10:31 GMT17 May 2021
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    This week, French officials have complained that a cargo of protective masks ordered from China got “hijacked” by the US.

    As protective equipment becomes extremely important to countries dealing with the ongoing global coronavirus pandemic, it appears that a cargo of respirator masks ordered by Berlin from China got "intercepted" by the United States and "diverted" to the latter country, Der Tagesspiegel reports citing "Berlin security circles".

    According to the newspaper, Berlin authorities ordered FFP2- and FFP3-class breathing masks, which "protect emergency services and nursing staff against infection with the coronavirus", from an American-owned enterprise whose manufacturing capacities are based in China.

    "The goods are said to have been intercepted by the Americans on the way from the manufacturer to Germany and brought to the USA", the newspaper claims.

    Earlier, a similar situation occurred with a shipment of protective masks that was ordered from China by France was snatched up by the US just as the cargo was waiting to be loaded onto planes.

    Meanwhile, German authorities have apparently enlisted the help of multinational companies and their contacts abroad to help procure the protective equipment.

    "The health ministry procures directly, but we are also in contact with a whole string of companies... who may be able to help," a spokeswoman for the country's health ministry said.
    interception, equipment, COVID-19, Germany, US
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