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The website of a manufacturer of (among other things) surgical masks contains a blogpost dated March 13, 2020 (written in Italian). In it, it is claimed that a shipment of 830,000 surgical masks destined for CoVid-19-stricken Italy was on its way from Rotterdam to Italy when it was blocked by German authorities (on the basis of the recent export ban for such equipment). According to the blogpost, German authorities were contacted and agreed to release the shipment, but now the whereabouts of the 830,000 masks is unknown.

Nonostante il lascia passare delle autorità tedesche, attualmente non sappiamo dove si trovino le mascherine e stiamo facendo il possibile per riuscire a recuperarle.

In English (please correct if I mistranslated):

Even though German authorities let [the shipment] pass, we currently do not know where the masks are located and we do everything we can to get them back.

Unfortunately, my Italian is not good enough to understand the spoken language in the linked video.

Note that when some X is confiscated and then released again, but that X cannot be found anymore at the time of the release, the implication is that X has been taken and repurposed, possibly by the very party confiscating it in the first place. I am not asking about this implication here. In fact, digging up more evidence in favour of the existence of this incident at all might shed more light on whether things really are as reported in the blogpost later on.

The reason why I'm wondering about the accuracy of this report is that, for one, I cannot find any mention of this incident in German, Italian, or Swiss media. Furthermore, the incident does sound quite similar to another very recent incident in Czech Republic, which was reported on in various media.

  • That's great UE – Alchimista Mar 23 at 8:23
  • @Alchimista: Would you mind to clarify? What's meant by "UE"? Unlikely Event? User Experience? Union Européenne? – O. R. Mapper Mar 23 at 8:25
  • Yes Unione Européenne. Sorry it was just a bitter comment. – Alchimista Mar 23 at 8:27
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    Yes, German customs was unsure what to do about the order not to let pandemic equipment out of the country, and overstretched. They blocked masks for Switzerland as well. The confusion was reduced when the minister defined exceptions, and the Swiss masks were soon released and got to the Swiss with two days delay. It's now been 10 days since the blog post. If media didn't pick this up until now, you can assume that the dispute has been resolved and the masks recovered in the meantime. – Alexander Mar 23 at 9:08
  • @Alexander: Yes, I read about the incident with masks for Switzerland. But none of these contain the additional factor that the masks had disappeared at any point. I am not quite happy yet with considering the mere lack of reporting sufficient evidence the dispute has been resolved. (If anything, it might be a clue that this particular incident never happened in the first place.) – O. R. Mapper Mar 23 at 9:14

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