Erfurt (dpa / th) - Thuringia provides a total of around 2.5 million medical masks free of charge for people with low incomes.

Health Minister Heike Werner (left) announced this on Wednesday evening.

The FFP2 and surgical masks would be taken from stocks in the country.

According to their information, they should be distributed to recipients of Hartz IV benefits as well as asylum seekers and refugees via the municipalities.

It is about 105,000 people in the Free State.

Such free masks, which protect better than cloth masks, have been discussed for several days after an advance by the SPD parliamentary group.

Now there has been an agreement between the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Finance.

Medical masks have to be worn in public transport, in shops and in medical practices in Thuringia since Tuesday.

Specifically, 500,000 FFP2 masks and two million surgical masks would be made available free of charge, said the Ministry of Health.

This corresponds to an average of four FFP2 and 19 surgical masks per authorized recipient.


Health Minister Werner said: "We want to ensure the greatest possible protection against infection for everyone."

It is clear that not all people can afford to buy medical masks.

In view of the still high number of infections, it is in the public interest to ensure the greatest possible protection against infection for all people.

The free masks should go specifically to beneficiaries under the Social Security Code and the Asylum Seekers Benefits Act.

The aim is to primarily care for people between the ages of 15 and 59.

Werner: "Of course, older people can also be considered on site, depending on their needs and demand, even if these people already receive appropriate masks from the federal government or the health insurance companies."

For children and adolescents under 15 years of age, the new special corona ordinance still allows the wearing of conventional mouth and nose covers.

© dpa-infocom, dpa: 210127-99-196690 / 2