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Di Maio: “Here’s 100 million masks from abroad.” (il Fatto Quotidiano)

This is the new 100 Quota: one hundred million masks per month to deal with the Coronavirus emergency. “We have signed a contract for 100 million masks: from Wednesday, doctors will begin to arrive, surgery – said Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio -. There will be six million, then twenty every week.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been hunting for weeks for medical supplies all over the world. Yesterday, 1.5 million masks arrived from Egypt; 40,000 from India; 2.5 million from China; 2 million from Europe. Nine Russian military aircraft with ventilators, masks and doctors (destined for Lombardy) landed, a cargo of 2.5 million from Brazil and a Chinese one of one million.

“These figures – reiterated the Minister – are proof that Italy is not alone and that cultivating certain friendships pays off: the Silk Road is the approach with the whole world are allowing our country to receive help. The masks “are the ammunition to fight our war.” Domenico Arcuri, the Extraordinary Commissioner, yesterday speaking at the radio programme ‘Mezz’ora in piú on Rai3 channel promised: “By today or tomorrow, all regions will have masks for doctors, health professionals and people affected by the virus. And starting next week, we plan to give all Italians personal protective equipment”. Yesterday there were 3 million masks distributed; 2 million are those that will produce in one day almost 200 companies of the Chamber of Fashion, united in two supply chains. The State will then guarantee a fund of 50 million euros to the companies that will reconvert production. “The objective is to have a sufficient share of national production in a short time. Up until 5 days ago we were distributing one million masks a day; yesterday they were three times as many and next week we plan to increase the endowment”.

Encouraging news also came from the Czech Republic, where a deplorable seizure of medical equipment donated by China to Italy was found: thanks to the report – collected by Gr Rai (Rai radio newspaper) – by the researcher Lukas Lev Cervinka, it was discovered that the local authorities had arbitrarily stopped a cargo of 680 thousand masks and 28 thousand respirators intended for our country as humanitarian aid. The controversy broke out. After timid turnabouts of the Czech government, in the evening Di Maio announced that he had unblocked the impasse. His colleague “Foreign Minister assured me that they would send us 110,000 masks within the next 48 hours, the same number that had to arrive in Italy. In fact, of the 680 thousand “disappeared” masks, only 101,600 – it seems – were destined for Italy. However, by now all that confiscated material will remain in the Czech2 Republic because already registered ad distributed to hospitals. In essence, they will send new ones, therefore, together with a load of 200 thousand protection equipment, “stopped in Turkey”, but finally unblocked.

 Regarding the very delicate issues of Italian prisons – many fear new riots – 20 thousand surgical masks will soon be distributed by the Civil Defence, in addition to the over 200 thousand pieces destined for the prison police. In Bari, meanwhile, the Prosecutor’s Office has opened an investigation into the black market of protective equipment.

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