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30 March, 2020
 
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EU secures essential protective gear for its battle against coronavirus

The European Commission said it has successfully received bids from manufacturers for the purchase of masks, gloves, goggles, and other essential gear

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The European Commission announced on Tuesday that it has been successful in procuring personal protective equipment that is to be distributed across EU Member States to assist in their battles against the coronavirus pandemic, which has seen an exponential surge in demand for the essential protective gear.

According to the EC announcement, “producers made offers covering and in some cases even exceeding the quantities requested by the Member States that take part in the procurement, for every single item requested. The joint procurement covers masks type 2 and 3, gloves, goggles, face-shields, surgical masks and overalls”.

The announcement came almost one month after the EU executive Commission launched a joint procurement on behalf of 25 of the 27 EU states to acquire the protective equipment, which is in short supply in the continent.

The bids, received from undisclosed manufacturers of the essential gear needed to protect EU medical staff, were being assessed, Brussels said, stressing that the equipment should be available two weeks after the Member States sign the contracts with the bidders, “which they should do very rapidly”.

European Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen, said “this is EU solidarity in action. It shows that being part of the Union pays off”.

“All over the world, there's right now a tremendous need for protective clothing and medical equipment. It is therefore a success that the Joint European Procurement Initiative has been able to secure on the world market concrete offers of considerable scale on shortest notice”, the EC President said.

She added that “this material should soon provide considerable relief in Italy, Spain and in 23 more member states”.

Cyprus-born EU Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, Stella Kyriakides, said: “I welcome the very good results delivered by our EU joint procurement. Our priority is to ensure that those who are working around the clock to keep us protected and save lives – our healthcare professionals – have the necessary protective equipment.”

She added that “the offers we have received respond positively to the requests of Member States for lifesaving equipment such as masks, gloves and overalls. This essential material will soon be delivered to those in need. Together, we will win this fight. ”

On his part, Commissioner Breton in charge of internal market and industry said that “this joint procurement demonstrates the power of working together in a coordinated manner. It allows Member States to join forces when purchasing medical supplies”.

Breton stressed that “the Commission will continue to support this collective industrial effort and work with Member States so that the material reaches those who need it most urgently.”

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