April 5, 2020 - 11:56 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - The United States has been accused of “modern piracy” after allegedly diverting a shipment of masksv intended for the German police, and outbidding other countries in the increasingly fraught global market for coronavirus protective equipment, The Guardian reports.
About 200,000 N95 masks were diverted to the U.S. as they were being transferred between planes in Thailand, according to the Berlin authorities who said they had ordered the masks for the police force.
Andreas Geisel, the interior minister for Berlin state, described the diversion as “an act of modern piracy” and appealed to the German government to demand Washington conform to international trading rules. “This is no way to treat trans-Atlantic partners,” Geisel said. “Even in times of global crisis there should be no wild west methods.”
The German reports said the masks had been made by a Chinese producer for the U.S. company 3M, but the firm issued a statement on Friday night saying: “3M has no evidence to suggest 3M products have been seized. 3M has no record of any order of respirators from China for the Berlin police. We cannot speculate where this report originated.”
Valérie Pécresse, the influential president of the Île-de-France region, which includes Paris, described the race to get masks as a “treasure hunt”.
Confirmed cases of coronavirus in the United States surpassed 312,000 on Saturday, with more than 8,500 deaths.