Samples of the fabric masks were tested from both suppliers. This showed that the masks meet the standards. The tests were carried out by a Defense laboratory and an independent specialized laboratory.
“Tweeds & Cottons delivered a million masks on Saturday May 16. The balance of the order, which is two million cloth mouth masks, will arrive this weekend. As for Avrox, a first delivery is planned for this weekend. The balance of the order will follow in the course of next week, ”said a Thursday press release from Defense Secretary Philippe Goffin (MR).
The order via Avrox was already controversial because it was a somewhat obscure company that is officially located at a PO box address in Luxembourg. The agreement with Defense also stated that all mouth masks must be delivered by May 25. So it will not work, it now appears. Avrox’s order was also significantly larger than that of Tweeds & Cottons. It is allowed to supply a total of 15 million masks.
But the contract also included a penalty clause. From 25 May, a fine will be charged for every day of delay in delivery. Goffin also points out that the order will only be paid after delivery and after the “qualitative acceptance” of the masks. He does not want to say how high the fines are, but according to the French-language newspaper Le Soir the fine per day is 2 percent of the cost price of the masks delivered late, and this with a ceiling of 10 percent of the total invoice. That amounts to 37.5 million euros, which would mean that the fine could rise to 750,000 euros per day if Avrox were late with full delivery.
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On April 27, the government ordered the Defense to order cloth mouth masks for every citizen. The Defense purchasing department placed that order on 5 May.
Distribution via pharmacists?
At the request of the government, Defense is investigating various avenues for the distribution of the masks. The privileged track is a distribution via the pharmacists. Negotiations are still ongoing. “The distribution network is fast and efficient and the pharmacists are best trained to provide guidelines for use and maintenance to the population, and they also allow for individualized distribution,” it says.