The European Union bans suppliers in the EU from selling face masks and other personal protective equipment outside the EU. This means that such products are not shipped to Iceland. The ban is valid for six weeks. Face masks and other protective equipment that healthcare professionals and others in the front line need are already sold by a supplier in this country.
The company Dynjandi, which sells safety products in Iceland, received these answers yesterday from its suppliers in Germany and Italy. The same goes for Norway.
"This is a scary situation," says Þorsteinn Austri, sales manager at Dynjandi. A response is being sought from the third supplier now, but an application was submitted on behalf of the health authorities and certain protective equipment was requested. It has not been processed and is expected to take a long time because the application is processed within the company and then it is decided whether the product is sold to Iceland as well as the quantity. "Of course, the demand is huge. We do not know if we get the same answer from them and the others. Of course we do not hope, "he says.
This morning, Dynjandi contacted both the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Employment and informed them of the situation. Thorsteinn says that then no one knew who should take the ball. "But I do not believe anything but the Icelandic government will do everything they can to get something going," says Þorsteinn. The situation came as a surprise to them, according to Þorsteinn.
The products that are sorely lacking include: face masks, protective clothing, disposable gloves, goggles and covers to name a few.
Þorsteinn points out that there is already a shortage of various other products. Many of them are manufactured in China, either in whole or in part, and then assembled in Europe. "It simply came to our notice then. This has an incredible effect, "he says.