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China Daily Global / 2020-02 / 14 / Page004

Production of face masks speeding up

By OUYANG SHIJIA and MA SI | China Daily Global | Updated: 2020-02-14 00:00

Front-line medical workers' needs have been guaranteed, official says

China is able to serve front-line healthcare workers' urgent needs for medical masks to fight the novel coronavirus pneumonia outbreak, as the country's current manufacturing of masks is at 94 percent of capacity, the country's top economic regulator said on Thursday.

Under joint efforts to actively resume work and speed up production of medical protective equipment, China has witnessed a rapid growth in the production of masks day by day, Xia Nong, an official at the National Development and Reform Commission, said during a news conference in Beijing.

"Through the unified national allocation of medical resources, medical workers' needs for masks have been guaranteed," Xia said.

The NDRC has been working hard to step up production of medical supplies, including offering support for those that need to restore or expand their production capacity, as part of its larger efforts to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus and guarantee stable economic operations.

As of Tuesday, production capability of urgently needed N95 medical masks in China has been expanded to 128 percent of the normal level, and those producing surgical masks had boosted their capability 106 percent, NDRC data showed.

"Notably, in key provinces with more than 1,000 confirmed cases, the production of N95 medical masks has also risen in varying degrees," Xia added.

Hubei province, epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak, reported its daily production of N95 medical masks jumped from 45,000 on Feb 2 to 158,000 on Tuesday, according to Xia. As of Tuesday, daily production of N95 medical masks in Henan, Zhejiang and Guangdong province reached 14,000, 100,000 and 40,000 respectively.

According to Xia, the NDRC will resolve any issues that mask manufacturers are facing such as financing or supply of materials, and will increase mask supplies for key provinces and sectors hit badly by the coronavirus.

"On the basis of virus prevention and control, we'll strive to fully restore the production and then further boost the capacity," Xia said.

Cao Xuejun, deputy director of the consumer products industry department of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, said as the fight against the outbreak continues, the demand for protective suits is soaring, and companies are under huge pressure to provide enough supplies.

According to Cao, the ministry will motivate some companies to revamp their plants to produce protective suits and ensure the supplies of key raw materials needed to make the medical equipment.

When it comes to disinfectant, one among many desired medical goods, the ministry said China currently has 563 enterprises that make disinfectant and sterilization products.

Currently, the overall domestic production capacity of disinfectant is enough to meet the public demand, but more efforts are needed to produce smaller-bottled disinfectants that have been in greater demand recently, Cao added.

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