According to the head of the National Pharmaceutical Products Company (Emprofac), appointed by the Cape Verdean Government to exclusively receive all community masks produced in Cape Verde, and then to place them on the market, between 10 to 12 factories and artisans on the islands Santiago, São Vicente and Santo Antão have already been certified for this production.
“Right now, the ones we received, 64,000 community masks, have already delivered everything, including pharmacies and public services”, guaranteed Fernando Gil Évora, president of Emprofac's board of directors.
The price of the sale to the public of these masks, which are reusable in accordance with the manufacturers' instructions, cannot exceed 235 escudos (2.10 euros), as stipulated by Emprofac, and the production must be certified by the Institute of Quality and Intellectual Property Management (IGQPI), in order to reach the market.
Emprofac buys the masks from producers on a weekly basis and then resells them to local distributors.
“As more production units are certified, the more masks we buy and place on the market,” he said.
This process of distributing community masks started on May 11, with the delivery by Emprofac of one of the first batches to CV Interilhas. On that day, this company resumed maritime passenger connections between the islands without cases of covid-19, almost a month and a half after the total suspension, due to the state of emergency, but now with the mandatory use of masks by crew and passengers.
“To open the sea line, it was necessary to have masks (…) any passenger who did not have a mask had to buy it,” explained the CEO of Emprofac.
On the 13th, community masks were also put on sale in pharmacies in Praia (Santiago) and also sold to public services.
Still this week, guaranteed Fernando Gil Évora, the distribution of community masks will be extended to other easily accessible points of sale, such as gas stations or post offices, initially on the islands of Santiago and São Vicente.
However, in addition to local production, Emprofac has already imported 100,000 community masks from various Portuguese suppliers, whose maximum selling price is, in this case, 400 escudos (3.60 euros), guaranteed Gil Évora.
“As we now know that national production does not yet cover all needs, we import. We have community masks imported from Portugal to face this difference between needs and national production ”, he said.
With this reality, as of May 25, service to the public, whether in state services or private companies, must be done with masks and by legal determination, customers who do not use them will not be served.
Fernando Gil Évora guarantees that there will be no problems due to the lack of masks on sale: “Right now, it's just a matter of choice”.
Even so, he admits that there is no “exact notion of real needs”, in terms of masks, in the country, not least because it is a new reality for everyone and is being evaluated at a weekly rate.
“Things are happening a bit in a hurry, we are entering an area that we didn't know, community masks, but I think the Government wants to take advantage of our logistical capacity on the islands to do the distribution and so far we have not had any problems ”, He maintained.
According to Fernando Gil Évora, Emprofac has already imported, since the beginning of the pandemic, around two million surgical masks, intended for professional use, in an investment of more than 1.6 million euros, with the market currently having a 'stock' for two months.
Cape Verde has recorded an accumulation of 356 cases of covid-19 since March 19, three deaths and 95 recovered patients.
The 256 cases still active are limited to the island of Santiago (essentially in the city of Praia), the only one that remains, at least until 24:00 on May 29, in a state of emergency, to contain the transmission.
Globally, according to a report by the AFP news agency, the covid-19 pandemic has already claimed almost 330,000 deaths and infected more than five million people in 196 countries and territories.
More than 1.8 million patients were considered cured.
The disease is transmitted by a new coronavirus detected in late December in Wuhan, a city in central China.
PVJ // LFS
The Covid-19: Emprofac content has already put 64,000 masks made in Cape Verde on the market first in Visão.