BEIJING, Feb. 11 (FENA/Xinhua) — Production of medical and daily necessities such as masks and protective suits is steadily recovering in China to support the prevention and control of the novel coronavirus outbreak, an official said here Tuesday.
More than 76 percent of mask production capacity in China’s 22 provincial regions had been resumed by Monday, Cong Liang, secretary-general of the National Development and Reform Commission, the country’s top economic planner, told a press conference.
Meanwhile, 77 percent of protective suit production had been resumed, according to Cong.
China is the world’s largest mask producer, with more than 20 million masks made daily in normal times.
Enterprises providing essential material support and services for the epidemic control efforts such as medical supplies, energy, logistics and transportation have resumed production as the nation, except hard-hit Hubei Province, gradually returns to work this week.
About 94.6 percent of the country’s major grain production and processing firms have resumed production, as have 57.8 percent of the coal mines, said Cong, adding that the supply of natural gas, electricity and refined oil is sufficient.
Cong also noted that issues like insufficient labor and protective materials, local production restrictions and financial stress are still hampering production resumption, and pledged to work with other government departments on these problems and push for normal production.
Ou Xiaoli, another NDRC official, warned that work resumption could also lead to a sharp rise in the already strong demand for protective gear, particularly masks.
Ou urged every possible effort to be made to encourage the production and imports of masks, stressing that protection should especially be given to workers who are exposed to human-to-human contact in sectors like public transport and retailing.
To promote the production of key medical supplies including masks, Cong reassured manufacturers that the government would be the ultimate buyer if the market could not consume all the products, calling on them to put aside overcapacity concerns and work at maximum strength.