Germany hit by face mask shortage

Pharmacies in Germany have been sold out of face masks for weeks and have received barely any new deliveries.

“There are significant delays and complications for deliveries,” said Thomas Porstner, head of the German association of pharmaceutical wholesalers (PHAGRO). Local suppliers have complained of material shortages.

Demand for the masks has skyrocketed due to the recent coronavirus outbreak, a spokesman from the Federal Union of German Associations of Pharmacists said.

However their effectiveness is limited.

“They aren’t actually helpful for everyday protection,” said Bernd Salzberger, a researcher at the German Institute for Infection.

A basic mask covering the mouth and nose does not protect against infection from the Sars-CoV-2 virus, Salzberger added. Face masks with a protective filter built in work for medical personnel but are not necessary for everyday use.

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