On the air of a federal television channel, Minister of Industry and Trade Denis Manturov said that there is no shortage of personal protective equipment in Russia. The official believes that masks can be easily bought over the Internet.
Mr. Manturov assures that on May 3, 20 million medical masks remained in open sale. The minister considers this quantity sufficient. On the other hand, he noted increased prices for the materials for masks. To avoid high-price purchases, Rostec is negotiating directly with enterprises engaged in their production. Apparently, based of this information, the government lifted the ban on the export of masks abroad.
During April, our editorial office received many letters from doctors, medical workers and employees of other enterprises where respondents reported the absence of personal protective equipment. So, on April 13, our supporter, a doctor at a Moscow hospital, reported:
The standards of personal protective equipment are overstated: people worked for 6 hours in personal protective equipment with the standard of 3 hours for medical staff. There is not enough supply of PPE.
On April 23:
In the hospital, there is a deficit of everything. They are out of Tyvek’s overalls and respirators in the maternity ward, and each medic is handed out 2 surgical masks and an ordinary surgical uniform.
On April 24, a metro train driver wrote to us:
Train drivers work directly with people and with trains that transport people, but we have not been given any masks or gloves. In the beginning, the authorities proposed to chip in together and buy masks and gloves, but the total sum came out so big that the people rejected the idea. The metro cleaners, who are also part-time disinfectors, have not recieved all the necessary PPE, either.
And on April 26, a woman reported on the work of her husband, an ambulance worker:
My husband takes up to five pneumonia patients for a CT lung scan in hospital every shift. The workers are not given protection glasses, instead of respirators they have to use disposable masks. Some colleagues already have coronavirus.
Where is the truth then? Is Minister Manturov wrong or is he hiding something? The fact is that the official is talking about the PPE market. And perhaps it really is not in short supply, since manufacturers are allowed to sell masks abroad. But the absence or lack of PPE among employees of medical and other institutions also take place. And this is a vivid example of the absurdity of a market economy. Everything in it is subordinated to making a profit, not caring for people’s lives. If you need a mask – buy it, there is no shortage in the market. If you need protection shoe covers – buy them or make them yourself, as the Deputy Minister of Health of the Krasnodar Territory Valentina Ignatenko recently recommended to doctors.