Spain’s Industry Minister Reyes Maroto has announced today that the country will soon be in a position to manufacture at least 10 million masks a month, including other personal protective equipment items (PPE) for healthcare workers battling coronavirus (Covid-19).
DURING the press briefing, Maroto said that the government has worked hard to ensure the country’s health professionals were getting access to much-needed PPE. However, she admitted that it’s becoming increasingly difficult to find adequate supplies of protective equipment because of the high demand for it worldwide.
“One of our goals is to provide enough PPE and medical equipment to guarantee the health of our medical and hospital staff, so we have made arrangements with local companies to produce PPE, such as gowns and masks,” Maroto stated. The announcement comes as a relief for many, particularly as thousands of Spain’s health workers (around 14 per cent of confirmed Covid-19 cases in the country) are now sick or self-isolating, because of a lack of equipment. This statistic from Spain’s Ministry of Health is reported to be even higher than that of Italy (which is below 10 per cent).
Spanish doctors and nurses have complained since the beginning of the pandemic about the lack of PPE needed to treat patients. Unions representing health workers across the country’s regions have also filed lawsuits against the government to force an improvement in provisions.
Healthcare workers have also shared images of colleagues using home-made protective gear, such as raincoats or plastic bags, and other materials to protect themselves from the virus, until they were recently gagged by the health authorities. Even Fernando Simon, the Director Of Emergency and Health Alerts at the Ministry of Health, admitted earlier this month that the shortage of PPE “may have attributed to the high rate of infection among medical professionals.”
Hopefully, it won’t be long before Spanish-made PPE supplies start filtering through. Just yesterday, Maroto accompanied the country’s President Pedro Sánchez, on a visit to an El Corte Inglés workshop in Madrid to see teams already producing face masks for distribution in Spain. Maroto says that the country will soon be in position to ensure enough supplies of masks, and PPE for the health and other industries.