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Aab: finding personal protective equipment is complicated but possible

21. March 2020 - 19:21

Stenbock House, 21 March 2020 – As of March 20, Minister of Public Administration Mr Jaak Aab has been appointed the head of emergency situation tasks. His task is to ensure the availability of means of disinfection and personal protective equipment outside the health care and social welfare system.

“In an emergency situation, many of us have to perform different tasks than usual. They are necessary, so that we can return to normal life as soon as possible,” said the Minister of Public Administration Mr Jaak Aab. “The team of the Ministry of Finance, in cooperation with the Ministry of Social Affairs and the Estonian Health Board, has been working in recent days to ensure that we receive the necessary means disinfection and personal protective equipment in the near future.”

According to Minister Aab, disinfectants and personal protective equipment (protection masks, gloves and suits) must be provided to both medical workers and other first responders who might have been in contact with infected persons, as well as social workers and vulnerable people themselves. “This equipment is hard to find because of different restrictions in place around the world, and ordinary supply chains do not function. Demand has also increased tenfold.”

The contract for disinfectants is signed by the Ministry of Finance and awaits the manufacturer's signature. “At the beginning of the next week, probably on Tuesday, the production and delivery of disinfectants will start. As a result of this procurement, approximately 200,000 litres of disinfectants will be produced and delivered within two weeks. The quantity is sufficient for local governments and public authorities for the duration of one month. For a longer period, the supply need can be covered by Estonian producers who have also secured the supply of raw materials. In the near future, Rakvere Piiritusetehas (Rakvere Spirit Factory) will start the production of ethanol which is necessary for the production of disinfectants.”

For personal protective equipment, it is necessary to find a short and long-term supplier. The Ministry of Finance has identified a number of suppliers who can deliver facial masks, gloves and other personal protective equipment within 1-2 weeks. The Estonian Embassy in China is working to get the necessary resources from China, where large production capacity has been launched. “We need a quick solution. Both the Police and Border Guard Board and the Estonian Rescue Board are running out of stock, not to mention local authorities and other agencies that might come into contact with potentially infected persons. I can confirm that both I and the Ministry of Finance officials work every day to find the necessary resources quickly,” said Aab.

Additional information:

• The Ministry of Finance hopes to order at least some of the personal protective equipment through the Estonian Embassy in China. This order is compiled based on the need of the public sector, including the supply for health care and social welfare staff in the coming months. The total requirement is about 10 million masks. In addition, all possible other important items (gloves, respirators, suits, etc.) are ordered. 

• there is also a respirator manufacturer in Estonia located in Sillamäe looking to increase production capacity. The Health Board has placed an order with the manufacturer. The exact information about the production capacity will available on Monday.

• the contract for the purchase of disinfectants is signed by the Ministry of Finance and awaits the signature of the other party.  After the signing of the contract (probably on Monday), the Ministry will continue mapping the additional need to organise the next procurement.