Coronavirus: 41 million further face masks coming for frontline well being staff

This story was initially printed on and is republished with permission.

Greater than 40 million masks are on the best way to assist shield frontline well being staff after weeks of confusion and concern concerning the provide of Covid-19 gear.

As much as 11 privately chartered planes full of non-public protecting gear (PPE) – masks, gloves, gowns and visors – are additionally because of start touchdown quickly.

The federal government had lately had ordered the discharge over coming weeks of at the very least 11 million masks from pandemic reserves, prompting questions by Wellington thinktank the McGuinness Institute on how a lot PPE was left.

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Health workers take part in ICU training for Covid-19 at Hutt Hospital.


Well being staff participate in ICU coaching for Covid-19 at Hutt Hospital.

Director-Common of Well being Ashley Bloomfield informed RNZ on Wednesday extra provides have been because of arrive over the following few weeks.

“Final evening, we confirmed an order for 41 million further face masks that can begin to arrive on Monday and proceed to be delivered over the following six weeks.

“We have now additionally positioned an order for a further 500,000 isolation robes, 30,000 face shields and 50,000 goggles, that are scheduled to reach over the approaching weeks.

“There’s loads of PPE accessible in New Zealand.”

District Well being Boards have been main the distribution of the masks, with the ministry assembly for every of the previous three days with well being sector unions to reassure them about PPE shares, and advise them on when staff ought to use it, Bloomfield mentioned.

Different PPE for well being staff outdoors of DHBs, resembling in medical centres and group well being businesses, are additionally on their method, with the primary of three Dreamliners chartered by Whanganui importer Amtech because of land in Auckland from China on Saturday.

A second is due on Sunday, a 3rd subsequent Wednesday.

The triple payload included virtually two million masks,150,000 face shields, 100,000 goggles and an unspecified variety of robes – all pre-ordered and paid for, Amtech director Jeremy Anderson mentioned.

The revenue margin was low as charters value rather a lot and his motivation was to assist, Anderson mentioned.

Not less than two different firms are additionally bringing in planes with PPE. In a kind of instances, The Warehouse founder Sir Stephen Tindall is utilizing his China sourcing workplace and personally underwriting the price of the PPE, being imported with assist from toy firm Zuru.

Anderson mentioned the PPE uncooked materials was very tough to get now.

The entire world is now wanting PPE gear. If it spreads across the third world international locations, the demand for PPE is simply going to blow up.

More than 40 million masks are on the way to help protect frontline health workers.


Greater than 40 million masks are on the best way to assist shield frontline well being staff.

“And there’ll come some extent the place China can not sustain, and we’re ready a very long time [for orders], and that will be a a scary scenario.”

The market was being hammered by the US, he mentioned.

“I have been even getting calls from contacts in New York for volumes of 10 million masks and 20 million masks … we might by no means probably do these type of numbers.”

Costs are rising. A full-filter N95 masks bulk-bought for 32 cents in China pre-Covid, now prices $2.80.

However the thornier problem for Anderson is time – logjammed factories pushing again orders ever additional.

He was nervous in case the Chinese language authorities have been to clamp down on PPE exports – “not that it has been mooted”.

Bloomfield mentioned they have been trying forward.

“We’re … following up additional channels for extra PPE, for instance we’re in negotiations to safe a further 20 million masks per 30 days from one other provider.”

New Zealand companies are exploring methods to supply masks and robes domestically.

Nonetheless, the uncooked materials – a non-splash, semi-absorbent material referred to as 30-50 GSM coated, spun bond polypropylene non-woven – isn’t made right here.

Not less than one manufacturing facility, which didn’t wish to be recognized, has gone trying however been unable to import any.

The brand new provides of PPE will replenish depleted public shares, with 1.eight million masks having been despatched out by DHBs within the final week and about one other 9 million poised for distribution.

The McGuinness Institute expressed concern about reserves after pursuing numbers from the ministry and DHBs for weeks.

Simply how giant the reserves have been for every merchandise of PPE remained unclear, institute chief government Wendy McGuinness mentioned.

“My suggestion is the Workplace of Auditor-Common truly audits the Ministry of Well being inventory that pertains to Covid-19 and makes that audit public, so that every one the press, decision-makers, companies doing purchases, everybody has huge readability,” McGuinness mentioned.

“It has huge precedence as a result of if we do not know what we have got, we cannot know what to purchase, and we cannot know what to ration, and we cannot know what to fabricate.”

The Ministry of Well being mentioned from now, non-health important companies will obtain PPE through workplace provides firm and distributor Nationwide Categorical Merchandise working below the Ministry of Enterprise Innovation and Employment.

This story was initially printed on and is republished with permission.