WHO chief demands end to hoarding masks, gloves

NAGOYA, JAPAN - FEBRUARY 06: An employee inspects disposable face masks on the production line of the Yokoi Co. Ltd. factory on February 06, 2020 in Nagoya, Japan. Yokoi, one of major mask manufacturers operating in Japan, said they received more tha ( Photo by Tomohiro Ohsumi/Getty Images )

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus wants the world to stop hoarding masks, gloves and other protective equipment.

The head of the U.N. health agency says Tuesday that he’s concerned that the new coronavirus is disrupting worldwide supplies of protective equipment, including masks, that are vitally needed to protect the health workers fighting the COVID-19 epidemic.

He says “we are concerned that countries’ abilities to respond are being compromised by the severe and increasing disruption to the global supply of personal protective equipment, caused by rising demand, hoarding and misuse.”

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He says “shortages are leaving doctors, nurses and other frontline health workers dangerously ill-equipped to care for COVID-19 patients.”

He says there is limited access to supplies such as gloves, medical masks, respirators, goggles, face shields, gowns and aprons, adding that “we can’t stop COVID-19 without protecting our health workers.”

His comments came just hours after French President Emmanuel Macron said his government is requisitioning all current and future stocks of protective masks.

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