevent infection but the spread of the virus is best prevented by staying at home. For essential visits to public places, people are advised to wear a mask," Kelt said.
Editor: Helen Wright