March 24, 2020 / 2:28 PM / 7 days ago

EU says close to deal on face masks against virus, after a month of searching

BRUSSELS, March 24 (Reuters) - The European Commission said on Tuesday it had received bids from undisclosed manufacturers that offered to sell to the EU face masks, goggles, overalls and other essential gear to protect medical staff in the fight against the coronavirus.

The announcement came nearly a month after the EU executive Commission launched a joint procurement on behalf of 25 of the 27 EU states to acquire the protective equipment, which is in short supply in the continent after the coronavirus crisis increased exponentially demand for the gear.

Brussels said the offers were being assessed. The equipment should be available two weeks after EU governments sign contracts with the bidders, the Commission said in a statement. (Reporting by Francesco Guarascio @fraguarascio, editing by Robin Emmott)

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