Berlin – As a consequence of the Corona crisis, the federal government wants to set up a national health reserve with important material such as protective masks at 19 locations in Germany. Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU) said: “This pandemic teaches us that we have to take more precautionary measures.” As the Federal Government’s Corona cabinet decided on Monday, the reserve should be filled primarily with masks that have already been procured by the end of 2021, and then with material from domestic production. The needs of the health system and the federal government are to be kept permanently available for one month.
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The reserve should essentially consist of protective equipment, protective masks, ventilators and medication, Spahn explained in Berlin. “In an emergency, we particularly support those who work in hospitals, care facilities and medical practices. Good health care should not fail because of the material. ”One billion euros are earmarked in the federal budget in 2021 to build up the reserve. “Prevention costs, but prevention protects in times of crisis.” Long-term stocking is likely to cost hundreds of millions per year.
At the beginning of June, the federal government decided to establish a “National Health Protection Reserve” and commissioned the ministries involved with a concept. The background is also that protective masks and other material were scarce at the beginning of the Corona crisis in spring. The federal government then went into procurement and decided on incentives for domestic manufacturers. Medical facilities and the federal states should primarily continue to hold their own reserves before federal inventories are accessed.
16 regional locations planned for the first phase
The national reserve should in principle be available decentrally, according to information from the German Press Agency in a template. For the first phase, 16 regional locations are currently planned by the federal government via logistics companies: Apfelstädt, Augsburg, Bergkamen, Biblis, Crailsheim, Dortmund, Emmerich, Euskirchen, Halle, Hamburg, Ibbenbüren, Kabelsketal, Krefeld, Langenhagen, Neuss, Unna. In addition, there are storage areas rented by the federal government for hand disinfectants in Neustadt, Muggensturm and Krefeld. The federal reserve should be compatible with state reserves, and cooperation should also be discussed.
Specifically, the reserve should procure and store certain quantities, but also secure delivery options and production capacities. Such a combination should be able to cover the requirements for up to six months – a minimum supply for one month should always be physically available. In addition to supplying the health sector and the federal government, humanitarian aid with protective equipment should also be made possible for the World Health Organization (WHO) and other countries, according to the proposal.
FFP2 masks for corona risk groups
Regardless of this, the federal government has promised that corona risk groups such as the elderly and people with illnesses will be offered 15 cheaper FFP2 masks per person for this winter – 27 million people should be eligible. Spahn said that it was about 400 million masks, which could not be implemented quickly. This should therefore drag on “well into December”. In general, for protective masks already procured by the federal government, one should not think of the reserve first, but of the crisis.
The Green health politician Janosch Dahmen called for a more comprehensive strategy against the scarcity of medical goods. “Germany must not make itself dependent on a few factories.” The aim must be that the failure of a supplier can be easily compensated for by other companies. What is needed is permanent production in Germany combined with supply routes from a large number of foreign companies. “