Published On: Sun, Apr 19th, 2020

Dirty masks cause complaints to Japan govt

Tokyo: Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s unpopular handouts of old-fashioned cloth masks as part of his coronavirus measures faced complaints, as thousands of those sent to pregnant women were dirty.

A homemade protective face mask can help limit the spread of the coronavirus.

The health ministry said over the weekend that it has received at least 1,900 cases of the problems reported by 80 municipalities that the masks came with stains, dust and other contamination.

The dirty masks were among a million masks that the government started sending to pregnant women in Japan as a priority last week. Abe announced a plan on April 1 to mail two cloth masks each to all 50 million households in Japan amid dire shortage of masks.

The faulty masks were the latest embarrassment for Abe’s government already criticized for its coronavirus measures inadequate, off-target, too little and too late.

The cloth masks also seem to have a size problem. When the masks also arrived at elderly care centers, television talk shows showed some caregivers struggling to fit the mask, saying the it was too small to cover both nose and mouth at the same time.

The ministry said it has urged mask makers to resolve the contamination problem, while asking municipal officials to visually inspect the masks before mailing them.

AP

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