Makhosandile Zulu
1 minute read
29 May 2020
3:12 pm

Patel lauds SA for ramping up production of surgical masks

Makhosandile Zulu

The minister says that in May, 25 million masks were manufactured and that by the end of June another 31 million are expected to have been produced.

GroundUp has made numerous attempts to ask Minister Ebrahim Patel what he is doing about dodgy Lottery deals, to no avail. GroundUp archive photo: Ashraf Hendricks

Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition Ebrahim Patel has lauded the country for ramping up its production of advanced surgical or medical masks.

Patel was on Thursday briefing the media during an interministerial briefing by ministers in the economic cluster who serve in the National Coronavirus Command Council on the regulations relating to level 3 of the lockdown.

The minister said once the country moved to level 3 lockdown on Monday, 1 June, masks, in particular, for healthcare workers would be critical as cases of Covid-19 were expected to grow, as well as pressure on health facilities.

Patel said healthcare workers would need “advanced face masks”, which are also known as surgical masks or N95, among other names.

He said local manufacturers had ramped up their production of these advanced masks when initially, at the start of the pandemic, the country had a limited capacity to make them.

Patel said 25 million of these masks were produced in May and it was expected that by the end of June another 31 million will have been manufactured.

The minister said this amounted to an estimated 1 million masks manufactured daily.

He said importing masks would be a temporary measure while local production was being ramped up.

Patel said other protective equipment, including disposable overalls and isolation gowns, would still be needed.

The minister said local manufacturers have been supplying masks to South Africa’s neighbouring countries and the rest of the continent.

He said 150 million litres of sanitisers have been exported from South Africa to mostly its neighbouring countries and others on the continent.

Watch the briefing live courtesy of the SABC:

For more news your way, download The Citizen’s app for iOS and Android.