Photograph — Nieman

A recent report from Reuters news agency states a claim that the German customs officials are trying to track down about 6 million face masks which have been ordered to protect health workers from the COVID-19, which they said went missing at an airport in Kenya.  The Kenyan Airport Authority has, nonetheless, denied the news

The consignment was due in Germany on March 20 but did not arrive after disappearing at the end of last week at an airport in Kenya. The German authorities are still trying to figure out why the masks, produced by a German firm, had been in Kenya.

According to the report, a German defence ministry spokeswoman said confirmed the news stating that “the authorities are trying to find out what happened.” However, a Kenyan Airports Authority (KAA) spokeswoman said investigations had found nothing so far.

The missing face masks were said to have been ordered by the German Customs Authorities, who in alliance with its Armed Forces procurement office, have been aiding the German Health Ministry to secure urgently needed protective gear. The report also estimates the order to be worth 241 million euros ($260.57 million) with suppliers for protective and sanitary equipment to fight the novel coronavirus. But the defence ministry spokeswoman said that the country would not be bearing any financial loss as a result of the incidence because no monetary commitments were made by Germany.

In business, when financial commitments are not made at the point of contract to procure a particular good or service, there is every chance that the goods or service would be transferred to another customer with a better offer.  It is, therefore, possible for the German firm to have sold the protective mask to another client who proposed a better offer for them.

According to a statement by an anonymous German government,  “What exactly happened, whether this a matter of theft or a provider who isn’t serious, is being cleared up by customs.”

Germany has recorded 27,436 cases since the novel coronavirus cases gained entrance to its territory. One hundred and fourteen people have died according to the Robert Koch Institute for infectious.  As such, the government is preparing its hospitals and health workers for a big increase in the admission of patients. These missing protective masks would have helped secure the lives of health practitioners. If not found, chances are that the number of COVID-19 cases would skyrocket and the country’s health workers won’t have sufficient access to protective gears. 

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