French front-line health workers are asking for answers about the sudden supply of face masks, citing commercial profits to explain past shortages.

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Frontline healthcare workers in France are asking for answers about the sudden supply of face masks, citing retailers’ profits as a reason for past shortages.

SINCE France went into detention in mid-March, protective masks have become extremely difficult to find, especially for priority medical personnel who need basic protective equipment to treat patients with Covid-19.

However, with assurances from President Macron, it appears that the government has managed to resolve the supply problems, with supermarkets and pharmacies in France ready to distribute masks starting next Monday.

Agnes Pannier-Runacher, the French secretary of state for the economy, announced on Friday that the major supermarkets will have 10 million masks on sale from next week and have “obtained orders” for continuous supply.

France should cancel certain blockages from May 11, but people using public transport and teachers will be forced to wear protective masks from this date. Yet, healthcare workers having spent weeks chasing PPE to treat people with the virus, seven medical associations want to know how all of these millions of masks suddenly materialized.

In a joint statement, the associations said they believed the “war” on the coronavirus had given the retail sector a huge chance to make a profit, given the extreme demand for masks.
“How will our patients, especially the most fragile, understand that what was not there yesterday when we told them that they could not benefit from adequate protection should emerge in large quantities today? “

Retail chains insist they are not making a profit, their industry federation replied that “they are not and have never been in charge of purchasing and supplying masks for caregivers. “

In a statement, the federation said it was “dishonest” and unfair to try to blame retailers for the shortages. He added that its members handed over stocks of high-quality reusable masks to health professionals at the start of the crisis and did not keep “hidden stocks”.

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