One million face masks available

MORE than one million face masks have been made available in Bahrain, it has emerged.

The Industry, Commerce and Tourism Ministry said stocks were supplied to pharmacies and supermarkets yesterday.

Starting at 7pm today, it will become mandatory for everyone to wear a face mask in public as part of efforts to combat the spread of the Coronavirus Disease (Covid-19).

Health officials announced on Tuesday that everyone, whether sick or healthy, must wear a surgical or homemade face mask while going out in public.

National Taskforce for Combating Covid-19 Monitoring Committee head Lieutenant Colonel Dr Manaf Al Qahtani said latest global research found that masks helped prevent the spread of Covid-19.

However, he pointed out that there was no need to wear the N95 mask; normal masks or ones made at home would do as long as they covered the nose and mouth.

Last week, the prices of surgical and N95 face masks were capped at 140 fils and BD1.400 per piece, respectively, for three months. Unless permitted, export of all kinds of medical face masks was also prohibited for three months.

Parliament services committee chairman Mamdooh Al Saleh said one million masks were not enough.

“Bahrain has a population of around 1.5 million and the stocks would just cover a day as the disposable masks are thrown away,” he told the GDN.

“Within less than an hour, companies, businesses and establishments will buy all the stocks for their employees.

“What will be left for ordinary people then? Are we getting new stocks?”

He said making masks at home will not help as people will always wonder if they are doing it properly or not.

Parliament financial and economic affairs committee chairman Ahmed Al Salloom, who is also a Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry member, said a larger stock of masks will arrive next week.

He also pointed out many productive families were selling face masks online.

Pharmacies across the country contacted by the GDN yesterday said masks were in high demand with stocks clearing out within a day.

“We are willing to bulk buy from productive families but the government needs to give us an accredited list and their contacts,” said a pharmacy owner.

“Masks are difficult to find globally and we are waiting for any stock that comes.”

The ministry has also issued directives to all tailors sewing face masks to abide by Health Ministry rules and regulations.




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