Turkey's distribution of free surgical masks is too slow since personal protective equipment has become mandatory in public spaces as a preventative measure against COVID-19, Turkish Pharmacists' Association (TEB) Chair Erdoğan Çolak said April 15.
Turkey's Health Ministry set up a system that will text citizens a code that will allow them to collect five surgical masks free of charge at pharmacies.Pharmacies in Istanbul to distribute masks free of charge
Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca had said that 39,000 texts would be sent out April 16.
"People need masks, they can't wait for the texts. People have even tried to grab masks off pharmacists' faces because they need them," Çolak said.
Turkey's surgical mask market wasn't prepared for the COVID-19 pandemic, Çolak said, noting the sudden spike in mask prices at the beginning of the outbreak.
Since President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's April 9 statement that the sale of surgical masks was banned, citizens have had to wait for the text from the Health Ministry to obtain them.
"Citizens need the SMS [to get their masks] but they'll still walk into a pharmacy and try to obtain some. This chaos will continue for a few more weeks," Çolak said.Turkish Pharmacists Association urges citizens to wait for Health Ministry text to claim surgical masks
Çolak noted that the government should have allowed the sale of masks in addition to the distribution of free supplies, and should have determined a fixed price for the sale of the protective equipment.
"The government needs to do something for those who haven't received a text yet but who need masks. For instance patients on dialysis, they need masks all the time but can't buy them."Labor union warns distribution of masks via Turkish Post 'impossible'