Finland to start manufacturing masks domestically after China delivers 2 million bad masks

Face mask production to start in Finland

Finnish officials have contracted with a manufacturer to start large scale production of surgical masks and respirators.

“Our target is to manufacture over 100 million respirators and surgical masks annually in Finland,” Lifa Air CEO Johan Brandt stated in a release on Wednesday evening.

Lifa Air is a Finnish company that currently manufactures respirators and masks in China. Initial consignments of personal protection equipment for the National Emergency Supply Agency will come from the company’s Chinese plant. Later this spring, Lifa Air will begin PPE manufacturing in Finland, as well.

Minister of Economic Affairs Mika Lintilä has said that production will start in Finland within a few weeks. The contract announced will not, however, cover all of the nation’s projected needs during the coronavirus epidemic. The government is now in talks with at least two other possible domestic manufacturers.

“Very chaotic”

Demand worldwide for personal protective equipment, especially respirators and surgical masks, has surged as the coronavirus has spread. Face protectors are needed by hospital personnel, other caregivers, and many service sector workers.

Many countries are competing on world markets to purchase available supplies and the director of Finland’s National Emergency Supply Agency, Tomi Lounema, on Wednesday described the situation as “very chaotic”.

Finland was supposed to have had enough equipment stockpiled to see the country through an epidemic, but more are needed. The National Emergency Supply Agency has distributed its reserves and is seeking fresh supplies. The government and healthcare providers have exchanged accusations of a lack of preparedness to deal with the present crisis.

Once tested, it was found that a large consignment of face masks and personal protection equipment that arrived in Finland from China on Tuesday are not up to standard. The Ministry of Health and Social Affairs said that the masks can be used in care homes to prevent staff from passing on coronavirus, but not in hospitals.

Minister of Economic Affairs Mika Lintilä has said that production will start in Finland within a few weeks.”

The bungled deal with China:

Finland: Chinese face masks fail tests

Lääkäri pukee hengityssuojainta

A consignment of face masks and personal protection equipment (PPE) that arrived in Finland from China on Tuesday are not up to standard, according to the director of Finland’s National Emergency Supply Agency, Tomi Lounema.

The equipment was tested at labs in Tampere run by the Technical Research Centre of Finland, VTT.

The Ministry for Health and Social Affairs says that the masks could be used in care homes to prevent staff from passing on coronavirus, but not in hospitals.

Lounema said at a press conference on Wednesday that Finland would receive four more plane loads of PPE from the Far East next week.

On Tuesday, it was reported that the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health was aiming for better cooperation between municipalities and businesses in the production of lighter fabric face masks for use in places like nursing homes and for home care workers.

The extent of the PPE shortage was highlighted when it was reported last week that Finnish hospitals received face masks and equipment marked with use-by dates in 2012.

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