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Also experienced by French regions trying to supply masks from China:

Face masks from China intended for France 'hijacked' by US at the last minute - RFI

Coronavirus masks that France ordered from China were bought at the last minute by the United States as they waited to be loaded onto cargo planes, French officials have said.

"Americans pay three or four times the amount we pay, and in cash," said Jean Rottner, head of France's eastern region, one of the areas worst affected by the coronavirus outbreak, according to reports by France Info.

On Thursday, a planeload of Chinese-made face masks were bought up right on the tarmac just as the much needed protective gear was about to set off for France.

"We're working around the clock to ensure these masks arrive," says Rottner, blaming unfair competition for delays.

The United States, which now has the highest number of known cases of coronavirus in the world, is trying to procure any masks available, disrupting deliveries to other nations, another report by French daily Liberation indicated.

by Bernard on Fri Apr 3rd, 2020 at 08:04:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Berlin accuses US of `piracy' over face masks
The United States was accused of "modern piracy" after around 200,000 face masks bound for Germany were diverted to the U.S., according to German media reports.

According to Tagesspiegel, the masks were made in China and were supposed to be flown to Germany from Thailand, but instead were sent directly to the U.S.

The interior minister of Berlin's regional government, Andreas Geisel, said the masks were "confiscated" at Bangkok airport.

"We consider this an act of modern piracy," he said.

Berlin's mayor Michael Müller also weighed in on Friday, taking aim at U.S. President Donald Trump.

"The action of the U.S. president is anything but one of solidarity or responsibility. It is inhuman and unacceptable. The federal government must insist to the U.S. that international rules are respected, including in times of the corona pandemic," tweeted Müller, a member of the center-left Social Democrats.

US cast as culprit in global scrum over coronavirus supplies

U.S. President Donald Trump's administration stands accused of effectively hijacking shipments of masks and additional crucial supplies meant for other countries, including U.S. allies, and strong-arming private firms to prioritize America over other parts of the world. On Friday, Trump announced he was invoking the Defense Production Act to restrict U.S. exports of key medical gear.
by Bernard on Sat Apr 4th, 2020 at 02:42:38 PM EST
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