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Healthcare top priority in face mask distribution

Ljubljana, 20 March - The Civil Protection and Disaster Relief Administration has started distributing some 800,000 protective face masks that arrived in Slovenia on Thursday and Friday.

Ljubljana
Defence Minister Matej Tonin addresses reporters upon the arrival of a shipment of protective face masks donated by Alibaba and Jack Ma.
Photo: Nebojša Tejić/STA

Ljubljana
A lorry brings a shipment of protective face masks donated by Alibaba and Jack Ma.
Photo: Nebojša Tejić/STA

Ljubljana
Defence Minister Matej Tonin addresses reporters upon the arrival of a shipment of protective face masks donated by Alibaba and Jack Ma.
Photo: Nebojša Tejić/STA

Ljubljana
Defence Minister Matej Tonin addresses reporters upon the arrival of a shipment of protective face masks donated by Alibaba and Jack Ma.
Photo: Nebojša Tejić/STA

Ljubljana
A shipment of protective face masks donated by Alibaba and Jack Ma.
Photo: Nebojša Tejić/STA

Ljubljana
Defence Minister Matej Tonin welcomes a shipment of protective face masks donated by Alibaba and Jack Ma.
Photo: Nebojša Tejić/STA

Ljubljana
Defence Minister Matej Tonin welcomes a shipment of protective face masks donated by Alibaba and Jack Ma.
Photo: Nebojša Tejić/STA

Ljubljana
A lorry brings a shipment of protective face masks donated by Alibaba and Jack Ma.
Photo: Nebojša Tejić/STA

Ljubljana
Defence Minister Matej Tonin welcomes a shipment of protective face masks donated by Alibaba and Jack Ma.
Photo: Nebojša Tejić/STA

Ljubljana
A shipment of protective face masks donated by Alibaba and Jack Ma.
Photo: Nebojša Tejić/STA

Ljubljana
A shipment of protective face masks donated by Alibaba and Jack Ma.
Photo: Nebojša Tejić/STA

Ljubljana
A lorry brings a shipment of protective face masks donated by Alibaba and Jack Ma.
Photo: Nebojša Tejić/STA

Ljubljana
A lorry brings a shipment of protective face masks donated by Alibaba and Jack Ma.
Photo: Nebojša Tejić/STA

Ljubljana
A lorry brings a shipment of protective face masks donated by Alibaba and Jack Ma.
Photo: Nebojša Tejić/STA

Srečko Šestan, the chief of the civil protection service, told the STA on Friday that the masks were for now intended only for hospitals and nursing homes, perhaps some would also go to pharmacies.

Yesterday's shipment included 413,000 regular surgical face masks, followed on Friday by a shipment of 300,000 masks donated by the Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba and its founder Jack Ma.

Welcoming the latest shipment at the civil protection depot in Ljubljana, Defence Minister Matej Tonin said: "This will somewhat reduce the pressure on the health system, it'll be an additional relief."

Tonin thanked UEFA boss Aleksander Čeferin, who asked his friend Ma for help, the donors and the transport company that delivered the shipment for free.

He said that Defence Ministry hauliers were daily delivering the most urgent equipment.

Thursday's donation included the latest brings the amount of protective masks to 800,000, but Tonin said the number had since fallen as the masks were being distributed to health institutions.

The minister had been in touch with Dušan Mes, CEO of the Slovenian railway operator, who pledged a further donation of 100,000 surgical masks.

The minister also thanked the chambers of commerce and industry and of trade crafts, which are planning to engage their members in the supply of of protective gear.

Apart from health centres, hospitals and nursing homes, other organisations are in need of such protective gear as well, however they are bound to wait a bit longer to get it.

Local authorities have been asked to submit their requests to regional crisis response units today, most notably for those working in critical services.

Facing a dire shortage, the Ljubljana UKC hospital and the Oncology Institute have started sewing their own masks by deploying their own seamstresses.

Postal services operator Pošta Slovenije had coordinated free transport of the latest donation from Belgium.

Meanwhile, the future of 1.5 million ordered masks, which were supposed to arrive at Hamburg airport on Wednesday, remains in the dark - Slovenia has involved the country's embassy in Berlin in efforts to get them to Slovenia.

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© STA, 2020