Amid the unprecedented outbreak of coronavirus when the world is also battling with a chronic shortage of protective equipment, City of Toronto announced that it has returned nearly 62,000 surgical masks on discovering that they do not match the city’s standards. According to the official statement, the order worth $200,000 was received on March 28, but on getting reports of them ripping, and tearing, the administration has now decided to return them to the vendor on the assurance of full refund.
However, since this would deepen the already grim situation when it comes to surgical masks for medical professionals while fighting against the highly contagious pathogen, the official statement has also said now masks would be provided only on a priority basis. The statement even added that the supply chain of protective equipment around the world is raising concerns for leaders. But the city’s administration assured that efforts are being made to rectify the situation “by all governments”. Meanwhile, some international reports have also suggested that Toronto took the step only because the vendor was from China.
It said, “The global supply chain of PPE is a known concern around the world and all efforts are being made, by all governments, to ensure the products shipped and received on an urgent basis meet established standards.”
Giving a perspective over the confusion regarding wearing masks to prevent the spread of coronavirus, World Health Organisation chief, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has said that communities that are unable to meet other standards of hygiene like cleaning hands and social distancing, “could consider using masks”. He added that certain steps required to stem the spread of coronavirus can be harder to achieve in communities that witness a shortage of water or where people live in cramped conditions.
According to WHO head, while the COVID-19 outbreak continues to tighten its grip around the world, “there is no black or white answer and no silver bullet”. He even said that “masks along cannot stop the pandemic”, instead the governments should try to identify people with the virus and treat them in isolation.
After originating from China’s “wet markets”, the coronavirus has now claimed over 82,096 lives worldwide as of April 8. According to the tally by international news agency, the pandemic has now spread to 209 countries and has infected at least 1,431,973 people. Out of the total infections, 302,209 have been recovered but the easily spread virus is continuing to disrupt many lives. Major cities have been put under lockdown in almost all countries and the economy is struggling.
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