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Belgium: EU to create stockpile of medical equipment to combat COVID-19

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European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen confirmed that the EU will create a strategic stockpile of medical equipment, such as protective masks and ventilators, to tackle shortages in the battle against the coronavirus outbreak, while speaking from Brussels on Thursday.

“The outbreak of the coronavirus is first and foremost a public health emergency. And we will stop at nothing to save lives,” she said.

A lot of hospitals on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic have been facing a shortage of personal protective and intensive care equipment they need to treat coronavirus patients. Medical staff “urgently need equipment, the right equipment, they need the right amount of it and they need it right now,” von der Leyen said.

“Instead of that, what we saw was crucial equipment stuck in a bottleneck or at borders for days. And this is why we have to take matters into our own hands as far as we could to release these blockades,” she continued.

Von der Leyen also praised staff in the healthcare service, saying “they are producing miracles every single day.”

The Commission will finance 90 percent of “the first-ever European stockpile of medical equipment” through rescEU.

According to the latest data of the World Health organisation (WHO), there are 414,179 confirmed coronavirus cases worldwide with over 18,000 deaths.

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