Egypt has started offering reusable cotton face masks at around $50 cents each alongside the food items provided in its state subsidy programme.
This comes as the country seeks to make protective gear more widely available to curb the Coronavirus.
Egypt subsidises items such as bread, rice and sugar for more than 60 million people and added masks to its list of essential goods, with a limit of 2 per family.
The Supply Ministry spokesman, Ahmed Kamal, says, “there is an opportunity to use supply outlets and the presence of supply cards with 22 million families to offer the masks.
”At 8.5 Egyptian pounds per mask, the price is very accessible for the public as the private companies sell similar masks for between 15 and 20 pounds.”
Furthermore, the authorities aim at distributing 19 million masks by the end of July.
Egypt’s State buyer, the General Authority for Commodity Supply was tasked with procuring the masks from local suppliers, including the military production ministry.
”An initial 40 million masks, vetted for safety, will be made available between July and August but authorities plan to increase the amount later,” Kamal said.
In May, Egypt announced fines of about $250 for people not wearing masks in public.
Egypt has so far registered 83,000 Coronavirus cases including 3,935 deaths.