The shipment includes 1,184 boxes with approximately one million masks and 800,000 gloves for the protection of health workers in the country.
Mexican soldiers wait as a load of personal protective equipment sent by China to Mexico to assist in the fight against the new coronavirus pandemic is unloaded from an airplane upon arrival at the Mexico City airport
Around 9:00 p.m. on Tuesday, April 7, Aeroméxico’s Peace Mission plane landed in Mexico City with more than 10 tons of medical supplies purchased in China to face the contingency caused by the COVID-19 virus.
Hugo López-Gatell, Undersecretary for Prevention and Health Promotion, reported at the evening press conference that it was last Saturday that a plane “rented and facilitated by Aeroméxico” went to Shanghai, China with officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. (SRE) and with the aim of bringing to Mexico the supplies that were acquired over the past few weeks. The purchase was made by the SRE in coordination with the Institute of Health for Welfare (Insabi).
The Government of Mexico, through a statement, announced that in the shipment ” 1,184 boxes were brought with 10.1 tons of examination gloves and KN95 masks from Shanghai, which are essential products in the work of treatment and care of the COVID-19, under the regulations and guidelines established by the Federal Commission for the Protection against Sanitary Risks ”.
The undersecretary stated that the search efforts took three to four weeks, and recognized the “indispensable participation” of the Mexican Foreign Ministry and its direct team, who have been part of the process of searching for supplies throughout the country until they found the acquired ones. .
In the April 7 shipment, personal protection supplies arrived: gloves, masks, KN95 masks, hats, protective glasses, among others. ” This will allow us to cover practically 100% of the need for personal protective equipment for the health units of the national health system, ” said López Gatell.
This will not be the only flight: an air bridge has been established between Mexico and China, a continuous “coming and going” of aircraft to transport various equipment and supply the country during the health crisis. “Fans, monitors, and other more specialized equipment will be coming soon,” the undersecretary reported. The frequency of the airlift is calculated to be two to three flights a week.
When questioned during the afternoon conference for the reason of the origin of the acquired supplies, López-Gatell affirmed that at the moment the shipments will only come from China because it is the country in the world where the greatest endowment was obtained “that allows us to solve needs immediately ” . He also said that the exploration of other markets has been extensive.
“Other countries, especially in the European region, right now are having enormous difficulties due to their own needs, but also due to government regulations, in some cases, the outflow of health supplies from those countries has been restricted,” he said, reiterating that currently, The country that does have medical supplies both in existence and availability is China.
However, during the evening press conference on April 7, he was not questioned about buying face masks from China.
In an interview with Richard Ensor, Mexico correspondent for The Economist newspaper published on Medium, the official from the Ministry of Health (SSa) revealed that Mexico actually had to buy back masks that it had previously sold to China during the start of the pandemic of coronavirus.
“In retrospect, maybe we shouldn’t have done it (sell them the masks),” said López-Gatell. “We did not. But we did not buy them back 30 times (their price), it was less, ”he added, without giving more details about the cost of buying equipment that Mexico had already produced.
“Not selling them would have involved making decisions in February that would have been extremely disruptive. For example, we would have needed the government to declare a state of a health emergency at that time, anticipating what was to come, completely affecting the social, economic and political dynamics, “said the official.
Regarding the quality of the products and their evaluation, the official stated that everything that is purchased is subject to a technical review, appointed to an operational command that includes David León, general coordinator of Civil Protection, and Dr. Ruy López Ridaura, director-general of the National Center for Preventive Programs and Disease Control.
He assured that the identification of product catalogs, the different supplies, and which yes and which do not correspond to what is needed in the country, has been coordinating with specialists from the Salvador Zubirán National Institute of Medical Sciences and Nutrition. “Several have been discarded and only the appropriate ones with quality guarantee remain,” said López Gatell.
Speaking about the possible use of prototype proposals by different citizen organizations, the undersecretary stated that he sees “a critical path” that would make the manufacture and use of some feasible. However, he also assured that not all responses are realistic or feasible. “Multiple prototypes have been evaluated and there has been appreciation to all citizen organizations, initiatives, and academic groups that have submitted multiple proposals.”
For the evaluation of different prototypes of Mexican entrepreneurs, a technical group coordinated by the Ministry of Economy, the National Institute of Medical Sciences and Nutrition, the Ministry of Health, and various groups of engineers was established for two and a half weeks. He recalled that the manufacturing processes of this type of device, given its use in health and human use, require the highest standards of both industrial safety in the manufacturing process and the correct technical specifications.
“A very systematic, very transparent exploration has been done, the appropriate evaluations have been made available to several.” He also reported that institutions such as the Mexican Institute of Social Security, the Secretary of the Navy and the National Council of Science and Technology have simulation areas for this type of equipment, such as models of artificial lungs that allow different parameters to be evaluated.
The medical supplies were received by authorities of the Ministry of Health in the hangar Sixth Air Group and Military Personnel, while he was accompanied by Martha Delgado, undersecretary of Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights of the SRE.
According to the federal agency, the proceeds will be distributed to the IMSS, to the state health secretariats, Petróleos Mexicanos, to the Institute of Security and Social Services of State Workers ( ISSSTE ), to the Secretary of the Navy, to the Institute of Epidemiological Diagnosis and Reference (InDRE), to the Coordinating Commission of National Institutes of Health and High Specialty Hospitals, and to the Decentralized Administrative Body on Prevention and Social Readaptation.
In Mexico, the number of cases of people infected with COVID-19 increased to 2,785 confirmed patients, reported the Ministry of Health (SSa). The death toll rose to 141.
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