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Chinese goes full throttle to manufacture masks in virus fight

(Xinhua)    09:47, February 01, 2020

Though many factories across China remain empty amid mass quarantine campaign to curb the novel coronavirus spreading, companies that produce masks are going all out to churn out much-needed supplies.

The latest figure shows the novel coronavirus has infected 11,791 people.

China produces around 50 percent of the world's masks. However, the current outbreak has increased public needs and put great pressure on production.

"Everybody is wearing masks, from medical staff to ordinary people, and the masks are disposed of every day, so the demand for masks has exploded, causing the temporary shortage," said Li Lingshen, head of China Nonwoven and Industrial Textiles Association.

Manufacturing facilities for masks, protective wear, and screening facilities and other medical supplies are going full throttle.

Jinxian County in east China's Jiangxi Province is home to 136 companies specialized in medical equipment production. More than 60,000 people are involved in the production and sales of medical equipment. By Thursday, all 30 companies that have mask production credentials have resumed production.

"The government is providing the maximum level of support in the purchase of raw materials and subsidies," said Chen Jian, who heads county department of science, industry, and information technology.

The county government has forked out 3.5 million yuan (about 507,000 U.S. dollars) to help companies buy materials. Some companies pay as much as 600 yuan extra to each worker every day.

China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said the country produces eight million masks every day. As more companies resume production, the shortage is expected to be eased.

Overseas purchases are also arriving. On Thursday, 149,000 masks were sent via air from Vietnam to Lanzhou, capital of northwest China's Gansu Province.

Overseas Chinese have donated over one million masks, said Wu Nanxiang, head of Fujian provincial department of commerce.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Liu Ning, Bianji)

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