The Belgian government has instructed the Department of Defence to launch a government contract through its purchasing department and search for 12 million cloth mouth masks, defence minister Philippe Goffin announced.
Find out more about the situation in Belgium here.
“The Council of Ministers has given us a clear order to order 12 million masks,” Goffin told French-speaking public broadcaster RTBF.
“It is now up to our services to knock on the door of a lot of candidates and ask them for a prize, along with several other elements that are important in this public contract,” said Goffin. In addition to the price, this also concerns the length of the delivery period.
Because there is a great demand for mouth masks worldwide, the situation around the market is currently very difficult, Goffin acknowledged.
“It would be too easy to give a deadline and give hopes that would not be met,” Goffin added, indicating a potential delivery could already take place “in May”.
As of 4 May, the wearing of a mask or scarf will be compulsory in public transport (including the bus stop or the train station), school and at the workplace, from 12 years of age.
According to the exit plan, each citizen will receive at least one standard cloth protection covering the mouth and nose free of charge, while employers will also be made responsible for providing protective equipment to their employees.