State distributing nearly 4 million face-masks to schools, other recipients

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Minister for Public Administration Jaak Aab (Center). Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

The state is to allocate close to four million face-masks to welfare services, schools, the police, local government and others in need of assistance, amid rising coronvirus figures.

In addition to the masks, 12 million pairs of gloves will also be doled out from central stockpiles, BNS reports.

Over a million of the masks will be issued to vulnerable individuals and also schools, via local government.

Close to three million surgical masks and a little under 12 million pairs of gloves are to be distributed in cooperation with the Health Board (Terviseamet) and the Social Insurance Board (Sotsiaalkindlustusamet) for various social welfare-related activities. State schools and the Police and Border Guard Board will get over half a million masks (the bulk of these going to schools – ed.).

Minister: Situation much better than a year ago

Minister of Public Administration Jaak Aab (Center), who gave the government an overview of the state's central personal protective equipment (PPE) stockpiles, said that compared with a year ago, the situation has greatly improved, and the state has a significant supply of equipment thanks to supply chains having recovered from last spring's disruptions.

Aab said: "Due to institutions having largely managed forming and procuring their own stockpiles quite well, prices having normalized and logistics networks being up and running, it is no longer necessary to maintain an extensive central stockpile. For that reason, I have made a proposal to the government to allocate a portion of the supplies to those in need."

The extra supplies do not relieve local authorities and other organizations from their responsibilities to maintain their own PPE stocks, however, Aab added.

He said: "The distribution of PPE will be carried out as extraordinary one-off support, and it will not substitute for establishments' own responsibility to maintain one month's worth of stockpiles, which is indispensable for service provision and for protecting people's health."

"A significant amount of supplies remain in the state's stockpiles, and we're distributing masks and gloves that are currently readily available on the market," he went on.

The state's central stockpiles overall currently hold close to 9.7 million surgical masks, over four million respirator masks, nearly 30 million nitrile gloves, and hundreds of thousands of protective suits, aprons and similar, BNS reports.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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