In the course of a few days Slovakia has run out of masks, sold in pharmacies and online shops, due to the coronavirus.
“The demand in masks has gone up extremely,” Peter Sedláček, PR Manager of pharmacy chain Dr. Max told Index magazine.
He added that the increase can be as big as hundreds of percent year-on-year. PDr. Max only provides masks for its employees for now. Sedláček said the company is working on delivering supplies to its branches in the coming days.
The situation may improve thanks to the company Zornica, which manufactures shirts in Bánovce nad Bebravou in the Trenčín Region.
Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini (Smer), who reported Zornica’s decision to change its production to masks, said the firm will be able to produce up to 20,000 masks a day.
However, Zornica will have to get its new plan certified first. Pellegrini pledged this should be a fast procedure.
“We expect a reasonable and regulated price,” the prime minister added, as quoted by Index.
The price may be higher than before the mask shortage. Sedláček said the price of masks has already grown in the first stages of their production.
“The price is constantly changing, in particular because of the growing global demand,” Sedláček went on to say.
Mask export ban
In addition, the Czech Republic has banned exports of filtering facepiece respirators and hand disinfectants. As a result, the Mall.sk e-shop from the Czech Republic, which operates on the Slovak market and other countries, has been forced to withdraw these products from their website.
Another producer of medical products, Hartmann – Rico, admitted it is currently unable to meet all the demand as it depends on supplies from companies in China and South-eastern Asia.
“In this situation, we primarily supply the health care system, that is hospitals and health centres, so that protective equipment is available to medical staff and the most vulnerable groups,” the firm’s spokesperson Irena Malá said to Index.
Hartmann – Rico’s ability to provide masks and other medical products is also impacted by a ban from Germany, where the government stopped exports of these products. The ban affected Paul Hartmann AG, which is a parent company to Hartmann – Rico.
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10. Mar 2020 at 6:42 | Compiled by Spectator staff