"Guerre des Masques"

The global coronavirus pandemic sparks a 'War for Masks' in a desperate global scramble for protection.

As the coronavirus pandemic spreads across Europe and the United States, a global scramble for medical equipment such as respirator masks and gloves is underway. Several countries have accused the United States of trying to hijack their orders, but the details of who may have done what to whom are still murky.

In France they are calling it the "guerre des masques" -- the war of the masks, and on Friday German officials also made allegations against the United States.

Andreas Geisel, a senior official in the state of Berlin, said that the US had committed an act of "modern piracy," alleging that a consignment of 200,000 respirator masks destined for the Berlin police had been diverted to the US while in transit in Bangkok.

"This is not how you deal with transatlantic partners," Geisel said, adding that "even in times of global crisis, no wild west methods should be used."

As stockpiles dwindle and countries embark on what one French official called a "global treasure hunt," governments are reluctant to allow protective and other equipment to leave their shores. Many governments say the prices being offered and demanded for personal protective equipment (PPE) are exorbitant.

On Friday, Spanish Foreign Minister Arancha González Laya said an order for ventilators that had already been paid for had been impounded in Turkey.


Pot Calls Kettle Black

Please note French border guards impound trucks filled with 130,000 face masks bound for Britain for NHS workers battling coronavirus.

French border guards impounded trucks filled with 130,000 face masks bound for the UK leading to hurried negotiations between the British and French governments.

The masks were meant for brave NHS workers battling coronavirus across the country.

After realising what was on board, border guards in France held the truck in the wake of President Emmanuel Macron's promise to 'requisition' face masks for the French crisis, reported The Sun.

Every Country for Itself

So much for EU solidarity. It's now every country for itself.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock