German customs officials are attempting to track down about 6 million face masks ordered to protect health workers from the coronavirus. The Germans claim the masks went missing at an airport in Kenya.
“The authorities are trying to find out what happened,” said a defence ministry spokeswoman, confirming a report first published by Spiegel Online.
The FFP2 masks, which filter out more than 90% of particles, were ordered by German customs authorities. They and the armed forces procurement office have been helping the health ministry to get hold of urgently needed protective gear.
The shipment was due in Germany on March 20 but never arrived after disappearing at the end of last week at an airport in Kenya. It was unclear why the masks, produced by a German firm, had been in Kenya.
“What exactly happened, whether this a matter of theft or a provider who isn’t serious, is being cleared up by customs,” said a government source.
The Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) says after receiving word of the situation, it conducted investigations that established no such cargo had been transported through JKIA for the last two weeks and no reports of missing cargo had been made to the authorities.
“Our investigation has concluded that there was no cargo of this nature that has passed through JKIA for the last two weeks and no missing cargo has been reported to the authorities,” said KAA in a statement on Tuesday.
“We, therefore, wish to inform the public that we are treating this report of alleged disappearance of six million type FFP2 protective masks as fake news and that our cargo section continues with normal operations”.