As the world runs out of masks because of a surge in demand due to the Covid-19 outbreak, the situation within China is even more dire to the extent the country is going to build a factory in six days to churn out hundreds of thousands of masks per day.
Xinhua reported that Beijing will convert an industrial building into a new mask factory in six days to meet the surging demand amid the novel coronavirus outbreak.
The factory is expected to produce 250,000 masks per day.
It is being constructed by the China Construction First Group.
Construction started Monday, Feb. 17.
Workers are alternating shifts to ensure the project is completed by Saturday, Feb. 22.
To protect workers from potential infection, the construction company will take temperatures on a daily basis and set aside rooms away from the living areas for workers with symptoms.
As China battles the epidemic, masks have been in great demand by medical workers, disease control personnel, as well as the general public.
The government has encouraged medical supply manufacturers to step up production among other measures to fill in the supply gap.
How many masks does China need?
According to rough conservative estimates, China needs about several million masks per day domestically.
This is how the math works out.
Even though making 250,000 masks per day sounds like a herculean feat, the fact is that this might still be nowhere near enough.
The situation in Hubei province, the epicentre of the outbreak, is dire.
According to the BBC on Feb. 6, there are some 500,000 medical staff across the Hubei province.
Medical advice in China is to change face masks regularly, as often as four times a day.
This would require two million masks each day for just this one group.
Another more than half a million staff working on public transport in China have been told to use masks
Factoring in masking-wearing members of the public, several to tens of million of disposable masks are needed each day alone in one province.
Under normal circumstances, China produces around 20 millions masks each day.
That's estimated to be around half of all masks made globally.
However, Chinese production has currently been cut to around 10 million, mostly due to the impact of the virus, which has cut working hours partially or completely across the country.
China currently produces around 600,000 high-quality N95 masks each day, according to figures from the Ministry of Industry.
To make 250,000 more a day is to simply meet partial domestic demand, which would not be enough to supply to other countries in the world.
Previously, China built a hospital in 10 days:
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