Nearly 50,000 protective face masks have been stolen from a hospital warehouse in the northwestern German city of Cologne, local media reported on Tuesday. Police confirmed the incident, saying they were informed by an employee on Monday who had noticed the theft at the warehouse, which was used as a logistics center for several hospitals in the city.
Authorities have opened an investigation into the incident, but no arrests have been made.
Cologne’s coronavirus crisis committee has ordered hospitals to check their stocks and secure the face masks and other protective equipment amid a coronavirus-inspired shortage.
The rapid spread of coronavirus has led to a global run on sales of face masks, with prices soaring on internet commerce sites.
Germany is the third-worst-affected country by the coronavirus pandemic in Europe, after Italy and Spain.
The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the country rose to 7,636 as of Tuesday morning. The coronavirus death toll has reached to 17, according to statements by local health authorities.