A German army shipment of six million face masks needed to protect against the novel coronavirus has vanished in Kenya, the defence ministry in Berlin confirms.
“We are trying to find out what happened” to the massive order of protective equipment meeting the FFP2 standard for protection against particles and aerosols, a spokeswoman says.
News weekly Der Spiegel reports that the masks went missing at a Kenyan airport at the end of last week.
It was not immediately clear why the shipment was transiting via the East African country, the spokeswoman said.
Since the outbreak of the new coronavirus, protective mask business has become a gold mine worldwide. Because of the high demand, the protective gears are traded like rare spices used to be.
Der Spiegel reports: “Insiders therefore suspect that after the deal with the German procurement office, the manufacturer might get a better price for its goods and sell the masks there (in Kenya).
“But it is also possible that criminals stole the delivery at the airport and now sold it profitably in Kenya.”
The German army’s procurement office — plagued in normal times by equipment shortages and breakdowns — is providing the health ministry with logistical support during the coronavirus crisis.
Due to arrive in Europe’s largest economy on March 20, the missing mask shipment was one of the first major deliveries needed to gird Germany’s health system for its battle against the coronavirus, Der Spiegel reports.