Covid-19: the chaos and blunders behind the mask shortages in France

By , , and mélanie delattre

In a televised address on Monday evening when he announced the lockdown on public movement to contain the Covid-19 virus epidemic is now extended into May, French President Emmanuel Macron admitted “our country was not sufficiently ready for this crisis”. But while the unpreparedness can be traced back to its predecessors, the French government has failed with its strategy for the urgent procurement of a vital piece of equipment that frontline healthcare staff sorely lack: protective masks. In this second investigation into the fiasco, Mediapart details the blunders that continue to place healthcare workers in danger, and how the business world has been more effectively provided for than hospitals.

Reading articles is for subscribers only. Subscribe now.

While the French government has now recognised the importance of a widespread use of protective face masks amid the Covid-19 epidemic, this second in-depth investigation by Mediapart into the situation shows that the authorities are still unable, three months after the beginning of the health crisis, to import sufficient amounts to meet France’s most elementary needs, beginning with the protective gear needed by frontline medical staff.