^
WHO: 6-month backlog in face mask stocks
“As a result, there are now depleted stockpiles (of face masks) and backlogs of four to six months. Global stocks of masks and respirators are now insufficient to meet the needs of WHO and our partners,” said WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus over the weekend.
Edd Gumban/File

WHO: 6-month backlog in face mask stocks

Rainier Allan Ronda, Mayen Jaymalin, Pia Lee-Brago (The Philippine Star) - February 10, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Demand for face masks is up to 100 times higher than normal, and prices are up twentyfold, as the unprecedented global demand fueled by the 2019-novel coronavirus (nCoV) epidemic has created potentially dangerous shortages for those who need them most, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced.

The United Nations agency concerned with international public health added that the situation has been exacerbated by widespread and inappropriate use of personal protective equipment (PPE) outside of patient care.

“As a result, there are now depleted stockpiles (of face masks) and backlogs of four to six months. Global stocks of masks and respirators are now insufficient to meet the needs of WHO and our partners,” said WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus over the weekend.

He urged against stockpiling to ensure that health workers and those infected with the virus could still obtain them.

The WHO chief said that he had decided to speak to PPE manufacturers to ensure that medical staff in particular received surgical masks.

Worried over the possible global supply shortage, Philippine Red Cross chairman and CEO Sen. Richard Gordon reiterated that there is no need for healthy people to wear face masks.

He stressed that frontline workers, such as doctors, nurses and other hospital personnel who come in contact with patients, as well as the personnel of government agencies like the Bureau of Immigration, Bureau of Customs, and the airports and seaports should be given priority in getting face masks and other protective gear.

“If you have a respiratory illness, even if it’s not nCoV, wear a mask so that you won’t infect others. If you are taking care of the sick, wear a mask for both your protection. If you are going to the hospital or to crowded places, wear a mask. However, avoid going to these places whenever possible. Having proper personal hygiene and etiquette, like regular and proper hand washing or covering your mouth when coughing or nose when sneezing, is way more effective,” he added.

Gordon reminded the public anew not to go into panic buying or hoarding for masks because it only triggers price increases and shortage of supply.

Addressing the virus threat

According to WHO, starting tomorrow, leading scientists and health experts worldwide will convene for a two-day global research and innovation forum to be held in Geneva to develop a tool to stop the outbreak of nCoV.

“Harnessing the power of science is critical for bringing this outbreak under control,” Ghebreyesus said.

“There are questions we need answers to, and tools we need developed as quickly as possible. WHO is playing an important coordinating role by bringing the scientific community together to identify research priorities and accelerate progress,” he added.

Aside from scientists and members of public health agencies, Ghebreyesus said ministries of health and research funders pursuing nCoV-critical animal health and public health research and the development of vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics, will also be attending the forum.

He said the participants will discuss several areas of research, including identifying the source of the virus as well as sharing biological samples and genetic sequences.

“Experts will build on existing SARS and MERS coronavirus research and identify knowledge gaps and research priorities in order to accelerate scientific information and medical products most needed to minimize the impact of the 2019-nCoV outbreak,” the WHO official said. 

FACE MASK
Philstar
  • Latest
  • Trending
Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?
X
Login

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

FORGOT PASSWORD?
SIGN IN
or sign in with