Greece’s plan to supply schools nationwide with free face masks has failed spectacularly after the delivered ones turned out to be too large for both children and adults due to wrong measurements.
Greek officials admitted the failure on Tuesday, after the first batch of masks was delivered to schools this week.
“The size was too large from the start,” contractor Yiannis Stathopoulos, who won the tender for 500,000 masks, told Open TV on Tuesday. The masks intended for children under 10 measured 10 by 18 centimeters, and those for older schoolchildren – whopping 12 by 22 centimeters.
Deputy health minister Vassilis Kontozamanis tried to explain the failure as a “misunderstanding” between the government and the contractor, stating the measurements were given for “pre-stitched” fabric.
Apparently, those who ordered the masks did not bother to explain how exactly they should be “pre-stitched” as the end product ended up too large not only for kids but for anyone.
Οι ειδικοι ειπαν οτι αυτες τις διαστασεις πρέπει να εχει η #μάσκα, τωρα αν τα παιδια σας εχουν μικροτερο μεγεθος , δεν φταιμε εμεις, καθολου φιλότιμο δεν εχετε? #μασκες_αλεξιπτωτα#ΝΔ_ΑΠΑΤΕΩΝΕΣpic.twitter.com/6rfMo0ZCUf
The mask-maker Stathopoulos insisted he had followed his contract to the letter, explaining the specifications had been provided by Greece’s government committee of health experts on coronavirus.
Greek social media has been flooded with absurd imagery of the gigantic masks schoolchildren brought home.
Φιάσκο η Πραγματικότητα? Η ΚΟΥΚΟΥΛΑ ΥΠΟΧΡΕΩΤΙΚΗ_Η ΜΑΣΚΑ ΕΠΙΛΟΓΗ? ΑΛΗΘΕΙΑ :Η #ΝΔ με την Μεζούρα που μετράει τις Σχολικές #μασκες μετράει και τα Χωρικά ‘Υδατα? Η #κυβερνηση_Μητσοτακη καιρός Είναι Να Κάνει μια Νέα Αρχή_Να Γυρίσει πίσω στα θρανία 😋😂😜😛 Αγράμματοι κ Ανιστόρητοι pic.twitter.com/Dvb1h82OKg
Είναι τρομερή πατέντα για το αεροπλάνο. Βοηθά να κοιμάσαι και να προστατεύεσαι από τον ιό! Καλημέρα! pic.twitter.com/4me5TH2jIv
In most cases, the face masks supposed to cover mouth and nose worked as full-face masks instead and puncturing holes in them was the only way to see.
They have been promptly dubbed parachute masks. “Students help their classmate to fold his colorful mask,” the caption to the post below reads.
Μαθητές βοηθούν συμμαθητής τους να διπλώσει την πολύχρωμη μάσκα του.#μασκες_αλεξιπτωταpic.twitter.com/dbPTIyRglF
The government’s masks fiasco came under fire from fellow officials as well, with even Greek prime minister’s sister, ruling party MP Dora Bakoyannis, describing it as a “catastrophic failure.” The health ministry, for its part, promised to have the mask issue “fixed” shortly.