Emmanuel Macron visited in the morning of Tuesday, March 31, the mask factory of the SME Kolmi-Hopen on the outskirts of Angers, in Maine-et-Loire. This visit to the site of the largest of the four French producers takes place in the middle of a controversy over the lack of masks in the face of the coronavirus. The Head of State wants to "show the exceptional mobilization of our industry to meet the needs linked to the Covid-19 crisis", according to the Élysée Palace.

This FFP2 and surgical mask factory, located in Saint-Barthélémy d'Anjou, is now running 24 hours a day to increase its production after recruiting 35 fixed-term contracts.

The increase in production in the four French mask companies will increase national production from 15 million to 40 million masks per month in April. But the needs for nursing staff and nursing homes are estimated at 40 million per week, said the Elysee.

"Airlift" with China

To meet needs, France has ordered a billion masks and is organizing an "airlift" with China, the first shipment of 8.5 million masks arrived on Monday. A second delivery from China of 12 million masks is expected on Wednesday, the presidency said.

The executive recalls having also mobilized the strategic stock (117 million adult surgical masks) and requisitioned the four national producers so that they do not sell abroad.

A production of alternative masks, in fabric, has also been launched, to the tune of half a million per month, which can be used by certain professions in contact with the public, such as cashiers or the police, specifies the Élysée.

Edouard Philippe takes stock

These efforts are not enough, for part of the political class. The head of the National Rally, Marine Le Pen, accused the government Monday of lying about "absolutely everything" to the French.

Prime Minister Édouard Philippe will meet Thursday morning by videoconference with the presidents of political parties, heads of parliamentary groups and associations of elected officials, to take stock, announced Matignon on Monday.

The doctrine of Emmanuel Macron and his government remains for the moment that masks must be reserved in priority for nursing staff and nursing home staff, but that it is useless to generalize them to the whole population. Many professions in contact with the public, such as cashiers, police, firefighters, prison staff but also workers demand masks. Some unions call for exercising a right of withdrawal for lack of adequate protection.

With AFP

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