Hands with fear, faith produce masks to prevent spread of coronavirus

By Jose Luis Paniagua

Sadat City (Egypt), Mar 19 (efe-epa).- Five months ago, Fatma Mosaad Hadad started to work for one of Egypt’s biggest producers of disposable medical protective equipment to help her husband provide for the family.

Unlike her expectations, she became part of an army of dozens of workers who daily produce thousands of masks while the coronavirus pandemic is hitting the world.

“Honestly I did not expect it would be that hard,” Mosaad, worker and mother of two, told EFE.

Every day her husband takes care of the children while she is at work.

Some 600 people work at the Medic factory located in the city of Sadat, 129 km northwestern Cairo.

Although they are the ones who produce medical material, they are not immune to uncertainty.

Everyone thinks about the coronavirus. “One fears for his children, home and homeland,” Fatma said as she admitted that fear is her mind each shift.

However, she acknowledged that her work is worth it since the masks are useful and wearing them makes people feel protected.

“We help people as much as we can and giving them something so that they feel comfortable and less afraid,” she added.

The Medic is one of three factories that manufacture disposable sanitary cloths for hospitals within the country.

It produces sterile surgical suits, caps and overshoes and exports special isolation suits for healthcare workers to countries such as Italy, England or Germany.

Normally mask production represents 3 per cent of the factory’s income.

Now a Facebook post printed and hanged on one of the factory’s walls celebrates the production of 350,000 masks, which has been sent to China

Egypt’s Health Minister Hala Zayed used one of these masks earlier this month as she visited Beijing to meet Chinese health authorities.

The director of the factory Mohamed Soliman shows with pride a photo and the stamps on the medical supplies boxes sent to UNICEF.

According to Soliman, the government asked the factory to boost its mask output by 50,000 and nowadays it is producing some 120,000 pieces only for domestic consumption.

Despite his broad experience, Soliman said he has never seen anything like that before, even when the SARS epidemic broke out in 2003.

He assured that the factory, which opened 30 years ago, had enough capacity to produce medical material for months, although he admitted problems in supplies transportation from different countries.

However, he ruled out the possibility of supplies shortage.

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