Abandoned textile factory revived to make face masks in Yemen

By Khaled Abdala

Sanaa, May 9 (efe-epa).- In a deserted fabrics factory in Yemen’s capital Sanaa, 80 women sew protective face masks as the coronavirus spreads undetected in the war-shattered country.

The state-owned factory, established in 1967 and running until went out of service in 2000, is active once again and producing around 7,000 surgical face masks per day with sewing machines that had laid dormant for 20 years.

Polypropylene sheets are used for the inner fabric of the three-layer disposable masks, and kitchen tissue papers for the outer fabric.

The factory’s manager Abdul-Elah Shaiban tells Efe that there was no other option but to start producing masks.

“We buy the materials from the local market according to specifications approved by the Higher Authority for Medicines,” he adds.

Shaiban says he aims to bring up the capacity to 30,000 face masks per day soon. He also plans to add a medical gown production line.

“It is important to lend a hand in controlling the pandemic,” he says, adding that the masks go to hospitals and medical centers.

The United Nations has warned there is a “very real probability” the coronavirus disease is circulating undetected across the county.

So far, 25 cases have been confirmed in five provinces and five deaths have been registered. The fatality rate is currently 20 percent.

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