New mask requirements: Does Switzerland have sufficient stock?

New mask requirements: Does Switzerland have sufficient stock?
At the moment, Switzerland has enough masks in stock. Photo by AFP
On Sunday, Swiss authorities announced that due to the alarming increase in Covid-19 infections, face masks will now have to be worn in all indoor public spaces.

The new measures are being implemented on Monday as Switzerland is experiencing Europe's biggest surge in coronavirus cases, with a 146-percent rise on average.

At the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak in March and April, Switzerland only had two and a half weeks of stocks available, leading to a scarcity of masks at the height of the pandemic.

The shortage became so severe that authorities had to order masks from abroad and buy special equipment to manufacture face coverings locally.

What is the situation now?

Major retailers Migros, Coop, Aldi and Lidl told SRF public broadcaster on Saturday that they have a sufficient number of masks in stock at the moment. 

“We have enough masks and are in close contact with our suppliers in order to guarantee the provision at all times,” Lidl’s spokesperson said.

The military, which provided millions of masks to stores and pharmacies during the first outbreak, also has a large supply.

According to army spokesman Daniel Reist, “our capacities cover 130 percent of the amount defined by public health authorities”.

READ MORE: Which masks sold in Switzerland are most and least effective against Covid-19? 

One of the Swiss manufacturers, Wernli AG, told SRF that the company is currently manufacturing half a million masks a day and will expand its production to 700,000 per day.

However, Wernli’s director Felix Schönle pointed out that domestic production is not sufficient to cover the demand, and 80 percent of the most commonly used disposable masks are imported from China.

 


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