Nation’s daily mask output exceeds 110m, NDRC says
China is working hard to boost the production of masks, which are urgently needed to contain the novel coronavirus pneumonia outbreak, and the output has been growing rapidly, according to the country’s top economic regulator.
China’s daily output of masks was well over 110 million units as of Saturday, effectively closing the gap between supply and demand amid the outbreak, the National Development and Reform Commission said on Monday.
According to the NDRC, Saturday’s daily output of masks reached 116 million, which was 12 times the amount of that in Feb 1.
China is able to serve front-line medical workers’ demand for urgently needed N95 medical masks, as 1.66 million N95 medical masks were produced per day in the country, and the daily production capability reached 1.96 million units, the commission said.
Ou Xiaoli, director of the NDRC’s Department of Social Development, said at a recent news conference that China has adopted a series of measures to encourage medical equipment companies to resume work, such as offering loans with discounted rates of interest and reducing business-related charges for power and natural gas.
“We’re working hard to help mask manufacturers resume work and production, resolving any issues they are facing such as a lack of materials or funding problems,” Ou said.
“Masks manufacturers are speeding up production at full capability to meet the demand, and the production capacity has been expanded to 110 percent of the normal level.”
The NDRC has also encouraged some companies to revamp their plants to produce masks to meet the surging need for protective equipment. As of the end of February, three groups of enterprises have revamped their plants to step up the production of masks.
China North Industries Group Corp, a centrally administrated, State-owned enterprise and the country’s biggest maker of land-based armaments, announced last week that it had produced its first fully automatic mask machine as the country’s fight against novel coronavirus pneumonia continues.
It took 10 days for the company to complete the design and assembly at its branch in Hebei province. The mask machine, comprising 548 parts, will enter mass production soon, according to the corporation, which is known as NORINCO Group.
The machine’s manufacturer — Lingyun Group Hebei Taihang Machinery Industries Co, a subsidiary of NORINCO — is testing the equipment and collecting orders. The company said it will deliver the mask machines to the customers within a short period, once the product passes a quality inspection and has obtained the needed certificates.
As of Saturday, China National Petroleum Corp has completed the construction of six medical mask production lines, with a daily production capacity of 600,000 units. With a total of 21 mask production lines having been put into operation, the company is capable of producing 1.5 million masks per day.
Cong Liang, secretary-general of the NDRC, said that despite the risk of spreading the epidemic, the government needs to continue its efforts to resume work and restore production. “If we don’t do so, we may not be able to meet the need for medical protective equipment to fight the coronavirus outbreak. And in the long run, we may also lack various types of daily necessities.”
Rizhao Sanqi Medical Supplies Co in Shandong province, which makes more than 1.5 million medical masks each day, is one of many companies answering the call to resume production and meet the rising demand for medical goods. It didn’t cease operations during the Spring Festival holiday.
The company, located in Rizhao’s Heshan township, has recruited many temporary workers from nearby villages. The local government also designated a support team to help the company solve other issues such as capital, logistics and supplies so that it can operate at full capacity.