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Australia Has 500M Surgical Masks Stashed Away, Inquiry Told

SYDNEY: If you have been worried about whether you will continue to be able to acquire surgical masks in the future, given the increasing number of people wearing them daily, worry no more – at least for the immediate future.

A parliamentary inquiry this week was told Australia has a national stockpile now approaching 500 million masks, according to a Guardian report – though exactly where they are being stored hasn’t so far been revealed.

Senior officials told the inquiry around 250 million masks are already in the stockpile, and the rest are scheduled to arrive by October.

Apart from the masks, they are also expecting the stockpile to contain 200 million gloves, 50 million gowns, and 43 million goggle sets or face shields.

One official told the hearing that: “We do guard the stockpile very jealously to make sure it’s used for distribution to people who need it in clinically required circumstances.”

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