Saturday, April 04, 2020

US accused of being 'hijacker' of facemasks

Malaysiakini (extracts):

US big bucks turn global face mask hunt into 'Wild West'

CORONAVIRUS | The global scramble to secure face masks to shield frontline workers from the coronavirus has turned the marketplace into the "Wild West", with the United States often ready to outbid buyers who have already signed deals, European officials say.

In France and Germany, senior officials said the United States was paying far above the market price for masks from number one producer China, on occasion winning contracts through higher bids even after European buyers believed a deal was done.

"Money is irrelevant. They pay any price because they are desperate," one high-level official in German Chancellor Angela Merkel's ruling CDU/CSU group told Reuters.

A German government source said: "Americans are on the move, carrying a lot of money."

Now, with global cases surpassing one million and the outbreak exploding in the United States, the competition for precious stocks is intensifying further.

The State Department and the agency within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) coordinating US efforts to locate and procure protective equipment did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

However, a DHS official told Reuters this week that US companies and the government have been paying above market price for much of the gear purchased overseas.

The official, who requested anonymity to discuss the matter, said the United States would not stop buying "until we have way too much" and could still be searching out protective gear abroad through August.

Bavarian state premier Markus Soeder described the medical supplies marketplace as the "Wild West".

A second German source employed by a company now helping Merkel's government to order masks said the last weekend of March had been a turning point, and drew a link with the United States' increased presence in the market.

Contracts no longer guaranteed delivery, the source said, adding: "Demand is much, much bigger than supply."

And it may be about to soar again.

The Trump administration, which has wavered on the value of face masks for people showing no symptoms, looked set late on Thursday to advise all Americans to wear masks when venturing out.

In France, three regional leaders painted a similar picture. Jean Rottner said it was a constant fight to ensure mask orders arrived in his Grand Est region, where the outbreak first took hold before spreading west toward Paris.

He said consignments were changing hands at the last minute.

"On the (airport) tarmac, the Americans get out their cash and pay three or four times what we have offered," Rottner told radio RTL France on Wednesday.

Rottner's counterpart in the greater Paris region, Valerie Pecresse, said she had been beaten to an order by a country with deep pockets, although she did not name the United States.

"We found supplies a few days ago but failed to buy them after others outbid us," Pecresse told Franceinfo radio on Friday. "They were prepared to pay three times the market price."

kaytee note: The following latest news will add on to the pressure by US


US warns of infections through breathing as virus toll mounts

An ambulance worker adjusts her protective mask at a nursing facility in Washington. (AP pic) 

WASHINGTON: A top US scientist warned Friday that the new coronavirus can be spread through normal breathing, fueling recommendations that everyone wear masks as several nations posted record death tolls.

With half of humanity under lockdown orders, governments have been racing to find ways to flatten the rise of the virus, which has infected more than one million people around the world.

Anthony Fauci, the veteran US expert who is leading the government’s scientific response, backed recent scholarship that found SARS-CoV-2 can be suspended in the ultrafine mist let out when people exhale.

Fauci, head of infectious diseases at the National Institutes of Health, told Fox News that the guidance on masks would be changed “because of some recent information that the virus can actually be spread even when people just speak, as opposed to coughing and sneezing”.


  1. The virus has brought mankind down to his most basic instinct.

    Every Man For Himself. Survival Of The Fittest/Richest/Smartest.

    NY Governor Cuomo said that US states and the Federal body FEMA are engaged in a bidding war to win the supply of ventilators from the Chinese supplier. NY vs NJ vs CA vs OH......ha ha siblings fighting with the parents over a cookie.

    So we Malaysians may be screwed.

    How to fund our 250B recovery? The government could only afford to put in 25 Billion. The rest are our own money (EPF) and a humungous government guarantee (read bailout) of the banks for when the loan defaults occur, which is a given. Nice move Tengku Zafrul, an ex- banker with lots of shares in CIMB. Didn't I say survival of the smartest?

    Forget about getting Samurai, Hara-Kiri or Hail Mary foreign country or bank will lend to us. They need money too. In fact they may start calling back the money they had already lent us....

    So How to fund the bank guarantee for when the loans start defaulting?

    The government has no choice but to borrow locally, from their own citizens.

    So Toonsie will be proven right....ha ha ha...we have 2 trillion in savings he said.

    But make sure government give iron clad dividends OK, like BN government gave iron clad dividends to 1MDB bond holders.

    We must get Jibby to review the bond offering documents. Like the documents he signed to siphon out 4B from KWAP, and some of that money ended up in his personal bank account and he used to pay for jewelry and personal holidays.

    Perhaps some of that money was used to make "a small contribution" to destitute Sukumaran, not that we know for sure if Jibby did it out of compassion or the kindness of his heart or he did it as a publicity stunt.

    But I don't need expensive Italian jewelry, I'm not greedy lah, government pay me 10 percent dividend on my EPF will do just fine thank you.

    Dr M: Malaysia can tap RM2 trillion savings to further stimulate economy
    Wong Ee Lin

    February 27, 2020

    PUTRAJAYA (Feb 27): Malaysia has the flexibility to further tap RM2 trillion worth of savings in the country to help counter the negative impact of the Covid-19 outbreak.

    “Malaysia has a lot of savings. Malaysia has almost RM2 trillion of savings, we will make use of some of these savings. Some with Tabung Haji, Bank Negara, KWAP, KWSP... All of them hold big reserves. And in the case of KWSP, it is almost RM1 trillion,” interim prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad told reporters after announcing a RM20 billion economic stimulus package to minimise the economic risks associated with the coronavirus outbreak.

    The EPF’s total investment assets stood at RM924.75 billion as at end-2019. The Retirement Fund Inc (KWAP)’s total fund size stood at RM136.5 billion as at end-2018.

    Asked if the government will be issuing bonds to fund the stimulus package, Dr Mahathir said: “At the moment, we have enough source of money. But if necessary, we may issue bonds.”

    On how the funds will be disbursed, Dr Mahathir said all the measures that have been listed in this stimulus package will be expedited in “terms of bureaucratic procedures”.

    It is not immediately certain how much of the RM20 billion stimulus package require additional spending by the government or how much revenue it is giving up.

    When delivering the stimulus speech, Dr Mahathir said the country’s fiscal deficit will rise to 3.4% of GDP from the original projected 3.2% of GDP.

  2. How to fund the 250 Billion recovery ? We all know where all the money had division head thug even confessed that 2 mil is just pocket change.

    Malaysia can only get out of this hole by bringing back all these stolen funds back to its rightful owner..the rakyat is the rightful owner. Due time we do an MBS here...not the one in which he brutally had that poor Khashoggi allegedly hacked into pieces but to emulate his action to round up all the thieves into a luxurious hotel...kurung these bastards for 3 weeks and release them when they cough up the moolah, hehe

    Oops..these thieves are now in MooMoo's sarung...susah la to execute a MBS.