Estonia will send 60,000 masks to Italy and Spain, Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Center) said on Wednesday. Both countries have asked for support and medical supplies from European Union member states during the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis.
A total of 50,000 FFP3 and 10,000 FFP2 masks will be sent. Ratas said at Riigikogu question time 25,000 surgical masks and 5,000 FFP2 masks will go to Italy, and the same amount to Spain
"Spain and Italy have both asked for help through the European Union's civil protection mechanism," Ratas said.
Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu (Isamaa) said the decision was based on the fact that no country is alone in a crisis and that strategic friends must be helped. "I communicated with both the Italian and Spanish foreign ministers, who assured me that their peoples will never, ever forget Estonia's support," he said.
Possible financial support for both countries will also be discussed at the government session on Thursday.
Ratas: Wearing a mask is not an obligation, but should be a social norm
On Tuesday, the Minister of Economic Affairs and Communications Taavi Aas (Center Party) said on ETV's "Suud puhtaks" that wearing masks cannot be made mandatory in Estonia, as there are not enough masks for everyone.
Ratas has also said previously that in his opinion, wearing a mask during an emergency should become a social norm.
On Wednesday, the question arose as to why masks are being donated to other countries at the same time.
Ratas said that he thought it was very reasonable. "This wisdom and saying actually came from Professor Irja Lutsar, who we have in the Scentific Council, who said that she thought the mask should become a social norm in society. I very much support it, I think it's right," the prime minister said.
He add that he had also asked the head of the Health Board, who confirmed that wearing a mask would add to the prevention of the virus.
Ratas recommended to make masks yourself. "At the moment, we have not said that there is an obligation. There is no order from the emergency situation leader that it is an obligation. And the reason is that these masks are simply not available in society at the moment. But I believe that the Estonian people are good at needlework, needlework skills are high. And these masks can really be made at home with handy materials," he said.
Editor: Helen Wright