Berlin, 8 April 2020 (dpa/MIA) — The German government is expecting to take delivery of 40 million surgical masks to protect medical personnel dealing with the coronavirus pandemic, the Health Ministry said in Berlin on Wednesday.
The quantity is equal to all the imports over the previous two weeks. The deliveries are being delivered by Lufthansa as part of an “airlift” operation facilitating regular transport flights to China.
The Defense Ministry has offered additional capacity if required on the basis of Antonov freight aircraft contracted for the period April 23-28.
The global health crisis has led to shortages in masks and other protective clothing and equipment.
German carmaker BMW is to start making surgical masks.
“We will soon be able to produce several hundred thousand masks a day,” BMW chief executive Oliver Zipse said in Munich.
The machinery needed to make the masks is to be delivered over the weeks ahead, with the aim of producing up to 300,000 a day.
BMW also intends to use the masks to protect its own workers once it eventually gears up production again.
Several other German companies have also responded to government calls for domestic production of such items.
BMW, which is based in Bavaria, has donated medical gloves and masks to the southern state.
Zipse said the company planned to donate a million more masks over the next two weeks.