Health Minister Spahn is again in the pillory: According to a report, unusable masks should be distributed to people with disabilities or the homeless.
Berlin – Corona and masks: They are sometimes annoying for the wearer. In politics, scandals revolved around it. But they are supposed to save lives and protect against Corona * – therefore, in principle, they have been part of everyday life since the beginning of the pandemic. But a look back at 2020 also reminds us: At first there weren’t enough masks in Germany. Protective equipment had to be procured quickly. The impression arose: take what is available.
Distribute useless corona masks in special promotions? Ministry of Labor stands in the way
In spring 2020, the Ministry of Health * also procured some masks from China. According to a report by the mirror These include masks that do not have a European CE mark. But if a mask is to protect, the filter performance, for example, has to be right. After the procurement it was unclear what this product was actually good for. That is why Spahn should have it checked by the TÜV in May 2020. But a log shows that this was even done in a stripped-down version of the quick test. Der Spiegel writes of a “quickie process” for millions of masks.
So what’s going to happen with it? According to the news magazine, internal papers show that there has been a dispute between the CDU * -led Ministry of Health under Jens Spahn and the SPD-led Ministry of Labor * led by Hubertus Heil. The explosive background: Spahn employees apparently wanted to bring the masks to the people. But because these were probably not allowed to be distributed regularly, the mouth and nose covers were to be given to Hartz IV recipients, the disabled or the homeless with special campaigns. The Ministry of Labor took a stand, safety and health had to come first, and test steps had to be made up for. Upon request, the Ministry of Health reportedly stated that the masks could be used “for protection against infection”. To this day there are hundreds of millions of masks, it says in mirror.
Masks could come into the emergency reserve – and possibly stay there until the expiration date
So another solution is needed. Spahn now apparently wants to change the Infection Protection Act so that the masks can flow into the federal emergency reserve. In addition, a file note from the Ministry of Labor: “A delivery to citizens is only possible in exceptional cases” and after testing, with the consent of the Ministry. Instead of passing them on, the masks should reach their expiration date. The plan is not yet fixed. But in a few years they could be burned. A politically noiseless solution, so the hope. But the mirror also writes that, according to an estimate by the Ministry of Labor, the federal government spent more than one billion euros on these masks.
Reactions to “junk masks”: “This is a monstrous process”
There have already been some political reactions after these events became known. “I am appalled and shocked by the events in the Federal Ministry of Health,” said the SPD * MP Angelika Glöckner, the parliamentary group’s disability policy spokeswoman. “It’s a monstrous process,” she said. “People with disabilities are not guinea pigs to whom the remnants of bad decisions can be thrown.” SPD General Secretary Lars Klingbeil writes on Twitter: “That is really bold and without decency.”
“It would mean that the weakest in society should be used by the Ministry of Health to cover up their own mistakes in the procurement of masks,” says Maria Klein-Schmeink, spokeswoman for health policy of the Green * parliamentary group – should the report be correct.
On Friday, the hashtag “Spahnruecktritt” was again used extensively on Twitter in connection with the “junk masks”. “Of all people, whose lives are particularly risky in a pandemic, because it is more difficult for them to protect themselves as homeless people with inadequate equipment, for example, is a compelling reason for a health minister to resign,” writes author Friedemann Karig, for example. “I’m speechless,” writes another user. (cibo) * Merkur.de is an offer from IPPEN.MEDIA.