Government defends its mask distribution record - RTHK
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Government defends its mask distribution record

2020-02-17 HKT 02:09
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  • The police have said most officers only get one surgical mask per day, and there was only one week of supplies left. File photo: RTHK
    The police have said most officers only get one surgical mask per day, and there was only one week of supplies left. File photo: RTHK
The government has defended the way it distributes masks and other equipment to its staff, saying current guidelines have been complied with. The statement came not long after a report in the Apple Daily newspaper which claimed that the police had been given over 13,000 of the higher-grade N-95 masks recently - compared to the 250 allegedly given to the Department of Health.

The statement, which took the police as an example, said officers were often on the front line of the coronavirus outbreak and that their duties included being present at the border, or at quarantine centres, and conducting spot checks on those in quarantine elsewhere.

On Sunday, the police put out a Facebook video, saying they had the most contact with the public among all government departments, with 40,000 regular and auxiliary officers. They also said they face health risks during their daily duties, such as taking criminals to emergency wards.

The force said most officers only get one surgical mask per day, and there was only one week of supplies left.

The government's statement said departments had worked hard to keep mask use to a minimum and that demand had been reduced to about 8 million masks per month, with most being used for tackling and preventing coronavirus infection. It said this included demand from medical and port health staff of the Department of Health.

Separately, the Department of Health said it had significant supplies on hand, and that it didn't currently provide a lot of clinical services.

The Government said the Government Logistics Department has at a stock of about 12 million masks, which together with the stock kept by other departments and production at prisons, will only last for about two months.